Hot Rod Dynamics '67 Camaro
A '67 Camaro that can't be nailed down
A dream for car guys since the dawn of time has been to drive a racecar on the street. From the first stripped-down Model T to the delusional grudge cars of today, there has been an inexplicable draw to putting a purpose-built racecar on the road. Maybe it’s rebellion against the man, the desire to be the king at a stoplight, or it could be as simple as wanting to enjoy their substantial investment more than three times a year. There is a firm equal-and-opposite reaction for a dual purpose car; the better it is at going fast, the less streetable it is. Another issue is that a car should perform as well as, or better, than it looks.
Soft-spoken Joe Lutz was in our Power Tour booth, looking at the instruments on display. When I drew near, he looked around and softly noted “Y’all need some display cars in here,” I agreed, and he pointed over yonder where his Camaro was parked and told me to take a look. This happens a lot, and I usually end up scrambling to think of a graceful exit to an awkward situation. Luckily Joe walks softly and pilots a remarkable Camaro.
Looking at the silver, black and carbon fiber rock star, it’s hard to imagine it was a rolling hulk wearing several shades of green when Joe and his wife, Sharon, brought it home. The car looks pro-built, but I was assured that Joe did the work himself. To be fair, both are true; working at Roush Racing in the engineering department, Joe honed his design and fabrication skills building racecars. After tiring of the pressure and deadlines, Joe and Sharon took a leap of faith and turned Joe’s hot rodding hobby into a full-fledged business. Hot Rod Dynamics has been turning out intricate custom builds for seven years now, and the Lutz’ haven’t looked back. If you’re in the market for a top-notch performer, hit hotroddynamics.com and start the ball rolling.
The Camaro sports an LS7, lookin’ fine with a Holley Hi-Ram intake. I just love these intakes because they hark back to the tunnel rams of the street freaks in the ‘70s. Holley even offers a top plate for dual carbs! Joe’s has the EFI setup, and the beast is harnessed to a T-56 Magnum trans. Putting up with the guff out back you’ll find a Strange 9” fit for a king.
That stance is afforded by a Speedtek torque arm rear suspension, while a custom Hot Rod Dynamics front suspension hangs on a Martz subframe. Joe built his own control arms, spindles; the whole works. And here I felt cool putting dropped spindles in my truck. Vintage Wheels Works ponied up a set of 18” V40 wheels, measuring 9-inches in front and a wild 11-inches in the rear. Hot Rod Dynamics also built the chromoly cage, the stainless hood hinges, stainless fuel tank, radiator support and a few small carbon fiber items.
The interior is equal parts racecar and cruiser, classic and modern. A silver-painted factory dash brightens up the office, while carbon fiber-faced VHX instrumentation plays off the high-tech pod holding the double-DIN Pioneer head unit. Billet pedals, shifter and racing seats are modern-day pieces, but fit the vintage road-race theme. Daytona weave carpet on the floor is far better than bare aluminum panels.
What at first looks like a simple black and silver paint scheme turns into much more when stepping into the light. Anvil Auto carbon fiber parts abound, such as the hood, header panel and deck lid. The advantages of carbon fiber are three-fold. First and foremost, they shave weight. Second, the panels look cool and add a modern attitude to a classic shape, and third, the carbon fiber panels are easier to find than original Camaro pieces! Prolonging the vintage vibe brought on by the V40s, a simple ‘67’ in a white circle conjures up images of then-new Camaros brawling in Trans-Am competition. Adding to the race look is a deleted front bumper and one-off Hot Rod Dynamics grill; custom LED halos are from Redline Lumtronix. There are a million details in this Camaro that most will never see; heck I spent a week with it and every day I noticed something new.
You’ve seen trailer queens before, cars that have all the right parts in all the right places but never live up to their potential. I can assure you that this car isn’t one of those. It made the entire 2013 Power Tour without a hiccup, and being a North Carolina boy, you know Joe didn’t build this car to sit on a shelf. Case in point: you don’t build your own front suspension if you don’t think you can do it better than an out-of-the-box kit. In the end, Joe and Sharon Lutz ended up beating the system, and have a racecar that is perfectly at home on the street.