It is always neat to hear that someone still has their first car many years later. Such is the case for Lil Bull (yes, that is his legal name), but through the years his non-matching numbers 1968 Camaro R/S S/S convertible has changed quite a bit. Lil Bull bought the car in 1974, but in the process he had also looked at a custom painted ‘68 Camaro S/S 396 with a 4-speed that was pretty much a hard shell made for going fast. Bull’s brother told their mom “It was too much car for him at only 17 years old”, so he bought the more sedate ‘68 Camaro convertible instead, and graduated highschool with it. The irony of course was that Bull’s Camaro was destined to be far more radical than the car he was forced to pass on, though the 17 year old age factor would no longer apply.
Lil Bull began racing the car at the track in 1977. The motor combo started as a small block 327 Chevy with a 4-speed and 12 bolt rear end fitted with 3.08:1 gears. Over the years the combo grew to a 15:1 compression big block, then to a nitrous motor, next a procharged blo-thru carb, then port fuel injection. These days you’ll find a 540 big block utilizing a Dart block and heads, BDS 10-71 roots style blower, FAST XFI fuel injection, Lemons headers and a 2.25x5-inch exhaust with NHRA legal mufflers....that still make the car very loud and throaty. Transmission duties are now handled by a Turbo 400 automatic, and the rear end is a Dana 60 with 3.73 gears.
Through the years the rest of the car received various upgrades as well. That included being back-halved by Tom Callis in 1988, then again by Ed Nash in 2008. Other items include an Aeromotive fuel system, MSD ignition, ACD air shifter, Dedenbear delay box, Chassis Engineering ladder bars with A.R.T. 60-inch wheel bars, and a Stroud parachute. After a fire in 2006 the car suffered a setback, but about $26K later (and with the addition of a Safecraft automatic fire system), Lil Bull was back racing.
The exterior really glistens in the Florida sunshine thanks to House of Kolors tangelo pearl paint, applied by Street-N-Strip Automtovie in 2003. Prodigy Customs painted the roll cage and firewall, while JR Auto Custom were responsible for the convertible top, carpeting, and custom roll cage coverings.
When Lil Bull first put the car on the quarter mile in 1977 he ran a 14.10 elapsed time. These days his best E.T. is an 8.80 at 155 miles per hour. It is a street legal NHRA S/C car that weighs 3,800 pounds, and has working turn signals, wipers, brake lights, a horn that sounds like a bull, insurance, and a Florida license plate that aptly reads EYE-XLR8. Lil Bull has been in several “No Bull Nationals” races in central Florida with the car, which includes qualifying for the 2007 and 2009 editions of the World Street Nationals at Orlando Speed World Dragway, known as the biggest “street legal” drag race around. Quite an impressive feat for a car that actually is driven on the street.
As with any major project that has been ongoing for so long, Lil Bull would like to thank the list of friends, businesses and racers who have helped him over the past 36 years of owning this car. Rather than attempt to list them all here, he trusts they will all know who they are and how much he has appreciated them. Bull’s main sponsor is B.I.M.P. (Bull’s Inboard Marine Power), which is the mobile ski boat repair business he owns, which does service calls at the customer’s location 7 days a week, and usually boasts same day service. There is no doubt that his car’s capabilites are testimony to his mechanical skills.
Lil Bull told us that besides driving the car, some of the comments he gets at shows and cruise-ins are among his favorite things (including a 9 year old kid asking “Does it have a Hemi in it?). And when someone calls the car a “rag top” he is quick to point out that it is actually a “convert-a-Bull”, with a wry smile. Bull still laughs when he thinks about the other Camaro he wanted to buy being “Too much car”. He just wishes his mom was alive to see this one now! CN