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[Video] Roadster Shop Built 1971 Camaro Features Twin Turbo Nelson Racing Engine and K&N

Each filter is housed in its own heat shield and is feed from new inlets on the front of the car

Two tapered conical K&N filters are sufficient to draw enough air to develop nearly 1500 HP

A recent poll of automotive enthusiasts selected the first generation 1967-1969 Camaro as their favorite. Certainly, Chevrolet feels the same way (or their own research drew the same conclusion) since its revival for the 2010 model year, its exterior design has been greatly influenced by the popular first generation body style.

If you’re among those who agree that the first gen Camaro is the best looking of the bunch, take a few minutes to check out the 1971 Camaro as re-interpreted by the famous Roadster Shop, of Mundelein, Illinois

Penske coilovers specially tuned for the Roadster Shop are installed at all for corners

The Roadster Shop 1971-1981 Camaro Fast Track frame utilizes C6 spindles at the front

The 1971 Camaro in question came to the Roadster Shop looking like a refugee from a high school parking lot. The first task the Roadster Shop took in this Camaro makeover was to disconnect the front subframe and remove the floor from the cabin and trunk area. This allows for the installation of one of its Fast Track frames engineered specifically for 1970 – 1981 Camaros.

Why go to all this trouble? As with the first generation Camaro, these models also suffer from a low degree of torsional rigidity, given that the subframe is only bolted onto the unibody rear section. The Fast Track hand-fabricated, fully-boxed 10 gauge steel frame rails run the full length of the car, providing both a lowered ride height and a solid basis from which the suspension can do its work.

A real mark of craftmanship is the quality of work that the eye can't see

All this beautiful interior metal work is now hidden forever under soundproofing and carpeting

Mounted at the front is an RS Fast Track Front Suspension based around the rugged C6 Corvette spindle and hub assembly. A 1.25-inch splined sway bar with C6 end links has also been fitted, while special Penske “RS Edition” performance coilovers control the ups and downs of the suspension.

At the rear, the wheels are connected to 31 spline stainless steel axles housed in a Strange Engineering rear end based on the Ford 9" configuration. Power is delivered to the rearend through a Tremec T56 transmission. Rear suspension is by large diameter, parallel four-bar linkage, also with "RS Edition" Penske coilovers.

The body shell received some TLC next, with rear fenders flared in steel and rectangular air inlets fabricated and installed between the custom grille and the headlights. A scoop was fabricated and installed under the grille to deliver extra cooling air to the intercooler and radiator. The team at the Roadster Shop also addressed a small case of tin worm at the base of the rear window.

The roll cago both adds protection as well as stiffens the Camaro's structure

A custom roll cage fabricated from 4130 steel is being installed in the Camaro

With the bulk of the exterior metal work completed, attention was turned to the interior. First, the Camaro required new floor pans to accommodate the frame. In addition, a complete transmission tunnel was fabricated, welded in place, and ground flush, while wheel tubs were added to accommodate wider rear tires. The trunk floor was finished in the same aluminum sheet as the interior.

The level of craftsmanship is remarkable, particularly when you consider that most of the interior panels will be covered and never again see human eyes. Even the opening for the transmission in the firewall is a perfect radius. Soon after the photo on this page was taken all the beautiful handwork was covered with sound-deadening insulation and later with carpet. The interior metal work is capped off with a custom-built 4130 steel roll cage.

It was now time to install the engine so that work could commence on all the various lines and hoses that are required to keep a seven-liter engine running at peak performance. Built by Nelson Racing Engines, the Dart aluminum small block has been punched out to 427 cubic inches.

The bottom of the car is as flat as possible so that it can run with minimal ground clearance

Three-inch stainless steel exhaust pipes snake their way through openings in the frame rails

The crankshaft and connecting rods are 4340 steel forgings, while the pistons are forged aluminum. The aluminum cylinder heads are from Brodix and have been CNC ported and are fed by dual fuel injectors per cylinder. The custom camshaft drives .901 solid lifters and roller rocker arms. Valves are manufactured from the Inconel superalloy. Where many people think all that would be enough, it’s not for the crew at NRE.

To this mighty mouse motor, two 72 mm Turbonetics turbochargers have been added. Exhaust is routed out through stainless steel headers to the turbine wheel of the turbos. It’s then directed to the rear of the Camaro via an RS three-inch stainless steel exhaust system fitted within dedicated openings in the frame rails.

Each filter is housed in its own heat shield to help assure only cool air is drawn in

Two fresh air intakes have been added to the front to feed a pair of K&N tapered conical filters

On the intake side, air is drawn through the newly created inlets on each side of the headlights to a pair of K&N tapered conical air filters, sited in their own cold air boxes, compressed by the turbo (which heats the intake air considerably) and pushes it through an enormous air-to-air intercooler at the front of the car. The engine draws the cooled air through dual throttle bodies into NRE’s own Alien Intake where it’s delivered to the cylinders.

Now, of course, you’re ready to hear an astronomical horsepower number and the fact that the engine can only run on fuel that’s delivered in sealed drums by men in hazmat suits. Well, you’d be wrong, at least on the second part.

A throw of a switch and the Camaro converts from a daily driver to a drag strip demon

Dual fuel cells, one for pump premium, the other for race gas, gives the driver a 600 HP choice

This motor is capable of nearly 1500 horsepower. And that’s on 117 octane race gas. But here’s the cool part. Throw a switch and the fuel flowing into the engine comes from the second fuel cell – one that holds 91 octane unleaded premium. So you can cruise around town on pump gas, still making 900 horsepower, then drive out to the strip and with the throw of a switch add nearly 600 more horsepower.

That’s almost like adding the output of an LT4 engine from a 2018 ZL1 Camaro with a toggle.

On to the final details: on the interior, a custom console was fabricated from aluminum and installed, along with custom gauges for the dash, along with the integration of a Vintage Air system.

The 1971 Camaro features a black exterior over a black leather interior

Many coats of PPG Black paint were applied by the spray booth artists at the Roadster Factory

An MB Quart audio system consisting of a head unit and separate amplifiers for low and high frequencies was hard wired into the car. The interior was then completed in black leather by Jeremy Carlson, at Avant Garde Designs.

On the exterior, lightweight aluminum HRE wheels, sized 19x9.5 inches are bolted to the front, wrapped with 275/35R19 Michelin tires while at the rear 20x12-inch HRE wheels are fitted with 335/30R20 Michelin rubber. Behind the wheels reside Brembo brakes on all four corners.

The Camaro was painted at the Roadster Shop in about one million coats of PPG black, looking deep enough to dangle your toes in it.

According to the Roadster Shop, this build took a total of four years to complete. If that’s the case, what chance do we mere mortals have?

If you want to see the finished Camaro, stop by K&N at the SEMA Show for the unveiling, booth number 22755. If you can’t make it to Vegas, look for show coverage on the K&N blog page.


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