Though a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the stance of the vehicle in that it has to be just so, the viewer either re-creates what he sees or goes with what’s in front of him. In the 2010 debut, the XS concept was outfitted with an Air Lift suspension and the benefit of unlimited altitude adjustments, but now the car simply settles 1½ inches lower on Pfadt Race Engineering coilovers, “mainly for track use.” Front and rear antisway bars are also Pfadt improvements. The forged step-lip rollers are 20x9.5 and 20x11 USW forgings that Z designed and stubbed with 275/35 and 305/30 Pirelli P Zero tires.
“The exterior was the main location for change,” said Z. “Smoothing and changing emblem layout, building custom fenders, a custom grille and surround, adding a flat hood, and eliminating the cowl induction area has given the car a whole new look, much more European and refined. The most unique thing is probably the paint. I chose this color because it was very classy and very retro. A similar color was used on the ’68-69 Yenko Camaros as well as the new Bentley GT [along with a zillion mundane ’70s and ’80s Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs], so I knew it would stand out.”
Z says that OE steel is good but that it’s thin. This means extra care must be taken when untoward heat (like welding) enters the equation. Surfaces change, angles change, tolerances shrink or separate. To achieve the look he wanted, Z had to build his prototypes from working sketches, several gallons of Bondo, and lively scraps of metal. That was more than a year ago. He’s built at least 20 vehicles for customers since.
Bodywork was done by Z and Revolution’s Mike Englehardt. Into its shape-shifted niche went the streamlined DJ Grilles XS Phantom insert. Then the production Revolution chin spoiler, deck spoiler, and rear diffuser. The door handles vanished. The bulky cowl disappeared. Z built a pancake hood of aluminum and he and Brent from Halo Super Cars in Benton Harbor, Michigan, figured out how to make it open from the rear and make the front of the car absolutely flat. Jason Burns applied the BASF Antique Gold in marathon-style with only hours left before the car and crew were Vegas-bound.
Down the road, Z will include Euro-spec taillights and rear fascia. It comes as no surprise that a year later at the ’11 SEMA show, The Revolution Styling team took the Best New Vehicle, Exterior Design award from Chevrolet for another turbocharged blood-red 2011 Camaro convertible.
If the car has a failing, admits Tommy, it’s that he didn’t spend enough time on the interior design. By his word, the interior doesn’t exactly vibrate a khaki mystique. Big George at Stitch Alley in Holland, Michigan, did the best in the time allotted, fitting up the Roadwire Custom Interiors (purveyor to several OE manufacturers) leather and Alcantara ensemble. Todd at Advanced Performance Interiors made sure the kit came out exactly as designed. Edge Performance offered its CTS monitoring system that allows the driver to scan all mechanical inputs on the touch-screen unit. If you hear that rave in the other room, it’s coming from a Pioneer App radio head unit and it’s coming out of three Orion XTR amplifiers, 6.5-inch and 6x9 speakers, and a pair of 12-inch XTR 12 subwoofers. Ron Williams of Detroit fabbed up the custom fiberglass enclosures that were finished and covered by Tommy and the Revolution crew.