When setting up the interior of your Camaro, there’s nothing more important than customizing your business office with the right components to make your driving experience the best it can be. No, we’re not talking about beanbag chairs and lava lamps; although that might be cool for a different time and place. Seeing that we are starting from scratch, ergonomics play a big role in selecting and setting up your controls, information management, and seating. Someone building a weekend cruiser would have a different approach to an interior than someone wanting to compete in the show arena or hitting various types of racetracks. For our purposes, Orange Krate is being built to offer plenty of cutting-edge performance on the street while also being able to execute plenty of precision driving at the racetrack, plus have looks that kill on the show field. So in essence, its interior will need to be fully multi-purposed.
Wanting to give the dash a bit of a facelift from the often-seen factory version, we contacted the Greening Auto Company for one of their innovative fiberglass units. With its slick and racy appearance, it would give the interior a fresh new look. One of the neat aspects of the dash is that it was designed to incorporate the factory lower dash, which houses a number of components including ventilation controls, ashtray, radio, air vents, and glovebox. The dash itself offers a car builder the freedom of gauge placement and selection as well as ventilation outlets and utilizes all behind-the-dash factory-steel bracing as well as mounting hardware. As with any custom application such as this, there was a bit of trimming and finessing to meld the upper and lower units together. The completed installation looked just plain bitchin’ when laid in place.
Being that Orange Krate will see more than its share of time at the dragstrip, autocross, and road course, it was obvious that monitoring the car’s vital statistics as well as performance would be of great importance. A call was placed to Racepak/CSI Data Systems for one of their industry leading IQ3 Logger Dash systems. The compact and fully programmable IQ3 LCD dash merges Racepak’s V-Net single cable sensor technology and GPS-based data logging with a fully programmable display. The dash features an internal 32-channel data logger with track mapping and speed obtained through an internal GPS board and three-axis G-meter. In addition to monitoring all engine vitals, the dash allows for 28 programmable inputs across four data pages while also capturing information including GPS speeds, lap and segment times, acceleration, lateral and vertical g’s, and a multitude of other pertinent information. Add in progressive shift lights, warning lights, and easy programming through their DataLink II software and you have a winning combination in a compact package to keep you in tune with everything you need to know. Basic installation in locating the unit was a snap with the provided template to map out the fitment of the IQ3 to the new dash.
Another key component in setting up your operational controls is having just the right steering column to take on your specific needs. Flaming River specializes in steering components and offers a multitude of options to fit your requirements. For our application, we chose their 33-inch keyed tilt column powdercoated in black with everything to complete the installation including their tapered forged aluminum steering wheel adapter, stramp clamp, column dress-up kit, and ultra-cool leather wrapped D-Wheel. With the steering completed, there’s nothing better than a rock-solid shifter arm and knob from Hurst Shifters to dial in the gear changes while settling into some ultra-supportive bucket seats. Procar by Scat supplied a pair of their new Evolution Series Model 1616 seats, which are designed to deliver plenty of comfort and support on both the street and the racetrack. Initially designed for late-model Corvettes, they look right at home in just about any muscle car, offering a number of color combinations as well as accommodations for five-point safety harnesses.
It’s easy to see that the combination of components selected for Orange Krate will give plenty of comfort and performance regardless where the asphalt is it’s tearing up.
Stay tuned for our next installment!
1. To bring an extra dash of style to Orange Krate’s interior, Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, mocked in the new Greening Auto Company fiberglass dash for second-gens. The factory lower dash will be adapted to the unit.
2. The new Greening Auto Company fiberglass dash required a bit of trimming to align perfectly with the lower dash. Here you can see some of the minor adjustments being marked.
3. To accommodate one of the lower dash mounting studs where the ventilation controls mount, Newell used a small air-driven die grinder to create a slot for the mounting stud.
4. A 3-inch disc grinder topped with a 36-grit disc was then used to remove a small amount of excess fiberglass to create a level surface to the left and right of the steering column opening.
5. The gentle step for the tabs of the lower dash where it meets the upper dash was then given a minor adjustment with the 3-inch grinder.
6. Here you can see that with only minor trimming, the factory lower dash was lined up and clamped in place melding old and new in a snap.
7. The long portion of the lower dash that supports the ashtray, radio, and glovebox, required a bit of finessing with a die grinder to smooth out a few minor curve transitions.
8. With the upper and lower dashes clamped together, Newell used a 13⁄64-inch bit to drill mounting holes through the new dash. Factory retaining clips and screws were used to secure both units together in the stock locations.
9. The factory lower dash steel brace was then bolted in place to prepare the dash for installation.
10. The dash was then set in place illustrating just how nice the design update worked in adding plenty of flair to the interior. In finished form, ventilation controls, air vents, radio, and a possible wrap of the new dash in leather will complete the look.
11. Seeing that Orange Krate will be run hard on a variety of race courses, a call was made to Racepak/CSI Data Systems for their IQ3 Logger Dash systems. The easily programmable setup features everything you see here including the compact, fully programmable LCD digital dash; USM four-sensor input module; sensors; connectors; cables; and DataLink II software. Also pictured is the adaptor harness we got from American Autowire, which will allow the Racepak system to interface with their main wiring harness.
12. Racepak includes an exact template for the installation of the IQ3 Logger Dash into any dash. The template was trimmed and taped in place for adaptation to the new dash. Using a 13⁄16-inch bit, the mounting holes were drilled through the fiberglass dash.
13. A larger pilot hole was then drilled and followed by an air-driven reciprocating saw to complete the opening for access to the rear of the digital dash.
14. With the provided hardware, the IQ3 Logger Dash was secured in place. The completed dash was then reinstalled.
15. Flaming River’s black powdercoated 33-inch tilt column features an integrated GM-coded key assembly, wiring harness with a GM 4½-inch male connector, and cancelling cam, compression spring, and steering wheel hold-down nut.
16. To complete our installation, we looked to Flaming River for their stramp clamp to assist in the column adaptation, highly polished tapered forged aluminum 5-/6-bolt steering wheel adapter, and billet aluminum dress-up kit.
17. Measurements were then taken to locate the steering column mounting bracket to the new column. The stramp clamp was then set in place and tightened with the provided Allen-head set screws. Be careful to only snug-fit the screws and not pierce the rubber membrane.
18. From there, the stock steering column mounting bracket was bolted in place using the original hardware.
19. The completed column was then bolted in place with the original 3⁄8-inch nuts and washers. Note that a Flaming River ’70- 81 Camaro swivel floor mount completes the installation by properly anchoring the base of the column.
20. With the steering column dress-up kit in place, Newell followed by installing the cancelling cam components, tapered 5-/6-bolt steering wheel adapter, and retaining nut. Note that the retaining nut should be final torqued at 50 ft-lb
21. Secured in place using the provided Allen-head hardware, the completed Flaming River black tilt column accented by their dress-up kit and black leather wrapped D-Wheel looks downright bitchin’.
22. The installation of the new Hurst chrome two-bolt shift stick was completed using a 9⁄16-inch socket and ratchet. A classic, white Hurst shift knob was the crowning touch.
23. Procar by Scat offers custom mounting brackets for over 3,000 applications; each one coming with all the necessary hardware to anchor your seats. Here, the new seat mounting brackets were laid onto the floorpan illustrating their exact contour to make their installation trouble free.
24. For the ultimate in comfort and support, especially when charging hard through the corners, Procar by Scat seats fit the bill perfectly. This new Evolution Series 1616 suspension model even featured a carbon-fiber seatback!
25. With a soft pad on the workbench to protect the new seats, Newell installed the provided left and right side tracks with the included hardware.
26. Needle nose pliers were used to then install the seat adjustment cable to the seat tracks.
27. By choosing the right components to tailor the interior of your car to your specific needs, you can make a killer statement and have everything you need at hand to make driving your beast perfect.
28. It didn’t take Peter Newell long to put on his racing helmet and check out the key components from a driver's perspective. Now, where’s that nitrous switch!