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Bolt and Go

Fatman's new Camaro clip brings new handling prowess to a legendary performer

There's no question that in its heyday the First-Gen Camaro was a slot car on the racecourse and a solid performer around town. With a little suspension tuning, those early F-bodies buzzed around the track faster and under better control than virtually every competitor that took a shot at the checkered flag. Furthermore, the Camaro's performance record has stood the test of time, raking in victories--and a street-machine following--like no other factory-produced machine in history.

But in today's world, with minivans and four-door imports that are more aggressive in road-holding capability, by comparison the legendary Camaro seems like a crude form of four-wheeled transportation. Can you imagine the humiliation of being out-cornered by your neighbor's Caravan?

Laugh as you will, the truth is that technology has improved so much that most all new cars can traverse the canyon curves with the best sports cars of the past--many even better.

To combat this problem, over the years a few aftermarket companies have developed ways to bring modern handling characteristics to older classic cars. One such firm, Fatman Fabrications, has been addressing the suspension issues for some time, offering a plethora of front end suspension kits based on the proven Mustang II design. With tubular A-arms and coil-over springs, tight, firm handling can be incorporated into virtually any vehicle.

But until recently, the First-Gen Camaro was one machine that could still get by with its stock front suspension. Now, Fatman has developed a complete bolt-on front chassis that simply replaces the original subframe and brings with it the newest design in stainless steel tubular control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, and adjustable coil over dampers. As a result, the cars receive a better road feel and easier to control factors such as ride height and compression/re-bound adjustability.

To see just how easy it was to upgrade the 36-year-old Camaro design, we took a trip to Super Stripes in Henderson, Nevada, where Mike Martin and his talented staff stripped off the old components and installed the entire Fatman system on a '68 donor car in less than one full work day. In fact, the only reason it took that long was that we were there to photograph it going together. Had they been turned loose without the shutter firing, the whole transformation would have been done in just a few hours.

The donor car, which was obviously an old quarter-mile competitor, had seen better days and was in dire need of a new direction. As it turned out, it proved to be the perfect starting point for this undertaking, as it had all of the front sheetmetal still in tact and even provided our tech guys with a challenge when it came to removing some old rusty body-to-chassis bolts. So follow along and witness how easy it is to upgrade that old First-Gen suspension with a new frame and suspension from Fatman and state-of-the-art binders from Stainless Steel Brakes, We're so pleased with what we saw that we're sure this upgrade will help put the classic back in front of the canyon-carving pack.

SOURCES
Fat Man Fabrications
8621-C Fairview Rd., Hwy. 218,
Dept. SRM Web
Charlotte
NC  28227
STEERING COLUMNS PLUS
6868 Speedway Blvd., Dept. SC
Las Vegas
NV  89115
Stainless Steel Brakes
Clarence
NY
8-00/-448-7722
ssbrakes.com
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