There is no denying that classic cars, especially those of the muscle era are pretty dang cool. The look and feel of a classic car, complete with period styling is like nothing else. The downfall is that the technology and power have become greatly outdated. The raw power of muscle cars went away during the late 1970s due to the gas crunch and there was call for smaller, more economical cars. Today, thanks to evolved technology, we can have our power and save on gas too! This means placing new technology into a classic car, in this case a 1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
Being a bowtie car, it is only natural to consider placing a Chevrolet engine in and thankfully, the LS platform is a tried and true engine swap candidate. Z/28 car owner Paul Cressler, enlisted Lucky Costa at Mobile-Tech Auto Electric to install a brand new LS3 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance. The LS3 puts out over 500 horsepower thanks to a hot cam. It also provides around 20 miles to the gallon, depending on the weight of your right foot of course. What helps with performance and mileage is adding overdrive to a transmission. In this case, a bulletproof Tremec 6-speed manual transmission is mated to the LS3 with a McCleod clutch. The plan is to be able to do auto crossing events and still have enough power and comfort to jet around town and take it to the highway for a road trip. With modern power plants; drivability, comfort and performance can be found in one package as one can easily add air conditioning using products such as a Vintage Air setup tailored towards the LS swap and specific to the car itself.
One must take a few items into account when dropping an LS engine into any older car or truck. Most importantly motor mounts, transmission mounts, header clearance and transmission tunnel. Being that the car is a true Z/28, the motor is offset originally so additional trimming may be needed for clearance. The engine is mated to the Tremec transmission and slowly dropped into the car. The goal is to set the engine back a bit for better balance and to allow plenty of room for air conditioning and electric fans up front. Marks are made for the motor mounts and the transmission tunnel is trimmed for clearance. Tucking the exhaust manifolds up and out of the way of the suspension is key, Hooker headers offers a tight set of manifolds allowing for better exhaust flow in a tight space.
The Chevrolet Performance LS3 crate engine offers efficient electronic fuel injection as the engine is based on that of a Camaro or Corvette. Plugging in the sensors and fuel injectors to the ECU offers out of the box performance that can be fine tuned or ran as is for a factory setup. Once fuel lines and electrical is setup, the engine can be fired up before adding all of the accessories such as the radiator, fans, exhaust, air intake and finish up the car. Once completed and accented with the Global West Suspension, Konig springs and performance brakes, the car will have plenty of power, comfort and drivability.