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The '70 Camaro brought to the 1st Annual Nitto Suspension & Handling Challenge is the personal car of Detroit Speed and Engineering owner Kyle Tucker. The Camaro takes care of several issues. First, it gives Kyle a testing platform for the company's new line of second-gen Camaro parts. Secondly, it keeps him from borrowing his wife Stacy's '69 Camaro. Lastly, it's just plain fun.
The Camaro was finished just two weeks before the Challenge, and the DSE crew only had a short time to get the car dialed in. This included a 150-mile highway cruise and running the car through a slalom course they set up at a local track. Still, this was the car's first time at an actual event.
Since Kyle wanted his Camaro to handle like it's on rails, he bolted on the best DSE has to offer. Up front he installed their front subframe package, and while it's a large piece, it's a strictly bolt-on deal. It also allowed use of ultra-wide 10-inch-wide front wheels. This aspect really helps in the lateral grip department. Out back they went with their Quadra Link system. While the system can be installed without mini-tubs, DSE feels that it works best with the wider rollers allowed by them. For both the front and rear they also went all out by installing their double-adjustable monotube shocks with the remote canister option.
Driver's Impression - On The Autocross CourseThe DSE Camaro measured off the scale on the grin meter, and I enjoyed every second behind the wheel. Overall, the suspension and steering were precise, neutral, and very responsive. The acceleration was incredible; the car took power application and planted itself to the pavement. From 4,500 rpm to redline, it felt like someone kicked on afterburners to give yet another surge of power. This car just would not quit!
It was very easy to drive; corner entry trail braking gave predictable and very manageable rotation, and when in the proper track-out exit position, open the throttle plates and you're moving on to the next set of cones. I never felt like I reached the limits of the suspension, and I could have continued well past my allotted five runs trying to do so. This is a "feel" car where you just look ahead and feel what's happening underneath your butt. Again, a very predictable, easy, and fun car to drive.
While it appears this Camaro walks on autocross water, there were a couple of things I didn't like about it. One was the brakes, as they were somewhat touchy with lockup. However, this was manageable once this response revealed itself. The other problem was with ergonomics, as the steering wheel was positioned too low. Correcting these things will make this car extremely competitive in any track or autocross event.-Mary Pozzi
Driver's Impression - On The StreetDSE's cars have always done well in our instrumented tests, and I'd driven Stacy Tucker's '69 Camaro a bunch the last time I was in California. It was a fine piece, so I couldn't wait to drive Kyle's new second-gen car. It exceeded even my expectations. The lack of an adjustable steering column threw the ergnomics out of whack, but the Recaro seats were fantastic, and the A/C blew ice cubes. Go argue with that.
Loved the power of the carbureted LS 6.2L under the hood, and the five-speed shifted flawlessly, but it was ultimately the handling that impressed me. Like their '69, the ride was definitely on the firm side, but definitely not harsh. This car felt about midpack as far as ride quality went. The steering was very accurate, though it was a tad light for my taste. Ultimately, it had about as much grip as you'll ever need on the street. It would not be inexpensive to duplicate this setup, but it absolutely demolished the C5 in the autocross, slalom, and skidpad. What more could you ask for?-Jim Campisano
Detroit Speed & Engineering '70 CamaroTotal cost of suspension parts: $11,192 (including mini-tubs)Estimated install time: 48 hoursInstall note: Front: bolt-on and Rear: hand tools with some welding