From the factory, the fifth-gen Camaro SS is one hell of a car. Its power and performance surpass its rivals and ancestors, it has great looks, and there’s plenty of room to customize and tune it to fit the owner’s personal tastes.
Justin Keith was no stranger to LS power and F-bodies when he bought his ’10 SS brand-new off the lot. He had a turbo-equipped fourth-gen before upgrading to the latest generation of Camaro, a car equivalent to a land speed missile that drew plenty of attention at Street Car Takeover (streetcar-takeover.com) events, a traveling quarter- and eighth-mile drag racing show and exhibition that is an arena for automotive gladiators to do battle in front of crowds of horsepower-thirsty, high-octane sniffing performance junkies.
Justin drove his new SS for about a year with only the mild mods of a cam and headers before he couldn’t resist the urge to take the Camaro down to pieces in his home garage for some serious upgrades. Being a boost junkie, Justin already knew he wanted a turbo in the fifth-gen, but no one had a front-mount, front-facing turbo kit for them yet. So, with caution tossed to the wind he began fabbing up his own turbo system based around a Precision X275 88mm G-trim turbocharger. Justin fabbed up all the piping, including the intercooler, along with the other necessities to get everything into the fifth-gen.
The stock LS3 wasn’t going to survive the amount of boost Justin desired so it was shelved and a 408-inch engine built by Dahmer Powertrain using an iron 6.0L truck block, forged internals, and stock LSA heads. The camshaft was a custom hydraulic roller profile designed by Futral Motorsports. Feeding the engine enough fuel is a dual Walbro 450 setup with an Aeromotive regulator. On the chassis dyno it cranks out over 1,200 rear-wheel horsepower on 24 psi of boost.
The car came equipped with a 6L80E six-speed auto from the factory, but Justin knew that unit wouldn’t hold up to all the torque the turbocharged LS was going to put out so it was yanked in favor of a TH400 three-speed built by Mike Leighty with a Yank 3,400-stall converter, trans brake, and Hurst shifter. The combo sends power through a carbon-fiber driveshaft to a G-Force 9-inch rear.
Helping put the power to the ground is a set of RPM upper and lower rear control arms, BMR springs, and QA1 shocks. The front is beefed up with Eibach springs and QA1 shocks. The rear discs were upgraded to C5 Corvette binders for some extra stopping power to help the factory Brembo front brakes. Rolling stock is a pair of Weld Alumastar 17x4 front wheels with M&H tires, and the rear wheels are Weld RTs in 15x10 wrapped in Nitto NT555R tires.
At the track, the car ran a 10.92 e.t. at 149 miles per hour, on 18 psi of boost, no trans brake, and no boost off the line for its first couple of shakedown passes on the quarter-mile strip at Muncie Dragway.
Just as Justin was getting the Camaro dialed-in and ready for some serious track time the new C7 Corvette appeared. Its siren song grabbed him by the arms and soon his freshly built Camaro was up for sale so he could buy a brand-new Vette. And no surprise, he already has his eyes on a turbo install for that one as well, and he’s already one of the first people to run the new LT1 full time on E85.
While he admits that being the first one to install such a performance mod, the results and attention the car got when finished were quite gratifying. And in the world of modern performance and competition, being the first to achieve such a feat is worthy of serious recognition.
|Car||2010 Camaro SS|
|Engine||408ci LS built by Dahmer Powertrain|
|Block||Iron 6.0L GM|
|Pistons||Diamond flat-top, 10:1 compression|
|Camshaft||Custom grind by Futral Motorsports|
|Power-Adder||Precision X275 88mm G-trim turbocharger|
|Blow-Off Valve||ProCharger Big Red Race Valve|
|Trans||TH400 built by Mike Leighty|
|Driveshaft||4-inch diameter, carbon fiber|
|Rearend||G-Force 1320 9-inch centersection with 3.25 gears|
|Axles||G-Force 1320 35-spline|
|Front Wheels||Weld Alumastar 17x4|
|Front Tires||M&H 28x5x17|
|Rear Wheels||Weld RT 15x10|
|Rear Tires||Nitto NT555R 275/50R15|