Big-Block-Powered Second-Gen Camaro Is Too Cool For School

Bobby Gilliam might not be a man of many words, but you don’t have to say much when you show up to class in an ultra-clean 1971 Chevrolet Camaro SS like his. The jet black, second-gen pony car is powered by a 540ci big-block Chevy V8, and his Camaro not only packs a serious punch; it looks like a freakin’ show car after nearly two decades of ownership. Did we mention it’s also got a 100-shot of nitrous? Yep, it’s got a fogger kit. You know what they say about horsepower: “You can never have enough.”

I purchased the car as roller in 2001 for $2,000. We bought it from another racer for a good price and transformed it into a driver. – Bobby Gilliam

Gobbs of horsepower is only half the equation, however. Bobby prides himself and his Camaro on consistency. He says he’s owned the car for more than 18 years, and he hasn’t changed a thing since he finished it.

“I purchased the car as roller in 2001 for $2,000,” he explained. “We bought it from another racer for a good price and transformed it into a driver. It’s been the same way for 13 years now. The only thing we changed on it after completing it were the wheels.”

To that notion, we would have guessed it was painted yesterday. The jet black hue comes from PPG Paints and was sprayed by Damion Wiggins, a local car painter to Bobby in the Tennessee area.

Camaro

Is there anything better looking than a black, second-gen Camaro?

Though it's hard to capture on camera, Bobby's Camaro takes a page from the first-gen Camaro's book with the addition of sequential taillights. Just another reason to show off the rear, if you ask us. If this '71 Camaro SS doesn't already have a nickname, we'd appropriately name it "Black Widow."

He also noted that the big-block powerplant demands a supporting cast to make everything play nice under the hood. A Holley Dominator 1050 cfm carburetor keeps a cool mixture of fresh air and fuel flowing into all 540 inches of the big-block, while a Concept One Pully System front-drive kit keeps a tight leash on all the accessories.

Undoubtedly, Bobby’s Camaro has one of the cleanest engine bays we’ve seen.

Power from the mill is transferred to a Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission, sourced from RPM Transmissions, and is paired with a McLeod Racing Stage-3 clutch. Detroit Speed handles the front and rear suspension with new sway bars and links, while QA1 single-adjustable shocks and struts handle damping duties for the road.

Talk about a wide footprint! Bobby's Camaro features Wilwood brakes on all four corners, with six-piston calipers and matching 14-inch rotors up front. Wheels measure 20x12 on the rear and 19x9 on the front. Michelin tires measure 335/20R20 on the rear and 255/40R19 on the front. Bobby says a mini-tubbing was necessary in the rear to run the massive wheel and tire combination. That said, we love a staggered setup on a rear-wheel-drive car, so we approve.

As we all know, power comes at a cost, and a wise upgrade when making big power is to invest in stopping power. Wheels, tires, and brakes, all work together to play a vital role in safety and handling. Bobby found the right combination for his Camaro.

Talk about brightening up the room. This fire-truck red interior comes from Tim's Interiors and is paired with modern digital gauges from Pro-Comp. The whole setup really gives Bobby's Camaro a new look and feel in our opinion.

If you ask us, we’re more than a fan of Bobby’s second-gen Camaro. It’s got the perfect amount of ‘show-n-go’ in it, from the big-block V8 to the massively wide 20-inch wheels, and that’s just the way we like it.

About the author

Harrison Noble

Living in San Diego for most of his life, Harrison was exposed to a variety of cars at an early age. His passion for anything that is fast, or has a V8, brought him to Power Automedia.
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