“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.