Home-Built Hero: Mikko Viitala Is Drifting A Second-Gen Camaro

There are not many times, while driving an automobile, when the driver wants the car to be sliding around on the road. That is, unless he is partaking in the automotive sport of Drifting? We’re sure that you all know drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally over steers, causing a loss of traction with the rear wheels while maintaining control throughout a corner.

Drift 1

Drifting has evolved into a competitive sport, where drivers compete almost exclusively with rear-wheel-drive cars, in an attempt to earn points from judges based on various factors. These factors are line, angle, speed, and show factor. Line involves taking the correct line throughout the course, which is usually announced beforehand by judges. Drift 2

Angle is the actual position of the car in relationship to the turn, and more importantly, how extensively the front wheels are turned when drifting the corner. Speed is the vehicle speed when entering, traveling through, and exiting the turn — faster is better. The show factor is based on multiple things, such as the amount of tire smoke, how close the car is to the wall or designated clipping point while drifting, and the crowd’s reaction. For some automotive enthusiasts, there is no better way to show off their driving skills than sliding around a predetermined course.

Mikko Viitala is from Finland, and is one of those drivers that prefers to slide around corners. “I started drifting 12 years ago, which is when this sport arrived to Finnish tracks.” When he was first introduced to the sport, he was piloting what we would call an import, but that car was not suited to the task he was hoping to have it partake.

drift 3

In 2010, he decided to build a new car that would meet the regulations required for both drifting and traditional racing. Mikko is a fan of vintage muscle cars, so he found a ‘78 Camaro that used to be someone else’s race car that was relegated to a rolling shell. We’re sure that was no easy feat in Finland. Anyway, he decided to make the car look like a second-generation Camaro, because he likes look of the older body style. With a decent suspension, structure, and safety equipment already in place, it was the perfect car to start work building his vision.

The engine is an LS3, with a steel, stock-stroke crankshaft, Wiseco pistons, and Callies/Compstar 6.125-inch connection rods. Together, the rotating assembly creates a compression ratio of 10.3:1.

Drift 5

The valves are slammed open via a Lunati camshaft with .583/.600-inch lift, and 227/238 degrees of duration at .050-inch lift. Finally, a Paxton Novi 2200SL supercharger forces the mixture into each cylinder. Controlling the engine’s functions is a Tatech engine management system. Once assembled, the engine delivered 825 horsepower on the dyno.

Under the floorboards is a Clutchmasters 8 1/2-inch twin-disc clutch, working with a Tremec T56 that was sourced from a 1998 F-body. The original rear axle features a pair of Moser shafts, and a 4.10-geared Eaton differential.

Drift 7

The front suspension uses a pair of S13 coilovers, with lower control arms that Mikko constructed, poly bushings, and rack-and-pinion steering glommed from a Volvo. Finishing the front suspension are the SPC upper control arms that are mounted to custom spindles. The rear suspension is a four-link from Competition Engineering that Mikko tweaked to fit his needs, and is supported with S13 coilovers. Wilwood brakes bring the car to a severely-quick, screeching halt.

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Like we previously stated, Mikko started with a roller that was someone else’s 1978 Camaro race car, and he converted to look like a 1970 model. This includes installing the smaller rear window, adding a steel, 1970 rear panel, spoiler, a fiberglass front end, hood, doors, trunk lid, and bumpers.

The car is definitely not something you would see every day — at least in Finland, but Mikko has brought his piece of American muscle to those who don’t normally get a chance to see how great these cars really are. Even if you are not be a fan of drifting, there is no denying that Mikko has a true Homebuilt Hero.

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Since we’ve started the Homebuilt Heros segment, we have received a few candidates, but we need more. Send us a few pictures of your car with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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