The F-body chassis is prone to bending, creaking, and twisting; this is not news. On stock vehicles, it is more annoying than anything else, as the unibody chassis simply loosens up over time. When you're putting a lot of power through the car, particularly upon launch at the dragstrip, chassis flimsiness is not a welcome byproduct of mass in motion. It works against your best ETs, because energy is wasted while torque twists the body like a box with no ends rather than squirting off down the track
While you hardtop guys think you've got the edge over the T-toppers, it's not exactly a head-and-shoulders advantage. All Fourth-Gen F-bodies were essentially built as T-top cars at the factory. A thin metal brace for the door-edge top was snipped out for T-top models; the roof section over the driver and passenger was still "open," but merely covered with the headliner and composite roof cover
Shoring up the strength of the F-body chassis is a topic we've covered many times in Super Chevy, so we know we're preaching to the choir. However, there is a new package of chassis equipment from Flint, Michigan-based Hardcore Racing, that aims to bring a new level of stiffness, reduced deflection, and adjustability to Fourth-Gen F-cars
The chassis and suspension system upgrades are based on the same custom modifications that Hardcore Racing developed for its LS1-powered F-cars, which have been running in the bottom 7s-these are factory-chassis vehicles, mind you, not tube-frame customs. The kits, available in street and race versions, including subframe connectors, a Panhard bar, lower trailing arms, and a torque arm kit (torque arm, torque arm mount, and crossmember).
The torque arm kit offers adjustable pinion angle, a no-bind link-a bushed link on street versions, or a 4130 rod end on the race version-and an adjustable crossmember, which permits adjustment of instant-center to compensate for track conditions. Hardcore Racing tells us the brackets for all the parts are laser-cut and TIG-welded from chromoly steel.
We recently had Hardcore's Panhard bar, trailing arms, and torque arm kit installed on the same Camaro convertible that its tech gurus installed in the LT1/4 Danger Mouse stroker. So while it was on the lift, it made sense for them to bolt on the goods. The only thing we didn't have installed was the subframe connectors, as the Camaro already was wearing a set.
Once the supercharged 383 is dialed in, we're hoping for something like 470-500 rear-wheel hp, so these suspension components will be key parts toward ensuring all that newfound power gets to the ground smoothly and efficiently, while preventing our quick Camaro's chassis from doing the pretzel-stick twist.
Papa Needs A New Set of Headers
Our editor's Camaro project car is in the midst of a heart transplant. The former, stock-block 350 and bolt-on blower are giving way to a Scoggin-Dickey/Hardcore Racing-assembled 383 small-block, with a Pace Performance-sourced LT4 conversion kit. It is also receiving a new ProCharger D-1SC intercooled supercharger setup.
The installation of the new engine and blower was handled at Hardcore Racing's Flint, Michigan, shop, with final tuning to be completed at ProCharger's Kansas facility. One snag that Hardcore's techs ran into during the installation of the new engine and blower, however, was an interference issue between the new supercharger tubing and the existing aftermarket headers.
After much head scratching and numerous, unprintable four-letter words, the bottom line was clear: New headers were needed. Luckily, it was the tube for cylinder #1 that was the problem. Rather than hoping a different set of off-the-shelf headers would fit, Hardcore's Jason McNeil cut the #1 cylinder tube off a new set of headers and fabbed a completely new primary tube. The result is a beautiful, custom set of headers that leaves plenty of room for the blower tubing, while still delivering excellent flow.