Chevrolet’s 302 Camaro SEMA Show Car

November 2, 2000

What do you do when you have a 1999 Camaro SS on hand that has incurred some undercarriage damage? You turn it into the Camaro 302, which makes its debut at the 2000 SEMA show in Las Vegas this week. While it is not targeted for production, it is an exercise in what can be done to an aluminum block 302 cu. in. engine, the same displacement as the original Camaro Z28.

2000 302 SEMA CamaroClick to view photo gallery

A LITTLE HISTORY ON THE ORIGINAL CAMARO Z28

In 1967, the American muscle car was on top of the world, experiencing its heyday. Perhaps no Muscle Car captured the imagination like the first-generation Chevy Camaro. When Chevrolet wanted to take Camaro racing in the SCCA’s Trans-Am Series, the folks in the race shop faced a problem: they had the car, but they didn’t have an engine. The Trans-Am Series had a displacement limit of 305 cubic inches, and they didn’t have anything close to that. They toyed with the idea of using the 283, but instead they created a new engine by mating the four-inch bore block of the 327 (and the 350) with the three-inch stroke crank of the 283, and just barely making the Trans-Am racing limit at 302.4 cubic inches. This new Camaro with the 302 cid small-block V8 went into limited production and was named after its assigned Regular Package Option (RPO) code designation Z28 and a legend was born. Camaro Z28s won the Trans-Am Series championship for two years running, in 1968 and 1969.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

In the spirit of that original 1967-69 Camaro Z28, Westech Automotive and Chevrolet have built the new 302 Camaro, debuting at the 2000 SEMA show. With a high-revving 302 cid (5.0-liter) LS1-based V8, the new 302 is high performance and all business. The 302 Camaro’s V8, a descendant of the original, has a host of modern, computer-age technologies on board to help it recreate the magic of the muscular original. The engine creates a whopping 435 horsepower at 6000 rpm and is mated to a blueprinted T-56 six-speed transmission, with a heavy-duty 4.10:1 limited slip differential. The engine features specially modified LS6 cylinder heads, custom-built pistons and lightweight rods. Its high-flow air intake and mass air sensor helps keep breathing steady, fast and furious. SLP Engineering (which worked with Chevrolet and Pontiac to build the Camaro SS and Firebird Firehawk, among other high-performance vehicles) contributed a lightweight flywheel, aluminum differential cooler, and that heavy-duty axle assembly. The 302 also features a carbon fiber driveshaft and the chassis has been stiffened with Hotchkis springs, sway bars, rear control arms, panhard bar and strut tower brace. Koni double adjustable shocks and Baer Racing 14-inch cross-drilled brake rotors and PBR calipers help with cornering at speed. The 302′s interior is complete with an L.G. Motorsports roll bar, special Recaro seats with five-point safety belts and a Billet Hurst six-speed shifter. The exterior is graced with an SLP Bow Tie grille assembly and also special striping and “302″ badging. The car rides on 18-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels shod with B.F. Goodrich Z-rated ultra-high performance tires.

302 Camaro SEMA Show Car Specifications

CONFIGURATION

  • Four-passenger, two-door coupe
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Front-engine
  • 101.1-in wheelbase

ENGINE

  • Aluminum block 302 cid (5.0 Liter) LS1-based V8 engine (Westech Automotive)
  • Specially modified LS6 cylinder heads (Advanced Airflow Engineering)
  • Custom-built JE Pistons, lightweight Dyer Rods
  • Solid roller camshaft, springs, lifters, and retainers (Comp Cams)
  • 1.9 ratio roller rockers (Jesel)
  • Underdrive pulleys
  • High flow air intake and mass air sensor
  • TTS Power System headers, cat-back exhaust and computer calibration

DRIVETRAIN

  • Lightweight flywheel (SLP)
  • HD Center Force clutch and pressure plate
  • Carbon fiber driveshaft
  • Heavy duty axle assembly with 4.10:1 ratio (SLP)
  • Aluminum differential cooler (SLP)

CHASSIS

  • Hotchkis springs, sway bars, rear control arms, panhard bar, strut tower brace and subframe connectors
  • Baer Racing 14″ cross drilled brake rotors and PBR calipers
  • Koni double adjustable shocks
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