SEMA 2015: Roadster Shop Rampage Camaro

IMG_3550Roadster Shop is well-known for creating some of the most unique, innovative, and clean builds in the industry. When we happened upon this wide-body Z28 road-racer at the 2015 SEMA Show, we had to have a closer look. Defying convention is the name of the game, and this Camaro certainly doesn’t follow the pack. This 1971 Camaro started out like many other muscle car builds with a rough shell and stock drivetrain. Turning this pile of American muscle into a handling machine was no small task, and following the road less-traveled certainly paid off in the end.

The concept for this build was derived from a customer’s desire to have a road-racing toy that would stand out in a crowd. Jeremy Gerber of Roadster Shop, said “I like second-generation Camaros, I like 911s from the 1980s, and they kind of just joined together here.”

The Body

IMG_3514The panel work on this Z28 features extensive custom composite work. Fender flares were molded on the car from hand-shaped foam. The front splitter and rear diffuser were mocked out of wood before going out for carbon replication.

IMG_3506The interior sheetmetal was rolled and formed to create decorative and structure-rigidifying beads along the floor, transmission tunnel, and console. “The car is probably 75 percent carbon fiber,” Gerber said. “The nose, fenders, flares, splitter, hood … the only thing that’s not really carbon are the doors and the body shell. We worked with Prototype Composites and they did all the carbon work.”

Suspension

IMG_3512The suspension on this second generation Camaro has come a long way from leaf-springs and monotube shocks. A custom push-rod actuated system utilizes Penske coilovers and in-house made billet linkages. According to Gerber, “Everything is rocker-arm front and rear. We designed that all in-house, and they are all billet rockers that we’ve machined. The coilovers are Penske’s shock, the same Formula 1 cars are running. The suspension is still basically the same as all our stock, Pro Touring-type cars, just bulked-out a little wider.”

Unlike the original straight-axle rear this Camaro came equipped with from factory, the folks at the Roadster Shop knew that for true on-track handling characteristics they needed to go independent.

“In the back, the independent rear is our design,” Gerber said. “It uses a C5/C6 Corvette spindle, but other than that it uses a 9-inch Ford center-section with a C&R gear set in it. It’s the same independent rear that we use in all our road cars, just a little more width on it.” Bolted to all that custom suspension are a set of Forgeline GA3R wheels, 18×12 inch in the front, and 19×12 in the rear.

Powerplant

IMG_3510“The powerplant is a Thompson-built LS7 that makes 750 horsepower, and has a Jericho five-speed dog-box. It revs quick and it shifts quick,” Gerber said.

Looking under the hood it is clearly visible this is no ordinary LS7. “With those individual throttle bodies on it we wanted to do something that would still house a filter, so we made those little aluminum air-boxes,” he continued.

IMG_3519“The engine management at and the harness is all Motec. There is a camera in it that ties-in and can give you real-time data displays,” explained Gerber. The exhaust system was constructed to compliment the equally exotic individual throttle body intake.”

“One of the goals was to make this car sound as nasty as we could, to get the most exotic sound out of it so we installed 180-degree headers that run through some tiny Coast Fab mufflers that are eight inches long, so it sounds like straight pipes,” Gerber said.IMG_3504

This car can be studied for hours as an example of fine bodywork, custom fabrication, and aesthetics. We are excited to see what projects Roadster Shop comes up with next.

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About the author

Trevor Anderson

Trevor Anderson comes from an eclectic background of technical and creative disciplines. His first racing love can be found in the deserts of Baja California. In 2012 he won the SCORE Baja 1000 driving solo from Ensenada to La Paz in an aircooled VW. Trevor is engaged with hands-on skill sets such as fabrication and engine building, but also the theoretical discussion of design and technology. Trevor has a private pilot's license and is pursuing an MFA in fine art - specifically researching the aesthetics of machines, high performance materials and their social importance to enthusiast culture.
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