With autocross events popping up at car shows across the country, cars are getting built with increased sophistication. You need more than just wide tires to be competitive. So what will the future hold?
I recently attended the many events in Monterey, California, during Pebble Beach weekend and found a lot of inspiration in the thousands of classic, race, and exotic cars scattered about the different venues. From the old Mercedes and Auto Union Silver Arrows, to the '50s European sports cars purpose-built to win Le Mans and Sebring, to modern reinterpretations like the Mercedes-McLaren SLR Stirling Moss Edition and the Veritas. They all had one thing in common: A long nose proportion and an overall look that conveyed the fact that these cars were built to go very fast around a track. No consideration was given for passenger comfort, luggage capacity, or anything else one would want in a passenger vehicle. So why not take this approach with a first-gen Camaro roadster?
The footprint of this Camaro isn't any different than stock, but the driving position has been moved back to near where the back seat used to reside. This extra foot room also allows your favorite LS-X drivetrain to be relocated back a few inches for optimum handling. An offset ram air scoop flows into the miniscule windshield and terminates in a fin behind the driver's helmet. To visually balance out the offset scoop, a two-tone pair of racing stripes wrap around the driver's front fender, across the hood, then take a hard right down the straight to the rear of the car where they disappear below the rear valance.
Except for the hood, every panel on the car is welded together to form a strong monocoque structure that will not twist no matter how hard you put the hammer down. All chrome and flimsy bits of trim have been removed to save weight and to make the car sleeker. The grille is a combination of the '69s deep molded style with the two-bars and mesh version of the '67. A short rear spoiler is molded into the bodywork, but wicker strips of varying heights could be attached to aid downforce as needed. The side pipes end in dual tips much like a European car, and have a heat shield to protect the driver's ankles. The wheels don't need to be any bigger than 18 inches to keep it low and sporty. Their seven-spoke, spindle-mount design is an alternative to the predictable five spoke. All wheel surfaces would be as-machined except for red stripes on the spokes.
If you must take a passenger for a ride, a Dzus-fastened tonneau cover removes, and a racing seat can be installed, but that would just be extra weight, right?
Chris Brown www.brownautodesign.com