David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/30/17 10:33 a.m.


Photos by David S. Wallens and J.G. Pasterjak unless otherwise credited.

Today’s autocross scene features more than a few pony cars–they’ve become the latest big thing, in fact. Look closely, however, and many feature reworked chassis, updated drivetrains and massaged bodies.

SCCA Solo Champ Jason Rhoades wanted to autocross an early Camaro, but at the same time, he had no desire to leave the reservation. As he explains it, his goal was to build an autocross car that closely mimics the Camaros road-raced by legend Mark Donohue decades before. And one more caveat: His pony car had to be nationally competitive when finished.

His bogey would be SCCA’s Street Touring ranks, the usual home for small-bore imports as well as late-model pony cars. This would be uncharted territory for vintage Detroit iron.

“I’m a big Mark Donohue fan, particularly the Camaro and [Porsche] 917 portions of his career,” Jason explains. “Street Touring mods are in pretty close alignment to what Mark and Roger [Penske] were allowed to do to their cars back in the day.”

Jason, who drove a Nissan 240SX to both ProSolo and National Solo titles in 2006, also liked the limited rule set. “It allows you to tune the car to its potential without being allowed to do so much that it loses its identity–its innate strengths, weaknesses, character,” he explains. “The car is different from any other first-gen Camaro you see in pro touring–or C Prepared–competition. Instead of every shortcoming being removed by replacing some big part of the car, they have been addressed by maximizing what’s there under a very limited rule set. Anybody can make something good in the absence of rules.”

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mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
11/30/17 10:40 a.m.

That's a really neat car. Did it ever get moved back to STX? 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/30/17 12:09 p.m.

VERY neat car.  Makes me wonder if any of the other Tran Am cars could find a better place, too.  (like my GTV....)

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
11/30/17 4:56 p.m.

Whatever happened to the car and Jason?

NEALSMO
NEALSMO UberDork
11/30/17 5:20 p.m.

I remember him dialing in the 240sx at my local events in SD.  When I eventually purchased an s13, I built it around his ST winning formula, which he was gracious enough to publish in your mag.  Being able to start with a blueprint of spring rates, sway bars, and alignment angles was priceless. I still keep that copy of GRM in the folder with all my shop manual literature.

 

My s13 ended up winning the regional SM championship in 2013 and placed 5th at the National Tour in SD in 2014 with 1.5 year old Azenis.  Only 2 cars beat me that year, A GTR (2 drivers) and a national championship winning e36 with S54 swap (also 2 drivers). All with a whopping 150HP and 225 width tires.

 

 

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
11/30/17 6:09 p.m.

In reply to NEALSMO :

Happen to have scan of those setup tips?

Daylan C
Daylan C SuperDork
12/1/17 6:12 a.m.

In reply to Javelin :

I seem to recall him posting on his blog saying this car was mothballed because of the rule change and he was prepping a 370Z to run until something changed. That's probably been close to 2 years since I read that though. 

NEALSMO
NEALSMO UberDork
12/1/17 10:16 a.m.

In reply to Fitzauto :

I'll try to remember to pull the mag out tonight when I get home tonight.

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