After pulling some strings
to score one of the first available LS3 short-blocks, Greg Lovell and his shop Anti Venom became one of the first to transplant the newly released Gen IV motor into a fourth-gen. The Seffner, Florida shop is best known for putting together combinations for C5s and C6s capable of annihilating tires and Vipers alike. However, the crew never would have gained that reputation without first having dabbled with the mighty LS1 in Greg's 2001 Camaro SS. The hopped-up F-body had already been converted to an LS6 with CNC-ported and milled heads with a healthy cam, making 448 rear wheel horsepower. However, an issue with the motor had kept the SS sidelined for a couple years. When at last Greg had a 427-cube motor to replace it, the shop was broken into and the motor was taken. Though life had handed them lemons, Anti Venom chose to use this opportunity to play around with the new LS3.
To complete the swap, the Gen IV motor would need to be retrofitted with the SS's electronics. To make the Gen IV mill jive with the stock LS1 computer, the Gen IV reluctor wheel from the stock nodular iron crankshaft was replaced with the LS1 24x unit. While the difference in knock sensor location and lack of wiring harness compatibility from Gen III to IV motors seems to be the greatest stumbling block for the swap, Greg says he has solved the problem by fabricating a threaded adapter piece to angle the LS1 sensors around the headers. Instead of using a stock cam, Greg chose a custom ground cam that he said was in the neighborhood of 230/240-duration and mid .600-inch lift with a 111 LSA. The Anti Venom cam required a smorgasbord of timing set components, including a 2005 LS2 upper gear and LS7 timing chain to match the LS3 lower gear. A set of factory LS3 heads was treated to Patriot Dual Gold valvesprings and Titanium retainers to activate the stock 2.165 intake and 1.59 exhaust valves. Ported heads and a bigger cam are on the horizon for the mostly stock LS3 to put the hypereutectic pistons and powdered metal rods to task.
Thankfully, the Gen IV architecture is so similar to the LS1 that the stock oil pan, windage tray, and a Melling LS1 high-volume oil pump bolted right up. Similarly, a Com Tech 90mm cable throttle body attached to the LS3 intake manifold, which uses a Z06 85mm MAF and Whisper air lid to maintain a high level of airflow throughout the intake tract. LS3 coils plugged right in to the factory harness, however, the LS7 42 lb/hr injectors required an adapter from Casper's Electronics. The Quick Time Performance stainless 1 7⁄8-inch long-tube headers, custom 3-inch Y-pipe, and Corsa catback previously installed required no modification for its new master. A custom tune from Anti Venom and a Walbro 255-lph fuel pump keep the LS3 happy, though its incredible power is what keeps its owner happy.
To contain the 376ci beast, the SS has a Level 5-built T-56 from RPM Transmissions. A Pro 5.0 shifter and SPEC Stage 3 clutch negotiate the beefed-up six-speed, which is matched to a SPEC billet flywheel. A 3.5-inch aluminum driveshaft, from fellow Floridians BMR Fabrication, transmits the LS3's commands to a Moser 12-bolt. A 4.10 ring gear, Eaton posi, and 33-spline axles provide not only excellent street manners, but also the means to mount up a set of slicks and head to the track. In the coming months Anti Venom expects to have the SS back at the track for some updated times.
When the SS returns to the old 1320, Lovell will be glad he outfitted it with a full complement of BMR suspension parts. From the tubular K-member and A-arms to reduce frontend weight to the Extreme torque arm, subframe connectors, and adjustable street rear control arms, you can be sure that this SS is quite well-endowed. Greg even installed an adjustable Panhard bar and relocation mount to provide the added room for a future true dual-exhaust system. The car is lowered 1 inch closer to the Earth with the help of BMR progressive rate springs, as a BMR 32mm front and 21mm rear sway bar add roll stiffness to the full-weight street car. A Baer two-piston front brake kit also adds to the F-body's handling abilities, with the stockers proving more than adequate in the rear. Black Grand Sport 17x9.5 front and 17x11 rear wheels give the SS an edge, while Goodyear Eagle GS-Cs give traction.
Subtle is the word of the day--from the painted rims to the flamed Bow-Tie emblem on the front bumper. The export version rear bumper, however, is perhaps the most remarkable touch for its rarity. Few to no other U.S. F-bodies have ever worn this piece--but it pays to know people. If you look closely, you'll notice the taillights are also swiped from the European-spec Camaro. The factory black leather interior is intact, but contrasted by Macewan white gauge face overlays. Another nuance Greg added to the cockpit was a one-click "express" down control on the passenger window (just like the driver side). While Lovell and the crew at Anti Venom familiarize themselves with the LS3, don't expect this Camaro to stay subtle for very long as they unlock the Gen IV's true potential on the track and the dyno. C