The days had quickly passed Pete Cimino when his supercharged 1991 Z28 was keeping up with the Mustangs common to his hometown of Springfield, Pennsylvania, or nearby Philadelphia. But the puny 5.0s and 4.6s were no match for mighty LS1s such as the 2002 Sunset Orange Metallic Trans Am for sale at the local dealership Pete passed every day on the way to work. The rare color was a hard sell for most customers, which gave him time to put together the cash. Soon, he was driving the TA to work every day-instead of driving by it.
A union carpenter by trade, Pete wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty-starting the modifications light with an SLP airlid, 85mm MAF, and Loudmouth exhaust. However, a chance highway encounter with a juiced LS1 Firehawk from Harris Speed Works convinced him it was time to drop off his TA at the Warminster, Pennsylvania-shop. HSW first set him up with a killer heads and cam package, using a Comp Cams 230/232-duration hydraulic roller and Yella Terra 1.7 ratio roller rockers. The stock bottom end was topped off with Dart Pro 1 205cc heads, 2.02 and 1.60 valves, and Comp Cams 921 valvesprings. Kooks Custom 13/4- to 17/8-inch stepped long-tube headers with 3-inch collectors and a Y-pipe were then added to scavenge exhaust from the chambers. A ported stock throttle body, ported LS6 oil pump, and an SLP underdrive crank pulley were the only other pieces used to make 444 rwhp.
After some research, Pete decided Strano Performance lowering springs would provide the stance and the ride quality he was looking for, not to mention excellent handling. He also sourced the PA supplier for its hollow sway bars and re-valved Bilstein shocks. Another PA suspension maker, UMI Performance, was chosen for the rear lower control arms, subframe connectors, adjustable Panhard bar, and torque arm-mostly for straight-line traction, something now in short supply even with meaty 285/35R18 Nitto drag radials. The short-sidewall rubber and slick HP Design 18x9.5 wheels aren't the most drag friendly. However, Pete did manage to run an 11.7 at 120 mph in the quarter with this setup.
Strano Performance lowering springs give the TA its aggressive stance, while still providing excellent ride quality in combination with re-valved Bilstein shocks and hollow sway bars. The rest of the suspension is from UMI Performance, as Pete keeps to his Pennsylvania roots.------>
Though he is more into street ... ahem ... driving, this experience only whet his appetite for even more power. Soon the WS6 headed back to HSW for its Brute Force dual nozzle wet nitrous system for a serious kick in the pants. Coupled with the HSW progressive nitrous controller, stand-alone fuel system loaded with VP108, and the Full Throttle Speed LS1 Timing Tuner, the nitrous system safely delivers 250 horses at the flip of a custom-mounted switch. While the motor has its own timing and fuel supply just for nitrous, it otherwise relies on the HSW custom-tune, 93-octane pump gas, Bosch 42-lb/hr injectors, and a Racetronix 255-lph fuel pump.
Plans are to take the Pro 5.0 shifted six-speed back to the track with a set of slicks and give the Textralia Twin Disc clutch a workout. Thankfully, he also invested in a Moser 9-inch rear with 33-spline axles, Truetrac differential, and a 3.70 gear that's well suited to handling the 675 hp his TA now dishes out. Driveline Solutions put together the street-friendly rear with a nodular iron centersection and paired it with a custom-length, 3-inch diameter steel driveshaft. If the stock T56 holds together, a 10-second pass should definitely be in the cards for the PA TA-and Pete can ride off into the sunset with a true pony-killer.