One of the tenets of strength training is to always keep the furnace burning by stoking it with six or so small meals throughout the waking hours. The furnace in Pat's Camaro adapts this regimen. Though it isn't huge by today's skewed engine norm, it represents a reliable power source. An 0.060-over clean-up punch for the 454 produces 467 cubic inches of all-iron fun. Privett Engine Rebuilding in South Coffeyville, OK, got the contract, basing the rehabilitation and balancing process on the stock steel crank and forged connecting rods seeded with forged Speed-Pro slugs that proffer a pump-gas lovin' 9.6:1 compression ratio. A porting and polishing regimen followed the iron cylinder heads that retain 2.25/1.88 valves, refugees from somebody's 502 maybe? Privett installed a mild Comp hydraulic roller (218 degrees at 0.050, 0.485-inch lift) and were able to retain the stock pushrods and stamped steel 1.7:1 rocker arms. The cam pushes against Comp valvesprings. A double-roller timing gear hooks crank to cam, the oil pump is a Melling item and the stock steel sump covers up the bottom. Cooling chores fall to a Weiand aluminum water pump and a brace of Perma-Cool electric fans hugging a Be Cool aluminum core. Induction is so neat and straightforward you'll be wondering why more hot rodders don't contemplate this conversion. A Retrotek Speed Powerjection "throttle body," with the same size, dimensions, and appearance as a Holley 650 carburetor, sits atop an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold. Inside the fuel bowls are four 60-lb/hr injectors working with a Retrotek Stage II EMS that affords pulse-width modulation so the right amount of fuel is delivered according to throttle angle. Summit wires are connected to an MSD Pro Billet distributor and Blaster coil controlled by a 6AL box. Sustenance originates in a trunk-mounted Optima cell. Boom tubes are aluminized Hookers with 17/8-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors. To affect torque, the 21/2-inch system joins up with raspy Flowmaster Super 44s. Privett dressed the engine out with March aluminum brackets and a serpentine accessory drive system, stainless lines, a Be Cool catch can, and a Spectre Flame air cleaner assembly. Pat had to have the flexibility of a manual transmission, in this case a Keisler TKO 600 five-speed retrofit with matching hydraulics working an 11-inch clutch assembly. Torque is absorbed by a narrowed Moser 9-inch stocked with an Auburn limited-slip, 3.70:1 gears, and Moser 31-spline axleshafts.
Rollers & Corks
Hoops and rubber compound are well within the bounds of sanity, as anything larger (combined with the tire-planting ability of the truck arm stuff) would likely be superfluous, just more friction to drag things down. At the leading end Pat mounted polished 17x8 Billet Specialties GTX-65 rims and modest 235/50 HTR ZIII Sumitomos. Taking up the rear, 17x11 BS wheels and Sumis of the 315/30 variety. Energy burns to a cinder via a Hydroboost booster and Wilwood master cylinder actuating 4-piston Wilwood calipers front and rear clamping 12-inch rotors fore and 11-inch rotors aft.
Pat ironed out the firewall and made custom front frame supports that he painted in body color. Again, he used a minimalist approach to the exterior customizing, removing the front bumper and having Eric Bushyhead in Nowata apply the burnt orange and silver combo, thereby visually shrinking the 4-inch cowl on the Goodmark hood and making the car look a bit narrower than it really is. Immediately thereafter, Pat laid a fine charcoal pinstripe between the colors. The body appears all the smoother for its lack of door handles, side markers, emblems, and badges.
Sticks & Bones
Since the objects of Pat's affection are dynamics and dexterity, he adapted a Martz Chassis subframe and gave it some tweaks of his own. Tubular upper and lower control arms sandwich QA1 adjustable coilover shock absorbers and bookend the power-assisted Mustang rack steering assembly. The Martz subframe is valuable in that it pares about 200 pounds off the stock front end. Pat adapted a splined antisway bar and affixed the Martz clip to the body with solid biscuits. He provided some muscle tone with subframe connectors and narrowed rear framerails and tied the configuration together with a four-point rollcage. The reality transpires through a Hotrods to Hell CenterDrive truck arm suspension, a system that offers phenomenal bite in the corners and in a straight line and returns an extremely smooth ride. By its nature, the long trailing/locating arms offer minimal resistance and virtually eliminate chassis bind. You really have to drive one to believe it. QA1 coilover adjustable dampers help to control wheel movement and a Panhard bar centrally locates the Moser housing. To accommodate an 11-inch-wide back wheel and have plenty of room for sidewall movement, Pat set 3-inch deep mini-tubs in place.
Slider's nerve endings are represented by a Painless wiring system, its tendrils racing toward Painless switches, Auto Meter Ultra-Lite II gauges, and a Vintage Air HVAC assembly. The idea here is geared toward concentration and minimal effort to apply it; therefore Pat didn't include an audio system or GPS, TV, wink lights, or any other frippery. The car is runner-lean ... as it should be. The body color orange/red dashboard brightens the cockpit's gray and black leather and vinyl. As Pat grips the minimal Grant Classic steering wheel, he's propped by a Procar seat and held fast by Simpson five-point belts. The Classic Dash carbon-fiber insert adds another eye-appealing visual to the whole. Oddities include the tranny-tunnel-mounted e-brake handle right behind the Hurst lever. You can see how the right equipment and color integration have transformed an otherwise stark interior into a thing of minimalist beauty.