Is their any other car that has been so widely debated among Chevy enthusiasts then the third generation Camaro? Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admit the third generation of Camaros don’t get a lot of love or respect.
However, that was the case for most items from the 80’s. It’s hard not to look back and say, “What the hell were we thinking?” These generation of Camaros might not look as flashy; absent were the SS badging, and even the acclaimed big-block engines.
As we’ll reveal, who says you have to have a big-block under the hood to create a real strip/street project car? Although our ’91 Camaro RS came outfitted with the factory 305ci throttle-body injected (TBI), which only produced a bland 167 hp to the rear tires, we’ve got plans in motion to turn this into a real head turner.
With our budgeted goal of just around $1,500, we not only had enough coin to purchase the Camaro but also connected with a realistic budget. It’s not pocket change, but it’s a small enough sum to make each step in our plan a reality.
What We Found
As far as the exterior showed, the car had spent the last 17 years in a driveway instead of a garage. However, the body was in great shape with hardly a scratch or dent. Fortunately, though, the California climate doesn’t breed rust, and the oxidized paint wasn’t anything a little rubbing compound, a buffer, and a lot of elbow grease couldn’t help. Once you get past the skin-deep ugly on the outside, though, the selling point appears.
Believe it or not, the one area that didn’t need much of anything, except maybe a bottle of Armor All, was the interior. Turns out the 84,000 miles since 1991 were used to get groceries and run basic errands, and that was pretty much it. Apparently, the back seats were used only to hold a couple grocery bags on brief occasions.
The dash, door panels, center console, and headliner were also in perfect shape. Even the dash pad that normally endures barbequing under the windshield was perfect, thanks to the over-sized sun shade that was a constant fixture up front.
What’s It All Worth
Setting things into motion, we headed over to the dyno and subsequently to the track for some initial baseline testing. The Camaros 305ci TBI yielded an underwhelming 167 rear wheel horsepower on the chassis dyno, which translated into a first run of 10.63 seconds at 65.8 MPH in the 1/8 mile, with a 2.311 60-foot time.
Our second pass netted a 10.68 at 65.74, with a 2.305 60-foot. The runs had good, smokey burnouts in the water box and the Camaro actually got off the line with more pop than we had expected.
With baseline testing complete, we whipped out the calculator and corrected to the quarter-mile. Our best ET was a jaw-dropping 16.47 at 79.95 mph. Not bad for the smog-chocked ’91 RS.
It’s easy to see why these cars aren’t respected today. Compared with today’s sleek runners, the third generation Camaro isn’t exactly the definition of performance bot in looks and go-power. We’re changing all that, and over the next few months we’re going to turn this average ’91 RS into a performer. Welcome to the ChevyHardcore project car lineup – Project Respect!
Project Respect Build Plans
- TCI 700R4 Outlaw Transmission – Swapping out the automatic 4-speed for a TCI 700R4 that can be automatically or manually shifted.
- Moser 12-bolt rearend – Updating the rearend with a Moser 12-bolt with Timken bearings.
- Wheel and tire package – Choosing Weld Racing’s RT-S wheels and mounting Toyo PX4 and TQ Drag Radial Tires.
- Baer Brakes – Removing the factory brake system for a complete Baer big-brake kit.
This won’t be just any small-block, though. For this build, we’re featuring a 440ci Dart small-block build for street/strip duties. Best part is, the motor is already done and ready to swap into the ’91.
Not familiar with the Dart 440ci small-block? Not to worry, we’ve got the complete engine story here. Our engine build not only features what went inside the Dart block, but what we’re using to fuel this monster. Case in point, Holley’s EFI system.
The Holley HP EFI system was our first choice because of it’s popularity and functionality. The versatility of the system is the perfect setup for the street, strip or road race situation. It’s also Available in TBI, 4bbl MPFI or Stealth Ram systems, or as a stand alone ECU and harness kit.
That’s not all either. We’ve got a ton of future plans for our ’91 RS. To give an idea on some of our upcoming projects, we’ve listed them here.
Regardless of how you feel about the the 3rd generation Camaros, trust us when we are done with Project Respect, this will be a car that anyone would love and be proud to have.
Keep your eyes open as we show how we are going to restore the respect back to our 3rd generation Camaro with Project Respect!