1995 Chevy Camaro LSX Project – The Purp’s First Track Test

It’s been a long road, but the crew at the School of Automotive Machinists prepared well

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We’ve been chomping at the bit to get The Purp done this year, and make it to the first LSX race of the season in Atlanta. If you’ve been following along, then you know that our 1995 Chevrolet Camaro project has been prepped for competition in the LSX Challenge Series’ Real Street class. We are hopeful that we can be competitive in the limited power adder class, despite being shallow in the pockets. (Wishful thinking perhaps.)

1995 Chevrolet Camaro The Purp Project At Track 02 2/5

At any rate, we are going to give it a go, and to do so we are converting our 451-cube street engine, built by Late Model Engines, to racing specs. We’ll have more info on this later, but up until now the 451 has made 720hp on the School of Automotive Machinists’ engine dyno using a two-piece Mast Motorsports LS7 intake, 4-barrel throttle body, hand-ported factory LS7 heads, and a hydraulic roller. We paired the engine with a Powerglide, built by Century Transmission, that uses a Reid case, TCI torque converter and shifter. An 8.50-certified roll cage was provided by Chris Alston Chassisworks, and the suspension is all complements of BMR and Strange Engineering. With careful adjustments, the crew at SAM has been able to dial-in the stock-style suspension to hook on the old style Mickey Thompson 275 radials. The Camaro has been purged of unnecessary items to shave weight, also using lightweight Strange drag brakes and Holeshot 15-inch wheels. However, with some effort we could certainly slim down quite a bit more.

Before the Camaro left for Houston, we had it painted at North Deland Auto Body with a Spice Red Metallic hue and added a VFN Sunoco-style hood. The crew at SAM also replaced the front and rear glass with Percy’s Speedglass to save additional weight. And of course we had to make sure The Purp was safe and legal for its e.t., so SAM technician Dustin Rush also added harnesses, roll bar padding, and a parachute. Next Dustin wired the engine up to a Holley Dominator EFI system for total control and easy tuning, and switches from Summit Racing. And then he finished off the interior with gauges from Autometer and Holley EFI. 6LE Designs provided some plastic filler pieces (as well as some stylish taillights), which, combined with Dustin’s handiwork and the Flock It! suede finish, really made the interior look like a show car (not some hacked up race car). I’ve omitted a few stories along the way to save time, but a quick search for The Purp (in the search box above) will bring them all up.

So this brings us to today. We are happy to report that on its first track outing and its first pass The Purp went 10.23 at 137mph at Houston Motorsports Park with Judson Massingill of SAM behind the wheel. Unfortunately as Dustin started tuning, the track was oiled down once or twice and there wasn’t much grip left. Subsequent passes were unsuccessful in maintaining traction before we had to call it a night. Such is the fate of a small-tire car. But fear not, more testing is ahead. We hope to be closer to the 9s on motor, before we enter the world of forced induction. Stay tuned for the full story as SAM puts The Purp on the chassis dyno and preps the chassis.

1995 Chevrolet Camaro The Purp Project At Track 03 3/5

The first run proved to be the best – 10.23 at 137.41mph.

1995 Chevrolet Camaro The Purp Project At Track 04 4/5

After sundown the track started to go away from us (a couple of oildowns didn't help), and the little 275s were struggling to keep traction.

1995 Chevrolet Camaro The Purp Project At Track 05 5/5

We waited around after another oildown, but eventually we had to pack it in for the night. We'll live to race another day!

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