Let's face it, since the beginning of time men have felt the need to do whatever it takes to be the master, el jefe, or "big dog" of the tribe-whether said tribe is a mere 10 strong or as large as 10,000. But becoming royalty doesn't come easy, it's usually the biggest, strongest, or fastest that rules the roost. You know these guys. They're the "first stringers." The ones who never get picked last no matter what game is about to be played. In fact, they're the ones doing the picking. So what do us guys who aren't the biggest, strongest, or fastest do to make up for our testosterone-challenged shortcomings?
That's easy, we buy muscle cars-preferably Camaros. Then we do whatever it takes to make them go faster and faster (usually until they blow up) or we go completely broke in said pursuit, or in many cases, both.
Being that I'm a man of, let's just say, slightly-less-than-tall stature (go ahead with the short jokes, they don't bother me anymore...much), I fall directly into the need-to-go-faster clan. Now, I'm not insinuating only short people own Camaros. Nope, that's about as far from the truth as the stereotype that all Camaro owners have mullets (that may be a little closer to the truth, actually). Anyway, for some reason it seems that most of the people I know who feel the constant need for speed are just a little "off" in some sort of indescribable way-yours truly included. And there's nothing wrong with it, but the strange thing is that these are the people with whom I get along with the best.
So, as I continue hanging out with the I-need-to-go-faster crowd, I've suddenly found that the car in which I promised myself I would keep fairly mild has gone straight down the road to let's-go-faster-ville.
When we brought Black Betty ('01 Z28) into our stable as a project car, the main goal was to make it a great handling car that we could have fun with and take out to the occasional autocross and road course. Done deal. Then we got the idea that it would be cool to take it to the dragstrip and have a good time there as well. Unfortunately, the excitement peaked at about the halfway mark on the "fun meter." We quickly found out that a lot more horsepower is needed to have a good time in the straight-line world. So we chucked the LS1 in favor of an LS3. OK, it was more fun but still not "super fun." So this leads us to where we are today: plumbing in a Zex perimeter plate nitrous system with the idea of hitting it with a 100-150 shot (page 36).
Remember, we started with the idea of keeping this fourth-gen totally streetable, but now we find ourselves at a point where bigger is better and faster is, well ... faster.
It wasn't too long ago I boasted about how I used to pick up my kids from school in this car, but now it's at the point where a rollcage is necessary to keep my buns safe on the dragstrip and a road course. That right there cancels out putting anyone in the back seats. Since that's the case, we might as well get rid of the back seats and take advantage of the weight savings.
Obviously, this car won't be getting any slower any time soon.
So, coming to a bit of a crossroad, we could use your advice. Do we stop with a small bump of nitrous or keep going and take Black Betty to the next level? If so, what exactly is the next level?
I'd love to hear your ideas on where we should take this car next. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick Licata Editor (email@example.com)