Hello Speedhunters! My name is Scott Murray, you may recognize my name from the story on my AWD sleeper mk2 GTI that was featured last year. This story however is not about me, nor is it about my car. It’s about my buddy Mark’s ’71 Camaro RS Z28.
This project started about 4 years ago. The search for the donor car itself took the better part of two years. After missing out on several cars on Ebay, and checking out a few ‘rust free’ shells that turned out to be ‘metal-free’, a candidate was finally found.
Strangely, it was found 5 blocks from Marks house. The previous owner had owned it since 1977, and his brother owned it before that. The car was actually an abandoned project.
It had been stripped down, sandblasted, reassembled, with lots of new parts and powder coating.
So the next phase for the project was for Mark to find a new house, one that had a garage. After 3 months of searching, a house was found (thankfully the previous owner had kept the Camaro in his storage during this search).
The car had a 327/4 speed at purchase, but that wasn’t what Mark was
looking for, so he went down to KMS C.A.R. Parts. Some wheeling and dealing was done, the 327/4speed as well as a 454/auto
was traded, and the new motor was found. The winning candidate was a
But before the engine would make it’s way to the car, it needed an
The first step started out as a 5 pound block of 6061 Aluminum, made
it’s way to the lathe, and ended up as a crank pulley adapter to allow
for the fitting of a M1 ProCharger supercharger.
The charger was mounted on the passenger side of the engine, just over
the stock serpentine belt tensioner and a little outboard.
I should add that the Pro Charger mounts were one off mounts made by
Since the motor is fuel injected, and supercharged, some upgrades to the
fuel system would be needed.
The in-tank solution would be a pair of Wallbro 255lph units set up in
To account for the increased fueling the Procharger would require, a
rising rate fuel regulator was added along with a return fuel system.
One of the goals for the project was to keep everything as clean
looking as possible.
With one of the first things to be built in this theme was the
transmission cross-member.It’s a 3 piece unit, took way too long, but
the result speaks for itself.
Not only did Mark create a strong and functional mount, but it also is a
pass-through for the dual exhaust system (not built at this stage).
The next items on the list are the mounts for the intercooler, as well
as remove the stock hood latch to allow for clearance for the
Since gen 2 Camaros, custom cross members, and a LS2 are not an everyday
occurrence, some custom headers would be needed.
Even with ‘custom’ ones readily available, there would still need to be
This involved a dummy motor, lots of heat, and several meters of
leverage. The end result was a set of headers that would fit more or
Up next, was the exhaust system.
The car was taken down to Custom Metalcraft to build a one-off custom dual 3inch stainless system.
Anyone who’s ever build a custom exhaust can attest to how time consuming this can be, and this is how far Mark made it after a ½ day of work.
After a few more days of work, and a lot of time lying on the shop floor, the exhaust system was complete.
You can tell how much time and attention to detail went in to the system. It sits incredibly tight to the body of the car, both sides are square to each other, and even details like how the tips exit the body were completely thought out, and perfectly executed against.
Mark has a few goals for the car, with one of them being that it in addition to being able to run fast ¼ mile times, it also has to be capable when it comes to Auto-X and track days. That means the next item on the to-do list would be the suspension. The front half of the suspension would be controlled by a QA1 coil-over setup with 550 lb springs. But because the car would be retaining its solid rear axle, the back half of the suspension would be augmented with a Hotchkis rear sport leaf spring kit, and a 3way adjustable swaybar.
At this point the motor was in place, the supercharger was mounted, the exhaust was plumbed, and the suspension was in place, this left what is the biggest items on most enthusiasts’ lists. That item is what for most enthusiasts makes, or breaks any car– The Wheels.
The goal was to buy something that would suit the classic looks of the ’71 Z28, but look appropriately modern, and allow for wide track worthy tires.
Mark went with a set of Boss Motorsports 338, with 18×8 in the front, and 18 x 9.5 in the rear.
To keep those wheels attached to the ground are some Hoosier R6 DOT road race tires.
Once again Mark spent way too much time on another detail of my car. After spending a lot of time researching for new gauges for the LS2 conversion, and not liking any of the options available that much.
He liked the look of the stock gauges, but needed something newer. So there was really only one option left – put modern gauges in the old cluster.
It’s not like that would be difficult, right…
…Well 40 hours or so later, he had a completed cluster.
With the power that the car would now be making and the fact that the car could easily take the corners at any of the local track, the next item on the mod list would be the brakes.
When you’re driving a 600Hp+ car, and have tires with a 40 tread wear rating, you can’t cheap out on the brakes.
Mark went with custom setup from Wilwood. The front is a set of two piece 14” rotors with 6 piston calipers. The rear would be kept in line with a set of 12” rotors and 4 piston calipers.
One of the weaknesses of these older chassis, is that the front half and rear half of the chassis are not connected.
The result is that there can be a substantial amount of twist in the middle of the car’s body.
The solution for this is pretty common. It’s just a matter of welding in connector plates to the underside of the body, connecting the two halves. But there needed to be a sacrifice in order to facilitate this addition, Mark had to cut holes in the floor, to allow the connectors to pass through.
In addition to the connectors, and other suspension mods, the final piece of the handling puzzle came in the form of a roll bar setup. Because the car would be used mainly as a daily driver type car Mark didn’t want to do a full cage. However he wanted the chassis stiffening that a full cage would give, so a compromise was made. After measuring the car about 150 times, using several different methods for finding angles, a bending program was used to calculate the dimensions for the main hoop. Anyone who has ever built a roll cage will tell you how much work it is to get the main hoop correct, and how crucial it is – so this was a step that Mark spent a lot of time on.
The next step after the main hoop was the rear supports.
These were pretty straightforward, with the biggest hurdle being getting the cut-outs in the rear deck in the right spot. Because Mark will be using this car for track days, auto-x, and perhaps a few drag passes, it was going to need a harness bar, Rather than just a straight harness bar, Mark build a single hoop, with integrated harness anchors (trick, and clean)
Next step was -the compromise. Rather than building a full cage, or one with NHRA style side bars, Mark decided to do something custom.
The goal was to make forward bars to help stiffen the chassis; the hurdle was doing this without making the car a pain to get in and out of.
The solution was to run dual parallel bars to the front section of the car.
These bars would intersect each other, and have a gusset to stiffen them. The result turned out super clean. Not legal, but definitely unique.
The ‘final’ piece of the puzzle is and will be the interior.
The headliner and door cards are done, all that is left is a bunch of small pieces, trim pieces, and a few odds and ends.
But let’s be honest, project cars are never done………right Mark?
For those of you who are interested in ALL the details of this build, check out Marks’ thread here.