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Old 05-23-2020, 08:08 PM
z28s4mjg z28s4mjg is offline
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Default CanAm 302 question Vauxhall

Is anyone on this site familiar with the CanAm 302 cars that were made by Vauxhall, in South America? I have an inquiry from a friend that has been asked to build a 302 for one of these cars and we don't have a lot of information the engines other than the fact that they were 302 Chevrolets and that they appear to have been produced in the spring of 1972. Also looking for any information on the brake proportioning valves that were used on the cars.
Thanks,
Mike
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:43 PM
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Sounds like a great project!
To the best of my knowledge, the Chevrolet Firenza Canam used a 302ci SBC built using the same basic specs and rotating assembly as the 302 in the Z/28. This was to meet the homologation limits of 5.0L, just like the SCCA requirements that led to the Camaro Z/28 development. GM sent the parts over to the assembly plant in South Africa and the engines were built there.
I recall seeing the only Firenza Canam imported into the UK many years ago, was quite the attraction because it looked much the same as the regular domestic version that had small 4-cylinder engines. In fact, although badged a Chevrolet, it really was the British car assembled locally; GM SA did the same badging exercise with our Holden Monaro coupe, which was marketed in SA as the Chevrolet SS.
Apparently only 100 such Canam cars were made to meet certification requirements. However I can't recall if the engine was dressed similarly to a Camaro 302 (brackets and ancillaries) but did find this picture showing the engine bay; looks like the alternator was relocated to fit the available room, so bracketry was probably unique.
Note that pictured engine bay may not be stock though, as many of these cars were highly modified for competition use.
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1969 Van Nuys 04A Z/28 from Clippinger Chevrolet.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:29 PM
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Vauxhall and Opel share almost all major components; brakes, suspension, etc. There was a corresponding Opel body.

Vauxhall made nothing but RH drive vehicles in eary 70's. Some Opels were made in Germany and rebadged as Vauxhalls for sale in UK, but not vice versa.

The Firenza was slightly bigger than the Kadette.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:53 PM
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That thing must have been a blast with a 302 in it. Something must be wrong with that left rear wheel or tire. Look how much weight it has on it.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:10 PM
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Looks like a hand full:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb6fc79HtjQ&t=1s
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:39 PM
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Vauxhall Motors had it's origin in 1857 and was the wholly-owned UK subsidiary of General Motors from 1925; Opel Automobile was the Continental equivalent from 1929 after GM bought an 80% share, so interestingly Vauxhall pre-dated Opel in that regard - although it then came under Opel as the parent company.
There was a great deal of commonality, often just a badge change, but the Firenza was a Vauxhall design and assembled only in the UK and SA.
Growing up in the UK, I remember looking out for the subtle differences between the Vauxhall and Opel models, as there were often imported versions sold in parallel. The town I grew up in had a large Army base, and enlisted troops rotating in from bases in Germany often took advantage of their entitlement to import personally-owned vehicles that they had bought while stationed overseas, without import taxes. The local used car market was very busy, with sometimes exotic cars being sold (for a nice profit) by returning servicemen. Quite a lot of American cars turned up locally too, as the British soldiers frequently traded cars with the US servicemen based over there.
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1969 Van Nuys 04A Z/28 from Clippinger Chevrolet.
Cortez Silver with dark blue interior.
Ran at Lions Dragstrip and Pomona Raceway, with paint by Bob Kovacs of Fresno.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:46 PM
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'

One of the coolest cars ever, I've been jonesing for one also crowing about them here for years.
Tough to come up w/ an original, especially on this side of the world but good 'Vaux donors to clone from a difficult find too, they used to be common here in Canada but rusted badly so few left now.

~ Pete

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Old 05-24-2020, 12:31 AM
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Pete, totally understand. As a kid, there were so many cars that I aspired to own, and later on as I searched for projects, began to despair as every one of them turned out to be a rusted wreck. Combination of long harsh winters with salt on the roads, frequent wet climate, and daily drivers living outside year round.
Cool cars (like the Capri 3000GT, Escort Mexico, Opel Manta) were abundant and relatively cheap in the late 70's/early 80's, but were money pits. Didn't stop plenty of us having fun with them, but now I look back and am grateful there were no major incidents.
One car I had in high school, I remember once a female passenger up front was wearing high heels and one of her heels went straight through the floorpan; we lifted the carpet, and you could see more of the asphalt below than the floor.........
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Tim in NSW, Australia
1969 Van Nuys 04A Z/28 from Clippinger Chevrolet.
Cortez Silver with dark blue interior.
Ran at Lions Dragstrip and Pomona Raceway, with paint by Bob Kovacs of Fresno.
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Old 05-24-2020, 04:23 PM
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----What kind of rear axle was used in these little monsters. I see 4-lug wheels in all the videos that I looked at, even one with gigantic wheels and tires and huge flairs. Amazing little buggers. Surprised they didn't rip the suds right off!...…Bill S
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:31 PM
Kurt S Kurt S is offline
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I happen to know where one is in South Carolina. It's available. Needs an engine and trans, but complete car.
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