Making kids is fun. Making room for kids by selling your performance cars isn’t. Wretched little buggers, aren’t they? Worse yet, it’s often just the beginning of taking a 20-plus-year hiatus from laying patch, sliding sideways, and irresponsibly seeking maximum horsepower. Even so, Mark Buckland didn’t just avoid this fate, he somehow orchestrated an alternate reality filled with boost and over 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower. Before the kids arrived, Mark’s Camaro was bone stock. After the kids showed up, the car ran 8.94 at 159 mph. According to Mark, that makes it one of the fastest full-weight fifth-gen Camaros in existence. So how on earth does something like that happen?
In truth, Mark already had a kid when he bought a ’10 Camaro SS for his wife. He somehow convinced her that it was a perfectly suitable family car, but that twisted logic became even more bogus after they welcomed their second child into the world. Although he immediately decided to unload the Camaro for something more practical, his wife became attached to the car and asked him not to sell it. He listened, and after retiring the Camaro from daily driving duty, it sat in storage for several months.
Keeping such a fast car all cooped up seemed like a huge waste, so Mark came up with a rather dramatic solution by bolting on a pair of Garrett 70mm turbos. “I’ve had supercharged cars before, including a blown ’03 Mustang Cobra Outlaw 10.5 race car that runs 7.11 at 204 mph. For the street, however, supercharged cars don’t perform nearly as well as turbo cars because it takes a long time for the boost to kick in,” Mark opines. The Race Proven Motorsports kit features custom collectors that bolt to Kooks 1.875-inch shorty headers, positioning the turbos near the transmission case. Unfortunately, the turbos aren’t visible from beneath the hood, but the good news is they make some big-time power. There was so much untapped potential, in fact, that Mark knew the stock LS3 small-block wouldn’t last long once he turned up the wick.
Consequently, he decided that a pre-emptive rebuild was the best course of action. He turned to Livernois Motorsports, who spec’d out a 427ci combination based on a Chevrolet Performance LSX iron block. It has been fitted with a Callies forged 4.000-inch crankshaft, Eagle steel rods, and Diamond 9.1:1 forged aluminum pistons. Channeling the pressurized air molecules into the short-block are ported GM LS7 cylinder heads and a FAST LSXR intake manifold. Furthermore, a Lunati 211/230-degree duration at 0.050-inch lift hydraulic roller camshaft controls the valve events, while an Aeromotive pump and regulator provide the fuel supply. With C16 fuel in the tank, RPM tuned the stock PCM to 1,160 horsepower and 1,090 lb-ft of torque on the chassis dyno. Since that kind of power will twist up the factory independent rear suspension in no time, the Camaro’s driveline has been fortified with a 9-inch case, centersection, and axles from The Driveshaft Shop.
Granted that fifth-gen Camaros are often criticized for their hefty weight, but they actually hook quite well at the dragstrip. As such, preparing the suspension for track duty in Mark’s car was relatively simple. He installed Pfadt coilovers at each corner, along with a Pfadt rear sway bar. The front sway bar has been removed, but otherwise the suspension is stock. The final link in planting quadruple-digit horsepower are Hoosier 28x10x16 drag radials that wrap around CCW wheels. As simple as the chassis setup may be, it’s yielded very impressive 1.29-second 60-foot times at the track.
During the Camaro’s maiden track voyage, it mustered a 9.86-second pass, but traction was hard to come by no thanks to the 6L80E transmission’s incredibly short gearing. To correct the situation, RPM swapped in a TH400 automatic and a 3,400-stall Circle D torque converter. This immediately improved launch consistency and netted 9.40s the next time out. “The TH400 made the car so much easier to launch. With a bit more tuning, we had the car running 9.11-second passes on a regular test-and-tune night,” Mark recalls. “Eventually, we got that down to an 8.94 at 159 mph. The only other fifth-gen Camaros out there that run faster times are either all-out race cars or street cars that have been stripped down. My car has no weight reduction mods at all, and weighs 4,150 pounds with the driver. Everything except the engine, trans, and rearend are stock. Even though it’s fast, I built it to be a radical street car, not a race car. I want to run faster, but I’m not going to strip the car down to get there.”
Instead, Mark plans on turning up the boost. “Right now, the motor is only at 20 psi, but the turbos can go up to 25 psi. That should put the car in the 8.50- to 8.70-second range, but I want to eventually run low-8s,” says Mark. Considering how many car guys are forced to dump their hot rods for more practical family transportation, the story of Mark’s Camaro gives all the dads out there some hope. Just make sure to get a cool wife first.