At the LSX Shootout in Memphis, surrounded by the curvaceous body lines of a sea of wicked fourth-gen Camaros and Firebirds, the subtle angular lines and retina-shredding burnt orange paint of Chris Hart's 1991 Camaro made it stand out from the crowd like a drunken Amy Winehouse at a cocktail party.
As Chris' car was covered in dust and bugs, we knew this was no trailer queen, but we didn't know Chris had just arrived in Memphis after driving all day from Florida and barely had time to unload all his gear before he made his first pass.
Chris is also known as Staff Sergeant Hart, and he's currently on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and a veteran of tours to Kuwait and Qatar. This military man was looking for an F-body to replace a supercharged fourth-gen Camaro he had to let go.
Spoiled by LS1 power and creature comforts, Hart was looking to combine the best of the third and fourth- gen F-bodies. Two years ago, Chris started his search on Third-gen.org, with excellent results. He found a '91 Camaro with stunning Sunset Orange paint and a fourth-gen drivetrain and interior swap. Chris said, "I bought the car because I wanted to build a third-gen Camaro with a badass LS setup, fourth-gen parts, and color. That third-gens are inexpensive and relatively light made it all that much easier."
Anyone who has served in the military knows there is a lot of "hurry up and wait." Chris obviously spent plenty of time figuring out how to "hurry up" during tours in the Middle East. To make the Camaro the car he wanted it to be, between visits to the desert Chris tore apart almost every aspect of an already solid LS swap car and wrenched it into a mid-11 second, daily driven, corner carver.
The Sunset Orange paint makes its way into the engine compartment on to the Corvette fuel rail covers and around the nitrous bottle.
Since third-gens hit the road, the aftermarket has supplied some great looking-and some pretty hideous- fiberglass hoods (think "Corvette Summer"). This Camaro is sporting the former with an SS scoop that complements the factory rear spoiler. Like so many of the mods on this car, it looks like it was a factory option.
Wheels And Tires
The unholy traction provided by DOT 315/35-17s and 275/40-17s would match a fourth-gen's aggressive curves tidily, but stuffed into a thirdgen look absolutely menacing. A set of Tomz Corvette clones complete the "purpose-built" look with gloss black painted centers and polished lip. Front and rear brakes from a fourth-gen squeezing Hawk pads are yet another example of fourth-gen parts improving the package while still looking dead stock.
Once again, fourth-gen components looks right at home on this third-gen, in the form of an LS6 displacing 346 cubic inches, tuned by John Weeks at XXX Performance. 2.00 intake and 1.55 exhaust valves in the stock LS6 cylinder heads are actuated by a Thunder Racing cam pushing .649 intake and .603 exhaust. Nitrous solenoids cue the observant that this is more than just an LS swap. Feeding the fuel/air mixture is a descreened mass airflow sensor topped off with a Speed Inc. '04 GTO air intake tube and an APC short ram air filter. The sunset orange painted fuel rail covers with ghost flames artfully applied dress up an otherwise stocklooking LS.
The stock shifter belies the rather un-stock nature of the 1999-vintage Global Transmissions-prepped automatic. A 3000-rpm TCI stall is a key to putting the nitrous augmented LS6's power to the pavement, while the A4's overdrive and a fourth-gen 10-bolt spinning 3.42s keep the rpm down to a very reasonable level, and allowing this Camaro a completely unreasonable top speed.
At the end of the third-gen's production run, interiors were actually quite serviceable, but they don't typically wear very well. Upgrading to a fourth-gen interior maintains a factory appearance, while alleviating 15 years of wear and tear without breaking the bank. Fourth-gen buckets would have been a minor upgrade at best, so a pair of K6 reclining buckets were swapped in for when Chris needs to pull some lateral-Gs without sliding out of the seat. A leather wrapped wheel from Grant complements the interior without looking out of place.