There will never be another 2010 Camaro like Bill Rombauts, at least not for anther thirty years. Rombauts and his friend/fellow Hot Rod Power Tour veteran Dave Sherer decided to take a 2010 Camaro where no one has gone before. The term “patina” encompasses the new obsession and torrid love affair for all things rusty, besmirched, dented and tarnished. Sherer and Rombauts chose to defile the shiny factory maroon paint job, in hopes of creating a stir on the upcoming 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour.
Rombauts rode along with Sherer for the 2010 Power Tour and ended up having so much fun that he decided prepare his Camaro for the 2011 event. In its previous form (last summer), the car still had glossy factory paint job and 650 horsepower to the rear tires. By the end of summer, Rombauts and Sherer discussed the new direction for the Camaro and decided to capitalize on the current love affair with rat rods. Once the decision was made to add thirty plus years of neglect to body, the issue of power still remained. Despite the impressive nature of 650 RWHP and running low 11’s through the quarter-mile, it was not enough for these two.
Sherer and his business partner, Anthony Mussulli at DNA Restorations helped Rombauts select the components to create one very unique street-driven 1000 horsepower Camaro. DNA Restorations is known for building one very high-end car at a time, but this one-off Camaro build resulted in the formation of a new division for the company, “DNA unRestorations.” A new 485 cubic inch engine, complete with a GM Performance Parts block designed for racing purposes, aftermarket cylinder heads and other goodies were combined to create the power plant for this Camaro.
Again, the 485 CI engine was still not enough for the guys, which led to addition of a Kenne Bell Supercharger and a lot more power. Although the car has not been track tested yet, Sherer and Rombauts are aspiring for a low 10-second pass if they can get traction; Sherer stated that they would be taking the car to the local drag strip next Monday.
Despite the obvious hard work under the hood, no aspect of the Camaro has been ignored including the suspension, brakes and safety equipment. A set of Baer 6-piston calipers was installed to increase the stopping power of this beast. Normally 6-piston calipers are reserved for a street-car and or road course car, not a drag car, but since this Camaro will be participating in a motorsports triathlon (street, road course and drag racing) it seems like an ideal choice.
Adjustable coil overs are used on all four corners, along with upgraded sway bars and sub frame connectors to help this car dominate paved surfaces. In the rear, a Ford 9-inch axle with 3:50 gears is used to transfer the power to the rear wheels in place of the factory IRS. An RPM 6-point roll bar and racing harnesses were installed to give the driver some additional protection just in case something was to go wrong.
To compliment the outrageous appearance, Sherer and Rombauts decided the exhaust needed to be both obnoxious and outrageous. A set of American Racing Headers was used to enhance power and increase the flow of exhaust gasses through the 3-inch stainless steel tubing. To increase the volume and the overall obnoxious nature of the car a set of exhaust cut-outs were added. It seems like a case of go big or go home when it comes Rombauts’ Camaro.
With well over $100,000 already invested into Rombauts’ ride, the car needed to visually stand out from the crowd while on the Power Tour this year. With the date rapidly approaching, Sherer and Rombauts had to get to work on creating thirty years of neglect in one week’s time. Normally, to create a true vintage patina that hot rod and rat rod guys drool over takes Mother Nature years as a car sits in a weed-strewn field season after season. However, it took Sherer, Rombauts, Mussulli and Ralph Ciccio working around the clock for a week straight to create this vintage-inspired look. To the novice it would seem easy to create this effect, but Sherer explained that in order to make this a convincing and correct look it takes hard work and lots of it.
They began the process by sanding the paint down to various depths to expose the primer and in places bringing it to bare metal. During the initial swath of paint destruction, sanding marks were left behind thus creating a need for fine sanding the car to remove the obvious marks. Once the fine sanding was complete, a clear coat was sprayed and again sanded. From this point the guys took turns applying salt and water to the exterior of the car in order to create years of rust within a few days.
Once the rust was created, it was time to break things and add the little touches that really complete the look. Sherer stated the metal pipes along with the occasional dent-by-foot process usually reserved for moments of frustration and grief caused by a beat up old car, were the methods of choice for this project. Actual door dings were added to the exterior to give this car a well-worn feel and the appearance of sitting in parking lots for years.
Visual touches such as beating on the rear spoiler until it cracked, breaking the tail light and applying red tape from the parts store along with breaking the front grill helped to give an authentic feel to abused appearance normally reserved for first or second generation Camaros. Further additions include broken and re-glued emblems, mismatched stickers, silver Sharpie messages and intentionally misaligning the hood. When Sherer was asked why they decided to do this, he replied, “no one else has the balls to do it.”