Interestingly, one of the things that Nick likes the most about his Camaro is that it isn’t too nice. He’d like to back-half the car one day, and throw in an overdrive and 12-bolt, but for now he’s enjoying the luxuries of a car that didn’t cost a boatload of money to build. I decided early on that I wanted a driver instead of a show car. I dropped a ladder on my car the other day in the garage, and it chipped some paint off the fender, he says. I wasn’t happy about it, but I wasn’t crying either. If this was an $80,000 build, I can guarantee you that I’d be crying about it. I don’t even get that mad when my cats sit on the car. This Camaro isn’t a big-dollar Pro Touring car, or a rusty rat rod. It’s somewhere in between, and that’s exactly how I like it.
Proving that you don’t have to go broke to build a Pro Touring suspension, the front underpinnings consist of Speedtech upper and lower control arms, ATS aluminum spindles, Addco 1-inch sway bar, and QA1 coilovers with 550 lb/in springs. To control the motions of the rear end, the stock replacement 90 lb/in monoleaf springs have been paired with QA1 shocks, an Addco 3/4-inch sway bar, PST polyurethane bushings, and Competition Engineering traction bars and subframe connectors. The front coilovers and custom rear shackles drop the stance 4 inches all around. A GM 16:1 power steering box and Edelbrock aluminum tie rods provide directional input.
Wheels, Tires, Brakes
A proper Pro Touring cruiser needs a hot set of rollers, and the Camaro sports Forgeline WC3 wheels measuring 18×8 up front and 18×10 in the back. They’re wrapped in P245/40ZR18, front, and P275/40ZR18, rear, BFG g-Force tires. Stopping duties are handled by 13-inch discs and two-piston calipers off of a C5 Corvette up front, and 11-inch discs from a second-gen Trans Am in the rear. A Classic Performance Parts master cylinder and a Wilwood proportioning valve manage fluid distribution.
Engine & Drivetrain
It might not have the cachet of the mega-inch Rat motors popping up in street machines these days, but the 496 in Nick’s Camaro is a simple, effective, proven combination. It’s based on a production four-bolt 454 block that’s been opened up to 4.310 inches, and matched up with a Scat 4.250-inch cast crank. In keeping with the budget theme, Scat I-beam steel rods and Probe 11.0:1 forged pistons complete the rotating assembly. The short-block is topped with a set of Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads and an RPM Air-Gap intake manifold. For fueling flexibility, a Quick Fuel Technology 850-cfm carb can accommodate both premium unleaded gas or E85. The valvetrain is as frugal as the rest of the motor, featuring a COMP 244/244-at-0.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam with 0.550/0.550-inch lift, and Pro Comp 1.7:1 rocker arms. An MSD distributor and 6AL box light the fire, and fumes exit through 17/8-inch Hedman headers and dual 3-inch Flowmaster mufflers. Nick hasn’t dyno tested the motor, but he figures that it puts out close to 600 hp. Backing up the big-block is a Richmond Super T-10 Plus four-speed manual trans, a Spec clutch, and a Lakewood bellhousing. Out back is an 8.2-inch 10-bolt rearend that has been fortified with Moser 28-spline axles, an Auburn limited-slip differential, a Summit girdle, and 3.55:1 gears.
Read more in Super Chevy, Feb 2011