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2000 Chevy Camaro Z28 - Project Pinkenstein

John Ryan's Cyberspace Project Car; A Stock-cube, Nitrous LS1 Camaro Built For The Popular TV Show Pinks

Jim McIlvaine Apr 1, 2008
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After applying and being invited to compete on the popular TV show Pinks, John yan and the crew at Speed Inc put Project Pinkenstein together in only four weeks. Ryan, who some might better know as the LS1Tech.com Co-Founder Pro Stock John, was prepared to lay thousands of dollars on the line and the pink slip of his Camaro, which had been significantly enhanced with the help of Speed Inc and a host of sponsors. Unfortunately, after learning that the car he was originally supposed to race bowed out, and John was unable to reach a suitable agreement with the show's producers for a replacement, the Arctic White 2000 Z28 never made it on the SPEED channel. Following this mishap, though, John has been campaigning the Z at various races including the LSX Shootout and featuring the project car on LS1Tech.

Knowing that he could indeed be losing the title to his Camaro, the formula was simple for John-build the fastest, most reliable LS1 F-body for a reasonable amount of money. The 100,000+mile Z28 was the perfect foundation for making the plan a reality, which John found on LS1Tech for sale. Oddly enough, the owner was local (to Chicago where Ryan calls home); the only downside was that the Camaro required some bodywork and a repaint of the front clip. Thankfully, the folks at All Line Carstar got the Camaro back in shape and even removed the front grille, and fitted and painted a handsome VFN Sunoco fiberglass hood. The potentially 9-second F-body was also given a Stenod Performance 6-point rollbar, to which G-Force 5-point harnesses would later mount.

With the format of the show and the nature of street racing heads, cam, and nitrous seemed the natural choice for motivating the Z. However, fear of losing his ride from an obliterated hypereutectic piston caused John to invest in one of Speed Inc.'s 348 Sportsman Short Blocks. The honed cylinders, mains, and polished stock crank were treated to Eagle H-beam forged rods and Diamond forged pistons and rings. A Katech ported and blueprinted oil pump would provide lubrication, using the stock oil pan and windage tray. The heads and cam package came from Vengeance Racing and consisted of Harland Sharp 1.7 ratio rockers, a Vindicator custom 1.7 ratio rockers, a Vindicator custom grind cam, and milled Trick Flow Specialties 215cc heads. The 13.5- degree, 2.04- and 1.575-inch valves are optimized with a 240/244 duration, .608/.596-inch lift, 112+4LSA hydraulic roller. The 11.0:1 compression ratio combo was mapped out with pump gas and nitrous in mind.

An MTI airlid, K&N air filter, Nick Williams 90mm throttle body, and OEM LS2 intake manifold provide the natural aspiration. Meanwhile, the trick dual-stage nitrous system force feeds the LS1, which was meant to allow Ryan's Camaro to run 10.5 and under 10.0 at the flip of a switch for the purposes of the show. Though he said he has done it before on another car, John thinks spraying both the Nitrous Express 150hp wet kit and Dynotune 100hp dry kit at the same time will be too much for even the beefy Racetronix fuel system. Ford 42 lb/hr injectors and the stock MAF compensate for the dry kit, as the wet kit pulls directly from the source, which would seriously deplete the fuel rails' supply, as well as potentially draining the fuel system's voltage, John said. Since he is already running 10.00 at 133 mph with the one wet kit, it doesn't seem to concern him. Pinky managed to pull 551 hp and 477 lb-ft of torque on Speed Inc's Dynojet on the spray with race gas and Keith Prociuk of HP Tuners tickling the keys. On motor, the same combo managed 413 ponies and 370 lb-ft on pump gas, thanks in part to a free-flowing exhaust that consists of Hooker 1.75-inch long tube headers and Dynomax bullet mufflers (with no crossover).

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An unlocked Fuddle Racing 8-inch, 4800-stall converter inhibits dyno numbers, but this converter proves its stars at the track with 1.38 short times on spray. John says a looser converter would be more ideal for the all-motor passes, but the Z already runs 10.92 at 122 mph with a 1.48 60-foot right off the trailer. His combo has proven so reliable, though, that he's even driven the Camaro to and from the track despite a DRC Racing Transmissions' Turbo 400 and Moser 9-inch with 4.11 gear and spool. Those trips, John says, do warrant a quieter exhaust system than his current true duals allow. High-rpm launches off the transbrake require a 3.5-inch chrome-moly driveshaft, 35-spline axles, and Mickey Thompson 28x10.5 ET Drag stiff sidewall slicks. To clear the stock brakes, Ryan picked up a set of Bogart Floyd RT 15x9.75 rear and 15x4 front drag wheels. MT Sportsman DOT-legal 26x4.5 skinnies and a removed front swaybar allow the Z to pick up a wheel or two on launch. QA1 adjustable shocks (with stock springs) at all four corners also help transfer weight as UMI control arms, Panhard bar, and torque arm give traction to the 3,300-pound beast. Meanwhile, a heavy-duty BMR rear swaybar keeps it tracking straight as an arrow.

While Pinkenstein never made it on the show, it certainly didn't miss the mark in being fast, reliable, and as affordable as possible. The whole endeavor cost Ryan a grand total of $17,000, including hotel rooms and meals for his friends who had flown in to help give Pinky a fair shake at the track. Meanwhile, the Camaro has made many 10-second passes and given Pro Stock John some enjoyment while his turbo Formula is on the shelf.

Data File

Car: 2000 Camaro Z28
Owner: John Ryan
Block: LS1, 348 cid
Compression ratio: 11:1
Heads: Trick Flow 215cc, 2.04 intake, 1.57 exhaust valves
Cam: Vengeance Racing, hydraulic roller, 240/244 duration at .050, .608/.596-inch lift, 112LSA
Pushrods: COMP Cams chrome-moly
Rocker arms: Harland Sharp 1.7 ratio
Pistons: Diamond forged
Rings: Diamond
Crankshaft: Stock
Rods: Eagle H-beam forged
Throttle body: Nick Williams 90mm
Fuel injectors: Ford SVO, 42 lb/hr
Fuel pump: Racetronix
Ignition: Stock coil on plug, MSD wires, NGK TR8 plugs
Engine management: Stock, tuned by HP Tuners
Power adder: Nitrous Express wet 150 hp/Dynotune dry 100 hp
Exhaust system: Hooker 1.75-inch long tube headers, Dynomax bullet mufflers
Transmission: TH400 built by DRC Racing Transmissions
Torque converter: Fuddle 4800-stall
Driveshaft: 3.5-inch chrome-moly
Front suspension: Stock control arms, springs, QA1 shocks, removed swaybar
Rear suspension: UMI control arms, Panhard bar, torque arm, BMR swaybar, stock springs, QA1 shocks
Rearend: Moser 9-inch, 35-spline axles, 4.11 gear, spool
Brakes: Stock
Wheels: Bogart 15x4 front, 15x9.75 rear
Front tires: MT ET Sportsman Radial 26x4.5
Rear tires: MT ET Drag slicks 28x10.5
Fuel octane: 93/110
Race weight: 3,300 lb
Best e.t./mph: 10.00/133
Best 60-ft. time: 1.38
Current mileage: 107,000



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