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Project American Heroes II Unveiling at the Joliet Super Chevy Show
If you somehow missed last month's first installment of Project American Heroes 2, it's time to subscribe. This '69 Camaro being built in the pages of our beloved publication bears explanation. Last year, Cars Inc. and The Roadster Shop teamed up with numerous vendors to create a '57 Chevy convertible dubbed Project American Heroes.
Offered for purchase at the 2008 Palm Beach, Florida, Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, the '57 sold for $130,000. Proceeds were donated to the Armed Forces Foundation, a first-rate organization that comes alongside needy military personnel and their families. Project American Heroes 2 is a united effort of hot rodders to again help our military men and women and their families facing hardship as a result of the sacrifices they continue to make for our country.
Project American Heroes 2-a red '69 Camaro SS-is being built at Route 66 Motorsports in New Lenox, Illinois, and is progressing at a remarkable pace. Owner Bill Jelinek and crew have already installed Classic Industries doors, quarter panels, trunk lid, fenders, and front and rear valence panels. This LS 427-powered '69 Camaro will be offered at auction at Barrett-Jackson in 2009, with proceeds again going directly to the Armed Forces Foundation.
The fanatical popularity of the first-gen Camaro has spawned an aftermarket production frenzy of parts availability. The array of replacement subframes for these cars proliferates. However, it is safe to say that one company-Detroit Speed and Engineering-has taken a unique approach to building subframes by employing hydroforming, a high-tech manufacturing process used on today's Corvettes and GM trucks.
Hydroforming is the process of fluid molding metal. A machine takes a length of metal tubing, called a blank, cuts it to length, and bends it into the approximate shape needed for production. The bent blank is placed into the lower half of a die that is filled with highly pressurized liquid-likely water mixed with a touch of oil and corrosion inhibitor. The upper half of the die is closed, and the pressurized fluid is used to shape metal at low temperatures in order to produce intricately formed bends and shapes. The strength of the metal is not compromised by heat that accompanies the typical stamp and weld process.
Hydroformed frame rails produce greater strength and stiffness, allowing the suspension to work to its fullest potential, resulting in better ride and handling. The frame is lighter, stronger, and possesses superior structural integrity. Frankly, the DSE hydroformed front subframe blows the stock '69 Camaro subframe out of the water. And the pun is intended.
The DSE hydroformed subframe is made available as package that is a bolt-together masterpiece. Optimum suspension geometry is achieved through DSE's clean sheet of paper approach. Components include tubular upper and lower control arms, coilover shocks with "Detroit-tuned" valving, coilover springs, power rack and pinion steering, NASCAR-style splined sway bar, and C6 Corvette steering knuckles and bearing packs. All necessary hardware and detailed instructions are included with the package.
It's no surprise that DSE owner Kyle Tucker has driven the DSE Test Car, a magnificent '69 Camaro owned by his wife, Stacy, to three consecutive victories at the Goodguys Vendor Autocross competitions. Their Web site includes a video clip of the car running through the cones, and it is impressive.
Combined with the DSE Quadra Link rear suspension that Project American Heroes 2 is slated to receive next month, modern-day performance car handling is now easily available through the good people at Detroit Speed and Engineering.
Follow along as the crew at Route 66 Motorsports gives Project American Heroes 2 the DSE parts to steer, perform, and take corners like it's on rails.
All parts included in the DSE subframe package are laid out before bolting it up to the Camaro shell. Though powdercoating is available, Route 66 Motorsports owner Bill Jelinek chose to leave the parts uncoated in order to paint as desired.
Quality of construction is flawless. Suspension geometry is tested and proven to provide incredible performance for the future owner of Project American Heroes 2.
The DSE coilover shocks feature "Detroit Tuned" valving and coilover springs specifically tailored for each application. Coilover springs are easily installed on the shock and ready for installation.
Choosing to assemble the passenger side first, the DSE coilover is attached at the upper mount.
These new tubular lower control arms are shipped complete with lower ball joints, steering stops, and jounce bumpers. All mounting hardware is included in the DSE subframe package.
The DSE upper control arms are installed on the subframe. Upper control arms feature stainless steel cross-shaft for strength and corrosion resistance. Suspension geometry is improved over stock by increasing camber gain and improving roll camber.
The DSE lower control arms are simply a work of art, a spectacular combination of strength, function, and beauty. Features include tubular design with gussets and cross brace, Delrin bushings with steel housings, and crush tubes.
Lower control arm engineering includes a tubular design with gussets and cross brace, Delrin bushings with steel housings and crush tubes, and a black powdercoat finish, if desired. The geometry features include additional positive caster and a dropped spring pocket compared to stock.