Old Dogs and New Tricks
We put 20 hot Chevys through our gauntlet of tests and captured all the high-octane action!
Motion is what defines a car and what drives many of us to pursue this passion, so what better way to embrace the Chevys we love than to turn them loose on a patch of cordoned off asphalt? From the beginning, that was the philosophy behind our series of track days. Find a group of classically-cool Chevys and put them through a series of performance tests against a modern Chevy. After all, when we update our rides the overarching goal is to make them perform as well as, or better, then their 21st century cousins.
Motion is what defines a car...What drives many of us to pursue this passion, so what better way to embrace the Chevys we love than to turn them loose on a patch of cordoned off asphalt? From the beginning, that was the philosophy behind our series of track days. Find a group of classically-cool Chevys and put them through a series of performance tests against a modern Chevy. After all, when we update our rides the overarching goal is to make them perform as well as, or better, then their 21st century cousins.
The 2016 Competition
Generally speaking, we didn’t have a lot of rules. Aside from the tires, all the cars had to “run what ya brung”. In other words, the only changes, other than repairs, allowed to the cars were shock settings and tire pressure changes. The cars had to pass technical inspection and be registered, and insured, for street use. As for drivers, the cars were driven by whoever the various entrants wanted to bring. One car had Al Unser Jr, another had Danny Popp while Kelly Collins (ex-Chevrolet team driver) drove for CPP. Why allow hot shoe drivers? Simple, the driver aspect is never “fair” and we’re here to show off cars, so having a good driver will let the car shine to its full potential. It also helped us nail some great photos and video. So, in terms of drivers, some had pros while others had very little, or no, track time.
This year the challenge moved from Willow Springs to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The challenge consisted of three driving events; slalom, road course, and 100-yard dash. The slalom was a zig-zag run through a 420-foot gauntlet of cones. The road course portion took place at Auto Club Speedways’ infield course where each car will got six chances to nail down their best time. The 100-Yard Dash is a new event. Think of it is a short “street style” drag sprint. Each car launched from a dead stop (on unprepared asphalt) and blasted 100 yards through a set of timing lights. Between these three tests, the cars, and the Falken tires, were pushed hard in terms of forward and lateral performance.
We had wide variety of builds this year from all out track terrors to daily drivers. Cars ranged from ones with a lot of track time logged to fresh rides that have hardly been on the street, much less the track. As often happens, the field was thick with Camaros, since it’s a hugely popular platform to build a performance car on. But, we also had Chevelles, a C2 Corvette, and even a truck in the mix. Over the half the field was brought, or sponsored, by aftermarket automotive companies and the rest of the mix were just local guys that wanted to come play in our sandbox. It made for a great day of Chevys being pushed hard. The carnage was low with one hood flying off and the typical problems of oil control, broken power steering equipment, and heat related issues. Did we mention it was well over 100 degrees? Yea, the asphalt temps were even higher.
AND THE WINNER IS…
In reality they were all winners since they were willing to beat the snot out of their cars in 105-degree heat. But, even though we had a baseline car for comparison, we did have an overall winner of the event. The way it worked was that points were awarded to each car based on how it finished with first place getting a bonus for winning. So, first place received 20 points, second place received 18 points, third 17 points and so on down the list. The points earned in each of the three driving events were added up and in the end the winner, with 55 points, was the race-inspired 1970 Camaro, Rampage, fielded by The Roadster Shop. Second place, with 53 points, was the 1988 third-gen Camaro driven, to the ragged edge, by Danny Popp and brought to the party by Heidts and Hawks Motor Sports. Third place was the Speedway Motors 1970 Camaro driven by legendary Al Unser Junior (45 points) and fourth was nailed down by one of our “average joes”, Efrain Diaz in his yellow 1969 Camaro. The top 5 was rounded out by Speed Tech Performance and their retinal-ripping-red ’69 Camaro. Each car’s individual times will be reviewed in full features we’ll be rolling out over the next few months.70
Heidts Entry - '70 Camaro
This event had no prize money, no trophies, just a day of fun with some good-natured bragging rights on the line. The biggest surprise of the day was how well all the 40-year-old modified Chevys did against the new-gen Camaro SS baseline ride.
I guess you can teach some old dogs a new trick or two.
Full Article and pictures checkout 2016 Super-chevy Muscle Car Challenge