Dealing with an old Chevy that got the majority of its modifications in the 1980s is like stepping back in time—and not in a good way. Our 1967 Camaro was originally a six-cylinder car, and like most early Camaros with a base-model engine, the wimpy inline-six was traded for something a little more muscular. In our case, it was swapped for a 396ci big-block with a small cam and some 1980’s appearance modifications. While the car will crank and run, our intent with it is to bring it up to modern standards, starting with the cooling system.
The car didn’t appear to have any coolant leaks or actual problems in the cooling system, but anything that has been sitting for a long time is susceptible to corrosion and potential problems down the road. At the very least, new hoses would’ve eased our mind, but we wanted to upgrade the cooling system and ensure that the big-block would run cool, whether it’s on the highway or sitting in traffic. For this, we reached out to the folks at Holley. Once known only for its carburetors, Holley now offers a wide range of brands and products, including a new line of radiators and cooling system accessories under the Frostbite brand.
Along with a new direct-fit Frostbite three-row aluminum radiator, we opted for a matching electric fan and shroud assembly to eliminate the old mechanical fan setup on our car. The dual SPAL electric fans are wired in using a Frostbite relay kit, which allow the fans to be controlled by the temperature of the engine. While we had the cooling system disassembled, we replaced the old water pump with a new high-performance aluminum unit from Weiand, and replaced all of the fittings, hoses, and even the hard transmission lines. We finished it off with a Mr. Gasket universal overflow tank.
We spent a weekend in the shop assembling and installing the cooling system upgrades, and the results are impressive in both performance and appearance. The new radiator and water pump are lighter than the originals and we should be freeing up a couple of horsepower by removing the mechanical fan. And let’s not forget the fact that the big-block now runs cool consistently, no matter the conditions. With a collection of new products from Frostbite, Weiand, and Mr. Gasket, we brought this big-block out of the 1980s and into the modern era with a high-performance cooling system. CHP
Summit Racing Equipment
Photos by Tommy Lee Byrd
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