1980 Chevy Camaro Z28 - Exit Strategy

Bill Hronis’ late-second-gen will blow your doors off

Ro McGonegal Jun 1, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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The rectangular port cylinder heads possess 118cc combustion chambers, 2.25/1.88 stainless valves, and 113cc intake ports, but were not modified beyond the factory effort. Jesel shaft rockers streamline the system and provide a 1.7:1 ratio. Kriner’s built the rest of the job with the single-plane intake manifold indigenous to the 720R, a 1,200-cfm Pro Series 4500 carburetor, Magnafuel pump, Moroso sheetmetal rocker covers, MSD Digital 6AL box on the “stock” distributor, and 2¼-inch Lemons ceramic-coated primaries. The exhaust system was continued in-car by the Booze Brothers in Marion, Pennsylvania, who built a whopping 4-inch diameter tract that runs through an X-pipe and Bassani race mufflers. The engine also wears Jones Racing Products pulleys, CSR thermostat housing, Meziere water pump and overflow tank, and a 160-amp Powermaster alternator. Hronis got a leg up on cooling the porcine Rat with a Ron Davis aluminum core and a couple of thermostatically controlled fans. Issue from this combination is estimated at 850 hp at 6,400 rpm and 700 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. Harnessing those beastie boys is the province of a Coan Turbo 400 fixed with a manual valvebody and a Neal Chance 4,800-rpm converter. Grunt wraps around the Dynotech prop shaft. End of the line is a narrowed 12-bolt with 33-spline axles, 4.11:1 gears, and Eaton True Trac differential.

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G-Force made a proper home for the motor by reinforcing the chassis with a custom Bill Smith 10-point rollcage and DSE frame connectors. DSE mini-tubs also add rigidity and make a home for the foot-wide wheels. The setup is deceptively simple: refurbished stock control arms capture Moroso Trick springs with a 2-inch drop and Calvert Racing 90/10-valved shocks. To minimize unsprung mass and increase clamping power, G-Force included 11-inch SSBC discs with two-piston calipers. The original antisway bar was trashed. Cal-Tracs bars with mono-leaf springs (with DSE hangers) and adjustable QA1 shocks establish the rear suspension, clean, easy and nearly frictionless. Brakes are OE drums. Modern 15x4 and 15x12 Centerline Qualifier hoops are crowded with narrow M/T 26x7.50 Sportsman Fronts and bulbous 325/50 ET Street Radials.

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The work area is factory-neat, compact and even cozy once Bill’s shrugged into the Kirkey race seat and harness, and there’s strong organization in the straight, succinct dashpanel holding a slew of Auto Meter Ultra-Lites. G-Force continued, subbing an A.R.T. switch panel where the radio once fit. Helman’s Upholstery in Chambersburg dissected then narrowed the bench seat so it would fit nonchalant between the big tubbies. Bill wraps his digits around a Grant Signature Series tiller and changes up with a Hurst Quarter-Stick. Gene Fortney did the bodywork and blew on the DuPont Blaze Red basecoat and clearcoat. The body is steel except for the Glasstek Outlaw hood with a 6-inch rise. Brad Decker did the powdercoating.

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And then there are those who work behind the curtain. Before we go, Bill thanks “parts guy” John Martin and friend/helper Dave Mickey. And finally, Bill: “I look forward to going into my garage after I close up the restaurant. I sit in my chair and stare at my Camaro. I always say that I am done with it, but is it really ever done? That’s what keeps me motivated.”

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