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1971 Chevrolet Camaro - Zero Miles

This spectacular ’71 Camaro is so fresh it has yet to go on its maiden voyage.

Liz Miles Jun 12, 2014
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Sriyantha Weerasuria, SW for short, is an owner of an exotic car dealership who is never still and never content. His busybody nature started with the urgency he felt to get a car of his own when he was first able to drive. His father always had a stable full of vintage and modern European cars and SW got started with the junior editions to his father’s exotics. His first car, for example, was a Fiat.

SW was loyal to his dad’s preferences until he saw a visitor of his neighbor come around with a Buccaneer Red ’70 Trans Am. He would wait anxiously with his palms pressed against the living-room window for the Firebird to round the corner to visit his neighbor; immediately he would dart out and take up any offer for a ride around in the first American muscle car he laid eyes on. Since then, the sound of a large-displacement American V-8 pulled at his heartstrings. For years his dad would point his chin down and shake his head in disapproval, but what’s a child without a little rebellion? His dad is well into his 80s and he still shakes his head at his son’s love for heavy-metal domestics.

And during the 30-plus years of being an active car buff, SW has owned close to 20 Trans Ams, along with a few Corvettes that were sometimes used as track cars. As we noted earlier, SW has full access and owns many high-end supercars, but when he does his daily trip to the garage, he walks right past them all and straight into his mint ’71 second-gen Camaro.

1971 Chevy Camaro Front 2/12
1971 Chevy Camaro Rear 3/12

The creation of this second-gen started when he found a perfectly nice ’71 Camaro to bring home. It was a decent car with a white coat and blue stripes, a clean interior, and was a running driver. The plan started small, as it usually does, but it was Eric Griffith of Griffith Metal Shaping in Austin, who was SW’s right-hand man when it came to pulling off the quick personalization of his purchases. Like most of us, he can’t leave well enough alone, and this drivetrain swap morphed into a complete bolt-by-bolt Pro Touring transformation.

The inspiration for this Camaro came from Kyle and Stacy Tucker of Detroit Speed. SW originally spotted their ’70 Camaro RS and it was then he knew this would be the platform for his next car. SW wanted something his local Euro and Corvette friends would be shocked to see pass by them by on the track. His friends’ mindset is still that American muscle cars are simply drag racing or cruising tanks only. Obviously, his buddies have never seen what a Detroit Speed car is capable of.

SW cracked open the second-generation F-body section of the Detroit Speed catalog and basically ordered one of everything. He knew, with total certainty, that their combination worked the way he wanted. He was able to start with their hydroformed subframe and QUADRALink rear suspension and completed the package with their mini-tub assembly. The hard parts were the easy part; it was the paint and body process that SW obsessed over. The Camaro spent six months at Custom Car Crafters getting the body gaps absolutely perfect. The Z06 Machine Silver paint was laid down with the highest attention to detail.

This guy is pretty busy too. His better half, Jennifer, is amazingly supportive of his long days at the dealership, long nights at the shop, and long weekends racing his track-only Ferraris and Porsches. They recently had a baby, Shelby, who is already showing signs of being a car guy. Whenever he starts to cry, SW takes him in his arms and walks him to the garage. There, within 20 seconds, he stops crying and looks around in amazement. The only question we have; what will be Shelby’s first ride? Whatever it is, we have no doubt that SW will have someone to continue his passion for performance rides.

1971 Chevy Camaro Engine 4/12


Because just any LS wouldn’t do, SW started with an LS7 platform. He had the entire bottom end replaced with a Callies Dragon Slayer crank, Manley Pro Series forged H-beam rods and Manley platinum coated forged pistons. The top end received a set of ported GM heads with Manley Nextek valvesprings and titanium retainers and keepers. Inside is a proprietary custom-ground camshaft. Topped with a port-matched intake and ported throttle body, this combination is good for nearly 700 horsepower. He did swap out the factory dry-sump oil tank for a Peterson Fluid Systems piece connected with Aeroquip AN fittings and hoses. He also upgraded the valve covers with Katech pieces in order to relocate the coils to a more desirable arrangement. Exhaust exits through 304 stainless headers from Detroit Speed to fit perfectly into their front subframe. Exiting the fumes is a complete 3-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers out the back. And as any Texas car requires, he couldn’t leave it without an air-conditioning system from Vintage Air. SW rows his own via a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed manual. The SPEC clutch helps deliver power to the 9-inch rearend that houses 3.55:1 cogs and a posi-traction.

1971 Chevy Camaro Air Filter 5/12


When you start with top-shelf parts by a reputable manufacturer, you’re going to end up with a great final product. That’s why SW started with a Detroit Speed hydroformed subframe. The subframe was packed with other Detroit Speed goodies like their power steering rack, control arms, springs, splined sway bar, and remote reservoir shocks all between C6 Corvette spindles. The rear suspension got similar treatment with Detroit Speed’s QUADRALink rear suspension with all Detroit Speed springs, control arms, shocks, and subframe connectors. He had Griffith Metal Shaping, of Austin, fabricate a six-point rollcage and subframe connector supports.

1971 Chevy Camaro Side 6/12

Body & Paint

Griffith Metal Shaping converted the traditional front clip to an RS treatment. Additional metalwork went into replacing the roof, including custom touches such as removing the turn signals. They made the modifications to the front inner fenders to clear the large wheel and tire combination. From there the car went to Custom Car Crafters of Austin, where Richard Wood, Ferd Nava, and Jamie Hernandez prepped the car for paint and shot it with Z06 Machine Silver. The engine bay and undercarriage were coated with matte black paint.

1971 Chevy Camaro Interior Seat 7/12


Griffith Metal Shaping had their fingers inside the car as well with their custom kick panels built to fit 6.5-inch component speakers. The rear deck is outfitted with 6x9 speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer lives in the trunk. The ARC Audio speakers are controlled by a Kenwood head unit. Everything is wired up with an American Autowire modern wiring kit and engine vitals are monitored by a set of Auto Meter gauges. Vinyl Recaro seats blend in nicely with the Budnik GTO split-grip steering wheel, black dash, and black carpet.

1971 Chevy Camaro Wheel 11/12

Wheels & Brakes

There was no stopping short in the wheel and brake department either. He had Detroit Speed’s mini-tubs out back and added extra clearance to the front inner sheetmetal to clear some large rubber. Both front and rear received the same Baer six-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors for unlimited braking performance. The BFGoodrich KDW 275/35 front and 315/30 rear tires wrap around 18x10 and 18x13 Fikse wheels.

1971 Chevy Camaro Rear Quarter 12/12



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