The other day we took a bone stock ’95 Camaro Z28 and with a few simple bolt-on upgrades added 3.2 craptons of power. Now that we have the going taken care of, we’re going to work on the other two things a car should be good at: stopping and turning. Because even if you’re running on the drag strip, brakes, suspension, and handling are all your friends. Here’s how you can improve them on your Camaro.
The first thing we’ll need to do is stiffen the car. Though we usually think of the time attack track cars as the tight, braced racers, a good drag racer should also be as braced as possible. The more your torque wiggles your car around at launch, the less it’s moving the car forward.
We’ll start with a set of Eibach performance springs, which fit right up to your stock suspension. Eibach uses a progressive spring rate, which means the coils on each spring are different sizes top to bottom. This offers a smoother ride at constant speeds and a tighter, more aggressive stance in the corners. This will also reduce squat and nose dive in the straights. Eibachs will also lower your car slightly, getting rid of your wheel gap and making your Camaro look even more awesome.
It’s pretty strongly recommended that when you replace your springs with a performance set from Eibach, you also replace your shocks and struts with a set more properly attuned to performance duty. Bilstein, one of the most prestigious suspension manufacturers in the world, has that covered. These rear shocks will slide right into place. When putting in these front struts, remember to transfer the spring seats over from your stock struts. They’re meant to stay with the car.
Another great way to stiffen your Camaro is by upgrading your bushings. Bushing legends Energy Suspension has their master Hyperflex bushing kit available in red or black, but we all know red is good for at least 5 horsepower. (This is a joke, guys. It’s a joke.) The master kit includes:
They included those grease tubs because these are polyurethane bushings, which, though they are stiffer and more durable than rubber bushings, need to be greased periodically.
Among those bushings you might have noticed one for the torque arm mount. What is a torque arm, anyway? It’s a ridged rail that runs from your rear differential to near the center of your car. It helps prevent wheel hop and nose dive. Think of it as a fore-aft sway bar. Minnesota-based race parts company QA1 updated the stock torque arm with this new one, which has a stronger structure but still only weighs 16 pounds. This should be strongly considered for drag racing applications, since it can drastically improve your launch.
But at the other end of the strip, you still have to stop. And if you’re building this car for twisty performance, brakes are every bit as important as power, since they allow you to stay on the power for longer. Power Stop makes it easy with their Z26 Street Warrior Kit. This includes four rotors, eight brake pads, and fresh hardware.
The Rotors are Power Stop’s Evolution units. They feature beveled drillings, through to the vented rotor center. The holes and vents help the Evolution to run up to 180 degrees cooler than stock. The rotors also have rounded slots, which sweep brake dust away and ensure a more direct contact patch between the rotors and the pads.
Those pads are Power Stop’s cutting edge Z26 Extreme pads. They’re composed of a carbon fiber and ceramic hybrid designed to resist fade up to 1500 degrees. This is important for the Camaro, which weighs 3500 lbs and generates quite a lot of heat when it needs to stop. They even powder-coated the back plates so they won’t rust.
Power Stop also included premium spring hardware and replacement pin bushings, as well as high-temperature lubricant to prevent vibration noise. They’re like a butler with an engineering doctorate. They just take care of things for you.
A great tip to improve the handling, acceleration, and braking performance of any vehicle is to reduce the weight. Is anyone actually using that back seat? We’ll leave the weight reduction to you, since you might actually use that stereo, or you might just love the exhaust note.
So there we have it, folks. Your 1995 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, a bit chunky and underpowered today in stock form, has become a high-powered, surefooted monster, ready to devour the strip, street, or track; sound like Niagra Falls gargling dynamite; and look good doing it. Click any of the links above to start shopping for your own parts.
Next time on AutoMods, we’ll be working over a 2008 Nissan 350Z, our first import overhaul, and our first reader-submitted selection. And that guy who submitted it? He won a hundred bucks from us! So submit your own ideas for what vehicle you’d like to see AutoModded, and if we pick it, we’ll send you a $100 StreetsideAuto.com gift card! Just drop it in the comments below, and we’ll pick the winner the last Friday of every month at noon central. Happy modding!
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.