IN FOR A POUND

“Some­thing was des­tined to die.”—anony­mous

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT: Ro McGone­gal | PHO­TOS: Dominick Dam­ato

At first, Black­dog Speed Shop wasn’t in­ter­ested in tra­di­tional hot rods per se. They were in­ter­ested in fast cars, as in race cars, and they had a nat­u­ral bent for road course are­nas. They got their beaks wet in 2002 when they ran Corvettes in SCCA and World Chal­lenge events. They got bet­ter. They got ballsier. They got so good peo­ple started com­ing to them to build their race cars … and an­other busi­ness was sum­mar­ily cre­ated. Con­cur­rently, they had been bring­ing hot rods into the world as well.

With their su­pe­rior scratch-build skills they can make any­thing from Show­room Stock T1 C5 Corvettes to Speed GT C6 Corvettes. Now they con­cen­trate on the Pirelli World Chal­lenge se­ries in GTS Sprint, build­ing and rac­ing sixth-gen Ca­maro GT4.Rs. They’ve won that

cham­pi­onship at least three times.

If it oc­curs that the two busi­nesses of­ten col­lide, you’d be right. A fly on the wall told us this story. In 2008, Black­dog made the de­ci­sion to build a Pro Tour­ing hot rod and based it on a Dy­na­corn ’69 Ca­maro body. Some­times it’s cheaper

and quicker to use com­plete sys­tems wrought by top-notch ven­dors than to spend the time de­vel­op­ing, test­ing, and build­ing your own stuff. When the Dy­na­corn project be­gan, Black­dog im­me­di­ately sourced the chas­sis and sus­pen­sion bits from Detroit Speed (DSE). For the bul­let, they called Good­win Com­pe­ti­tion in Omro, Wis­con­sin. Good­win rose up with a bold LS variant.

The DSE sus­pen­sion was be­ing in­stalled when the pro­to­type 510-incher came through the dock door. So that the Black­dog Ca­maro could juke like a pere­grine fal­con, the DSE foun­da­tion in­cludes Koni coilover shock ab­sorbers and is braced by gordo Brem­bos, 14-inch plates with six- and four-pis­ton calipers. Its over­size rollers are light­weight one-piece Forge­line CF1 Black Chrome rims turn­ing 295/35R18 and 355/30R19 Pirelli P Ze­ros.

“The team had a race-proven se­quen­tial gear­box to put be­hind it,” said the fly. “Within a few weeks they had a roller … and just like that the work came to a halt. It seemed as quickly as the project had got­ten started it now seemed des­tined to die. The pro­fes­sional rac­ing side of the busi­ness needed ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. As race wins started pil­ing up and then

the cham­pi­onships, the Ca­maro got pushed into a cor­ner and cov­ered up.”

Sev­eral years went by, more team mem­bers got hired, and in May 2014 the Dy­na­corn Ca­maro was un­cov­ered for what was sup­posed to be the third and fi­nal time. The team de­cided to de­but the car at the Chicago World of Wheels in March of the fol­low­ing year. That left them 10 months to com­plete; a rel­a­tively short pe­riod to build a com­plete car. This re­stric­tive time frame meant that every­thing had to go right—no paint jail, no up­hol­stery jail, and no late changes in di­rec­tion.

As the sum­mer was com­ing to an end, the fab­ri­ca­tion work was con­clud­ing and the dead­line seemed achiev­able. Then, an­other curve­ball. The team needed to jump on a SEMA show build: the first-ever fifth-gen Ca­maro Z/28 con­vert­ible. For the next six weeks ev­ery­one thrashed. And then they took the car to Vegas. Guess what hap­pened next.

They rolled out the Dy­na­corn stepchild, pulled the tarp off, and pro­ceeded to beat on it once again. Now, time was so short it was like wait­ing for the ex­e­cu­tioner, but within an un­in­ter­rupted 10-month win­dow they man­aged to french the bumpers, build cus­tom ex­haust out­lets in the

rear quar­ters, fab­ri­cate a cold-air box, re-cre­ate the rear spoiler, and many more cus­tom touches.

They eas­ily for­sook the un­con­ven­tional se­quen­tial trans­mis­sion that was in the orig­i­nal plans and subbed a very con­ven­tional TRE­MEC T-56 sup­ported by the rare DSE weld-in X-mem­ber.

The bell­wether 510-cu­bic-inch long-stroke en­gine devel­op­ment goes back nearly 10 years. It’s based on a sleeved Rac­ing Head Ser­vice alu­minum cylin­der case; a Cal­lies ro­tat­ing assem­bly; CNC-prepped heads; and a splen­did, iso­lated-run­ner in­duc­tion man­i­fold. The cylin­der heads are cus­tom Brodix LS7 cast­ings with ma­chin­ing-delete items so Good­win can make the changes they pre­fer.

They are CNC-ported in-house with pro­pri­etary, ded­i­cated port size and shape ex­clu­sive to this en­gine pack­age. In­take valves are 2.25-inch and the ex­hausts are 1.60-inch and sit­u­ated within 72cc com­bus­tion cham­bers. The valvetrain con­sists of a cus­tom rocker shaft sys­tem with Good­win stands and Crower stain­less steel rock­ers, Good­win/Howards cus­tom camshaft with Good­win-de­signed me­chan­i­cal rollers. Be­fore it left Good­win, the pack­age was tested and val­i­dated on the in-house Spin­tron de­vice. You wouldn’t be­lieve how much noise those parts make when that Spin­tron spins.

One more word from the fly on the wall: “All cars go through a shake­down pe­riod and this one was no dif­fer­ent. We have a cou­ple of pro­fes­sional driv­ers on hand at the shop for ex­pert ad­vice … or to be an in­stant wheel­man. At a lo­cal track the car was very quick and our driver re­ported that the 510 was awe­some. Later that day, a piece of wind­shield trim sep­a­rated from the car and flew off.” The team mem­bers looked at one an­other with small, guilty smiles. Then one of them said “some­thing was des­tined to die.”

The fly twitched and then buzzed off crazy like it had a snoot­ful of glue fumes … CHP

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