Unveiled at SEMA 2013, Pure Vision's monster Camaro blew everyone's minds and also took out a GM design award. Packing a 1400hp twin-turbo mill wrapped in carbon-fibre body panels and on-board tech to rival a modern supercar, the mighty Chevy was actually built to be a horsepower-heavy grand tourer
This article on Ron's Camaro was originally published in the February 2014 issue of Street Machine
This is the car everyone at SEMA was talking about. A year after unveiling their Martini T5-R Mustang to critical acclaim (SM, Feb 2013), Steve Strope and his Pure Vision team were back in 2013 to uncover this ’72 Chevy Camaro and blow everyone’s minds.
And they didn’t disappoint, taking home the prestigious GM Best Vehicle of Show award to sit alongside last year’s Ford Best in Show award in their Simi Valley headquarters. While they looked to the past for the T5-R Mustang in 2012, they looked into the future for 2013, reimagining the ’72 muscle car as a long-distance grand tourer to rival a new Aston Martin – the super-fast, sleek kilometre-eaters from England known best for being the choice of Bond, James Bond.
Called ‘Camaro TT’, it started with a bloke called Ron Lallo, who asked Steve to build him a bitchin’ street machine he could wail on during regular trips to Las Vegas from his home in Bakersfield, California. “Our goal was to make the Camaro a comfortable long-hauler that could cruise from So Cal to Vegas at a moment’s notice, keep a blistering pace and do it in style,” says Strope.
“We weren’t trying to build a Pro Touring car or something to weave in and out of cones, even though the suspension will allow that. We were trying to make a classy, freeway flying, well-mannered and obviously high-powered vehicle for Ron.”
Pure Vision fulfilled the horsepower overload requirement by calling Tom Nelson of Nelson Race Engines. NRE have become famous for their powerplants that turn out horsepower figures with four numbers before the decimal point, and Ron’s ’72 is no different with a twin-turbo 427-cube small-block Chevy that makes 1200hp on pump fuel and 1400 on race gas.
Built off a Dart iron block, it has forged internals and Brodix 11x CNC-ported heads packing super-exotic Inconel valves. The turbos are twin Turbonetics 72mm units on one of NRE’s patented Mirror Image high-mount exhaust manifold set-ups, packing twin Tial 44mm external wastegates.
The fat water-to-air intercooler meant the engine had to be mounted 3in rearward. It is fed from a tank behind the passenger guard, while the driver's guard hides the power steering reservoir
“The jewel of the car is the engine,” Strope offers. “It features NRE’s Alien intake manifold, with the throttlebody, 16 fuel injectors and fuel regulators all contained inside.”
A Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine belt system made packaging the turbos and wastegates easier
The Camaro’s stock fuel tank was replaced with a custom stainless steel unit by Rick’s Tanks packing twin Aeromotive fuel pumps – an integral feature of the NRE engine set-up, as Steve explains: “There are literally two fuel tanks inside the one original tank, with one fuel pump in each tank. The first pump provides fuel to the first set of eight injectors, allowing you to drive around with a 500hp small-block Chevy that is very easy to drive and manageable.
“When the ECU reads boost is being made by the turbos it turns on the other pump and eight injectors. All this technology allows this vehicle to be extremely high-powered but still driveable and safe to be driven around the roads and highways.”
The NRE 427 was set back into the chassis three-inches, while the custom carbon-fibre nose has been pushed forward 3.5-inches, allowing for the water-to-air intercooler and custom Ron Davis radiator. Along with the nose cone, the inner guards were also remade in carbon-fibre by Anvil Auto, along with the bonnet, bumpers, chin spoiler, boot lid and rear spoiler. With low weight and high-strength, it drags the old Camaro into the 21st century, where most supercars pack swathes of CF construction.
“We tried not to go over the top with the body. I like to keep the car’s silhouette honest – everyone can still recognise it as a second-gen Camaro,” says Steve. “The rear roll pan is also modified with exhaust cutouts from a late 60s Shelby Mustang that we stitched into the smoothed-out beaver panel before Mick Jenkins from Mick’s Paint in Pomona laid down the classy, subdued Aston Martin Tungsten Silver.”
The front end is a bolt-in replacement unit from Jim Meyer Racing
Most modifications went on under the skin, with a custom raised floorpan and transmission tunnel going in. They hide the T56 Magnum six-speed Tremec ’box that had its gearset cryo-treated by Modern Driveline, with a twin-plate McLeod clutch and QuickTime bellhousing being specified for maximum driving pleasure.
With up to 1400hp on tap, the stock suspension and brakes were thrown in the bin, replaced with a Jim Meyer Racing sub-frame and drop spindles up front and a Ride Tech triangulated four-link in the rear. Coil-over JRI shocks and Hyperco springs then balance supple highway ride with canyon-carving cornering abilities. Baer 13-inch discs and six-piston calipers haul the svelte four-seater up, ably assisted with ABS.
Tying the Tungsten paint and modern handling together would take some awesome rolling stock. To this end, HRE Wheels C100 Competition forged wheels in a satin bronze finish have been wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres, spanning a meaty 265mm-wide up front and a seriously fat 325mm out back.
Inside, Pure Vision made a custom full-length centre console, hand-made shifter arm with Speed Dawg stainless shifter knob, fitted a short Flaming River tilt column (actually designed for Tri-Five Chevys) and fabbed up a twin-pod dash reminiscent of the ’63-’67 C2 Corvette featuring a cool machined aluminium LED gauge cluster. To maintain the classy finish, Eric Thorsen then trimmed the interior in Aston Martin Bitter Chocolate leather and matching alcantara, wrapping it over the console, reshaped Corbeau GT2 seats and fourth-gen Camaro back seat.
Just having the Bond-spec trim wouldn’t cut it for Pure Vision, though, so they included a full ISIS control unit in the centre console. “It is a modern, multiplex-style wiring system like modern cars have and is the vehicle’s main control unit,” explains Steve.
The dash cluster was inspired by Steve's favourite watch. The speedo and tach needles start at six o'clock and sweep in opposiite directions
“To start the Camaro you have to put in a security code and then the start button will appear on the screen. ISIS also worked with Vintage Air so the command module will run the Gen 4 air conditioning system that is under the dash.”
The high-tech features even include the door handles! “We didn’t just use the door handle from the Aston Martin DB9, but the whole mechanism even down to the cable. Just like in the DB9, the handle has a sensor so when the owner touches it the ISIS controller turns on the interior courtesy lights and turns on the central control panel. There’s a lot of packaging and technology put into this car as the interior has got to be a wonderful place to be for short or extended periods of time.”