I’ll just start by calling Schwartz Performance’s Camaro what it is—a sweet, 12-second convertible that does it all. This was actually a substitute for what was originally on our roster, which was supposed to be a twin-turbo–packing Camaro. You could say this was one of his customer’s street rides, who was nice enough to come out and play for the weekend. The seats were covered in plastic to protect the white leather and you can bet all of us were doing our best to maintain its showroom-like condition. Would we change anything? No way, this was a fun car to drive, and I’d be perfectly content driving up the California coast and stopping off at Famoso Raceway to click off a few passes before continuing the cruise up to NorCal.
Jeff Schwartz brought out one of his customers’ ’67 Camaros for the competition. I knew of the car since it had been featured in the Jan. ’12 issue of Camaro Performers magazine. Motivated by a fairly stout LS3, the car had plenty of power, and it took me a few laps around the course to become acquainted with the car’s personality. Featuring all Schwartz’s suspension goodies, the Pro Touring convertible maneuvered well around our short course. The car offers a great mix of handling, power, and street manners—characteristics most anyone would certainly appreciate in a vintage muscle car with a modern, tunable suspension. Admittedly, the car was set up and tuned to the customer’s specs and the hydro-boost brake system stops on a dime with very little pedal effort. Having said that, the brakes took a little getting used to, as it was super easy to lock up the tires in the braking zones of the course (sorry ’bout the flat-spotted tires, Jeff). The car was a fun ride, and it offered awesome seat-of-the-pants excitement on every corner. With a little more track time and tuning, this car would rock any autocross and raise a few eyebrows at any Porsche club autocross event.
’67 Schwartz Performance Camaro
Engine: Schwartz Performance LS3
Suspension: Schwartz Performance G-Machine bolt-in full frame
Brakes: front/rear Wilwood, 6/4 piston, front/rear 13-inch rotors
Tires: Michelin PS2, front, P255/35R18; rear, P345/30R18
’11 Wes Skipper/Granatelli Motorsports Camaro
Engine: Whipple supercharged LS3 with a Stage 3 Vengeance camshaft
Suspension: front/rear, Granatelli Motorsports 1g Suspension, Pfadt Race Engineering 1-inch lowering springs and sway bars
Brakes: Granatelli Motorsports; cross-drilled rotors with stainless lines
Tires: Factory, front, P245/45ZR20; rear, P275/40ZR20
Late-model cars have come a long way, and Wes Skipper, who was representing Granatelli Motorsports, had one well-sorted machine in a field of strong performance muscle cars. I’ve always thought the fifth-gens could stand to have a little more horsepower, and the supercharged combination on Skipper’s ride fit the bill. The bottom end torque moved the heavyweight with ease and the shifts were crisp with little drama whatsoever. To say that this could be the ultimate factory ride wouldn’t be far from the truth, and personally, every fifth-gen should come standard with a 700hp package.