Above all else, the motor would make the biggest statement, and for that, YearOne turned to Mast Motorsports. Instead of a blown carbureted big-block, YearOne and Mast went with a roots-blown LSX. The electronic fuel-injected 427 puts out 830 hp on 93 octane at 10 psi of boost, and looks the part of a street machine, thanks to a Blower Shop 8-71 huffer. What you don't see is a state-of-the-art air-to-water intercooler that makes use of a custom Afco intercooler and Hayabusa motorcycle heat exchangers. Mast's technological tour de force even uses a proprietary fly-by-wire throttle arrangement-it's spellbinding to watch the throttle blades in the Hillborn bug catcher automatically trim the airflow to keep the idle steady. Tuned to perfection, the Mast 427 fires up on command on the very first try-every time.
We bow deeply in the direction of Horace Mast of Mast Motorsports, who artfully crafted th
Backing that improbably modern powerplant is a triumvirate of severe-duty drivetrain hardware in the form of an American Powertrain-prepped Tremec Magnum six-speed trans, Atomic Twin dual ceramic disc clutch, and 3 1/2-inch DOM steel driveshaft. Few companies could've provided the requisite beefcake for a blown LSX while maintaining such a high degree of driveability, and Paul says that's why American Powertrain got the nod. Handing off over 800 lb-ft of torque just off idle to just any rearend and suspension would normally be folly-and that's why YearOne turned to a Moser 12-bolt (with 3.73 gears) and a DSE Quadra Link rear suspension. Every inch of drivetrain from the flywheel to the axle is built to take a beating, and that's exactly what Paul plans to dish out, starting with the 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour.
Perhaps more than any other area of the car, the front end is what separates this "man" from the "boys." To see what we mean, just imagine the same car with an all-iron big-block, a stock-style suspension, stock brakes, and 15x3 skinnies. Quite honestly, imagining that isn't too hard, considering the spirit of this watershed Camaro. It's in this regard that the Cherry Bomb piece really shines. Starting with DSE's award-winning C6-based suspension and hydroformed framerails, this Camaro cribs a lightning-fast rack-and-pinion AGR steering kit, along with superior stopping firepower from Baer (Hydra Boost assist, too), and combines it with the relatively lightweight LS engine for a car that begs to be pounded hard around the twisties.
Stand at a distance, and you are slapped in the face by retro design elements. The slot mags are more than faithful, yet large enough to meet modern needs. The side pipes tug at your heartstrings like Don McLean singing "American Pie." Visually, the blower barks as loud as any Marine Corps drill instructor in basic training. The Glasurit BASF paint on the Camaro is a historical tie-in to Cherry Bomb's traditional red and black colors, but the satin black treatment through the whole design anchors it solidly in the present. Graphically, the message is decidedly "fast-forward" not "rewind."
Peer inside, and you're struck by vintage touches like the period-correct Grant steering wheel, the Mr. Gasket Hang Ten gas pedal, the stock-looking (yet powerful) stereo, and the Hurst T-shifter handle. To anyone who was old enough to know what a hot rod was in 1974, the Cherry Bomb Camaro will turn your heart into putty. But here's the real kicker: Nostalgic memories are seldom accurate to the way things really were. We forget the crappy clutches that burned up, the broken U-joints, no overdrive, the snapped axles, the blown head gaskets, the shredded and tossed blower belts, the diabolical handling of skinny tires, and the carburetors that defied all efforts at tuning. In a sense, the Cherry Bomb Camaro represents a real car that has all of the good with none of the bad. Anybody who says they don't "get" what this car about clearly needs a date with reality.