If Tom Billigen seems hell-bent on unleashing one of the fiercest street machines the Midwest has ever seen, perhaps it's because it's in his blood. His father owned three Yenko Chevys, including a '68 Camaro he bought new, not to mention other cars he had bought and restored over the years. This tradition fascinated Tom as a little kid, and now at 26, he has been pressing hard to build the ultimate street machine in honor of his father, who passed away a few years ago. Though he probably won't be satisfied until he hits single digits with his 2001 Camaro SS, Tom has already done a great service to his father's memory with his turbocharged SS.
Using as many stock parts as possible, Billigen has overtaken several hurdles. He's been 12s with a bone stock motor, 11s cam-only, 10s on spray, and now he's got his sights on single digits with the help of an Ohio Forced Inductions turbo kit.
When refilling his 15-pound nitrous bottle every four passes with the 200hp direct port kit started getting old, Tom warmed up to the idea of driving around with an unsheathed sword. He now takes great pride in having his Precision Turbo 76mm hairdryer set to kill at all times with 15 psi of boost pressure. Billigen credits the 3-inch bar and plate air-to-air intercooler that came with his turbo kit, as well as the Snow Performance methanol injection, for being able to make 693 rear wheel horsepower and 743 lb-ft of torque (with only 13 psi) on 93-octane pump gas. He said he's been keeping his mostly stock motor together with 23 degrees of timing and an 11.8:1 air/fuel ratio despite near stock compression, thanks to intake air temperatures of only 15 to 20 degrees above ambient. Tom developed this speed density tune using HP Tuners software, and also has a pump gasonly tune that takes timing down to 19 degrees detonation-free.
Preventing detonation is key to avoiding the untimely demise of his stock rods, perhaps the only weak link in his LS1's bottom end. The powdered metal rods have ARP bolts holding them to the stock nodular crank and are connected at the other end to Speed-Pro forged pistons. The large 232/240-duration, 114LSA COMP Cams hydraulic roller is a leftover from the cam-only days but seems to work well with the turbo. The .591/.609-inch lift wrings every once of flow out of the stock LS1 heads, aided by COMP Cams 921 double valvesprings, titanium retainers, and hardened pushrods. The Ohio Forced Inductions 1.75-inch primary, 304 stainless steel turbo headers carry exhaust from the heads to the four-bolt turbo flange before a 3-inch downpipe takes the recycled gas from the turbo and dispatches it to an SLP TOTL cat-back.
An ample fuel supply is provided by a Racetronix Dual Walbro in-tank setup Billigen purchased from Thunder Racing, as well as Siemens 60-lb/hr high impedance injectors. With 60 pounds of fuel pressure going to the custom fuel rails and an Aeromotive boost-referenced regulator from the two GS340 pumps, it's hard to imagine the LS1 ever going lean. Thankfully, the driveline is just as stout, as Tom added a steel 3-4 shift fork and syncros to his T56, as well as a SPEC Stage 5 clutch and Pro 5.0 shifter. A PST 4-inch carbon fiber driveshaft should never be considered a liability, and hopefully neither will the Moser 12-bolt with 30-spline axles, 3.42 gear, and an Auburn limited slip differential.
For weight savings a BMR K-member has replaced the bulky stock piece while BMR tubular weld-in subframe connectors adjoin the front and rear portions of the chassis. BMR was also sourced for an Xtreme rear antiroll bar, adjustable Panhard bar, and lower control arms to mate up the rear suspension. Stock springs with removed rubber isolators (replaced by thinner pieces of rubber to prevent squeaking) lower the ride height in the rear by about an inch as QA1 shocks allow some valving control. QA1 coilovers up front allow the same, and a few twists on the bottom spring cups dropped the fenders over the chrome ZR1 17x9 wheels and Nitto 555 275/40/17 rub-ber. On the street, Nitto 555R drag radials (of the same size) are the rear hides of choice; however, at the track Hoosier Quick Time Pro 26x10.5 slicks mounted on 16-inch TA wheels, along with a trans-mounted Spohn torque arm, give traction to the 700- horse animal. So far, the six-speed SS has been as fast as 10.19 at 134 mph while still working out the bugs. With the power Tom's making, we'll expect to hear from him real soon as he sets the bar yet another peg higher.