Ridetech's 1968 Chevy Camaro - Velocity's Its Name, Speed & Handling Its Game

Ridetech '68 Camaro

Patrick Hill Feb 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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It's hard to believe this Velocity Mandarin Orange screamer started out life as a lowly six-cylinder Camaro. Funny thing is, that's what usually happens to cars that cross paths with Bret Voelkel, owner of Ridetech (alias Air Ride Technologies). They don't stay stock for long, though they do get lower.

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Once the car was in Jasper, Indiana, where Bret's fabrication business, Precision Coachworks, is located, the transformation from mundane to insane quickly began. The old six-cylinder and trans were yanked out in favor of a World Products LS7X engine pumping out 614 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque and a ZF six-speed transmission with a Ram clutch.

After Precision Coachworks finished up with the body of the car, it added the little billet touches, custom made splitter, rear air diffuser, and all the other widgets and screens you see on the car. Some of the products the shop came up with are now being worked on and considered for production and eventual sale.

With the appearance set, it was time to give the car what any Ridetech vehicle is known for: improved handling. A complete Air Ride Street Challenge package was installed. The front system consists of its StrongArm, double-adjustable ShockWaves, Musclebar sway bar with PosiLinks, and billet tie rod adjusters. The rear is outfitted with Bret's AirBar and matching double-adjustable ShockWaves. Controlling the air springs is his 4100 series AirPod and LevelPro systems.

To help Bret juke and jive his way around the track, there's a 12.7:1 Detroit Speed steering box mated to a Turn One-prepped power steering box. In order to fit the massive 335/30R18 BFG KDs out back, Precision Coachworks also installed a set of Detroit Speed mini tubs. Putting a halt to it all is a set of binders from Wilwood. With six-piston calipers coupled to 13-inch rotors in the front and 12-inch rotors with four-piston calipers in the rear, the Camaro has more than its share of stopping power. Finishing off ride functionality and providing some very stylish form is a set of three-piece CCW Classic rims: 18x8-inches front, and 18x11-inches out back.

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On the inside of the car, Bret had his crew hit the CNC machines once again and go billet crazy on the interior. To make sure no electrical gremlins popped up, a new American Autowire harness was installed, and for safety the prototype of Ridetech's new bolt-in TigerCage was installed. RacePak gauges in an IQ3 panel keep tabs on the LS engine, and interior panels from Marquez Design, Flaming River steering column, Modo Innovations pedal covers, and Corsa steering wheel finish off the interior.

During the event, the Camaro wasn't really performing up to expectations, leaving Bret and his crew scratching their heads. The brakes went south and the engine developed a miss. Once back home, the Ridetech team spent over 100 hours going over the car making adjustments to get the car tuned just right (among other things, a faulty brake proportioning valve was discovered). At a recent autocross event, the car came in third out of 80 entries, so don't let the numbers here fool you-just because this car doesn't have conventional springs, doesn't mean it can't handle.

Driver's Impression - On the Autocross Course

After seeing the hot tangerine with brushed metal stripes Ridetech "Velocity" Camaro at SEMA last year, I've got a huge appreciation for this car and the build. Velocity definitely looked ready for some serious work and I was ready for just another day in paradise. What's cool about the car is that with the exception of the steering wheel, most everything fit ... at 5-foot-7, the seat position, gauges, pedal assembly were all good. The designer, flat-bottom steering wheel was quite small and made turns somewhat difficult for me. My ideal wheel is 15 inches, as this diameter allows the driver to use shoulders instead of elbows and forearms with relation to body mechanics.

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