Build 'Em Big
Your Shop Talk in the Feb. '10 issue hit home with me. I own a '94 Caprice Classic with BMR adjustable rear control arms, Speed Tech front lower A-arms, and lowered 2 inches all around. I also have 3.42:1 gears, an Eaton posi, and Impala SS wheels with P245/60R17 (soon P275/R40 on rear) tires. I'm still deciding which shocks to go with, but I will be ordering a set of BMR front and rear sway bars soon. So, yes, I hope you decide to showcase B-bodies in upcoming issues.
More B-Body Fun
I have been a reader of CHP for some time now. Actually, a letter I submitted earlier was put in one month asking about parts to do what I am going to tell you about. Your latest Shop Talk inspired me to write as I have one of those portly B-bodies, and would love to see some ideas on her. You see I am the original owner of a '96 Impala SS. Back in 1997 (through 2000), I started with basic bolt-ons that eventually led to the installation of LT-4 heads, Hot Cam, LT-4 intake, timing chain, Arizona Speed and Marine headers throttle body and cold-air intake, and the like. With 3:73:1 gears rounding out its shapely rear, mild torque converter, and a little shot in the pants with a Nitrous Express 150 shot, and wouldn't you know it, we were pulling down 12.5s at 113 mph. Heck even at one event, I don't even know what year anymore, probably 1998, it was the quickest and the fastest Impala at that track event. No awards or anything, only bragging rights for me. I replaced the shocks with KYBs, and springs with Intrax lowering springs. The car handled well, even at the occasional autocross event. Somewhere I have some videos of auto crossing, and have seen almost 140 mph at Road America, where I cooked my power steering reservoir, I might add. But I always thought the spring rates in the front were way too high as it always seems to ... "What's the reverse of lunge?"... spring I guess, up when you hit a bump.
Now I have worked the rear trailing arms to make them stronger, and also to center the rear wheel in the wheelwell, as I'm sure you are aware no Impala's rear wheels are centered unless this is done. But I sure would love to see how one of these bad boats can be made to turn and burn with the best of them; trailing arms, sway bars, and drop spindles perhaps. Heck I have even tossed around the idea of a RideTech air suspension. Not so much for lowering purposes, but for ride comfort and adjustability.
This car was daily driven for about six years, and then was parked for about eight or nine more with really never seeing the road. Now with the economy the way that it is and the industry, the old girl has been brought back out for daily use as I need her now again, as the wife is back to work. A fresh set of rubber, fresh oil, and the car has performed great since April of last year. A couple little issues with ground wires, but nothing major. This makes me glad, and proud once again of the first car I ever bought new.
So if you think it would be interesting, I would love to see what you could do with a 4,200-pound land yacht, and tear up some black top. And wouldn't you know it? I have a perfect car for you to play with, as long as I can have it back when you're done.
It's always good to hear stories for car guys, especially when they're passionate about their rides. While we've never taken on or borrowed a vehicle for long-term testing, mostly because of the liability and insurance reasons, it certainly opens up the doors for additional ideas. Hmmm ... Until then, I'm glad to hear more people want to see suspension hop ups for the bigger chassis cars.
Great mag and keep up the good work. I really like the '72 Nova and I had one just like it. The chrome was missing on the driver side front fender for as long as I had the car. In the '80s I was running 9-inch-wide Goodyears all around on 15x8s, but I'll admit this involved some work with various wheel offsets and having to roll the fender lips. For the drivetrain, I had a 350hp, 327ci small-block with a three-speed out of a truck; Second gear worked great on the slalom, and the car was a lot of fun!
I raced with the St. Catharine's Motor Club in Ontario, Canada, and I was proud of the fact that I was the only guy in town with a car set up like this! I even dropped the body approximately 1 inch with homemade aluminum bushings, installed thicker sway bars up front and back, and had a six-point 'cage.
If I can make a request, I would like to see more on tires and structural rigidity, mainly rollcages. Your F73 project would make a great article on a street 'cage, one that fits tight to the A-pillars and with crossbars that interfere with door openings as little as possible.
I hate to admit it, but our '72 Nova was the only running vehicle in our stable that could actually turn-until recently. We now have a C5 Z06 that's ready for testing and we've already initiated our first tire test. We'll discuss it more when the time is appropriate, but rest assured we have a lot of cool stuff in the works.
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Indy Gets Camaro SS
Look forward to seeing the '10 Camaro as the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500? The Indy 500 Camaro pace car will have Orange Metallic paint with White Diamond rally stripes from front to rear. Camaro made its debut showing at the Indy 500 in 1967 and has returned in 1969, 1982, 1993, and 2009. Additional features will include '10 Indy 500 badges, custom grille, and amber taillamps. As usual, power will come from the potent 400hp 6.2L. No word yet on if GM plans to release this version of the Camaro.
I had quite the oppurtunity to hang out with L.A.'s finest recently. No, it wasn't the newest fad bar or lounge on Ventura Boulevard, nor was it a crowded funky Hollywood club. It was the family whose motto is designed to do exactly what it says: "Protect and Serve." As much as I am trying to avoid the black and white cruiser at times for late registration tags or exhibition of speed, it's difficult now since my best friend has recently joined the elite group. If you haven't already figured out what I'm blabbling about, it's the proud men and women of the Los Angles Police Department.
Officer Pearson is certainly on his way to busting down the occasional door or two. His older brother, Christopher will have already graduated by the time this hits print. While attending the badge ceremony, I had an experience not shared by many. Anyway, it's a nervous experience going to these cop-related ceremonies with everyone carrying a gun. It's very serious. The badge ceremony didn't start until about 10:30 a.m. so Officer Pearson and I decided to sit down and have breakfast with his buddies from the academy. I was privelaged to be able to sit down and chop it with Officers Todd Wilson and Ian McKenzie over breakfast. Being newly badged officers in their first year, they seemed like veterans already. As we ate breakfast in the Police Academy Café, we had a very pleasant surprise toward the end of our meal. More recently, our city hired a new Police Chief: Charlie Beck. This was to be his first Police Academy graduation ceremony.
Now, I'm in no way a star-struck kind of person. For starters, we live in L.A. and seeing someone famous is a dime a dozen. While we were sititng down eating though, Chief William Bratton came to our table and greeted us. You should have seen Wilson's, McKenzie's and Pearson's eyes! They enlarged like saucers and they drooled from their mouths. The guy is like Batman to them, he's got a whole city to protect and he took the time to walk over, introduce himself, and shake each one of our hands. It was cool. Best part? He walked right past a table of "Stripes" to come to ours. After all, how many people can say they've met the Chief of Police of Los Angeles? It was super cool. I guess I better go pay my registration now.
New Name For Classic Motorsports Group
As the premier provider of Tremec five- and six-speed driveline conversion kits for classic cars and the exclusive supplier of Hurst Blackjack and Sidewinder shifters, Classic Motorsports Group has changed its name to Hurst Driveline Conversions.
As the recognized industry leader in high-performance shifter components since 1958, the Hurst name is synonymous with quality, performance, and innovation. Hurst Driveline Conversions is proud to maintain the Hurst tradition of quality by offering its customers a high-performance line of short-throw, factory-fit shifters and other unique driveline products for the installation of Tremec TKO five- and six-speed overdrive transmissions. These exciting and innovative Hurst products are exclusively available from Hurst Driveline Conversions.
Check them out online at hurst-drivelines.com or call them directly at 760.438.2244.