“Small” isn’t part of a Texan’s vocabulary, so it should come as no surprise that when Gen 5 Camaro enthusiast Larry Dye wanted to hit the street and strip with something that would make a big impression, he didn’t bother messing around with the stock 6.2L LS3 for very long. He went with a force-fed LSX-based 427 engine, boosted by a couple of turbos, and a 200-shot of nitrous for that final push over the edge.
“It currently makes 1,000 horsepower to the tires, or about 1,200 at the crankshaft,” says Dye. “That may seem like overkill for a street/strip car, but it’s really drivable. You can drive it on the street comfortably or drive it to the track, change the tires and rip off a few low 10-second e.t.’s.
“I just wanted a fast street car,” says Dye. “The car evolved from a 650-horsepower supercharged combination with the original LS3 to a twin-turbo system on the LS3, which wasn’t up to the power and punched a rod through the aluminum block. It was then that I doubled down with a new builder and the current built-for-bear LSX engine, but again, that wasn’t the original plan when I bought the car.”
In fact, Dye attends more cars shows than drag races, so the sanitary appearance and exceptional attention to detail are musts. “I think many people are surprised by its performance, because at a glance, it just doesn’t look like what you think a 1,200-horsepower car should look like,” he says. Extracting those 1,200 galloping Texas fillies from the LSX-based 427 fell to Advanced Racing Dynamics (ARD), of Houston and the direction of Owen Priest.
In addition to the iron LSX base, the recipe for 1,200 pressurized horsepower includes a Callies Magnum forged steel crankshaft (4.000-inch stroke), a set of Wiseco pistons (4.125-inch bores) and 6.125-inch-long Callies Ultra H-beam connecting rods. There’s also a Comp Cams camshaft ground to ARD’s specs.
Atop the rotating assembly sits a pair of LSX-LS7 six-bolt, high-flow cylinder heads that were ported by ARD until they delivered 410 cfm worth of airflow on the intake side and 275 cfm on the exhaust side (at .600-inch lift). The heads feature Del West 2.20-inch titanium intake valves and Manley Inconel exhaust valves measuring 1.61 inches, all complemented by Manley dual-coil valvesprings and Comp Cams tool steel retainers. The heads are secured to the block via ARP 2000 head studs.
It’s a solid, durable long-block that absorbs 18 pounds of boost generated by a pair of Precision 62mm ball-bearing turbochargers. They blow into a GM LS7 intake manifold, where the pressurized air charge is mixed with fuel delivered via 85-lb/hr injectors mounted in Aeromotive LS7 fuel rails. There are a couple of TiAL Q-series blow-off valves, too, to relieve pressure, along with an HKS EVC-V boost controller. The injectors are fed by a both the OEM fuel pump and a high-volume unit from Weldon. The car makes this power on a street-friendly 93-octane tune though they do use just a hint of water/methanol injection (from a custom-fabbed tank in the trunk) as a safety factor to help keep the charge temps down in the blistering Houston summer heat. The nitrous system is fed high-octane race fuel from another custom-fabbed tank mounted in the trunk with an additional pump.
As we noted at the top of the story, Dye’s Camaro also packs a 200-shot of nitrous in the form of a Cold Fusion direct-port system and NOS progressive launch controller, but he hasn’t yet sprayed the direct port system on the track or even the chassis dyno. So, yes, the 1,000 horses to the tire were generated without the additional kick from the nitrous system.
“It’s still a challenge to harness the power we’ve got,” says Dye. “We’re running in the mid 10s right now, but should be in the mid-9s. We’re headed there, but it takes time to sort out the driveline and launch the car optimally with all that power. Even on slicks, track conditions are a huge factor when you’re launching a high-powered and full-weight street car.” For the record, Dye’s best time has been a 10.5 at 138 mph, recorded at the last Camaro5 Fest in Indianapolis.
A Turbo 400 transmission with a transbrake—also built by Advanced Racing Dynamics—backs the boosted LSX engine, replacing the original Tremec six-speed. It features 4340-billet input and output shafts, a Neil Chance 3800-stall Pro-Mod bolt-together converter and an SFI-rated flexplate and bell housing, all controlled from the driver’s seat by a B&M Pro Ratchet shifter. Torque is transferred from the bulletproof trans to a Driveshaft Shop-prepped 9-inch rear housing that features a tough Strange posi differential filled with surprisingly mild 3.55 gears. DSS 31-spline half-shafts are rated for 1,500 horsepower.
Launch and traction management assistance comes from Pfadt solid rear cradle bushings, control arm bushings and engine mounts; BMR trailing arms, adjustable toe links and strut tower brace; Hotchkis adjustable stabilizer bars, end links and rear subframe connector/tunnel brace, as well as Pedders Supercar coilovers (with external reservoirs) and bushings. “The suspension is definitely geared for the drag strip more than the street, but it’s still comfortable to take out on the street for a cruise,” he says. “The car is no longer my daily driver, so it’s not something I have to put up with on my commute every day. It is by all definitions an extreme car, so it’s not supposed to drive like it did when it left the factory.”
On the street, the Camaro rolls on 20-inch HRE P43 Monoblock forged aluminum wheels with Pirelli 275-series front rubber and Mickey Thompson 305-series ET Street 2 rear treads, while at the track Dye switches over to Bogart 17-inch front wheels and skinnies, matched with 16-inch RT wheels wrapped by 10-inch-wide Hoosier slicks. Behind the front wheels is a set of Baer Extreme 6S brakes, with 15-inch, two-piece drilled-and-slotted rotors and six-piston calipers. At the rear, the car runs the smaller, lighter disc setup from a V-6 Camaro, which are required in order to fit the 16-in. wheel and slick.
With all the talk of the performance features of the car, it would be easy to overlook the fact it has collected Best in Class, Best in Show and Editors Choice trophies at the Super Chevy Show, Autorama, Corvette-Chevy Expo and plenty of other local car shows. Its clean good looks are subtle, but there is plenty to distinguish it from the other run-of-the-mill Camaro SSs on the street. The most noticeable upgrade is the ZL1 front fascia. There’s also a VIS carbon fiber vented hood and even a carbon fiber trunk lid (from Carbon by Design). Other custom touches include LED-lit outside mirrors from Showstopper Accessories coupled with color matching LED side marker lights from Oracle, GM’s ground effects kit and custom black metallic stripes by S&T Auto Body.
Inside, the Camaro was retrimmed by Stitches Auto Tops & Upholstery. They sewed carbon fiber-looking leatherette inserts into the seats and trimmed the headliner and Fesler two-gauge A-pillar pod in sumptuous suede. The pod houses AEM boost and air/fuel ratio gauges. Additional cabin accoutrements include Oracle LED accent lighting, billet pedal covers and chrome doorsill plates. There’s also a roll bar welded in by ARD and a five-point racing harness. It’s a comfortable environment that even retains air conditioning—a must for Texas cruising—and the factory sound system.
“It may be more of a show worthy drag car now, but it is still truly streetable and we didn’t want to sacrifice the creature comforts entirely,” says Dye. “It’s great to be able to hit the street in the Camaro and crank up the radio, although the sound of the engine—especially when the turbos spool up—is even better music to the ears. The ARD1500 badge I had painted onto the rear deck lid is a hint of the total crank horsepower we intend to throw down with this LSX motor once we turn up the boost.”
And with a little more work, that Texas-sized, pressurized power plant will pull the Camaro down into the 9s, for a proper Lone Star State salute to doing things big.
Car: 2010 Camaro SS
Owner: Larry Dye Block: LSX, 427cid
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Heads: Chevrolet Performance LSX-LS7, ported by Advanced Racing Dynamics, 2.20 intake, 1.61 exhaust valves
Cam: Comp Cams custom hydraulic roller
Pushrods: Comp Cams
Rocker arms: LS7, 1.8-ratio with Comp Cams trunion
Pistons: Wiseco, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: Callies Magnum, forged
Rods: Callies Ultra H-beam, forged
Throttle body: stock 90mm, ported by ARD
Fuel injectors: FAST 85 lb/hr
Fuel pump: Weldon
Ignition: stock coil near plug
Engine management: stock, tuned by Advanced Racing Dynamics
Power adder: twin Precision 62mm ball-bearing turbochargers
Boost: 18 psi
Intercooler: Griffin air-to-air
Wastegates: twin Precision 45mm
Exhaust system: LS7 manifolds ported and coated by ARD, 2.5 to 3-inch downpipes, CORSA catback
Transmission: Turbo 400, built by Advanced Racing Dynamics
Torque converter: Neal Chance 3800-stall
Driveshaft: custom, one-piece aluminum
Front suspension: Pedders Supercar coilovers and bushings, Hotchkis adjustable sway bar
Rear suspension: Pedders Supercar coilovers and bushings, Hotchkis adjustable sway bar, BMR trailing arms and toe links
Rear end: Driveshaft Shop 9-inch IRS and axles, 3.55 gears, Strange posi
Brakes: Baer Extreme 6S 15-inch rotors/6-piston calipers (front), GM V-6 12.4-inch rotors/single-piston calipers (rear)
Wheels: Bogart P3-B “RT” 17x4 front, 16x8 rear
Front tires: M&H 28x4
Rear tires: Hoosier slicks 28x10
Fuel: 93-octane (street), 116-octane (strip)
Race weight: 4,200 lbs. (approx.)
Best ET/mph: 10.5/138
Best 60-ft. time: 1.53
Current mileage: 8,100
Miles driven weekly: 100