Take the owner of Mothers Polishes and Waxes, add a million chefs and you have one mother of a ute.
I gaze out of the office window towards the car park to see what is occupying the company spaces. On any given day there can be all sorts of wild machinery parked between the white lines. It’s not just big block wonders for NZV8, but impressive classics for our sister magazine New Zealand Classic Car that can often be spied. Of course, there’s the dark side of the car park. Yes those boys from New Zealand Performance Car park their rice rockets there too. But today there was no head-turning beasts — just the usual line-up of MGs that the sales staff drive. Good, dependable, reliable — those are words that come to mind as I scan the spaces.
Real Company Car
This is the reality of most companies around the globe, as the accountants love the sight of the frugal fossil fuel consumers. Well, I say most, but certainly not all. But, then again, Mothers is not your everyday kind of company. No sir. Even down under at the New Zealand division, you’ll find all kinds gas-guzzling modes of transport. I guess you can safely say that the crew at Mothers are car freaks and none more so than one of the head honchos back in the US of A: Jim Holloway.
“The motor already has the right cam-lobe profile and intake manifold, so the work involved is minimal – and making 450 rear wheel kW shouldn’t be a problem”
When he first got his mitts on this El Camino it was powered by the original 396. But, in true Mothers tradition, this was no standard donk under the hood, with low 11 second passes coming on a regular basis. But there was a lot more in store for this quarter mile basher. It had a big reputation to live up to as a Mothers company car. After all, it will have to showcase the entire Mothers product on a daily basis. No dirt allowed on this beast. Being out there in the public eye is one thing, but to have such a high profile as the El Camino will get in the US of A is a whole different ball game.
No Trailer Queen
That is just the beginning of the problem, as this wasn’t built to be a trailer queen. Indeed its 11-second past was not to be left behind, so enter the GM Performance Parts ZZ572. 460kW and a massive 880Nm of stump-pulling, out of the box crate motor. “I wanted monster horsepower and torque, and ‘wow’ when you lifted the hood,” says
Jim. “At the time, no one had a 572 crate motor in a car, so I had to get one”. Since it had to run on pump gas, Jim was forced to order this donk with a mild 9.6:1 compression ratio. “We’re working on a propane injection system that will let us bump the compression up to 12.5:1 without detonation,” he says. “The motor already has the right cam-lobe profile and intake manifold, so the work involved is minimal — and making 450 rear wheel kW shouldn’t be a problem”.
With all that go under the hood, a lot of attention had to be given to the stopping power. Enter Baer with a set of huge discs and equally massive callipers, coupled up to a Hydratech high performance hydraulic brake system. Of course, it doesn’t stop there either. If you can go and stop that fast, why not make the beast handle as well? Not a problem. Chuck on a set of custom billet aluminium upper and lower control arms that are fully adjustable for quick and easy pinion angles tweaks. Taking care of the bumps are QAI coilovers on all four corners, with Hotchkis sway bars lending a helping hand when push comes to shove. “It drives around like a new Corvette, handling and braking-wise, and the horsepower is extremely manageable,” says Jim. “It goes absolutely straight when you put the hammer down. You can put someone in the thing who has absolutely no experience with fast cars and they’d be fine. It was built to drive.” And drive you can, as there is a huge 136-litre Fuel Safe fuel cell for those cross-state cruises.
When it came to the overall look, how could one go past Mr Foose. Mothers and Foose work together on many projects including the Overhaulin’ TV show, so it was only logical that his services should be called upon. Slap on the BASF Glasurit Paint and the end result is the stunning two-tone finish that stands out from the crowd. Mothers are not the kind of company that follows the trends. Up front, a set of 20-inch Billet Specialties polished rims with ceramic-coated spokes wrapped in 245/35/20 BFGoodrich rubber — out back a set of 22—inch wrapped in 285/35/22s. This gives the El Camino a real ‘hot rod’ type of stance.
“It drives around like a new Corvette, handling and braking-wise, and the horsepower is extremely manageable”
However, the most extraordinary feat is one that can’t actually be seen. Although the raked stance suggests function-follows-form engineering, balance and handling were at the forefront of vehicle design. Ace chassis’ man John Omondson of Street Wise (Rancho Santa Margarita, California) painstakingly set the car up to achieve optimal balance. To offset the heft of the motor and fit the 22s, the rear end was actually moved back. In conjunction with meticulous corner weighting, the result is perfect 50/50 weight distribution front-to-back and side-to-side. So, not only does this beast look the part, but it can also show many modern-day supercars a clean pair of heals!
1967 Chevrolet El Camino
Engine: GM Performance Parts ZZ572 Crate Motor 572 CI Tall Deck V8 (cast iron), 9.6:1 compression ratio, forged 4340 steel crank with 4.375-inch stroke, forged 4340 h-beam rods, forged aluminium pistons, rectangular-port aluminium heads, hydraulic roller cam with 0.632-inch lift, stainless steel valves, hardened chromoly retainers, roller rockers, aluminium rectangular-port intake manifold, 850 cfm Demon carburettor, HEI Distributor, Barry Grant 220-lph fuel pump
Driveline: GM 4L80E automatic, 2500rpm stall converter, Compushift transmission electronics, Streetwise rear end with Speedway Engineering quick-change gears, 3.60:1
Wheels and Tires: Billet Specialties, Front: 20 x 8.5-inch BFGoodrich G-Force T/A Radials 245/35/20 Rear: 22 x 10-inch BFGoodrich G-Force T/A Radials 285/35-22
Exterior: Chip Foose paint scheme BASF Glasurit paint, Five Axis Bodywork & Painting, Goodmark cowl hood, Tuff Skin undercoating and bed coating
Interior: Dakota Digital instrumentation, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Ididit steering column, Kicker-designed sound system, Custom Autosound radio and CD changer, custom Interior, Vintage Air front runner air conditioning, Sparco seats, Katzkin leather upholstery, Sparco five-Point harness
Performance: 460kW @ 5500rpm, 880Nm @ 4500rpm on pump gas
Special Thanks To: Chip Foose of Foose Design, Carlos and Revo of Stitchcraft Custom Interiors, Glen Grozich of Billet Specialties, Johnny Omondson, Doug Nagy of Streetwise, Paul Gonzales, Mitch Lanzini of Lanzini Body Work, Jeff Jeppeson of Classy Cars Auto Detailing, Kelly Inman, Specialized Coatings for ceramic and powder coatings, Universal Machine for C&C machining