Our 1999 Camaro SS project car (nickname "CT") is in the midst of a 50-state-legal build in accordance with the most demanding emissions regulation system in the country, namely, that of the California Air Resources Board.
We aim to demonstrate that increased LS1 horsepower can be had even if one follows the letter of the law (whether it be that of the present day or what is certain to come tomorrow), thereby yielding not only optimum burn of that pricey premium fossil juice and the ability to breeze through any state inspection, but increased peace of mind as well. After all, there is always the risk of hefty fines or impoundment for incorporating "off-road use only" parts into a street-driven vehicle!
While our first installment mainly addressed improvements to the clutch, last time around we got into the meat of the build, adding close to 18 rwhp via CARB-certified intake and exhaust bolt-ons. Such a gain is made all the more respectable when one realizes a bone-stock tune still resides in CT's PCM (in the name of CARB legality, of course). This issue, it's time for a break from engine-enhancing mods, so we can address a sorely lacking area of this project car, namely, the suspension. The 10-plus years that have elapsed since this Pewter SS rolled off the assembly line have not been kind to its factory rubber suspension bushings, causing CT to take road imperfections with copious amounts of creaking, squeaking, and shuddering. Aside from the bushings being good and shot, there are several stamped suspension pieces under there that could use upgrading as well, as is the case with all F-cars of fourth-gen ilk. Plus, even though one might argue the factory deCarbon shocks do at least a halfway respectable job when new (many do not hold them in even this high of regard), CT's 62,000 miles have transformed them into downright awful: any sort of bump sends the car for a few harsh up-and-down jounces before settling down again. Did we mention the existing all-season tires are nearly down to the cords?
To cure this consignment of age-related woes while simultaneously yielding improved ride and handling over what any fourth-gen SS Camaro delivered brand-new, we've enlisted some much-needed help. Spohn Performance is providing a bevy of chassis and suspension upgrades, ranging from a tubular shock tower brace all the way down to a set of adjustable LCA's. AFCO Racing is hooking us up with fully adjustable shocks for all four corners as well as a set of new front springs. Once those upgrades are performed, we'll head to TTP so they can slap some new Nitto rubber all around and treat CT to a full street/handling alignment. But fret not, power junkies, our LS1 is up for plenty of further molestation from here on out, so keep an eye on these pages for upcoming installments. Next up, the name of the game is heads and cam, where we see how many horses we can add even while sticking to truly emissions-legal (not simply "it-should-pass-the-sniffer-test") cylinder head and camshaft components!