No, this isn’t a bad dream. No, this isn’t an episode of The Twilight Zone. You are indeed looking at a GMHTP feature on a Cobalt SS; a turbocharged, FWD, 4-cylinder equipped compact car from an era when it was still largely unheard of for such a car to kick import butt all over the place. But that’s exactly what 23-year-old owner Antonio Melo is doing.
Actually, he’s doing it one better. You see, this story really starts just over a year ago when Antonio was in the market for an early 5th-Gen Camaro SS. Having already previously owned a G-body Monte SS, an RX7 Turbo, and even a Ford Lightning, Antonio was ready for something much newer. He spotted the would-be Camaro at a local car lot, but since he arrived late in the evening, it wouldn’t be until the next day where he would be able to take delivery in lieu of the dealer prep. Confident that Antonio was going to buy the Camaro, the dealer tossed him the keys to a black 2010 Cobalt SS Turbo to have overnight until they could get the 6-speed manual Camaro SS ready.
However, fate had intervened, and Antonio immediately fell in love with the little “economy car.” In his words, “It honestly felt more fun to drive, to me, than the Camaro [had]. With the Cobalt being $5k cheaper, and seeing as how there are less of them on the road, I couldn’t pass it up.” Fair enough, Antonio. But seriously, you would rather have a front wheel drive, 260 hp 4-banger over a 426 hp V-8 Camaro!? Oh, yeah.
Now this is where the story takes a dramatic turn. Instead of keeping it stock, with the exception of a cold-air intake and maybe a muffler, Antonio decided to get serious and take this Cobalt up a few notches. So he enlisted the help of Billet Design, based out of Pompano Beach, FL. What they did, was leave the OEM crankshaft in place, but swapped the stock pistons and connecting rods for forged versions in the stock dimensions, from those of Wiseco and ZZPerformance. As a result, the compression ratio still checks in at the normal 9.5:1, but Antonio now has a more solid foundation to turn up the boost.
A pair of COMP Cams hydraulic bumpsticks spec’ing in at 212/206 duration, with a .424/.420 lift and an undisclosed lobe separation angle, now reside where the stockers once lived, and Billet Design ported and polished the intake manifold and lone cylinder head to allow for increased flow. A K&N cold-air kit feeds the incoming oxygen through an LS2 throttle body, and into the high-flowing intake manifold.
The exhaust gases eject out of the head, and into a Borg-Warner EFR 6758 turbocharger, cranked up to 26 psi., and is aided by a B-W internal wastegate, Forge blow-off valve, a ZZP intercooler, 3-inch downpipe, and hot/cold tubing. A ZZP 3-inch exhaust helps finish the job, while a Billet Design-built F35 gearbox stuffed with a Fidanza aluminum flywheel and Spec Stage 3+ clutch help Antonio select the gears.
As for the power? Well, he let James Rakes Hagerman out of Elizabethtown, Kentucky handle tuning duties for him, courtesy of HP Tuners software. The ending result is 463 hp and 410 lb-ft. of twist to the front tires. With 4.45 gears sitting in the diff, this little pocket rocket screamed to a quarter-mile run of 12.47 at 116 mph with Nitto NT05s covering the factory wheels—not too shabby!
The OEM wheels remain in place for the street as well, while a set of Brembo 4-piston calipers have been installed on the front. Underneath, the suspension has been largely left stock, save for Koni Sport struts, along with a set of Eibach Sportline springs.
It should also be noted that this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Superior Autmotive Design, who supplied the 3M matte white vinyl wrap, Altered Ego Designs for supplying the cosmetic tweaks found throughout the car, DynamiKillu5ions for “the best retro-fitted headlights around,” and last but not least, Billet Design, who turned this run of the mill tuner car into something truly special.
So the next time you see a little Cobalt SS with a masive rear spoiler tooling down the road, don’t be too quick to discredit Chevy’s brief forray into Tuner Town. You just might get your milk money jacked from your pocket!
|Car||2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbo|
|Block||LNF, 122 ci.|
|Head||LNF; ported by Billet Design|
|Cams||COMP Cams; hydraulic, 212/206 duration, .424/.420 lift, undisclosed LSA|
|Rocker Arms||stock, LNF|
|Throttle Body||GM LS2; ported|
|Fuel Injectors||Stock DI|
|Engine Management||stock PCM; HP Tuners|
|Power Adder||Borg-Warner EFR 6758 turbocharger, 26 psi.|
|Exhaust System||Stock header, ZZP hot/cold pipes, downpipe, and 3-inch exhaust|
|Transmission||F35, built by Billet Designs|
|Clutch||Spec Stage 3+|
|Front Suspension||Eibach Sportline springs, Koni Sport struts, ZZP sway bar|
|Rear Suspension||Eibach Sportline springs, Koni Sport struts|
|Differential||stock, 4.45 gears|
|Brakes||Brembo 4-piston front, stock rear|
|Wheels||Stock GM, 18x7-inch|
|Front Tires||Nitto NT05|
|Rear Tires||Nitto NT555|
|Fuel||pump gas; 93 octane|