Kits let Camaros multi-task
Suspension modifications allow cars to be used for drag racing, autocrossing and for daily street driving
By Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit New
Get 500 people and their late-model Chevrolet Camaros together, and it can be an eye-opening experience, even for someone well-versed in such things.
It was about a year ago that Mike Copeland, operations manager for Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, attended an event in Arizona hosted by Camaro5.com, a website focused on the rebirth of Chevrolet's modern muscle car.
"It was amazing to me to look at the demographics," Copeland said. "There were people there from 22 years of age through 60 years of age and of their 500 Camaros, there couldn't have been more than two that were still stock. Everybody was modifying them."
That is good news for companies such as Lingenfelter. The company has been producing high-performance parts for Camaros, Corvettes and other vehicles for going on 35 years. Based in Decatur, Ind., Lingenfelter Performance Engineering was founded by the late drag racer John Lingenfelter and is now run by his cousin Ken, a Detroit-area businessman and car collector.
"They sell 100,000 Camaros a year," Copeland said. "There's a large number of those people who are willing to modify their cars."
But, he added, where in decades past someone might modify his or her Camaro specifically for autocrossing or drag racing, now those car owners want to be able to do both exercises — and still use their car for daily driving.
To help make that possible, Lingenfelter has launched its 5th Gen Camaro Drag Race Suspension Kit, which is available in two versions. The kit is designed for 2010 or newer Camaros, cars, Copeland said, that their owners aren't ready to or cannot afford to turn into all-out racers.
One version of the suspension kit retails for $4,495 and includes Lingenfelter by Pedders double adjustable drag racing shocks and custom Lingenfelter by Pedders coil springs for front and rear wheels.
The complete package, priced at $6,750, adds several special rear suspension parts: adjustable trailing arms, adjustable forward tie rods, adjustable stabilizer bar end links, a 1-inch tubular adjustable anti-sway bar, differential bushings, aluminum rear cradle bushings, and an underbody chassis brace.
"Typically, when you design a drag race suspension, it's only good for drag racing," said Copeland. "But these are double adjustable so you can still have a good handling street-driving car and go to the autocross one weekend and to the drag strip the next weekend.
"If you were going to do a full-out road-racing car, these are not the shocks for you. But if you want to road race one week and drag race the next week, these are for you."
Yes, he said, engineering such a setup was a lot more work to extend shock travel and fine-tune shock valving. The hardware is designed for standard-weight cars (not for specially lightened, racing-only modified vehicles).
It also enables ride height changes without affecting spring preload or overall shock travel.
Copeland said Lingenfelter equipped its 2010 Camaro "shop car" with all the competitive aftermarket suspension kits. "We were able to make the car two-tenths of a second faster just by changing to our shocks and struts," he said.
"Typically, people with new Camaros focus on one of two things — performance or aesthetics. People who want the look will do a body kit and wheels and tires, and then suspension. People who focus on performance will do engine upgrades — such as superchargers — and then they'll typically go the suspension next."
Either way, he said, Lingenfelter's suspension setup can be part of the package.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at email@example.com
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2...#ixzz1zqTJRPPj