Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photos Courtesy of Jerry Bickel Race Cars
The infamy of the “Jason X” grudge car owned by J.R. Gray has grown to legendary proportions, and, in an attempt to crush Goliath himself, Josh Webb started putting together what is arguably the craziest grudge car ever seen.
Webb reached out to Ryan McCain in February of 2019 to collaborate on another friend’s project. Webb believed in doing things right the first time around and spared no expense. After quickly achieving success together on Chad Argoe’s “Heidi Fleiss” Malibu, Webb decided to give McCain free rein on something for himself and tasked him with composing the baddest small block car on 275s ever built… “Black Gold” aka the “Jason X Killer.”
“Ol’ Webb tells Chad and I, ‘boys, I spoke with Pat Musi and Jerry Bickel on doing us an engine and chassis for our new car!’ In the moment, I told Webb ‘we’re about to make history here because Jerry Bickel doesn’t build small-tire grudge cars on the fly and Pat Musi specializes in 900+ cubic inch motors, not small-blocks like you’re wanting done,” explained McCain of how his dream job fell into his lap. “His goal was to help build my tuning name to be one of the youngest crew chiefs in game.”
To kick things off in style, Webb hired a private jet to fly the guys over to Jerry Bickel Race Cars. There, the men discussed their plans and came up with a ’68 Chevy Camaro on 275 drag radials that would be legal for whatever class they desired with a steel roof, quarters, and bolt-in front suspension. A week later, a meeting with Pat Musi sealed the deal on the specs for the engine.
“In the midst of things with the car and motor being built, Webb and I started to build more of a friendship other than just being his crew chief,” McCain reminisced of his friend who tragically passed away in March of 2020 at the age of 34. “Without knowing him, I never would’ve been able to pick up my phone to call Jerry Bickel and Pat Musi. I wish we could’ve known each a little longer. I’ll never be able to repay him for all that he’s done for me.”
Despite Webb’s passing, Bickel was fully committed to the Camaro. Together with McCain, the men moved forward finishing it out according to Webb’s plan.
The classic car was built to be a turn-key Outlaw 275-legal contender, but it was specifically constructed to fit within grudge racing’s “stips,” too. The 25.1 SFI-certified chassis was outfitted with a complete Tim McAmis Race Cars carbon fiber body kit, but stock steel quarter panels, tail light panel with stock ’68 Camaro tail lights and bezels, rear valence, and more were all grafted on to comply with the grudge guidelines.
Musi’s crew took point on the 565ci “small-block” billet 4.600-inch bore space engine, outfitted with three stages of go-fast gas from Nitrous Oxide Systems, a carbon fiber nitrous bottle from Switzer Dynamics, and stainless steel zoomie-style headers.
The latest and greatest in electronics were added using all Mil-Spec lightweight and high temp wiring, including a lightweight Braile lithium ion battery, MSD Power Grid ignition, and Racepak V-300SDS data recorder to track and monitor every single vital sign possible.
M&M Transmissions supplied the gearbox package, including the Turbo 400 lockup transmission with a Neal Chance billet torque converter and matching billet shifter as well as the aluminum Browell bellhousing.
Up front, a complete Smith Racecraft tubular A-arm suspension system was installed along with Strange Engineering spindle-mount brakes and Menscer Motorsports shocks. The real magic is out back, though, where billet adjustable four-link brackets work with four-way adjustable shocks and springs also from Menscer, heavy duty four-link bars, and a 2-inch Ultimate sway bar.
Along with a lengthy list of additional odds and ends, Bickel fabricated the sheet metal rearend housing in-house and then added an axle package from Mark Williams Enterprises along with Lamb Components lightweight steel rear brakes.
Rolling on custom powder coated Weld wheels and Mickey Thompson 275 drag radial rubber, “Black Gold” tipped the scales at an incredibly scant weight – just 1,997 pounds. To put it into perspective, that’s 225 pounds LESS than a ’93 Mazda Miata and nearly 400 pounds less than a 2021 Smart Fortwo.
With so much power and potential on tap, at such a light weight, with such high-end parts, and with limitless flexibility, the “Black Gold” Camaro is definitely something to be feared and respected.
Intentionally designed and purpose-built according to every stipulation in the fast grudge game to push the limits beyond what’s ever been done before while also being able to be modified to fit almost any class imaginable, “Black Gold” is not only definitely going to shake things up on the scene, it’s also up for sale for a lucky buyer who wants to make their mark.
Serious buyers are urged to call Jerry Bickel Race Cars and you can find out most of the specs here: https://www.jerrybickel.com/new–jbrc-turn-key-68-camaro-outlaw-275-radial-tire-car-1997-lbs.html