The Plans are planned, now get to work!

So, as we discussed last time, the next two bits of fun on the docket for the Shop Camaro are some local autocross action and a trip to the Ohio Mile. As the car currently sits in full-on bracket race mode, I guess that means it’s time to get to work, huh?

What seemed fairly simple at first has spiraled wildly out of control (of course) and we’re only just getting started on the strict safety rules of the ECTA.

First things first, let’s get a list going to try to make some sense of all this..


  • Pull and do a once-over on the trusty 377
    • Check out the bottom end, valvetrain, etc.
  • Ditch the Turbo 350 and find some place (ANY place) to store it
  • Get that 3rd pedal functional again
    • An American Powertrain Extreme 600 Tremec TKO is in the works (more on this later)
    • New friction surface for the Fidanza flywheel is also in the works, as the old one has seen its share of abuse
  • Gears and Differential
    • Torsen-style diff and the original 4.86 gears from the first drag race setup are set up and ready to drop in
  • Rework of the exhaust
    • The truck arms, subframe connectors, and various other ironwork done under the car mean space is at a premium; the original full 3″ leaves a lot to be desired for ground clearance


  • Front swaybar is back on
  • Lowered (not enough, but lowered)
  • Front end alignment
  • Power steering back on (we had installed a manual box last winter to shed weight)
    • Smaller steering wheel and possibly a dirt track 2:1 coupler may also be in the cards
  • Solid tie rod sleeves and bump-steer kit (because we can’t have enough rod ends!)


  • Fluid flush with sweet clean new Wilwood juice
  • Resolve some rear-bias issues (namely, we’ve never gotten it to have any rear bias)
  • Down the road the current 4-piston front calipers will move to the rear in favor of 6-pistons up front

Safety (for ECTA)

  • Fire bottles for driver and engine (in our possession)
  • Race seat (current low-buck seats are not certified)
  • And a whole, whole lot more..

The Work

So what of this have we gotten done so far? Well, the motor and trans are out, gears are ready to drop in, annnnd, yeah. Things are in somewhat of a holding pattern until the TKO gets here. Up next is the brake work, fixing several nagging issues including weeping lines between the reservoirs and masters that have made a ‘right old mess of things under the dash.

Wait, another TKO?

Yep, after selling the first TKO600 we had originally, we’ve arrived back at it as the best option for all the different things we’re looking to do. When it came down to it, every other option had several drawbacks.

The T56 Magnum was first on the list, but both price, size, adapters, needing a new clutch, and just overall unnecessary complication ruled it out. Next up was a dog-ringed T5 from G-Force, which was eliminated for many of the same reasons, along with more than a few drivability concerns.

The Extreme 600 from American Powertrain appears to resolve the main issue we had with the original stock TKO – shifting at high RPM. Early in 09, our first season running the car, the original trans shifted reasonably well at 7,000+ (as evidenced here). I mean, it didn’t look like Ronnie Sox was driving it or anything, but it worked well enough. By the end of the year, though, after around 125 passes, things weren’t quite as swell (as evidenced here). 


This beefed up version of the TKO has several upgrades that are supposed to enable high RPM shifts, and prolonged life (it comes with a 2-year warranty, hopefully we won’t test that particular feature).

You can check out all the upgrades they do in this episode of Engine Power.

So, what to do in the meantime?

Until the parts come in, the work is done, and sufficient huevos are mustered, the trusty Farm Truck and the Japanese branch of the Acme fleet will pick up the slack.

We’ll be hitting several events in March, including the Texas Thaw in the truck and several autocrosses with the Z (check out DFWAutocross for the local calendar, and by all means come out and have some fun with us).

March Events Calendar

So if you see a silver farm truck at the drag strip, or a stock white 350Z with way too much tire hanging out all 4 fenders piddling around at an autocross, come say hi!

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