As soon as I heard 700hp LS7, I was already fiending to get behind the wheel of Bob Littlefield’s first-gen. Overall, the car felt solid, which incidentally, makes me feel a lot more secure. Once situated I started to realize that the plush seats had me sitting a little higher than I liked, making me tilt my head slightly with the helmet on—and I’m not that tall by any means at 5 feet, 11 inches. While that made the ride a little uncomfortable, the power was flat-out awesome and it pulled through every gear with minimal effort. The 120-plus miles per hour trap speeds were indicative of its grunt and there’s no denying that this is one fast street machine. It may be time to call Mast and order one of these gems for myself!
Going from car to car and driving each one in a performance situation can be a tricky transition. Generally, it takes a few laps to get used to the way a car brakes, accelerates, and grips in corners. Since four of the five cars in the competition were Camaros, I had a sense of familiarity between each one. I quickly felt right at home as I strapped into Bob Littlefield’s ’69. I had watched Jake Moreau drive the car hard all morning and figured it would be easy to drive. Assumption correct. Of all the cars I had driven, this one had a little slower steering than the others. Making an easy adjustment, I just turned into corners a little earlier than in the other Camaros. Not a big deal. By lap number two I had gotten comfortable with where and how the car liked to turn. It did so with ease. The car is decked out with a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks suspension and the rear is mini-tubbed in order to house the 335 rubber out back. This was another car that was easy to drive, and the suspension responded very well upon corner entry and exit. The LS7 had plenty of grunt to put together some great times on the course. This is one car that would have benefitted from slightly quicker steering, especially on such a short course. With that said, the owner’s preference might be to have a slower steering on a longer autocross or a road course where sharp turning is less of an issue.
Even on a somewhat bumpy course, the car felt smooth and even on the sweeper and through the slalom portions of the course. And when I came into a corner a little too hot, the car recovered rather quickly, accepted a fair margin of driver error without losing too much overall time.
With the killer stereo and speaker box on board, this is a great Pro Touring Camaro that I could see cranking up the A/C and going out for a really long drive.
’63 DSE Chevy II
Engine: Mast Motorsports 427ci LS
Suspension: front, DSE Front Frame with splined antiroll bar; rear, QUADRALink; DSE coilover shocks and springs with Detroit Tuned valving
Brakes: front/rear Baer 6R with 14-inch rotors
Tires: BFGoodrich KDW; front, P255/35R18; rear, P295/35R19
From The Driver seat
I won’t deny it; I’m a big fan of this Chevy II. It’s just a cool ride that looks completely docile until you step on the loud pedal. And with its nimble weight and 675 hp, it just keeps pulling through every gear. However, this year, DSE stepped up to an aggressive triple-disc clutch assembly, and I could have used a bit more seat time to get used to it. Off the line on the dragstrip proved to be a little difficult; even so, with a set of true stickies, I’m willing to bet it’s a solid 11-second runner.