Engine & Drivetrain
Five years ago, you couldn't give an LS engine away. Now, they are the darlings of the sport. Thirteen years after its introduction these engines are manifold and available in salvage yards, online, and magazine ads in myriad configurations. Steve found an '08 5.7-liter and dolled up the exterior. With 350 hp and 365 lb-ft of grunt, the motor is strong and flexible enough to satisfy our young gun's power proclivities, yet docile enough to be driven anywhere on the worst pump gas. Instead of that expected stick-shift, Color Craft of Hobart, Indiana, posted a beefed 4L60E automatic with a 2,300-stall converter behind the modest LS1. A custom-length prop shaft transfers grunt to the re-bopped 12-bolt carrying a Posi-Traction differential and 3.73:1 gears. Against that 0.70:1 top gear in the 4L60E, Bates bombs the boulevard with a breezy 2.61:1 final drive.
Color Craft Autobody is in Hobart, Indiana, Steve's hometown. While they advertise as a paint shop, they are equally adept at running metal and making mechanical changes during the build as well. Steve let 'em loose on the chassis that they fortified with Detroit Speed products. The DSE subframe contains all the mechanicals and dynamics, seemingly programmed into the construction. That would include coilover shock absorbers, tubular control arms, and rack steering. CC retained the leaf spring rear suspension but hung it with offset shackles to clear the tires and the mini-tubs. They ran subframe connectors. They set the stance.
Wheels & Brakes
These props are the most important visual cues of any car. Here we have a fine blend of Boze Pro Touring Satin forgings, 18x8 and 19x12, paired with 245/45 and 295/35 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetrical rollers. Though drum brakes still attend the 12-bolt, the front of the chopper grinds down on 13-inch Wilwood discs.
The most sanitary sheetmetal was swabbed of its door handles, acquired minimal tear-drop side-view mirrors, a custom trunk lid, a reformed rear bumper, a lowered spoiler, and LED taillights. The only departure from smooth and straight is the ZL2 cowl hood. Color Craft pronounced Bates' bodywork as the perfect recipient of Sikkens Blue and clearcoats.
Though the familiarity of the ubiquitous '69 Camaro is unchangeable, Steve wanted an interior that departed from the usual, a moon-shot original, a pod totally separate from the rest of the project, a wonderful blend of whimsy and practicality. Looking way too sumptuous for a track beater, Downs Industries used unusual shades and textures of tan and brown leather. Downs created the wraparound dashboard, mimicking the coves indigenous to early-model Corvettes. All the accessory knobs and control handles are logically arranged, quite within fingertip range, and can be manipulated via peripheral vision. The scheme was underwritten with a Painless wiring loom and the all-important Vintage Air HVAC system. A Billet Specialties Stiletto steering wheel mates with a tilt column. Steve's accompanied by a load of Auto Meter gauges, a leather-wrapped Lokar shifter, and electric window lift switches on the side of the custom-built console hard by his knee. Audio looms large. A Critical Mass 1,000-watt amp head, a 10-inch subwoofer, two 6x9-inch speakers, and 6-inch speakers in the door panels.