It has been in magazines, it has received gobs of awards, and it even has some famous fans. When it appeared on Summit Racing Equipment’s Facebook page back in 2011, it received over 900 “likes” within the first hour—a feat no other car on that page has surpassed. The most surprising thing about this twin-supercharged machine is that it isn’t the product of some mega-builder’s shop with a giant budget and a dedicated R&D team. Just a man and his wife and kids at home.
Rich Taylor’s older brother Steve was always working on cars, and that sparked Rich’s interest. Over the years Rich owned a 1971 AMX, a 1971 Buick GS, and a 1984 Cutlass. He got to know other local customizers, including Al Stacko (a.k.a. Al Camino) and Joe Mazzola (builder of this 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda).
All the while, Rich quietly pined for one particular car.
“I always loved the body style of the second generation Camaros, even as a kid,” he said. “When the first-gen cars started to get hot, I decided to follow my own path.”
So, back in 2001, Rich jumped at the chance to rescue a stripped-down ’72 from a drag racer. He set to work with only one real goal: bring the car back to the street. Over the next decade, it went through a gradual transformation—some engine upgrades here, some new paint there, a bottle of nitrous here, a second bottle of nitrous there.
But the most radical mod was the one Rich had to invent from scratch.
“I had seen lots of cars with twin turbochargers, and I started thinking about twin superchargers,” Rich said.
At the time, the Camaro had a single Roots-type blower, nitrous, and fuel injection, so he knew quite a bit about boost, but this was uncharted territory. No one made a bolt-on kit for such a thing.
Rich got some help and advice from his friends, but did all of the important work at home, crafting mock-ups of all the brackets, spacers, pulleys, and the carb box from cardboard, insulation foam, and MDF.
“My wife Kim helped out a lot,” he said. “She’d use kitchen utensils and other household items to test angles and make sure things would fit under the hood. Once we got everything perfect, we took our mock-ups to Jet-Maxx, a waterjet company in Willoughby, OH, to have them scanned and then cut out of aluminum.”
The system also features twin Vortech superchargers and a 10-rib belt out of a dump truck. Once the superchargers were dialed in, the dual nitrous injection tanks became overkill.
“One of them can be used as an intercooler, and the other is actually the air tank for the custom air suspension,” he said.
The Camaro’s envelope-stretching combination of performance, ingenuity, and style has earned Rich all kinds of accolades, including an Award of Innovation from Goodguys and a spot on Camaro Performance magazine’s Top 10 of 2011. But the best reward came from one of Rich’s favorite builders: Chip Foose. At a recent Piston Power show, Chip spent a lot of time examining the Camaro, flipping through the build photographs, and talking to Rich and Kim.
In spite of all the wide-spread accolades, Rich remains a soft-spoken and humble guy, quick to point out that this dream-fulfilling vehicle is only possible thanks to his family.
“Kim and my daughters actually enjoy spending time out in the garage with me,” he said, “and they all have the small hands needed to reach into all the little spaces in the engine bay to twist in fittings and attach wires. For all her help, my oldest daughter thinks she’s earned the right to drive the car to prom. We’ll see!”
After all, Rich says he’s still not done with the car.
“Every winter we add something new to the car, and we’ve got a pretty good project this year. To make it handle better, I’d like to put in some mini tubs and wider wheels and tires, plus an overdrive transmission.”
Our suggestion: while you’re making those upgrades, better invest in some extra trophy space, Rich.
Frame: Stock steel, with Competition Engineering bolt-on frame connectors
Front Suspension: Custom air suspension by RDP Motorsport, Edelbrock Performer shocks
Rear Suspension: Custom 4-link air suspension by RDP Motorsport, Edelbrock Performer shocks
Wheels and Tires: Foose Nitrous II wheels (18-inch front, 20-inch rear), with Cooper Zeon 2XS tires (P225/45R18 front, P245/40R20 rear)
Engine and Transmission
Engine: Chevy 350, bored and stroked to 383
Cylinder Heads: Procomp CNC alloy heads, ported and polished
Machining by: Mike Graham Racing Engines
Valvetrain: Comp Cams custom-ground blower camshaft, Milodon stainless steel valves, COMP Cams Pro Magnum lifters, valve springs, and retainers; COMP Cams Ultra Pro Magnum roller rockers, COMP Cams Hi-Tech chromoly pushrods, Summit polished aluminum valve covers
Ignition and Electrical: MSD 6AL digital ignition controller with MSD Boost Timing Master, MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD Blaster Coil, Powermaster alternator, Tilton XLT Super starter, and MSD 8.5mm Super Conductor ignition wires
Shifter: B&M QuickSilver ratchet shifter
Body: 1972 Chevy Camaro SS
Custom Features: Custom-made LED halo headlights and taillights
Paint: Custom mix of House of Kolor Black Cherry top, custom mix of PPG Torch Red bottom, tangerine pinstripes
Body Work and Paint By: Rocky’s Body Shop
Ghost Flames and Stripes: Brad Blessing
Pinstriping: Dave Knepper
Upholstery: Two-tone black vinyl
Upholstery By: JM Upholstery
Gauges: GlowShift Series 7 gauges
Other: Alpine stereo system
My wife Kim, my daughters Jessica and Alison, Joe Lucas, Steve Leerentveld of RDP Motorsport, Brad Blessing of Paint by Blessing, Dean Mattoni of Rocky’s Body Shop, Scott Simpson and Mike Bell of Powerline Engines, Mike Graham of Graham Racing Engines, and Ralph Siter of Auto Sound & Security
Photography by: Studio Martone
Art Direction By: Lance Nemes