Photos by Courtney Halowell
Automotive aftermarket companies have always built vehicles that showcase its wares, but lately these companies are building vehicles that not only show off its products, but are intended for another purpose, too. Autocrossing has become an activity that many are finding not only fills a marketing niche, but it’s a blast, too.
That’s why this ‘72 Camaro was the perfect vehicle for the crew at CFR Performance of Ontario, California, to build. It, of course, features many of its products, and looked great in its booth at SEMA, but it also gives Harry Hsieh, CFR’s general manager, a chance to have a little fun while at the many shows, such as Goodguys, where autocrossing courses have blossomed over the past few years.
Unlike show cars of the past, where all that mattered was how good the car looked, this Camaro needed to have chops as well. That’s why the CFR crew built their ride with all of the best stuff. Being a classic vehicle, the crew said that its condition when purchase wasn’t great. It did have a good roof, floor and deck lid, and the purchase price was a mere $2,000. The cost of bodywork notwithstanding, that all means that these cars are out there to be found and built for a relatively small sum. The frame is a stock 1978 unit that came with the Camaro, but it has been drastically improved with Global West suspension pieces. The Global West front end uses GW springs on the QA-1 adjustable coil-over shocks, and a Global West 1 1/2-inch anti-sway bar was also installed. This car is meant to be driven hard, so Wilwood four-piston calipers put the clamp on the slotted and cross-drilled rotors, while 18 x 9.5-inch Centerline Lazer wheels and Kumo Escca (275/35r18) tires get it through the corners quickly.
Global West leaf springs hold the rearend in place, which features a Currie 9-inch unit that uses a Detroit Posi unit and 3.50:1 gears. Again, it’s the quartet of QA-1, Wilwood, Centerline and Kumo that can be found at the edges.
Power comes from a GM engine that displaces a healthy 400ci’s and features SRP pistons and rings. It’s fed with a Proform 750 carburetor that sits atop a CFR Performance Airgap intake manifold. As one would expect, a host of CFR Performance engine dress-up items adorn the engine. A CFR 14-inch chrome billet air cleaner combines with a set of CFR chrome billet valve covers and a CFR chrome billet pulley system to make things look and work great. Speaking of working great, an MSD ignition system provides the sparks. Getting the spent fuel out is done with a set of CFR Performance ceramic-coated headers and MagnaFlow 3-inch stainless tubes. Electric cut-outs are perfect for those “open header” cruises or on race day.
A Pontiac Turbo 400 transmission equipped with a 2,200-rpm stall converter puts the power to the rearend, while a CFR Performance trans cooler makes sure that the power doesn’t hurt the trans. Inland Driveline of Ontario, California, did the driveshaft work.
When asked if any bodywork was needed, the response was a definite, “Oh yeah….” There was a lot of wear and tear on the old car, but by the time the work was done by Chino’s Dreamworks in Ontario it was better than new. They also installed a front RS conversion and a cowl induction hood. The paint color is Obsidian Black, but it has been adorned with candy Brandywine stripes.
Inside, the car is relatively spartan, because it’s supposed to be. It’s a competition car after all. That’s why it has a Competition Engineering six-point cage with door bars and Simpson harnesses. Those harnesses keep the driver secure in the factory seats that have been upholstered in black leather with red stitching. A CFR Performance chrome billet steering wheel has been painted Brandywine to color-match the exterior, while the factory horseshoe floor shifter has been leather wrapped to match the seats. A full set of Auto Meter Classic instruments keeps the driver aware of the car’s functions, while a Painless Wiring system provides it with electrical connections.