Every so often, there’s that one thing that catches your eye, your heart, your soul, and your imagination. It has the gotta-have-it appeal. The X-factor. That undeniable something that makes you do whatever you have to in order to acquire it. As car enthusiasts, we deal with this almost on a daily basis, and many of us search through car classifieds and eBay almost regularly to find the car of our dreams—even if we don’t actually have the means to invest in such a purchase.
Enter Garth Lenberg. Being a long-time Camaro fan, and picking up his first, a ’70 SS at the age of 16 in 1976, it was just a matter of time. That now 44-year-old car packed a fully-forged 350ci. small block, a Muncie M-21 gearbox, and a 12-bolt rearend out back. Garth also added Z28 spoilers, a metallic blue paint job with white stripes, long-tube headers, slotted mag wheels (because 1970s), and a customized interior, among other modifications. After he sold it in 1981 to raise a family, the fire burned within him to someday own another. Little did he know, that day would come some 28 years later.
Like many who picked up a 2010 Camaro, Garth immediately fell in love with the 5th-Generation body style as soon as he saw the concept unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. Immediately, he set his sights on acquiring one, although he almost reconsidered pulling the trigger after the economic collapse of 2008. In the end, his wife convinced him of sticking to the plan, and order the Camaro exactly how he wanted it. Lucky guy.
As with that bygone 1970 (which, by the way, was totaled by the new owner a month after he sold it), Garth wasn’t satisfied leaving his new car stock. Let’s be real, that’s the whole point of having a muscle/pony car to begin with, right? Instead of resorting to simple bolt-on performance parts, however, Garth enlisted the help of the pros with his new EFI wonder. After all, the 2010 Camaro has come a long way from carburetor jets and distributor points. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) is one of many well-established, and experienced professional tuning shops with a background capable of taking on the task at hand.
Naturally, you can’t build a strong house without a solid foundation, and it’s much the same with cars. The original LS3 was yanked, and fortified using forged internals from JE pistons and Manley. The OEM crank, however, went back in but only after it was rebalanced by LPE. The compression was brought down from the factory 10.7:1, to a more boost-friendly 9.67:1, while the cubic-inch displacement as delivered from General Motors was left intact at 376 ci.
That’s right, we said boost. Garth wanted a significant power increase, so off went the factory intake manifold, and in its place, went a Magnuson TVS 2300 blower pumping out between 15-17.5 pounds per square inch of boost, depending on elevation and tuning. Garth didn’t have LPE stop with a blower and a more stout bottom end; LPE topped the short block off with a set of their CNC-ported, milled, and fully-assembled LS3 cylinder heads, and stuffed it with a COMP/LPE GT9 hydraulic bumpstick. OEM 1.7 rockers remain in place, however, albeit, with a COMP trunion upgrade.
Obviously, you can’t build a high-horsepower street machine like this, and expect the stock transmission and rear differential to last. So LPE swapped in an RPM Level-6 TR6060, a Street Slayer triple carbon clutch, and a 9.5-inch aluminum rearend out back. A set of 3.73 gears sits inside the pumpkin, with Driveshaft Shop 1400-hp capable axles and a one-piece carbon fiber driveshaft help transfer the 750 rwhp and 681 ft-lbs. of twist to the pavement.
When building a car of this caliber, you can have a solid drivetrain, but you can’t neglect the need for improved suspension and stopping power. Although the OEM Brembo brakes are fantastic for a stock-level Camaro SS, essentially doubling the power output of a 4,000-pound car requires some seriously heavy-duty binders. Garth called upon a set of Racing Brake 2-piece slotted rotors, and Hawk HPS pads to aid the Brembo calipers in bringing this Infernal Orange monster to a halt.
The Camaro’s stock suspension system is leaps and bounds above anything that was available from GM in 1970 – including the Corvette. But that didn’t keep him from improving that, too, by way of BMR trailing arms, toe arms, rear lower control arms, plus, Pfadt sway bars and coilovers front and back. The stock rollers were set aside, in favor of a set of 20-inch Forgeline SP3Ps—which look absolutely perfect inside the 5th-Gen’s massive wheel arches. On the street, Garth relies on these all the way around, but at the dragstrip, he’ll bolt on his 17-inch Weld Racing RTS,’ wrapped in M&H skinnies up front and Hoosier slicks out back. For our shoot, he had the Forgelines up front, and the Welds on the back, however.
There are subtle custom changes on the exterior, like the Pearl White rally stripes, aftermarket grille insert, and other tiny details that make a hugely popular car stand out from the rest. On the inside, is the factory matching Inferno Orange leather seats with LPE embroidery on the headrests and LPE stamping on the rollcage, along with Oracle LED lighting.
As of this writing, Garth’s best E.T to date is an 11.364 at 124.83 mph in the quarter mile—which really is an excellent time for a street car that pulls mid 20-mpg on the highway and is as docile as a stocker; something that was unimaginable back in the ’70s.
We have to give it to Garth; he didn’t let economics or anything else stand in the way of his dreams. He set himself a goal, and accomplished it. Just proving the theory that if you want something bad enough, you go out and get it.
|Car:||2010 Camaro RS/SS|
|Heads:||LS3; CNC-ported and assembled by LPE|
|Cam:||Comp Cams/LPE GT9; Hydraulic, 215/247 duration, .629/.656 lift, LSA 121|
|Rocker Arms:||GM 1.7 (with COMP trunion upgrade)|
|Crankshaft:||GM; rebalanced by LPE|
|Rods:||Manley; forged, I-beam|
|Throttle Body:||Nick Williams 102mm|
|Fuel Injectors:||IC; 1000cc|
|Fuel Pump:||LPE; twin in-tank with Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump|
|Power Adder:||Magnuson TVS 2300 supercharger|
|Boost:||15-17.5psi (depending on elevation)|
|Transmission:||Tremec; TR6060, RPM Level-6|
|Clutch:||Street Slayer; billet triple carbon|
|Driveshaft:||Driveshaft Shop; 1-piece carbon fiber|
|Front Suspension:||Pfadt swaybar, adjustable coilovers, and camber kit|
|Rear Suspension:||Pfadt swaybar, adjustable coilovers, and endlinks, BMR adjustable LCAs|
|Rear End:||LPE 9.5-inch; aluminum; helical limited-slip, DSS 1400 hp-capable axles|
|Brakes:||Brembo calipers, Racing Brake 2-piece drilled rotors, Hawk HPS pads|
|Wheels:||Forgeline SP3P; 20x9.5 front, 20x10.5 rear|
|Front Tires:||Michelin Pilot Super Sports, 285/40/20 (street)|
|Rear Tires:||Michelin Pilot Super Sports, 315/35/20 (street)|
|ET/MPH:||11.36/124.8 (unprepped track)|
|Best 60-FT. TIME:||1.67|