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1994 Chevy Camaro Z28 - The Long Road To The Top

Building The Fastest All Motor, Six-Speed LT1 In The Country, The Long Way

Justin Cesler Mar 1, 2010

"I remember the first test-drive like it was yesterday. I pulled out of the McDonalds in Houston [Texas] with my dad in the passenger seat. I drove about an eigth-mile up the road and turned off on what looked to be a quiet, untraveled highway, to really see what the Z had. As I brought it up to 30 mph in First gear, I let her have it. I put my foot to the floor and then, all of a sudden, it stopped and threw us forward harder then it was sitting us back." Broken Camaro and all, Brady decided to buy it anyway and limp the Camaro home. "I didn't drive nine hours to come home with no Camaro, after all, it was the car I wanted." And with that, the long journey began. "The front nose and passenger side fender had lost a fight with a mailbox, the paint and windows were water spotted from sitting outside. Random dash lights were on and others didn't work. We brought a trailer to take it back on, but I was so proud of my Z28, I drove it all the way back home."

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Once back in his driveway, Brady went to work, the start of what would end up being a 10-second monster worthy of running with the best LT1 cars on the planet. "After reading about the GMHTP LT1 bolt-on shootout and seeing the times the guys put down, I knew where I wanted to go with the car. I tried for over a year and a half to break the best M6 time and I finally ran a 12.295 at 112 (to the previous record of a 12.34 at 110), which was the first time I had accomplished anything big with the car." Now completely addicted, it was time to go faster. "It was time to run with the big boys ... or so I thought. I ordered up a Nitrous Express kit and before long the 150 pills had made there way into my kit. I remember the first time I hit it (on 150) and thinking to myself 'so this is what horsepower feels like!' It didn't take long to move to the 200 pills." Unfortunately, greed finally did get the best of Brady, as a set of Llyod Elliot heads and camshaft found its way onto the LT1, and made just enough power to destroy the stock motor on the nitrous.

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With the car on jack stands, Brady took a second job to help fuel his go-fast addiction. He also started doing side jobs building other people's cars, doing cam swaps and clutches for local racers' LS1 cars. "I loved the work, it seemed like I was the only one with a set of tools on my block, so I had phone calls every day." With cash to spend, Brady began collecting a killer pile of parts, including a set of BRE CNC-ported Dart PRO1 cylinder heads, which would eventually sit atop his freshly built, 383-cubic-inch powerplant. Using an LT4 block, Brady installed an Eagle 4340 crankshaft, Eagle H-Beam rods, and Diamond Pistons, a solid foundation for all the things to come. A custom solid roller camshaft was chosen to direct the valve events, an idea that came only after ordering and installing all of the normal hydraulic roller parts. "I would stay up late every night reading what all the fast guys were using." With his new knowledge, Brady assembled a killer drivetrain to back his new bullet, using a homebuilt face-plated LS1 T56 to turn a 3.5-inch driveshaft. The rearend was fully fortified using a new Moser 9-inch stuffed with 4.11 gears and 35-spline gun-drilled axles. Madman was called upon to supply most of the suspension pieces, with AFCO shocks front and rear.

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"I finally got the car running two weeks before the first LTX Shootout and I stayed up all night changing intake gaskets the day we were supposed to leave for the Shootout. I was going to run the car in Modified N/A and 6-speed. Once at the track, I was hot lapping the car getting down to the finals. I would make a pass, win, and then drive right back up into the lanes for my next run. It was a blast!" Brady went on to win the first ever Modified N/A class at the LTX Shootout, and was runner up in the 6-speed class, losing to "Mr. 6-Speed" himself, Taner Bosnali, in the final round. With the weekend over and his spirits high, Brady went home to begin preparing for the second annual LTX Shootout. "I did some research and wanted to have a little more uniqueness for the next Shootout. I remember Big Rick's car having a belt drive, and knew I wanted to do that. I completed the Jesel belt drive conversion to an LT1, and also decided to run a front-mount distributor. It looked really trick; I knew people would be interested in it."

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Then, in a cruel twist of fate, just one month before the LTX Shootout, disaster struck. "I messed it up. I installed the belt drive 180 degrees out on the camshaft and when I fired up the car for the first time, the pistons hit the valves. I ended up dropping two valves, turning them sideways and shoving them up into my heads. This was only after they put a hole in a piston and cracked a cylinder. It was the worst day of my life. I felt sick and couldn't believe what happened. If only I had checked P-to-V, I would have caught it." So, what did Brady do? "I pulled the motor out that night and was at Panhandle Performance Engines at 10 a.m. with a pile of destroyed parts. After talking to Don Thomas (the owner), we decided it could be fixed. In two weeks we had a new set of pistons, two new rods, and a sleeve in one cylinder. The heads were sent overnight, and arrived the day before the race. I got the motor home at 4 p.m. and was supposed to leave for Kansas City at 7 a.m. No pressure ..." After a 1 a.m. tuning session at Boost Performance, Brady was on the road at 7 a.m., diagnosing several electrical and clutch issues from the driver's seat of his tow vehicle.

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Once in Kansas City, Brady went straight to the track, where he was able to get in zero runs before closing time. "I didn't even have one pass on the new combo before the LTX Shootout. I went back to the hotel parking lot and had a lot of work to do." Luckily the LTX community is one of the most helpful groups of racers we have ever had the pleasure of being around. "Tony Shepherd and Moe Bailey jumped in and started looking at my tune. Then the guys from Nitrous Outlet stepped up and started checking my voltage issues and ground connections. Around 1 a.m. most of the racers had cleared out and Tony and Moe had done the best they could with what little I could give them. Taner Bosnali rolled up from dinner and was fired up to fix my clutch issues. Those Canadians sure don't mind a little midnight work!" After some sleep and breakfast, Brady was back at the track, where, even fighting some serious gremlins, he was able to run an 11.07 at 128 mph, on motor. "It was my only pass, right off the trailer. I had gone from a small time, bolt-on street race punk kid to a more educated, more experienced drag racer. And in the process had met and made some lifelong friends. I had taken a stock, wrecked Z28 and transformed it into a one-of-a-kind race car. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way, I couldn't have done it without them."

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Leaving the Shootout with no trophies, but a ton of knowledge, Brady has managed to run fast as 10.07 at 135 mph on E85, which makes him the fastest all motor six-speed in the country. Now it is time to step up and start spraying the big jets on his Camaro. With the Nitrous Outlet dual-stage spraying 200/150, look for some huge numbers in the future. These days it is rare to meet someone as genuine and enthusiastic about racing and LT1s as Brady, so if you see him at an event, make sure to stop by and check out his unique LT1-it is guaranteed to impress.

Data File: 1994 Chevy Camaro Z28
Owner: Brady Matysek
Block: LT4, 385 cid
Compression ratio: 13.1:1
Heads: Dart PRO1, ported by BRE, 2.02 intake, 1.57 exhaust valves
Cam: Custom BRE solid roller, 261/270 duration at 0.050, 0.691/0.647-inch lift, 109 LSA
Rocker arms: T&D 1.6 ratio
Pistons: Diamond, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: Eagle 4340, forged
Rods: Eagle H-Beam, forged
Intake manifold: Dart single plane, Wilson elbow
Throttle body: Wilson 90mm
Fuel injectors: Racetronix 62 lb/hr
Fuel pump: Walbro, twin in-tank
Ignition: MSD 6AL, MSD belt-drive distributor and coil, NGK 10s
Engine management: FAST XFI, tuned by the owner
Power adder: Nitrous Outlet Dual Stage Plate 200/150hp with stand-alone fuel cell
Exhaust system: Kooks 1 3/4-inch to 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers, 3.5-inch Borla XR1 Mufflers
Transmission: T56, built by the owner
Clutch: McLeod Twin Disk
Driveshaft: PTE 3.5-inch, aluminum
Front suspension: BMR K-Member and A-arms, Madman SYA bars, AFCO coilovers
Rear suspension: Madman torque arm, adjustable Panhard rod, offset lower control arms, AFCO shocks and springs
Rearend: Moser 9-inch, 4.11 gear, 35-spline axles, spool
Brakes: Strange 4-piston front, rear
Wheels: Weld Alumastars 15x3.5 front, 15x10.5 rear
Front tires: M/T ET Front 26x3.5
Rear tires: M/T ET Drag 28x10.5
Fuel octane: 105 (E85)
Best ET/mph: 10.07/135
Best 60-ft. time: 1.48



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