Project ZL-70: Chevrolet Camaro – The House Of Muscle Ep. 7

Project ZL-70: Chevrolet Camaro – The House Of Muscle Ep. 7


(car engine revving) (soft music playing) – So there you are. You’re sitting inside of your
beautiful 1970 Chevelle SS that you’ve just built
into a pro touring car. You’ve dropped in a 454 free block, a five speed transmission, and some big ol’ brakes to help you stop. You also updated the
suspension with the hopes that you’ll be able to go around corners. Then you drove it, and you realized that, while you’ve built an outstanding car, what you actually built was a restomod and not the corner carving pro touring car you actually wanted. To top that off, you then
found out about this event called The Optima Ultimate
Street Car Challenge, an event that encompasses
things like a road course, a stop start challenge and autocross and a couple of other events. You also realized that the
car that you just built would not be competitive. (engine revving) So what did you do? Well, you also realized
that a friend of yours had a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
SS that he never finished. So, good person as you are,
you took it off his hands. And you decided to build
yourself a real pro touring car. Ladies and gentlemen,
welcome to Project ZL-70. (laughing) (car engine revving loudly) Making the decision to
build an entirely new car when you’ve just finished one
is not an easy thing to do. It comes down to time,
it comes down to money, it comes down to expectations,
but more importantly it comes down to kind of a plan of attack. Owner Nick Relampagos,
when he built this car, he knew he needed to be competitive. So before he did anything,
he laid out a plan. He said, “This is the engine I want, “this is the suspension,
wheels, tires, brakes.” He talked to other people
that competed in these events, in autocrosses, in road
courses, he did his research. And when he started to build the car, this thing came from a stripped
shell to this in 18 months. – When I first started to build the car, it was still a shell. I wanted an LS based engine. But I didn’t want to
keep chasing horsepower, so I figured let me start off
with a super charged engine and build off of that. – And one thing that I want to say, before all you commenters
jump all over this car, Nick built most of this car himself. In fact, he did some of the bodywork, he did not do the interior,
but as far as the mechanics, as far as the engine, as
far as all that other stuff, he built it laying on
his back in his garage with the help of friends and his family. – So, I built the engine, put a cam in it, put some smaller pulleys
in it, bigger injectors, different screens, and just necessary mods to get your horsepower up. An old pulley went there, but I used another from the exhaust. I bought this car as a shell. So basically the front end was off and the sub-frame was there,
there was no interior, I didn’t even have a back seat. As soon as I got it to my house, I started with the mini tubs. So I cut out the rear
mini tubs, widened them. I used the Detroit Speed mini tubs and I got the rear end all situated. And then I started concentrating
on the front suspension, where I used a speed set
control arms and spindles, and started building from there. – When Nick designed this car, he didn’t want to stray that much from the stock overall appearance. You got to hand it to the
Chevy designers, I mean, they kind of crushed the
design on this thing. He wanted to keep it solo and basic while still putting his own stamp on it. The original color of this car when released in 1970 was Hugger Orange. Nick wanted to stay with that theme, so as opposed to painting it Hugger, he painted it Inferno
Orange from a 2012 Camaro. Look at the carbon stripes on this thing. Before you think that it’s a wrap, or it’s a whatever, it’s not. Nick knew that if he was
going to be competitive with his car he wanted to drop weight, so like all the carbon fiber
bits all over this thing add up to just over, I think,
200 pounds or 250 pounds worth of weight saving. Which when you’re racing, is a lot. (old fashioned music) – I had a choice when I
was first building the car, whether I should just do a wrap or get the carbon fiber panels. Spend the money now, buy once, cry once, and get the real carbon fiber. It turned out great because I
get a lot of great comments. I get a lot of questions. Is that real carbon fiber or is it a wrap? And they look very closely,
touch it, they want to feel that whether it’s a decal or not. – You can actually feel the paint coating the carbon fiber as
opposed to the other way around. – [Nick] I’m very proud to have it because it is a very expensive product. There’s carbon fiber
front nose, wheel wells, hood, trunk lid. A lot of different carbon
fiber pieces on this car. It sets the car apart. (engine revving) – He also wanted to be
able to remove heat. So, he was pretty brave
because he took a saw and cut a big hole in
the carbon fiber hood and put the scoop in. I don’t know if I would
have the balls to do that. I’m glad that he did it
because it works really well and you can actually see
the heat vacating from it. But it also adds to the racy
look and feel of the car. – We didn’t drive it until
it was almost fully built. My first impression of the car was, it drives like a regular car. And I had to wait a little
while to get the car tuned. And once I got the car tuned
it was a different animal. I mean, there was just
horsepower everywhere. It was just spilling horsepower. I was pretty shocked
about what I had built because it was a lot of
horsepower that I didn’t expect. The supercharged engine is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Because with a regular
normally aspirated engine, sometimes you’re searching for horsepower. You’re always searching for horsepower. But with a supercharged
engine, it’s all there. And sometimes it’s a little too much. The horsepower that this car has now is 682 horsepower at the rear wheels with 645 foot pounds of torque. It is a fast car. – I would go so far as to say, if we could get our hands on a new ZL1, and run that together with this, I’m pretty sure the difference
would not be that great. And when I say difference, I
don’t know which car would win. That’s how good this car is. I mean, it’s really good. I mean. Not for nothing, but you take it, you pitch this car into a corner, there is no hint of under-steer
or over-steer at all. The car just grips and goes
so you don’t have any qualms about like, you know,
like really jumping on it. Now again, because of the
amount of power in this car, you always have to be cognizant
of your right foot, right? You treat this gas pedal
like you have an egg under it because 650 pound feet
of torque in the rear, don’t be that guy. Don’t be that guy that
handfists it out of a corner and then all of a sudden your
backwards and you’re like, “Oh my god, I probably should
have been driving a Mustang.” Cause every Mustang video
goes into the woods. – I set out to build a
street car that I can race. It’s no fun just taking a car to the track and not showing other people. I like to go to the car shows, but now I’d rather take
it to a race track. I just wanted to build a
car that could compete. Early on in my childhood I used to watch a lot of NASCAR racing and say, “Wow, one of these days I want
to drive a car on a track.” So I started doing local
autocrosses and then road courses and I started doing the Optima Ultimate Streetcar Competitions. I learned a lot from a
lot of great autocrossers at the events and they
are so willing to share their experiences and
they help so much learning about how to autocross and how to race. And I got hooked. – Ladies and gentleman, just so you know, if you build a track car and a race car, you are going to be getting
suspensions like this. Because this is what keeps your tires planted on the ground when
you’re going around corners. – As far as physical
demands on driving this car, it all depends on how much of
a race suspension you have. If you have heavy-rate
springs and if you have very tight shocks, it does take a lot of strength
to turn the steering wheel and make sure that your
car is going right. And at the end of a race
you’re pretty much tired. – We bounce around because race car. If this thing was a cream-puff, well, we probably wouldn’t be driving it. This car right here does everything that Nick said it was
going to do and more. The key to doing that
was the plan that he made before he actually built the car. He didn’t just go to a catalog and just start ordering parts. He really did do his due
diligence and his research. And he crafted an amazing machine. – [Nick] I like somebody
that can actually go out, and get a shell, and build their car, and go out and race it, and
have other people enjoy it when they go to a car
show, and things like that. – The wheels themselves are beautiful. They’re gun-metal gray. They were sourced from Forgeline and they are massive, right? We’re talking 18x11s in the
front and 18x12s in the rear. Tires are BFG Rival Ss, which
is a really nice, kind of, autocross/track tire that you
could also use on the street. Really wide tread blocks
has a nice amount of grip. Now in regards to the size, they’re huge. 315/30s up front, 335/30s in the rear. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s
steamroller size tires. This car with 335, right? So if I stop on the side
of the road like this, this is a Camaro, it’s
not really a small car. I make a U-turn full lock, full lock. This thing has the turning
radius of a smart car. It’s kind of ridiculous
when you think about it because I really don’t know any cars with that much rubber
upfront that has the capacity to turn like that. There you go. – When I set out to design the interior, number one, it had to be a race seat. Something that really holds you in. Fortunately, I got a set of
Recaro’s that had headrests. The 1970 Camaro, there
was a one-year only seat that they had with short a headrest, so I wanted to incorporate
that look into this car. – The cabin is just as tastefully done as the exterior of the car. That’s really not an easy thing to do. But Nick has managed to
integrate everything where it’s just kind of a very nice
and tasteful place to be. – I took the Recaro seats
and a friend of mine in South San Francisco,
Danny at DJ Designs, he upholstered the whole car. So he did all the interior,
he did the suede headliner, and one of the other
trick options we did was when we mini tubbed the car, we had to shorten the backseat as well, but in doing so, there
were some plastic panels on the sides that would no longer fit. What he came up with was
let’s wrap that in upholstery. When people look inside the car, they actually see that
massive mini tub in there. And it became a design element as well. – So anytime you build a car, I think, one of the things that people overlook is how to make a really good package, that even though you’re going
to take it on a race car, it’s still enjoyable
to drive on the street. And Nick has really managed
to do that with this car. Oh, the other thing is, as a big dude, this car has a ton of room. I have head room, I have leg room. My legs don’t butt up against anything. It’s comfortable. It really is something that you can get in and drive 300-400 miles in a day and not be totally fatigued. Nick is fortunate, he doesn’t
have to compromise, right? He can actually afford
to do a car like this and build exactly what he wanted. But just make sure that when
you guys look at this car and look at other cars
that we’re building, that if you take one thing away,
it’s to set up a game plan. Do that correctly and you’ll build exactly the car that you want. Just like this. Cause it really is that good. – When you drive this car in the street, you get a lot of thumbs up. “Hey, great car. “Love that car. “I used to have one in high
school,” things like that. So if I were to die tomorrow, would I know I built the best car I could? A lot of people might
not have that chance. Sometimes they’ll say, “Hey,
I’ll build that car next year.” And all of a sudden they get sick and they never get that chance. – [Mike] Yeah, I could drive
this pretty much all day. Before I leave today, I want
you to think about something. I want you to think about
how the license plate on the back of this car says ZL 70. Then I want you to think
about how you can walk into a Chevrolet dealer and
drop your money down on a brand new ZL1 Camaro. Both cars, 650 plus horsepower. Both cars are tuned for the track. And both cars sound like the gods of war when they open the taps. But you have to ask yourself one question, and that question is do you
build it or do you buy it? I know which I’m leaning towards. Can you guys see those? You getting turkeys? Like this is why we don’t
cannonball on this show. Cause if you, he just mooned us. Cause when you come around
a corner, and you see 60 pounds of turkey in front of you, you hit it, that’s not good. (car engine revving)

100 Replies to “Project ZL-70: Chevrolet Camaro – The House Of Muscle Ep. 7”

  1. This the weakest part of MT. Stop playing on the romance of muscle cars. We get it they're cool and tough to build. You look like your about cry during every Segway.
    Get a grip.

  2. Nice episode!
    Can't say I'm a fan of the Camaros in general but this build actually makes it look good.
    I mean, everything has been thought of, all details are there and that makes the car look likes it's supposed to look (and sound, nice rumble). Awesome job!

  3. Such an awesome car! If only I could have found out about it one month earlier. Motor Trend should take notice! I'd be willing to pay my hard earned money to view videos just like this before they are posted to YouTube if such a service existed.

  4. Sounds like the only thing it's missing is the 2 stage flat coil springs…that give a better ride on the street,but bottom out and give great handling on the track. I couldn't see if the shocks were adjustable? QA-1's would have been my choice (great range of valving).

    Have to wait until GM's magnetic ride shocks hit the aftermarket.

  5. Love it. This is a real mans care. Beta-males buying Honda civics or Ford Focus' these days ….lol….off the floor "race cars" are for douche bags.

  6. Please stop recording inside cars with such horrible exhaust drone sound. I cant watch this with the loud Hummmmmmmm wile your trying to talk.

  7. A '70 Camaro is just beautiful. Nicely done. Great hanging with you at the ZL1-1LE launch at Area 27 track in BC, Canada, Mike!

  8. The camera that recorded the Camaro on the track makes it look like the video and the car were finished in 2005

  9. I knew I seen this car Before! I was on New Montgomery on my way to school at the Academy of arts when I saw an Inferno Orange 1970 Camaro. I took a pic and posted it to my InstaGram @bluedreamer86

  10. The carbon fiber body parts for the Camaro are all Anvil, you can get them at 1ShopAuto (240 lb reduction)

  11. ¡Chingado, Lightning! that's a heck of a job you did there!
    too bad they picked a crap road, more waves than the Pacific. you got a license plate light out there…

  12. love the show and excellent job on showing that muscle cars are still revelant and ahead of the game. the young generation of today are fools who know nothing about performance and look at the car scene and it is hurting bad due to idiots who spend $100.000 on cars that don't even stay on the market long. look at those piece of junk hypercars all that money spent on bullshit technology because neither of them never went over 100.000 miles and the maintenance is laughable and most cars with the proper tuning and engine optimization and most exotics are put to shame. the import tuner scene is dead because it went from going fast and enjoying the hobby to now the jackass stance movement and loud ass paint jobs that are eye sores. the sports cars of today are computer controlled and have no driving feel and most of them can't even go to the track because the car dealership even got it where the warranty on the car gets voided and it even ain't worth the hassle.

  13. The owner seems like a real nice guy who built ( and had the funds through hard work) to build a real nice car.
    Good on him.

  14. Be nice if I could hear what you are saying in the video. Post editing can easily lift the voice in a noisy background.

  15. What a great freakin build this man has built well thought out beautifully executed. Nick Relampagos you are a master craftsman, having a game plan and the research, nicely done. It is so smart to purchase of all the right parts, once is genius. Buy once, cry once now that's a mantra to live by.
    I absolutely love the integration of the carbon fiber pieces both raw and painted. The drivetrain sounds insane, I know it's a race/street car I would definitely have to have a softer suspension set up my back and kidneys would be screaming.
    Well done Mike Musto and House of Muscle

  16. The early 70's fuel or energy crisis…whatever which one, was total BS then and did to some degree advance automotive technologies. EPA regulations came around about the same time….oh how convenient. Now the auto industries has to contend with another dark cloud of BS: Global Warming or (because that was proven BS) Climate Change. Automobiles, in America and around the World represent a special type of freedom. Everyone needs to fight any type of suppression of that freedom every chance they get!!!

  17. Even though Nick is obviously a well rounded car guy, the knowledge that others were willing to share can't be overstated.

  18. GOOD TO SEE THIS GUY DOING VIDEOS AGAIN. I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED AT BIG MUSCLE ON DRIVE???…whoops caps lock was on

  19. Love your final thoughts.. I built not bought mine the acknowledgement at shows and roll in's says I made the right decision.

  20. Mike Musto is so meh… and what's with the shit music playing over him talking. I guess it's not that big of a deal since I'd rather not hear him speak.

  21. Car is bad ass. Love it. But let's be real this car wasn't built for $70k. This is easily over $100k with all the parts in this thing.

  22. What a beautifully executed and well thought out car, every component and design cue just fits even the slightly recessed front grille… subtle and a testament to one man’s vision! I would not change anything other than a little bit more of a softer ride, at my age I would need a kidney belt judging by how Mike Musto is bouncing around in the interior shots…..but it is a race/street car so you gotta compromise a little comfort for performance. Well done!

  23. Musto is Italian and it's cool..but i prefer more V8 roar and less bla-bla-bla..just my opinion..CIAO USA! ! ! 😁🙋 viva huge American cars!!!

  24. Why don’t you guys get newer corvettes and camaros and put them up against these cars. Also do the same performance tests y’all do to them to these pro touring cars

  25. I’ve watch this episode three times. Once on motor trend twice on YouTube. One you’re a classy dude. You’ve got the best job in the world. And at the very end when you talked about that turkey I laughed for about 20 minutes! Your friend and fan Tim

  26. When people want to know if your car is fast, its easy to quote a horsepower number. That's great for a straightline–tho power to weight is even better, as the Chevelle pointed out. But if you want to run in circles looking for the finish line, then cornering is where its at–you keep the average speed high. But people can't translate brakes and A-arm designs into a speed number. I like this video because it also pointed out the difference between a stiff Pro Touring suspension, and a resto-mod suspension. The latter is nicer for a daily driver that you may want to drive con brio. The stiff Pro Touring is great for a racetrack car you may drive to the race track.

  27. rich people: I wish I had the time to do that

    poor people: I wish I had the money to do that

    me: should I paint my truck (that color)? nah I'll keep looking

  28. First I want die cast the model kits of this car and then I wanna be out. A suspension tire package. Better than this one under a 74 nova

  29. That's one of my favorite muscle cars ,hard to improve on the looks,but he was able .great job, excellent choice of powertrain.

  30. If Chevrolet had used this body style and kept it to scale they'd be heads up with Mustang sales now. It is a much better style than the box they ended up with. Nice car.

  31. Excellent build nice old muscle with new touches,,,
    One good question can you Make the SPEEDOMETER,,,
    Go AROUND ?????

  32. That car is beautiful. Wish had the means and knowledge to to do this. He did a DAM good job.

  33. Man this show ain't bad,but it reminds me too much of t.v. an I hate tv n I know I'm not alone. Theirs a reason Utube is so popular, too bad motor trend doesn't understand that

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