Project Camaro – Vintage – Part VII

Another week, more parts, more work. Starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day around here. Good progress this week though, managed to get a few pieces bolted in place, a few others welded in and generally didn’t have any major setbacks. Guess you could call that success. We actually started off this weekend by hitting the racetrack. Unfortunately it wasn’t to race our car, we made the trip to have the dragster’s chassis certified for NHRA racing. Our local track switched sanctioning bodies over the winter so we had a few things to take care of. Like, join NHRA – it costs money, re-certify the chassis – it costs money, have to make license passes – it costs money….are you starting to see a pattern here?

Let’s take a look at what we did to the Camaro this week.

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As you can see here, we have that new piece of sheetmetal welded in place with the first coat of fiber-reinforced body filler spread into place. Looking a heck of a lot better already and as mentioned before probably saved us hours of hammer and dolly work. We’ll grind down this first coat of filler, then apply a second to level up the surface before moving on to the lite weight bondo. Just like all of the body work on the car, it’s really not that complicated, but it does take a bit of patience, plus tons of sanding. And when you think you have the sanding finished, just sand some more. You’ll get there eventually.

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We got the first part of the rollbar assembly installed with the main hoop now welded in place and the back braces welded to their support plates. On these unibody cars, you always weld to a plate which in turn is welded to the sheetmetal. The rules require it, but what you are trying to do is spread out the load on the sheetmetal as you do not have a real frame to attach anything too. Looking at this picture, I was really surprised at how quickly the welds oxidize. The welding was finished just an hour or so before these pictures were taken.

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Phil installed new front disc rotors along with fresh caliper pads, new bearings, seals and the long Moroso wheel studs required by the rulebook. The rules state that you must have at least the diameter of the stud protruding through the end of the lugnut. We checked out the stock lugs with the new Weld Pro Star wheels and they weren’t going to cut it. So, back to the store again. Actually, I rather enjoy my visits to the speedshop, as it reminds me of my youthful days looking at the racks and racks of nice clean speed parts all wrapped up in their vacumn packaging that I simply couldn’t afford. Things really haven’t changed that much after all, I still can’t afford that stuff!

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Anyway, he also got the new master cylinder from Strange Engineering installed. This is a really nice piece, converting the car from that ugly power brake mess to a much simpler and far lighter manual brake setup. This unit along with the other braking components will do a great job in slowing the car down safely and under control. We do have a mismatch in rotor sizes on the car, so a proportioning valve is also going to be added to allow us to keep the car from swapping ends

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