THE HISTORY OF MY CAMARO

 

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I have owned my Camaro since the summer of 1990.  It was originally owned by my father who bought it new in 1971.  He sold it to me in my last year of high school for the then staggering sum of $2500.  Built in Van Nuys, CA, over the last 14 years, it has undergone a complete transformation from what it originally was- a 245 hp, Sport Coupe Camaro with a 350 cid engine and 2 bbl carburetor.  Although my father took very good care of the car since it was new, it was no where near what I wanted out of what was to be my one and only hot rod.   In addition, since it was to be my daily driver until 1999, it had to be a well mannered, yet high performance automobile.   In 1994, having finished junior college and preparing to commute 32 miles to a university, I decided that my 3.42 axle ratio was going to be a little bit too much gearing for comfortable highway use.  Yet, I was unwilling to lose the performance that it gave.  This left me with one option- overdrive.  I took the car to what was then Premier Performance in Placentia, CA, and had them build and install a TH700-R4 transmission.  With my carbureted Edelbrock Performer level engine, I was actually netting about 21 mpg!  I was happy to say the least.  Throughout college I tinkered with the car here and there, but nothing major. 

After having graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1997, and with a new good paying job (while still living at home!) I decided it was high time to get down to the business of some serious modifications.  This meant EFI in the form of GM TPI.  I read and studied and read some more before I finally went to the wrecking yard to get the parts and electronics.  With a successful installation and a newly acquired smog exemption in California, the door was now opened to GM crate motors.  With great enthusiasm, I wasted no time in ordering a ZZ4.   Subsequent modifications to the TPI to improve flow, combined with the stout performance of the ZZ4 made for one potent combination.  But like any red-blooded hot rodder, it soon became woefully insufficient.

The TPI's lack of upper rpm power soon grew tiresome.  Dropping the trans into 3rd gear on the highway, hitting 4500 rpm, resulted in a lot of noise but little in the way of additional forward velocity.   When I compared this to the pancake-flat torque curve of the LT1, I started considering a change.  Turning to Tuned Port Induction Specialties, I picked up a Miniram intake manifold and fuel rail kit.  I also knew that the Miniram would far outflow the ZZ4's ancient L98 cylinder heads and camshaft, so some new heads and a cam were in order.  AFR's 180cc street heads fit the bill perfectly.   Adding to that, a new comp cams 262 hydraulic roller and the engine was right where I wanted it.  The cam provides excellent power while retaining a smooth idle and good gas mileage.  I estimate to it to be right in at 400 hp and easily over 400 ft-lbs of torque.

 Interspersed among all of this were various suspension and interior upgrades which you can see by browsing though this site. 

In May 2002, my Camaro made Chevy High Performance.  It was a featured car that month making for one of my proudest moments during the ownership of my car.  You can link to the article here.

My Camaro in Chevy High Performance

In 2009, my Camaro was again featured- this time in Camaro Performers.  

My Camaro in Camaro Performers Magazine

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This site was last updated 02/16/10