Caging the Gen 5 Camaro

December 1st, 2011

Text by Pete Ward

Photos by Geoff Huston

Running Quick? Be Safe! 

The Fifth Generation Camaro was the most eagerly anticipated new model release in the modern history of the automobile. Thankfully, it lived up to all of the advanced hype in appearance and performance.

Straight from the showroom, the Super Sport model is an easy 13-second ride; a few tweaks and you’re in the 11-second zone. This elapsed time mandates a five-point roll cage for participation at NHRA sanctioned tracks. Plus, common sense should prevail at this point, dictating added protection.

Chris Johnson, owner (and tech whiz) of 2Edge Performance, one of Southern California’s premiere modern muscle car builders, especially when it comes to Camaros, has been researching this issue. His partner, Rick Andrade, owner of a very early production ‘10 model, has utilized 2Edge technology to modify his ride (engine and suspension). Recently, his “5” has entered the roll cage mandatory zone, so it was the perfect mule for 2Edge’s first install.

While planning for the roll cage, it was deemed the rear seat would be pretty much useless, so a delete package was also installed.

And since the interior was going to be pretty much “uninstalled,” it was the perfect opportunity to add some high tech sound control material. We all love the song of a sweet hi-perf engine, but on a long cruise, it can become a tad annoying. Finally, this project was started in the name of safety, so heavy-duty restraints were also installed. We’ll be covering the whole package in this story.

After thorough investigation, the chrom-moly cage manufactured by RPM Rollbar was chosen (mild steel also available). A six-point cage was selected for extra rigidity and side-to-side weight balance.

The first step is to remove everything south of the dashboard to the rear glass. It’s tempting to attempt the installation without removing the center console, but it can’t be done. According to Johnson, one of the most time-consuming (and frustrating) aspects of the entire project is screwing with the console.

Rick Andrade and Chris Johnson preparing for trial fit. Please note, this project is two-person job, requiring approximately 20 hours to complete.

It’s essential to take your time in the removal and reinstall of all of the interior trim pieces. The trim was designed and manufactured to be installed once and left in place. Be patient and gentle and be prepared to replace some of the fastening clips, because they’re designed to be a one-use item.

The next step is the trial fit. The six sandwich plates used as mounting brackets for the roll cage need to be attached at this stage of the process.

After the trial fit, the swing out front down tubes were modified to limit their travel. This step isn’t necessary, but Rick didn’t want the tubes constantly bumping into the nicely upholstered front door panels every time someone exited the car. Following these mods, the cage was sent out for paint. RPM offers a wide variety of hydro-dipped and industrial clearcoated finishes, including custom color. Rick wanted the cage to match the car’s pinstriping, so he opted for raw tubing.

The finished product (driver’s swing-out bar detached)

Prior to the cage final install, the sound control material, by Cascade Audio Engineering was applied to the interior and trunk. It’s light weight, pliable, forms easily to compound shapes and can be pulled off and reapplied prior to permanent attachment.

Shrader Performance’s strong, heat-molded ABS plastic rear seat delete kit was bolted into place, using existing fastening points. Losing the rear seat sheds 30 pounds, helping to balance out the 40-pound roll cage weight penalty.

Finally, the roll cage was bolted into place. The added paint seemed to throw the fit off just a hair from the trial run. Some finessing was required to get everything to line up correctly. Johnson and Andrade agree this final install might have gone a bit more smoothly if the cage had been painted at the factory.

The only molestation done to Rick’s Camaro was the drilling of 24 holes plus a bit of trim panel snipping–a very small price to pay for all of the added safety and structural rigidity.

 

Sources

 

2Edge Performance

711 W. 17th St. Suite B10

Costa Mesa, CA 92627

949.515.2088

2edgeperformance.com

 

RPM Roll Bar

1150 Industrial Pkwy., Suite 105

Newberg, OR 97132

877.201.8910

Rpmrollbar.com (http://www NULL.Rpmrollbar NULL.com)

 

Shrader Performance

3200 Lowell Rd., Ste A

Gastonia, NC 28054

704.674.6979

rearseatdelete.com (http://www NULL.rearseatdelete NULL.com)

 

Pyrotect

545 SE Bridgeford Blvd., Unit A

Bend, OR 97702

541.678.5531

Pyrotect.com (http://www NULL.Pyrotect NULL.com)

 

Cascade Audio Engineering

64894 Old Bend Redmond Hwy.

Bend, OR  97701

541.389.6821

Cascadeaudio.com (http://www NULL.Cascadeaudio NULL.com)

 

Prestige Auto Collision Inc.

23726 Via Fabricante
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

949.581.3702

 

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