Story and Photos by Ricky Berry
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Tim Cameron is a name most off-road enthusiasts know around the south east, and thanks to Youtube and Pirate4x4, it is a name many people know around the world. If you’ve ever watched an offroad video online, you’ve probably seen a Tim Cameron video. The “Youtube Hero” first got into the wheelin’ scene at only 15 years old after hanging at a local off-road shop in Franklin, TN. A few years and one Jeep later, at 18 Tim started his first build of what would be considered a “rock bounce” style rig. With the help of some friends he took a 1-ton Jeep CJ and built a cage, four-links front and rear, and coilovers. After a few years he met Bryan Cole of ColeWorx at Hotsprings, AR, and a deal was made to build what is now known as the legendary “FatGirl”.
Tim has always tried to push the limits of off-road, and in turn pushing the limits of his rigs. Since FatGirl, Tim has built four other buggies, not including two rigs he bought already complete. He has been looking for the perfect combination of parts/chassis in a series of trial and error attempts most of us wish we could afford. He affectionately and creatively named all his rigs, Jenny Craig, MoonRover, Green Goblin, and Hell Raiser. After years of building and selling, and quite honestly populating the SE with some sick rigs, he finally has what he has been working towards.
Tim’s latest rig, deemed “ShowTime”, is a one-off Smith Motorsports chassis. Using the knowledge from the past builds, he was able to put together a winning parts list that will hopefully perform to Tim’s expectations. The chassis is made from .120 wall DOM, and .188 DOM tubing in places that will likely get beat, like the belly/skid, rockers, B pillar, etc. The Smith Motorsports chassis always get a lot of hate due to the seemingly “excessive” use of tube. However, not only are they designed to look nothing like anything else, but they’re built to be rolled, crashed, and beat on repetitively. If you notice many “comp” rigs are retired after a season or two of abuse, but these purpose built chassis hold up for years of violent “rock bouncing”. Tim’s chassis took 200 feet of DOM to complete, which may seem like a lot to some, but he doesn’t have to worry about it breaking in half the next time he decides to jump it 12 feet straight up and land on the skid. That is a pretty usual occurrence for Tim.
The suspension design is another thing that’s different from the “norm”. Rock Bouncers are built to be firm and stable. No, they probably wouldn’t work very well in the whoops racing KOH, but a drag car probably wouldn’t place very well at the Talledega 500 either! The name “rock bounce” is very fitting actually; on many of the trails in the south east they are too steep and slick to find any traction on the ledges and rock faces, so often times the only approach is a full throttle attempt to jump or “bounce” to the top of the ledges. The double triangulated suspension front and rear is set up using 16” Fox emulsion coil overs with heavy spring rates and valving. Fox 4” airbumps are installed up front to soak up the nasty hits.
For these full throttle insane climbs, horsepower and strength is the name of the game. Tim is pushing about 700HP out of his well tuned LSX small block 454 with Big Stuff 3 injection and Smith Motorsports custom 180 degree headers, along with some other modifications. He bolted up a top-of-the-line PTC built Powerglide, backed with a 4.3 Atlas II Transfer Case. With all those horses, axles needed to be stout. Tim built a pair of steering 14 bolts front and rear with Solid knuckles and modified Solid arms, 4:56 gears, Detroits, and RCV 300M CV shafts. Rear steer is not a luxury for Tim, but a requirement. Tim drives by feel, and is constantly using the rear steer just as much as the front to pull full throttle lines across the nastiest of obstacles. He is definitely one of the most talented drivers I’ve seen using rear steer. Tim uses 8” stroke PSC rams front and rear with Stazworks electric/hydraulic rear-steer self-centering ram.
Another surprising detail of this rig in contrast to all Tim’s previous rigs are the tires, they are relatively un-cut NON-STICKY 43” Interco TSL SXs mounted on a set of simple custom H1 recentered double beadlock wheels. Tim swears by the Swamper. He’s not against sticky tires, but he claims tires like the Krawler don’t have much for that TN “Hook Dirt”!
Southern style Rock Bouncing is growing in popularity, much thanks to Tim and the guys he wheels with. The excitement for spectators and the thrill for drivers will constantly push the limits of the industry and force development of new and better parts and ideas. Tim’s ShowTime buggy is “bout it” and should be around for a long time, launching up the nastiest climbs the south east has to offer!
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