In the last issue we regaled you with our efforts to update the worn stock suspension, brakes, and steering on Chris Sanford's '67 Camaro. We soon found that there was too much info for just one article, so we decided to play King Solomon and split the tale down the middle.
As we mentioned last issue, classic Camaros are super cool in terms of design, but the tech of the late '60s falls short when compared to today's modern incarnations. Our plan was to ditch the stock parts in favor of some which incorporated engineering knowledge gleamed over the last four decades. With that in mind, we snatched up a Stage-IV Pro-Touring kit (PN 67PTK-4) from Classic Performance Products (CPP) along with better steering components and much bigger brakes. The front half of the car went together smoothly and now it's time to tackle the back half. The goal of this exercise is to see if we can use bolt-on parts to get our '67 in line with modern standards, so we will test the finished product against the performance of a fifth-gen SS and let the chips fall where they may.
PUTTING IT TO THE TEST
Sure, the new parts look great, but what we wanted to know is how much better the '67 will perform. We knew the "before" numbers would suck, so we decided to test the car against its modern cousin, the 2011 SS Camaro. After all, the whole point is to end up with classic style and modern performance.
In our 420-ft slalom course, the CPPequipped Camaro managed a best time of 6.10 seconds (46.9 mph). According to our hotshoe test driver Nick Licata, the steering response was quick, crisp, and predictable. After warming up and slaying a few cones, Licata felt we were at the limits of the 300-treadwear tires. Last year, we baselined a bone-stock '11 SS, that knocked down a best time of 6.16 seconds (46.6 mph) in the slalom on factory rubber. In this test, the win goes to our revamped '67.
After driving the Camaro around a few weeks to burn off the zinc coating from the rotors, we bedded in the pads and hit the test track. Now, with bigger brakes you expect shorter stopping distances, but the other benefit is that the larger and heavier rotors are better able to dissipate heat and resist fade after multiple back-to-back hard hits. On test day our shortest 60-0 mph stopping distance was 126 feet, and there was no noticeable fade even after eight hard hits. Our '11 SS test mule slammed to a halt in a scant 121 feet. Still, considering it's rolling on very capable brakes, and has ABS, we're pretty happy getting as close as we did.
So there you have it. Bolt-on parts that can bring modern performance to your classic Camaro. I wonder if we can retrofit OnStar and a few cup holders?
Big tires not only look great shoehorned under a Camaro, they also provide a lot more grip. On first-gens the rear quarter-panels have a very wide lip, which can slice up the big tires you just spent your hard-earned money on. The solution is to "roll" the lip near the top of the arch. This removes the potential for damage when your tire is compressed up into the wheelwell. In the past guys have used all sorts of tools, from baseball bats to rolling pins, all with mixed results. A few years back, Eastwood came out with a pro-quality tool (PN 31158) for increasing the tire-to-fender clearance that took out much of the risk.