Built To Be Driven - Shop Talk

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Last weekend I got a little more personal with our latest fourth-gen Camaro build. By “personal,” I mean I took a closer look at what all's there, and I have to say it's almost too clean for a dedicated track car. This isn't a bad thing. I'll admit it; it's much nicer to work on a clean ride than trying to wipe away years of crud from the undercarriage. I'm almost afraid to touch the chassis because it's so clean. Awkward, right?

To bring you up to speed, this is a stock-suspension 2000 SS Camaro that already has a 25.5 chrome-moly 'cage that's good for 7.50s in the quarter-mile. If you're not familiar with the term “stock suspension,” it just means that all the suspension components attach at the factory mounting points. Even so, the suspension aftermarket offers a wide variety of options, such as double-adjustable upper and lower controls arms and tubular K-members—and let's just say that people have gone deep into the 7-second zone and faster with these types of rides. And while the chassis can fit a monster set of 315s, we're planning to swap them out for a set of 275 drag radials.

Our initial plan is to install all-new suspension, brakes, and a 9-inch rearend. From there, we'll handle the wiring and plumb up the fuel system. What's the powerplant for this ride? Performance goals? Everything will unfold in the months to come, but I'm more than happy to give a sneak preview of what we have in mind.

For starters, this chassis was already primed for a big-block combo, so we're going to drop in a blow-through setup, featuring a 502ci Chevrolet Performance crate motor and a centrifugal supercharger. See what we did there? Yes, you can expect to see that build and dyno session very soon.

Once we handle the initial shakedown with a little seat time and sort out the chassis, the plan is to drop in a School of Automotive Machinist-built 481ci LS mill; this is based off a tall-deck RHS block. Up top, we're using RHS' latest big-bore LS7 cylinder heads and a Mast Motorsports two-piece manifold.

Performance-wise, time will tell, but the RHS build should put us well over 1,000 hp. Considering how fast the 275 radial cars are going these days, it's going to be a challenge, but I'm calling it a fun challenge. More importantly, this is going to allow us to generate incredible track data with solid, in-your-face results. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see us cover, then by all means, please feel free to email me directly and make your requests at chevyhi@sorc.com

Who would have thought radial-tire cars would be going so fast, on stock suspension no less?

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