Recently, we tuned in to Vice Grip Garage’s YouTube channel and took a look at an abandoned Camaro 74 race car with an amazing racing past. Knowledgeable auto mechanic and YouTuber Derek drove us through the rough-looking Camaro, before diving into its interior components, and making some replacements. It received a powertrain revamp, and a few other interior components which shot it up and gave it a shot at the racetrack again.
After sitting idle for nearly two decades, this classic Chevy Camaro takes another shot at the Freedom Factory racetrack.
This Chevrolet Camaro is a multi award winning racing car
By now, we all know that the Chevrolet Camaro is the most powerful muscle car from Chevrolet. And the car clearly has come a long way, especially when you look at what it is today. Well, this abandoned Camaro isn’t all that different. At first glance, it appears to be in poor condition, with paint spots and rust spots visible all over the body. Plus, its old tires, low stance, and general condition point to the fact that this Camaro has been out of order for a very long time. According to Derek, the car has been out of the game since the early 2000s — back in the times when De Soto Speedway was in its heady days.
While its body is rusted, its looks give it the same as the 1974 Chevrolet Camaro. This model year is part of General Motors’ second-generation line from 1970 through 1981. But this wasn’t just a Chevy Camaro. This unit has the US flag drawn on its body and “13x” stickers on the door panels, which tell us this was once a race car. Speaking of which, both door panels are sealed and welded. This is typical of most racing cars. Welding the doors to the panels turns the vehicle into a smoother one-piece vehicle, making the vehicle more aerodynamic on the towbar.
In fact, there is an interesting story about the car. The Camaro was one of the many cars racing in the early 2000s around De Soto Super Speedway in Bradenton, Florida. The classic Camaro had its last appearance from 2000 to 2005 and has remained storied alongside other classics. After a long layover at the famous racetrack, famous YouTuber Cleetus McFarland bought Speedway and brought it back to glory.
Derek took a closer look at the interior of the Chevrolet Camaro and noticed that it had multiple areas of rust, including the hood, quarter panels and roof. Some parts, especially the floor, showed signs of excessive wear, and they almost completely collapsed.
Surprisingly, the chassis faced less damage from rust and most of the heavy-duty frame was still intact. Under the hood, the classic Camaro had a small block engine, which Derek identified as a 5.7-liter L82 V8, based on the “3970014” casting number behind the factory cylinder heads. Aside from dirt and grime, the engine looked sound.
What does it take to bring a classic Camaro racing car to life
As it turns out, James, the owner already has plans to update the classic racing car. He went ahead and bought some spare parts for her. Among the parts he bought were a distributor, performance valve covers, a fuel pump, some breathing, a performance intake manifold, and new Z-bar heads.
To check if the starter would respond and restart the engine, Derek added a 650-amp cold-cranked (CCA) battery, replacing the old and rusty battery. As a general rule, the best battery CCA rating should be close to or greater than the engine’s cubic inch displacement, so this new battery was more than enough to get the job done. For an engine that has been inactive for years, it needs a little convincing. He added some oil directly to the engine to lubricate the cylinders, pistons and rings. After another shot at the ignition, the engine caught fire.
He then removed the heads, replaced the spark plugs, and added a new fuel system and gaskets. Then the project was taken to the garage, where it received new tires and tuning work. After that, the engine made a strong roar, signifying its rebirth. The Camaro ran a tour around the Freedom Factory to confirm its re-emergence once and for all.
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