The Building of a CP Car
By DaWayne Kerbs
My son bought at 77 Camaro when he was 17 years old. The car was rough but we put a new motor in it went through the brakes and made it safe. Then he said, Dad I want to go to Woodburn and drag race. My response, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You break too many parts drag racing. Then a month or so later, Hey Dad I heard about something called Autocross. Can I try that? I thought ok how many things can you break driving around a parking lot, Right? So we went and watched and then registered. Some of you may remember his 77 was black primer and pretty ugly. He ran that car the rest of the year adding shocks sway bar, used tires and wheels along with advice from Bert Jacobson. Bert told us “spend $20,000 more and you can have a car like mine”. Ya right I thought. He was running about 10 seconds behind the other CP guys but he didn’t care. I tried to talk him into changing car class but he said the CP guys were cool and he was going to race against them.
Well the car went to the body shop that fall for all the paint and body work. It wasn’t done in time to start the next season. So he ran his Mothers 1995 Chevy Malibu. Some of you may remember it as the Rental car as Brad Moffit announced it. Well the 77 came out of the body shop just in time to drive it to Prom with a beautiful blue paint job and pearl ghost flames.
The 77 was racing again until one fateful day at Willamette Pass. A flat tire and no way to fix it until the Braunbergers stepped up and offered a spare tire and wheel. Out comes the jack in a scramble to get back on the track. Uh oh the lug nuts won’t interchange with the Braunbergers wheel. Jason says “hey just get in our car and drive. It’s easy you won’t have any problem”. My son climbed in and finished his runs. When he finished he said. Hey dad we need a 3rd gen.
The search on Craigslist began. By the end of the week he had found an 87 V6 Camaro minus the motor for $250. Bert Jacobson loaded it in his trailer and hauled it home for us. The rest of the month was a scramble to gut the car and build a roll cage. We had a junk motor from another car that ran, but not good. We put in bearings timing chain and gears and gaskets and we were ready in record time for the next event. We ran that car for a few years and a few motors with a lot other tinkering. This car was an ugly burgundy car with a blue fender black hood and white ground effects.
Then one day I made the mistake of saying this car is really ugly wouldn’t it be nice to start from scratch on a different car now that we know what we have to do to build it. Dang that was dumb. The craigslist search was on again. This one took about a month. 85 Z28 T tops complete 5 speed car, perfect. Got it home and in the off season gutted it. Then moved nearly all the mechanical parts from the other car shocks, springs, motor, and rear end, built another roll cage and so on. Paint and body work and again a car ready to race. Completely finished in one off season.
Well almost finished. As any CP racer knows the Car is never finished. Then came 3 link, fender flares, and bigger tires, more horse power and then more suspension changes. Sounds good right? Next a smaller 4.8 Ls motor and try to find what else can be cut out of the car to make it lighter. That is pretty much how the car is today. But I can see my sons mind working. What next, hmm more Horse Power?
I know this may be a little long but the point is a CP car is more to me than just a Hot Rod. Building a CP Car builds friendships and character. It has been a learning experience, a labor of Love. A Father Son project that has grown from infancy to maturity and continues to evolve. The friends we have made at EESCC have all contributed to this growth and evolution of the car.
The building of a CP car closely follows the growth of my son from teenager to fine young man. The relationship we have built along the way is the real achievement. The car is just the icing on the cake. I can’t wait to see how they both continue to evolve in the future.
If you haven’t figured it out yet I am very proud of my son Nicholas Daniel Kerbs.
OH YA Bert, We are way past $20,000!
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