Jay Doerfler’s 1969 Camaro Packs a Punch
By Chuck Vranas – Photography by the Author
Stepping onto a path that will influence your future leads you on a journey filled with great experiences, especially when it happens during the formative years. For Jay Doerfler of Manchester, New Hampshire, it was growing up alongside his dad, Michael, who owned Auto Body Specialists that provided him with plenty of high-performance roots as soon as he was knee-high to a Chevelle bumper. Surrounded by an endless stream of muscle cars, he began to hone his skills for not only bringing these cars back to life, but to also never settle for anything less than perfection in their completion.
As the years passed, Jay continued to fine-tune his craft, eventually taking over the family business to solely concentrate on hot rods and restoration services, changing the name to ABS Classic Muscle Car Restoration. Over the years there have been plenty of 100-point restorations and cutting-edge Pro Touring cars to roll through the shop while he’s also personally built and owned a number of hopped-up Camaros and Novas. Somehow, though, he always wanted to take on the build of what he considers the ultimate Camaro: Mark Stielow’s 1969 model known as “The Mule.” With that thought in mind, he located a clean original 1969 Camaro to act as a perfect base for his build to rise.
Jay started with a Currie 9-inch aluminum rear packing a matching center with 3.73:1 gears spinning Strange Engineering 31-spline axles. It’s supported by a Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension with Panhard bar complemented by a Speedway Engineering splined sway bar and JRi coilover shocks with Eibach springs. For the ultimate in handling, a Wayne Due subframe was deftly matched to Corvette C5 upper and lower control arms with matching spindles. A Speedway Engineering splined sway bar with C5 ends, JRi coilover shocks with custom one-off adjustable remote canisters, and Eibach springs complete the upgrade.
If you’re planning to go wicked fast, you’d better be able to stop on a dime. A Wilwood dual master moves juice through custom-bent stainless lines to matching 14-inch rotors wearing six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers at each corner. A set of Fikse Profil 5 18×10 front 18×12 rear wheels wear Michelin Pilot Sport rubber.
A 345ci LS6 was prepped by PK Machine of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Julian D’Anjou of 2-Lane Performance in Goffstown, New Hampshire, followed by filling the block with a stock crank linked to Manley rods topped with Mahle pistons urged by a stick from COMP Cams. A set of tweaked LS6 aluminum heads breathe deep while a Wilson Billet Bank intake with stock injectors deliver a knockout punch through a ProCharger D-1SC supercharger. A stock ignition lights the fire with exhaust blowing through Stainless Works headers to a custom 3-inch stainless exhaust with Borla mufflers. Power moves through a G-Force Street six-speed with a McLeod twin disc clutch to a custom driveshaft from Denny’s. Tuned by Jannetty Racing in Waterbury, Connecticut, this evil LS pulls 732 hp to flywheel at 6,800 rpm.
There’s nothing like starting with a rust-free California car to let you focus on killer details instead of rust repairs. The stripped body shell was treated to a set of Detroit Speed mini-tubs as well as a reworked trunk floor to accommodate the updated exhaust. Jay then added a custom front valance along with shaved, narrowed, and tucked bumpers. The body was gapped and treated to a dramatic coating of PPG GM Victory Red. Other details include Marquez Design taillights and 1970 Pontiac GTO mirrors. Inside, the factory dash features an insert from Detroit Speed packing AutoMeter gauges accented by a Corvette three-spoke wheel on an ididit tilt column with shifts moving through a unit from Long.
Vintage Air provides cool breezes with music by an Alpine head unit with Polk Audio speakers. A custom cloth wiring harness by Skip Readio of Ayer, Massachusetts, brings it all to life. Finally, Michael Curley of Michael Jay Coach Trimmers of Barrington, New Hampshire, covered a pair of Recaro buckets in black leather to accent the rest of the interior, complemented by black Mercedes square-weave carpet. A Detroit Speed four-point rollbar keeps it safe along with seat harnesses from Crow Enterprizes. We think Jay nailed the look by fusing razor-sharp handling with cutting-edge performance accented by plenty of fine details to make this Camaro truly memorable.
To us, that’s the real deal!