We realize that hot Camaros represent more than troops for the Pro Touring phenom and its recent offshoots. There are plenty of enthusiasts out there who don’t aspire to race course shenanigans or feel the need to participate against others in order to satisfy some form of bloodlust. They like to drive and they like to look, and most of all they like looking good. As you will see, Rich Taylor's perseverance has brought him the accolades and the awards that usually follow. People took notice. People voiced their opinions. People brought him back home.
“I think the paint is the unique feature,” opined Rich. “A custom mix of Black Cherry Pearl on top and a blend of Torch Red and Hugger Orange on bottom, accented with tangerine flames and pinstripes. In the shade, the top of the car looks deep black, but when the sun hits it, the black cherry pops out. I also have ghosted-in stripes and flames under the black cherry on the hood and trunk. All of it unnoticeable until the sun hits it just right.”
Rich had ideas. Some of them didn’t work but still he rode the process until there was no more to be had … and then resolutely marched ahead to a fresh calling. He played some weird combos along the way, all of them in this 1972 Chevy Camaro SS. Luck for Rich he’d found the right woman. Kim backed him up. Kim worked on the car with him. Kim clamped his fear of failure. She brought their newborn daughters home from the hospital in the cars that she and Rich had built together. Pal Joe Lucas appeared at a moment’s notice to do anything that needed to be done.
Rich: “I can remember my brother Steve reading Hot Rod magazine and we would dream of having nice cars someday. We learned how to work on cars, because we couldn’t afford to have someone else fix it for us … the thought process being, ’If it breaks, take it apart and put the new parts in the way the old ones came out.’ He saved up his burger-joint stash and bought a ’74 Javelin AMX. Two months later, it got away from him. It was a steaming pile. Kaput. Next, a ’76 Grand Prix that wouldn’t go any faster despite what Rich administered. An ’84 Cutlass with a 350 small-block came around. After Desert Storm, Rich got out of the service and doted on crazy-fast crotch rockets. Result: A nasty tumble broke his neck and his back in two places and shattered a femur. When he was in the hospital, he met Kim through a friend. Things between them clicked.
Bikes were verboten, but cars were really okay with Kim. Rich tooled a ’71 Buick GS and did so for the next two years. They brought daughter Number One home in it. Shortly afterward, Rich felt the boot heel of reality dig into his neck and he tidied up—sold the car, bought a house, and concentrated on family. Four years later, he saw the ride of his dreams at Classic Auto Showplace in Troy, Michigan. Mere minutes later, it seemed, the car was in his garage; the beginning of an epic build.
Nitrous oxide behind a supercharged punch sounded about right to Rich. Much experimentation with fuel delivery species, Weber side drafts and, at no small expense, a Momar Fuel Injection (Boulder, Colorado) multi-port system with billet throttle bodies were adapted to the Weiand 144 supercharger. The come-back on Kinsler’s dyno was 600 crankshaft horsepower.
Rich tried his hand at big car shows, like the Toledo Autorama in 2003. In a heavy snow storm, the Taylor's drove their prodigy to the show. Eyes popped. Jaws dropped. What’s with these kids? An hour later, they had it cleared and dry. Not long after, they were awarded class winner (conservative hardtop ’70-79) and were chosen as Super Chevy’s Pick of the Show. All right, now! They missed the Norwalk Super Chevy event. Daughter Number Two popped from her warm, dark cradle and into the daylight that same weekend. They trundled her home in the Camaro.