Last time on Roadkill, Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger lived their ultimate Mullholland-racer dreams with the Super Camaro road trip up the California coast to the world-famous Laguna Seca Raceway. They didn’t drive all the way from Tucson Dragway for nothing, though. It’s time to see how the Super Camaro stacks up against its modern sibling: A 2020 Chevy Camaro V-6 rental car.
Renting a world-class racing facility like Laguna Seca ain’t cheap, though, so it’s not just going to be Camaro-on-Camaro action this time. Finnegan and Freiburger have brought every race car the Roadkill fleet has to offer—the ones that are currently running, that is—which means it’s just NASCARlo and the ever un-trustworthy Rotsun (sad trombone). You might be thinking, “But wait, NASCARlo is a real, like really real, race car. That’ll beat the V-6 rental car, for sure!” More on that later; the guys need to get their garbage running right!
Prepping Vintage Race Cars for a Historic Racetrack
As usual, before the fun can begin, there must be much “fixing” of things. It’s been more than a year since we last saw the Rotsun, and that doesn’t mean the magical storage lot elves came in and fixed everything that was wrong with the clapped-out Datsun 240Z. The turbo still smokes and the rear end still makes some bad noises, and now the starter won’t engage.
Also, Freiburger discovered they installed the Nissan 300ZX rear suspension incorrectly, so that needs to be fixed the Roadkill way, too (see: ignore it until it breaks). This could be the first time the guys actually get to open the Rotsun up and see what all that junkyard Ford 5.0 V-8 and Power Stroke turbo awesomeness can really do, but only if the Rotsun finally fails to do what it always does: fail.
NASCARlo, if you recall, is a real NASCAR race car that Finnegan and Freiburger mated with a 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo body to make street-legal and has been a staple for performance driving in the Roadkill Universe ever since. But Laguna Seca Raceway is a road course—a fast one—and the unofficial lap record is 1:05.786, set in a 2003 Ferrari Formula 1 race car. That means the car averaged 122+ mph on the 2.238 miles of twisty turns draped over undulating hills. NASCARlo was built for half-mile dirt ovals and is still running on dirt tires caked in Georgia clay. And Laguna Seca has noise restrictions, and NASCARlo does not have mufflers.
But Super Camaro can save the day, right? It’s got more rear tire than Finnegan has ever seen in his life and was styled after the IMSA cars that competed at Laguna Seca in the late 1970s, so it should handle the 16-percent grade of the Corkscrew just fine. But—and this is a bigger but than the rear end of the Super Camaro—that mild Chevy 350 currently residing under the ’70s-trick fiberglass front clip can’t even get out of its own way, and the super-wide meats out back are made for the dragstrip, not a road course. But Finnegan and Freiburger are going to drive the Roadkill junk to the max anyway!
How Fast Is a V6-Powered Chevy Camaro?
The 2020 Chevrolet Camaro has decades of research and hundreds of millions of dollars in development behind it, coming from one of the world’s oldest and largest automotive manufacturers. The Roadkill cars—well, they have a lot of heart. Camaro is a performance icon in American car culture and Chevrolet engineers have a reputation to uphold, even in the rental-car version of GM’s longest running pony car.
That means the 3.6L DOHC V-6 connected to the 10-speed automatic transmission makes 335 hp. Chevrolet claims less than 5.5-second 0 to 60 times, road-holding capabilities over 0.85g (that means it can do the turns good) and a top speed limited to 155 mph. This is a rental car! Hooligans get into too much trouble with econoboxes that have two-digit horsepower and top speed figures, and we’re going to let these two man-children mash 335 hp around a road course famous for a turn that covers a three-story drop? Heck ya! And, yes, Freiburger got comprehensive insurance coverage. They need to see how well the V-6-powered Camaro does burnouts, too!