Engine & Drivetrain
Joe wanted a big number under the hood, so the 502 genuinely satisfies in that regard. More to the point was a substantially flat torque curve for right-now throttle response regardless of the gear. Joe took on the engine tweaking chores, which include Edelbrock Performer heads (110cc combustion chambers, 2.25/1.88-inch stainless valves, rocker arm studs, Harland Sharp 1.7:1 roller rockers, 9.6:1 compression ratio). A Performer RPM intake feeds off a Holley 850 serviced by a "red" pump drawing from a Rock Valley stainless tank that was narrowed to accommodate the offset leaf springs. Aside from the Fluidamper harmonic balancer, Vintage Air Front Runner accessory drive (including a 140-amp Tuff Stuff alternator), MSD 6AL box for the HEI distributor, and the ubiquitous HPC-coated Hooker Super Comp 2 1/2-inch primaries, the motor sings 502 hp at 5,600 rpm and warbles 565 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm. The cooling system is big and more than adequate: a four-row, 24-inch-wide Be Cool aluminum core and thermostatically controlled puller fans. A motor the size of Joe's ought to have a 3-inch exhaust system, in this case Stainless Works pipes and an cross-pipe silenced by polished Stainless mufflers. Our engineer was leery of a production Muncie four-gear, so he opted for a Tremec TKO five-speed (3.27, 1.98, 1.34, 1.00, 0.68:1). Teamed with the 3.73s in the narrowed limited-slip 12-bolt, he does the highway jig with the equivalent of a 2.53:1 ring-and-pinion. Inside the Lakewood blast shield, a Centerforce flywheel, clutch, and disc schmooze grunt through a 1-inch shorter GM driveshaft.
Paint & Body
This is the part that really turns on Joe's lights. Brian in Chesapeake, Virginia, laid down PPG goods, a Pewter hockey stick over Inferno Red after the Biggs, Ray, and Desimone's Auto Body prepared the body. While that was going on, Norfolk's Bob Gulaski polished the stainless trim and Don's Mobile Glass in Chesapeake cured all the myopia. The vacuum-operated headlight doors swing motorized now via DSE, and the taillights are LED with segmented, sequential turn signals.
A couple of the things Joe brought back to Virginia were Detroit Speed tubular upper control arms, coveted for their lighter mass and more importantly their ability to provide much-needed geometry for positive straight-line steering and keeping the outside tires upright in a hard corner. The original stamped lower arms are intact but fitted with harder bushings and modified to accept the lower mounting points of the aluminum DSE-valved adjustable coilover dampers (2-inch drop). Aft, he inserted PST leaf spring bundles and DSE lowering blocks (combined 2-inch drop) with DSE 2-inch offset shackles. Traction is enabled via nonadjustable Konis and very adjustable Competition Engineering Slide-A-Link bars.
Shades of red usually partner well with shades of tan, therefore a field of Auto Custom Carpet high-zoot rugging is the underlay for the Camaro's varied hues and is teamed with original Chevrolet vinyl door panels. Joe chose the seats from an '00 Camaro especially for their side bolster support. With the help of Penny Burt at Classic Soft Trim, he got the shade of leather that would contrast rightly with the rest of the sand-dune tableau. Joe "inserted" a TIG-welded DSE dashpanel that holds the large Auto Meter Ultra-Lite speedo and tachometer. The rest of the engine meters abide in the nacelles of the original SS console. Joe keeps both hands working with a Hurst shifter and a Budnik Famosa tiller. Up above is an Acme headliner made from synthetics available only in late-model Camaros.
Wheels & Brakes
What? No skinnies and drag radials? Joe stayed conservative with 17x8 Budnik Famosa Fat Lips and BFG g-Force rollers that let the 13-inch Baers shine through. He countered at the back of the car with 17x11 Fat Lips and P285/40ZR rubber.