Just over five years ago Mike Dusold purchased an old 1967 Camaro with intentions of turning it into a badass Camaro that he could drive every day to and from work. However, Mike is a hardcore moto enthusiast with a love of racing and that passion quickly made its way into the build process and before long he found himself with essentially a full-blown race car. Or in this case, I guess it would be a full-boosted race car. I say that because while it may slightly resemble a 1967 Camaro, what you actually see here is a full tube chassis, twin turbo rocket ship that can make easy work out of any auto-cross circuit in the country.
Even though I refer to this as a “backyard build,” that doesn’t mean Mike had this project on jack stands in his backyard. Instead, Mike is the owner of Dusold Designs which is a respected design and fabrication shop based in Lewisville Texas. They specialize in creating the extraordinary on anything from cars, trucks, motorcycles, helmets, guitars, and just about anything else you can imagine. And it was there at his shop that this incredible Camaro came to life.
If you’re not familiar with auto-cross, it’s essentially like road racing only rather than directly competing with other drivers, you’re competing against the clock. Races are sometimes held on your typical race tracks, but other times they can be held in an open parking lot where the course is defined by cones. It’s the perfect stepping stone for those with an itch for racing to get into the scene relatively easy. Now just like with any form of amateur racing, some take it more serious than others and they are willing to drop all sorts of time and money to create incredible purpose built machines. Enter Mike Dusold and his one of a kind Camaro.
When Mike first started racing his Camaro it was very capable. However, he got tired of loosing to purpose-built Corvettes and Mustangs due to his car being so heavy with improper suspension. So he decided to upgrade the old Camaro with some major upgrades at that. Mike went back to the drawing board and created a custom tube chassis where he integrated the roll cage into the design. This allowed him to get really creative when it came to developing a new suspension system too, but more on that in a moment.
His goal was to have the car sitting with a rear weight bias of about 54%, and the only way he was going to achieve that was to move the engine completely behind the front axle. You can see just how far back he moved it back when he lifts the hood and there are two giant handmade aluminum extractors sitting where you would expect to see an engine. These two massive air ducts are designed to carry cool air to the radiator without letting it seep into the engine bay to rob the car of heat and therefore horsepower.
Speaking of the engine bay, I should point out the absolute monster lurking between the custom-made frame rails. It’s a LS-based 427 cubic inch V8 built by Dailey Engineering that has an ERL Superdeck and twin Precision 56mm turbos. The addition of force induction brings the overall power output over 1,100hp to the wheels, and that’s on low boost! No actual numbers have been released, but if we were to speculate on high boost it would be up in the Bugatti Chiron 1,500hp range. Apparently, Mike never runs it on anything but low boost because it makes it too difficult to handle on the autocross course. He already refers to the power delivery as an “on/off switch” rather than your typical gas pedal.
Another goal of Mike’s was to make the car incredibly lightweight. Most of the weight savings came from the custom built tube chassis. But there are also quite a few carbon fiber components sprinkled in to help shave a few ounces off here and there. The final tally, once all was said and done, was just 2,880lbs, which for the record is just over half the weight of the mighty Chiron. Like I said, and an absolute rocket ship, and a street legal one too.
With that much power on tap, and all of it sent to only the rear wheels, you would think traction would be a major issue. But that’s where Dusold’s genius comes in. He designed and built a cantilever independent rear suspension that when combined with a Corvette transaxle and a high-tech race tuned traction control system managed by a MS3Pro ECU from Megasquirt, makes the car hook up like the tires were made of super glue. And with 13-inch wide tires on all four corners, this car has the grip of a Formula One car, well maybe not that much but you get the point.
Now that you have a good understanding of the mechanical aspect of the car, let’s talk a bit about the cosmetics of it. Being that Mike originally made a name for himself as an airbrush artist, it’s safe to have high expectations. He apparently took inspiration from old-school military planes which resulted in this camo-like paint scheme, it even has the traditional pin-up girl painted on it. Dusold followed suit in the interior of the car too, inside you’ll think you stepped into the cockpit of an old P-51 Mustang with all the distressed leather and aluminum strewn about. Take a look at the gauges and you’ll really think you’ve gone back in time because they are actual gauges from a P-51 that have been reworked with Auto Meter internals.
In conclusion, Mike Dusold has created an incredible machine. And it’s one that would destroy most supercars and even some hypercars on the track if given the opportunity. It’s the type of build that originates in your dreams, and Mike was lucky enough to make it become a reality.