There comes a time in every project build where all of the heavy fabrication gets completed and it’s time to start an intermediate reassembly of the car into the mock-up phase where the piles of parts get a rebirth of sorts. It’s the time when you can step back, look deep into what you have created so far, and marvel at the progress. For Orange Krate, our ’71 Camaro, Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, decided it was time to start plugging in some key components such as air conditioning, heat and cooling, as well as dialing in the suspension and grounding the car on its new rollers for the first time.
To bring the car to this stage, there were a number of key components addressed. Newell started with the air conditioning and heating system since it would be imperative for the car’s driver to be in total comfort as he passes the competition. Vintage Air offers two packages for the second-gen Camaro as well as countless stand-alone components to make your installation a breeze. Since Orange Krate will be heavily modified, Newell decided to go with their Evaporator Kit, which includes all key components for setting up your system from inside the car as opposed to the Complete Kit, which includes everything to finish the installation from inside to under the hood. For the purposes of mock-up, Newell’s main concerns were to establish and hang the Vintage Air Gen IV six-vent evaporator sub-case with 204 ECU to the inner cowl setup where the heating and air conditioning lines would run, then mount the drier to the condenser framework. Seeing that the car will face all sorts of cooling obstacles from the race track to the streets, it was paramount that it could keep its cool in all given situations. Addressing this, a call was placed to AutoRad since their aluminum radiators have become legendary in the cooling field. Assembling their handmade aluminum radiator core and radiator/condenser with dual fans and custom shroud was a snap being all of the major cooling components came pre-assembled from their factory. Once mounted to the Detroit Speed Inc. front subframe, it was clear that the car had made significant headway.
Bringing the car to its mock-up completion, it was time to have the front fenders blasted clean, primed, and bolted into place with a Classic Industries RS header panel and lower valance to tie in the frontend sheetmetal. Newell then bolted on the wicked Boze Lateral-G three-piece wheels capped with BFGoodrich G-Force T/A performance rubber, and dialed in the Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension to set the stance. There’s nothing like a low-down stance to show off a car’s newfound attitude.
Stay tuned for plenty of additional trick tech to come on project Orange Krate as we continue to bring the car closer to completion with each and every article.
1.The stylishly seductive new fiberglass dash for second-gens from Greening Auto Company was taped into place for mock-up purposes to visualize where the Vintage Air evaporator unit would hang.
2. Here’s a portion of the components we received from Vintage Air for the cooling conversion on Orange Krate. Additional parts included all wiring, relays, fittings, hardware, and instruction manuals for a complete installation of their ’70-78 Camaro with factory air evaporator kit (PN 565070, and ’70-78 Camaro condenser kit (PN 021070).
3. Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, used the supplied template for mounting the Vintage Air Gen IV six-vent evaporator sub-case with 204 ECU to the inner cowl. Aligned with a factory hole, he then drilled two mounting holes with a 3⁄16-inch drill bit.
4. Pictured here are the front and rear evaporator sub-case mounting brackets along with the supplied hardware.
5. Newell first installed the front mounting bracket to the sub-case using the provided ¼-20x½-inch hex bolts.
6. Next, the rear sub-case mounting bracket was installed using the provided ¼-20x½-inch hex bolts. The unit was then loosely fitted in place using a ¼-20 nut and washer from the engine compartment side.
7. Using a pair of ¾-inch sheetmetal screws, the unit was secured in place through the front evaporator mounting bracket. The unit was first checked for levelness and then tightened into place.
8. A newly designed fresh-air bulkhead cover will allow us to run both A/C and heat lines direct through the firewall and under the fender to keep the lines out of sight.
9. Here you can see the mock-up of how the lines will be routed through the fresh-air bulkhead cover allowing them to be hidden under the fender.
10-11. AutoRad’s brushed satin finish aluminum radiator core support for ’70-73 Camaros is nothing short of dazzling with its fluid design and attention to detail. It comes complete with lower core support panels and radiator core support mounting brackets. Plus, check out their bitchin overflow canister.
12. It was a snap to install the lower core support panels using the provided 1⁄8-inch polished Allen bolts.
13. Newell then mounted the radiator core support mounting brackets in place using the provided polished 7⁄32-inch Allen bolts.
14-15. For the ultimate in cooling, we chose AutoRad’s aluminum core radiator with its handmade construction and vacuum-brazed core. Our combination included their matching A/C condenser, dual Maradyne cooling fans, custom-fit shroud, overflow tank, and radiator cap.
16.The radiator was then bolted to the core support using polished 7⁄32-inch Allen bolts.
17.To complete the package, the overflow tank was then secured in place.
18. With all components secured to the radiator support, it was then mocked in place for fitment prior to being secured to the subframe.
19. With the provided radiator core support mounting hardware from Detroit Speed Inc., Newell secured the loaded radiator core support in place using a 9⁄16-inch wrench.
20. With killer looks like this, it’ll be a sin to cover it up with the front end sheetmetal. Not only does it look great, the increased cooling will surely come in handy as Orange Krate takes on everything from the autocross, dragstrip, road course, and everyday driving.
21. Thanks to dual cooling fans and a custom-made fan shroud, keeping Orange Krate cool even on the hottest of days will be easy.
22. The Vintage Air drier bracket was then mounted to the AutoRad condenser frame using Phillips-head screws, lock washers, and bolts.
23. The drier was then secured to the mounting bracket using the provided clamps in the Vintage Air kit.
24. Prior to installing the drier to the condenser hard line, it was necessary to first lubricate the O-rings (with the included lubricant) to ensure a proper seal of the unit.
25. Here you can see the clean installation of the drier to the A/C condenser, including the routing of the hard line.
26. Once the freshly blasted front fenders were installed, Newell focused on bolting in the Classic Industries RS header panel and lower valance to complete the mock-up of the front end sheetmetal.
27. The Classic Industries new RS header panel and lower valance fit perfect, completing the mock-up of Orange Krate.
28. There’ll be no lack of traction out back thanks to a combination of Boze 18x12 three-piece Lateral-G wheels capped with the bulbous BFGoodrich 335/30ZR-18 G-Force T/As planted through a Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension. It won’t be long ‘till there’s smoke pouring outta’ there.
29. Up front, a pair of 18x10 Boze Lateral-G wheels capped with BFGoodrich 275/35ZR-18 G-Force T/As will help our dear ol’ editor carve the canyons while the Baer 14-inch rotors capped with their 6S binders will offer plenty of stopping power.
30. One word sez it all… Attitude! There’s nothing like a dramatic stance to send chills up the spine of your competition… are you listening Rupp?
31. With Orange Krate in its mocked-up rolling stage, you can finally see and appreciate all of the precision and dedication Peter Newell of Competition Specialties has infused into the mix. Just wait, there are plenty more tech articles on the way as we get closer to completion.