2001 Chevrolet Camaro SS - True Grit

A true 9.0-second, street-driven, single-turbo Camaro built with a careful selection of quality parts and a real-world budget

Justin Cesler Aug 27, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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Oh look, another high-dollar turbo LS1 that runs low nines… How original. When will we stop writing about sponsor-built trailer queens with 50-grand under the hood, custom turbo kits TIG welded by pros, and unlimited testing, tuning, and track time to run these numbers?! How about right now, because Dave Fjeldheim's '01 SS Camaro is neither a trailer queen nor a high-dollar build, and it's something that anyone with enough motivation could build given the time and determination to see the project through. "I'm just a truck driver with an obsessive passion for cars. I get a vision of what I want and how I want it to look and perform, and I fixate on it and find a way to get it done on my meager 11-dollar an hour income. And that's after a raise I got in January!"

If a hard working truck driver making 11 bucks an hour can go 9.06 at 152 mph, we should all be able to make a decent go at the 10s, but it takes much more than just effort to do this on a modest budget. For Dave, it meant buying a decently modified used project, adding in a mix of new and used parts, and getting all of his friends to pitch in whenever they could. Dave actually purchased the car off of an ad he found on LS1Tech, and while the combination wasn't exactly what he ultimately wanted, it was close enough to get him started. For the money, and a quick 625-mile two-day trip, Dave ended up with a stout '01 SS running a Texas Speed-built 402, a set of Trick Flow heads, a built 4L60E transmission, a 9-inch rear, and a well sorted suspension. The previous owner told Dave that it should run 10.84s on motor and Dave managed a 10.86 on his third pass (driving it there and back, almost 20 mpg the whole way), which was a great start.

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Keeping the Camaro as delivered wasn't going to work out, so Dave started making some major moves almost immediately. Selling off the included nitrous kit was the first step. With some of the money from the sale, and some of his own hard earned cash, Dave was able to purchase a PA Racing K-member, along with a ton of Midwest Chassis rear suspension bits to keep the Camaro planted on the track. The wheels and tires were next on the chopping block, replaced with a beautiful set of Weld Alumastars up front and Weld RT-S S71 wheels out back, which wear M/T slicks on the track and drag radials for street use. The 9-inch went the way of the nitrous system, sold to fund an upgrade to a 6-inch narrowed (3-inches per side) Midwest Chassis fabricated 9-inch rear that was stuffed with a Strange aluminum third member (3.70 gears) and 35-spline axles. These changes were good enough to shave almost half a second off of Dave's track times, dipping the all-motor Camaro into the 10.30s at 128 miles an hour with a killer 1.37-second sixty on drag radials.

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And then my friends, it was time for the turbo kit. "I'd never done anything of this magnitude before, but figured anything I *$%&# up I could have fixed. So, I dug in with the cutoff wheel and got myself to the point of no return, which got me committed to finishing this build." Dave, as you should have figured by now, bought a used KYTP truck manifold system online and thought it would be a bolt-on and ride affair, only to find out that it was not, in fact, a bolt-on system. Truth be told, the system had been "drastically altered" from the original design and almost nothing fit the way it should.

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