Classics by John Babbitt

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Its summer time, so you know what that means. Car show season. And no matter what kind of enthusiast you claim to be, there isn’t a true car fan on earth that doesn’t wish they owned a classic. Something about no safety aids, carbs and chrome get our gears turnin. Although owning a classic isn’t necessarily a task to be taken lightly, it can be affordable if done right from the start.

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For instance, is it rusty? Do the numbers match? For those that already own that special car, they’ll probably tell you patience is key.  Depending on what you’re looking for, it might take some time and traveling, so keep that in mind. And when that magic moment finally does happen, be prepared to sometimes regret you ever even liked cars to begin with! Owning a piece of motoring history truly is a love/hate type of thing. But the pluses always, always outweigh the minuses.

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Also, tuning isn’t as simple as it is with newer cars. There aren’t as many “bolt on” parts as readily available, so creating something unique is actually a lot easier, limited only by imagination. And possibly the best part: no smog check.

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Driving something that’s 30+ years old is something everyone should try. There really is nothing quite like gripping the wheel of something so outdated yet so fun. In my case, a 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS. Huge engine+drum brake all around=quite an interesting drive. But the sounds, the smells, the sights. they just cannot be recreated in modern vehicles. A little nerve-wracking, sometimes downright scary, but you’ll never go for a drive and not smile.

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So with all this in mind, I hope some of you consider getting behind the wheel of a classic, before non-enthusiasts decide they’re too unsafe and to costly to the environment. So remember, if you want to save the world, don’t buy a Prius, recycle an old car!

– Jbab

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Grace Hardcore Racing Camaro by John Babbitt

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Grace Racing Camaro

Written by guest blogger John Babbitt

Edited by Ben Schaffer – John is a regular reader of this blog and he emailed me with some inspiration to write a feature on American cars tuned in Japan with Japanese tuning philosophy. After I checked out a few email links he sent me, I told him that I felt this Camaro was fitting for the idea and I encouraged him to write a guest blog presenting the car/topic. A couple of days later and here we are…

Hello everyone, my name is John, and I hope that you find this post to your liking.-jbab

When it comes to JDM tuning, the Chevrolet Camaro is far from an ideal platform. For one, it’s American, unsophisticated, and, lets face it, there’s a certain image attached to most American cars that most would like to avoid. But the goal here today is to open some minds about this car, and to help me do that is what I think might be the coolest Camaro you’ve never seen.

Enter the Grace Hardcore Camaro. First things first, the vented carbon fiber hood lets you know this is no American’s ride. Other aero treats include the front and rear under diffusers, 3D wing and front bumper canards. Nicely polished Work Meisters wrapped in AO48 tires, make a beautiful addition to the already striking body.

Grace Racing Camaro

The level of tuning is pretty impressive elsewhere too, including huge Brembo rotors, F50 4 pot calipers up front and Grace 2 pot calipers down rear, all with lots of ducting to keep things cool. Full coilover suspension is another rare item within the Iroc community. Top it off with a massive 3 point strut tower brace, and biblical strut mounts.

Grace Racing Camaro

The engine is a GM Performance TPI 6.2, with a carbon fiber ram air system and an enlargened exhaust (no flowmasters here!) Unfortunately, the auto tranny stays, but upgraded with a B&M valve body kit. A 25 point roll cage and stripped interior finish this machine off.

Grace Racing Camaro

The JDM scene has really got its roots here on our soil, so hopefully, with the affordability and abundance of American sports cars, more of them like this will start to emerge on this side of the pacific.

P.S.- Here’s a small video of this car at Tsukuba.

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