You may have noticed our Garage department shrinking a bit. We've been slowly integrating these items over on our blog at chevyhiperformance.com in order to bring the news to you in a more timely manner. Don't fret though, we still have room for all your letters, so keep 'em coming:
The letters have been overflowing and that's the way we like it. Our latest question regarding the direction of our '73 Camaro has sparked up quite an interest. All the suggestions have been great and they've even added a few new thoughts to consider. More importantly, something we should have noted earlier is that this is a long-term project vehicle, which means we will inevitably go through various stages of evaluating the latest components available for second-gens. We're getting closer to nailing down a name, so keep sending in your thoughts. Until then, here's a handful of the most recent letters to hit the mailbag. -Henry D
OK, this is a no-brainer and a perfect time to test out the new DSE second-gen front clip. Throw in a 450hp streetable small-block and the five-speed and you have a capable cruiser that will work well on a track.
For brakes I would custom-build something using the six-piston calipers that the stock car guys use. It has custom brackets and hats and then it uses standard rotors and pads that you can find cheap. You can also find those calipers used for cheap from the stock car teams, especially since they replace stuff way before it wears out.
I have owned a couple first-gens, including a full Pro Touring ride with a Wayne Due front clip and a modded Corvette late-model EFI LT1. I also had a modified third-gen that saw autocross and track duty for nine years, along with a couple late-model Vettes. Now I race in the NASA CMC series with another third-gen race car-fun stuff!
Anyway, I know a lot of what works and what doesn't with these cars. Sounds like a fun project, I've been thinking about doing one like that myself someday.
I've been building a '72 Camaro for about a year and I have done everything from the inside to the outside. We dropped in a small-block 400 (has lots of chrome), complete suspension upgrades with drop spindles, and a 700-R4 tranny that can handle up to 600 hp. We also changed the color to a deep black, including the bumpers and window trim, shaved the door handles, and installed an all-steel 2.5-inch cowl hood. We also rolled the quarters 1 inch to fit wider tires, added new glass all around, and redid the interior in white. I also ordered a set of Boyd Coddington Junk Yard Dogs, 20s out back with 18s up front. Of course, this is just to give you some ideas, but you should really name your project Sinister '73 and keep up the good work!
Pompano Beach, FL
I would like to thank the staff of Chevy High Performance for a great publication. I am a representative (aka club member) of the Illinois Camaro Club (over 200 cars) and I have a '98 metallic gold Z28 with 400 rear wheel horsepower and a '95 V-6 five-speed. For many of us in the club, this will be an awesome project to watch (especially my best friend with a '79 Z28). Please be aware that my suggestions are my own and do not represent my club as a whole. For "the look" on page 42 of the Sept. '08 issue, the silver/black is the way to go, but keep the spoiler that came with the car, please. The orange/black looks too much like Bumblebee. Big brakes and sticky tires are always a good way to go. With the small exception of body repairs, please keep fabrication to a minimum. Many people that wish to mimic parts of your car don't have fabrication tools/experience. I am of the opinion that the more you can do with true bolt-ons, the easier and less expensive the project will be in the long run. As for the motor, an LS powerplant is hard to argue with, but a 383ci is easy to build and install. Give it some great out-of-the-box heads, maybe splurge on an aluminum block and go for 400-plus cubes, and top it off with a Magnuson and one of those new looks-like-a-carb-but-it's-fuel-injected fuel mixers and keep a traditional look under the hood.
If you're not stuck on installing a five-speed, try a paddle shift kit for a four-speed auto with a manual valvebody. You will be able to keep both hands on the wheel during track days. There are so many good bolt-on suspension parts out there that I think you guys can sift through. Whatever you decide to do, it'll be awesome. Thanks for the opportunity to share my opinions.
Well, you just have to put some Candy Apple Red on this car-nothing's faster than a red car. Call it PONYKLR, cause you're gonna stomp those cookie-cutter Mustangs with a 500hp 383ci. I love your mag, so now do I get the jacket? Also, how about more Corvette stuff? Maybe you can thrash on mine a little.
Please resist the trend to put RS bumpers and the short spoiler on the car. And please don't make it a cartoon car like Hot Rod did with their F-Bomb. Look at the way Year One did the Bandit-not too subtle, but not over the top. Personally, I think the car in its present condition looks great.
Make the name simple-my suggestion is F2 for second-gen F-body. If nothing else, just make sure to avoid anything that sounds tacky. Better yet, why not just call it the CHP Test Car?
Every now and again, the things around me converge into a picture, a landscape view of our hobby and the industry that is both created and supported by it. It's part the stories I'm working on, part developments in the industry, and part just the everyday news of the world. What really seems to trigger it, however, is when I get to go out and have a good look at what's actually happening, what people are actually building and doing in the hobby.
Just looking at the day-to-day grind, it would be easy to decide that things aren't looking good at all, much less for the classic car hobby. Despite the recent easing, gas prices are still brutal, and news of impending economic disaster abounds. On the other hand, if my recent trip to the Goodguys PPG Nationals at Columbus, Ohio, is any indication, the hobby is alive and kicking.
Yes, it seemed like more people had their cars up for sale. On the other hand, plenty of average guys still want to get out there and drive and show off their cars, and pro builders are still producing high-end cars with fantastic fit and finish. These rides have loads of horsepower, of course, but what really stood out is the attention being paid to handling and braking. All-around performance continues to be an attractive proposition.
Not that horsepower is losing its fascination factor in any way, shape, or form. Sure, that's easy to figure given the mondo powerplants, often of the LSx variety, found in the top cars being built around the country. But in this very issue, we've got a 327 making 500 hp and throwing out a broad, usable torque band to boot. And believe it or not, "mpg" was even mentioned as an advantage to this build. Amazing.
Speaking of amazing, of course the most incredible development is the battery of muscle coming out of GM in the next year or so. The Camaro is finally coming, and it's packing 400-plus horsepower. Then check out the LS9, all 638 hp of it, that'll be powering the new ZR1 Corvette. Even as gloom and doom is proclaimed throughout the land, horsepower and performance are reaching new highs. I don't know what it all means or what will happen in the future, but I will say this much-the next snapshot sure should be interesting.
At first she just stood there and I couldn't quite figure out if that was a good thing or a bad thing. She stood in perfect silence and refused to breathe. Her eyes like dinner plates and her jaw resting on the floor of the shop. In my case, that's usually a sign of bad things to come. Way to mess this one up, Sean. She's going to be bored out of her skull, I thought to myself. I figured her next statement was going to fall along the lines of, Are we done? Can we go yet? But, to my astonishment, she completely surprised me. She didn't turn and demand to be driven home immediately. No, instead she began firing away like a machine gun. What's this? What does this do? How does this work? What's this switch do? Does it have a parachute? Can I sit in it? It was a barrage of questioning that I wasn't quite prepared for and neither were the guys who were working on the race car-slammin' it together for this weekend's race in Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. I was shocked, to say the least. I knew she was into cars, but hey, we've all heard that one before, right?
I may have still been in some sort of stupor with disbelief. It hadn't quite sunk in yet-well, at least not until the 70-something-foot big-rig rolled up to whisk the car away. She blew up and practically jumped 10 feet in the air. She ran over through the double doors of the trailer and began hustling around the thing like a jungle gym. She was climbing over everything, pulling out drawers, examining every inch of the QMP Racing operation. I practically had to pry her out of there-carrying her over my shoulder kicking and screaming. Not only did this girl gain the respect of the hard-knock crew over at the shop, but she definitely got a vote in my book. It's one of those rare things you find. It was pure joy seeing someone, a woman, share the love and passion for this lifestyle. Some people think this is just a job. It's not-it's a way of life. We almost threw her a wrench ... almost. Maybe next time, Gloria.
As a CHP reader, you know that we put a lot of stock in dyno testing. It's one of the most valuable tools we have access to. The dyno enables us to objectively compare various parts and to measure the peak power and overall power characteristics of the engines we construct. Most importantly, dyno sessions also enable us to fine-tune engine combos and vehicles. That's why most of us head to a dyno, and Dyno Testing and Tuning, by Harold Bettes and Bill Hancock, was written to help enthusiasts make the most of that limited and expensive dyno time.
As we expected based on our experiences working with Harold on other stories, this book is exceptionally thorough, starting off with an explanation of the different types of dynos and what exactly they measure and the mathematical formulas behind the numbers.
The most valuable information, we think, comes in the middle sections of the book. The chapter on "Goals and Objectives" is very helpful, as it encourages tuners to identify exactly what they're trying to achieve during a dyno session, to set up a plan to achieve it, and to keep the proper data to chart a course toward that goal.
More practical info follows, with chapters on being prepared for a test session, as well as actual testing and tuning procedures. "Testing Tips on How to Use a Dyno" calls out various test types to achieve the best tune for a given combo-it's all valuable information that can help with setting and achieving precise goals.
Sections follow on many other issues that affect dyno sessions: "Accuracy and Repeatability," "Correction Factors," "Troubleshooting"-even the seemingly very basic is covered, down to "How to Read a Dyno Sheet." This is followed by "Tuning with Dynamometer Data," a natural progression to what most of us want to do with the data we gather during a test session.
In short, Dyno Testing and Tuning is a should-read for anyone who wants to better understand dyno testing, and a must-read for anyone who's looking to actually dive into a session in search of the best tune for their performance vehicle. Contact CarTech Books at 800.551.4754 or visit cartechbooks.com for more info.