1971 Chevy Camaro Z/28 Front

What comes to mind when you think of Brazil—perhaps Rio’s Carnival, rain forests, or samba music?

Well, after seeing Diego’s 1971 Chevy Camaro, hopefully you’ll add fire-breathing muscle cars to that list.

As you would imagine, living in Brazil means that classic American cars are hard to find. So at 18-years-old, when Diego spotted a newspaper ad for this Camaro that was miraculously within his budget, he knew he had better jump on it.

“I couldn’t believe the day I parked my car at my dad’s garage,” he said. “I was so happy and worried because the car had a lot to be repaired, mainly in the drivetrain and suspension.”

Despite his relative young age and inexperience, Diego was a quick learner and a hard worker.

“All the vacations, day offs I worked on my car to have it working properly,” Diego said. “I rebuilt everything mechanical, from the power steering pump to the rear axle.”

When he got the car, it had a non-original 283-cubic-inch engine. With some upgrades, Diego was able to drive the 283-powered Camaro to a 13.52 ET in the quarter mile.

Good. But not good enough for Diego.

After a few years, he got his hands on a 400-cubic-inch small block Chevy motor, which was then promptly stroked to 427 cubes.

His motor’s got the goods too: forged Callies rods and crank, SRP pistons, Isky mechanical flat tappet cam and lifters, Doug’s 1-7/8-inch headers, dual Dynomax mufflers, AFR 227 cylinder heads, ARP main and head studs, Milodon oil pan and pump, Harland Sharp 1.6:1 rockers, Edelbrock Victor Ram intake topped with two Holley HP 750s carburetors, and the list goes on. On the dyno, Diego says it makes around 650 horsepower and 580 foot-pounds of torque.

Those ponies are channeled though a 4,500-stall ATI converter with an ATI-prepped full manual Turbo Hydra-matic 350 automatic transmission. The stock GM 10-bolt rear end now has alloy forged axles with a Motive Gear ring and pinion set, plus all new bearings and seals, and a rebuilt GM Positraction unit.

Diego, now a metallurgist by profession, custom made the alloy pulleys and power steering bracket himself. A race-ready suspension and full complement of safety upgrades round out this tough F-body.

“I love to drive my car on the street and also love to drag race it,” he said. “So far my best ET is a 6.45 at 108.75 mph with a 1.45 short time.”

That’s impressive work, made more impressive by the fact that a lot of his performance parts have to be shipped from another hemisphere.

So in our best Portuguese, Parabéns Diego–your 1971 Chevy Camaro Z28 is the Top Fan Ride for August 2017!

1971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Side

11971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Side

11971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Launch

1971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Rear

11971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Profile

11971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Engine

11971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Scoop

1971 Chevy Camaro Z/28, Cockpit

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.