1973 Chevrolet Camaro - Auto-Cross Breed

Brian Hobaugh’s ’73 is Taking Names on the Street, Autocross, and Road Course

Being the manager of Fremont, California-based body repair shop, Car West Elite, Brian and lead technicians Matt Mettler and Bo Navarrete got involved with the body design and fabrication. “Being that we are, for the most part, a collision repair facility, this was the biggest project we’ve taken on,” said Brian. “All of the bolt-on panels are fiberglass, and the flared metal quarter-panels were hand-massaged to accept the wide rubber and low stance. The fiberglass fenders are bonded to the stock, metal fenders for additional strength. The bodywork escapade lasted about a year and a half before Brian and the Car West Elite crew had the flared second-gen prepped and ready for Jorge Flores’ precise spraying of the PPG Enviorbase Orange. The Elite Auto Films-applied center graphic tastefully breaks up the ocean of gorgeous orange pigment.

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Even the most sophisticated suspension won’t get you around the track quickly without a serious mill, so Brian reached out to Mast Motorsports for one of their 416ci LS3 powerhouses. The block features a 4.070-inch bore and 4.0-inch stroke and is stuffed with Mahle 11.2:1 pistons, Callies H-beam rods, and a Callies forged crankshaft capped off with Mast CNC aluminum heads topped with Mast cast-aluminum valve covers. With cam specs under wraps (Brian’s sneaky like that) all we know is that its Mast custom grind is suited to Brian’s unrestrained driving habits. All said and done, the LS belts out a respectable 611 hp at 6,400 rpm and 538 lb-ft at 5,300 rpm.

With the car spending a good amount of time in the high rpm range, excessive heat can be an issue, so Brian bolted in a Derale oil cooler and AFCO aluminum radiator to keep temps in check.

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A GM LS3 intake and fuel injectors feed the chambers, while a Walbro electric fuel pump supplies the demand. Spent fuel exits through a set of Edelbrock headers and down the Hobaugh’s custom-designed and fabricated exhaust system, slightly hushed by Borla 3½-inch XR-1 race series mufflers.

A McLeod Racing RXT twin-disc clutch manages shifting of the G-Force 4A transmission, assembled by Competition Transmissions & Gears (Mooresville, North Carolina). Twist winds to the 9-inch rearend stuffed with a Detroit Locker and 3.70:1 cogs.

In racing situations, braking hard and late is mandatory if you want to win, so Wilwood 12-inch rotors and six-piston calipers reside up front with four-piston stoppers out back setting the scene behind the graphite and black DPE SP16 wheels (19x11.5 front, 20x13 rear). Michelin Pilot Sport SS size 325/30-19 reside up front with 345/30-20 taking up the rear.

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The interior carries a business-only demeanor and features a pair of black cloth-covered Kirkey Road Race seats with G-Force harnesses anchored by the aforementioned custom Maier Racing rollcage. The door panels and dash are custom textured fiberglass pieces from Car West. Speed Hut gauges keep Brian in the know while he grips the Momo 78 steering wheel and hammers the gears via the Hurst shifter.

Brian looks back at the 3½-yearlong project as a great learning experience as well as some fantastic bonding time with his dad. Until recently, Brian claimed that having the car at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, then competing in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational the following Saturday as the high point of owning the car, but Brian just upped that experience by taking Second place at the 2012 OUSCI, finishing just one point out of First place.

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Racing the Camaro is high on Brian's list of priorities, but family still comes first. With that said, Brian sees Jennifer, his 14-year-old daughter, behind the wheel of his Camaro at 15½ years of age. And if she's as competitive as her dad, which we bet she is, we may see her out on the track just three days after getting her driver's license.

Like father like son like daughter, right? Well, you get the idea.

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