Best of Both Worlds – Chris Smith’s ’70 Camaro is a Winner on the Track and a Looker on the Street
Any hot rod or custom shop owner knows that personal rides are rolling advertisements for the shop’s work. If that ride not only looks great but is also a top track performer, you’re covering all the bases.
For Chris Smith, owner of Smitty’s Custom Automotive in Tiffin, Ohio, not only is his ’70 Camaro an outstanding example of the shop’s workmanship, but it’s also a winner on the track. In addition to capturing the Summit Racing PRO class win in Goodguys CPP AutoCross competition in Columbus this year, the Camaro has previously earned the Optima Ultimate Street Car points championship among many other victories.
Before buying the car three years ago, Chris campaigned the Camaro for Bret Voelkel and Voelkel Motorsports. Once he had the pink slip, Chris and his team began the upgrades that produced the latest version of this potent performer.
Body modifications include smoothed seams and a custom firewall. Most of the car is carbon fiber, except for the main shell. A custom front air dam and hood, plus a Nine Lives Racing rear wing, help with on-track performance. Chris applied the PPG Rapid Blue paint – a bold color choice that’s new this season and really has people taking notice.
Power comes from a 427c.i. Scoggin-Dickey LS7 that produces 730 horsepower. An MSD Atomic Air Force induction system sits between Scoggin-Dickey heads. Exhaust flows through Ultimate Headers and a Magnaflow system. A C&R cooling system and a Vintage Air Front Runner accessory drive complete the package.
An American Powertrain sequential transmission handles the gear-changing chores. Front suspension components include a Speedtech Performance Extreme subframe and Sweet MFG rack-and-pinion steering. The rear suspension is a Speedtech independent system featuring 4.44:1 gearing. Wilwood 14-inch Aero front discs and 13-inch Superlight rear discs tackle braking demands and are mounted behind Forgeline 18×11- and 18×12-inch GA3 wheels wrapped in 315/35 and 335/18 BFG Rival rubber.
The interior is all business. A custom dash houses Holley gauges. A Momo steering wheel tops a Flaming River column. Kirkey seats keep the driver and passenger safe along with a Docol R8 1.75-inch roll cage from Competition Motorsport. Trent’s Trick Upholstery in Baltimore, Ohio, performed the upholstery work. Smart Wiring from RacePak Data System keeps the electrical components connected.
While the old adage that keeping work and home life separate is usually good advice, there are exceptions. For Smitty, building top-performing cars as well as racing with his sons in his off hours provides just the right amount of work-life balance.
Photos by John Jackson & Terry Lysak