2000 Chevy Camaro SS - Street Smarts

This Six-Speed 800hp Camaro Is A Terror On The Street.

Tommy Lee Byrd Feb 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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Everybody's definition of a street car is different, and it can be from one extreme to the other, but it's fair to say this '00 Camaro SS is one of the baddest cars on the streets, at least in the Cleveland, Tennessee, area. That's a proven fact, and Jonathan Oxford should know-he lives there and patrols the street in this Camaro looking for any takers. The car has been through several different combinations, but Jonathan likes the current setup: a 396ci LS1 that makes over 800 hp thanks to a healthy dose of nitrous.

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Jonathan is a self-proclaimed Camaro nut, he's owned close to 50 of them, and he's only 29-years-old. Over 30 of those have been first-gens, so he isn't one to keep a car around for a long period of time. However, he's kept this '00 SS for nine years, after buying it with only 6,000 miles on the clock. This car currently shares a garage with three other Camaros, and that's exactly how Jonathan wants it. He plans to hand down the Camaros to his two sons when they get old enough, but that's a few years down the road. Apparently, Jonathan's wife, Emily, hasn't caught onto his strategy of buying Camaros "for the kids."

As it sits now, the Camaro is fully equipped underneath. The modifications started with a UMI tubular K-member and a set of UMI tubular upper and lower control arms, all in an effort to save weight. A pair of RK Sport Drag springs rides up front, providing a lower stance, while the Koni adjustable shocks help transfer weight to the rear of the car. Jonathan removed the front sway bar to shed a few pounds off the nose, then bolted up a pair of 15x3.5 Bogart SS wheels and M/T ET front tires for even further weight savings. Out back, you'll find another pair of Bogarts, measuring 15x10, wrapped in 275/60 M/T Drag Radials.

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Rear suspension consists of the stock torque arm setup, but Jonathan replaced the original equipment with a BMR unit and added a pair of BMR subframe connectors. The rearend is a Moser 12-bolt, packed with a 4.10 gearset and 35-spline axles built to take plenty of abuse. RK Sport Drag springs and adjustable Competition Engineering shocks control the ride height, ride quality, and weight transfer, so it took a bit for Jonathan to dial it in to his liking. Stock brakes reside on all four corners, and since the car only has 24,000 miles on it, they have yet to be worn out.

For the most recent power plant, Jonathan took the LS1 block to Chuck Graham and JP Holt at Performance Automotive in Cleveland, Tennessee. They handled all of the machine work and assembly of the LS1, which is now fit with a Callies Dragon Slayer crankshaft featuring a stroke of 4.100 inches. If you do the math, the increased stroke, and .010-inch overbore (3.910 inches) creates a 394ci displacement, but Jonathan rounds it up to 396, because SS 396 has a nice ring to it. We don't blame him.

Camp_1002_03 2000_chevy_camaro_ss Jonathan 4/18

Other engine goodies consist of Callies Compstar connecting rods, Wiseco pistons and 0.040-inch thick Cometic head gaskets, which all play a part in producing an 11.8:1 compression ratio. The bottom end is prepped for nitrous, and Chuck Graham spent over 60 hours perfecting the LS6 cylinder heads. The 243 castings now flow 328 cfm at 0.600-inch lift, and most people would never know it because of the stock appearance. The valvetrain consists of Ferrea 2.05- and 1.60-inch valves, Manley springs and titanium retainers, while the UltraDyne 303/309 (advertised duration) camshaft sends it all into motion with a set of Smith Brothers pushrods.

Atop the block is a FAST intake manifold, which has been port-matched by Chuck Graham and fitted with a 90mm Nick Williams throttle body. Fuel delivery starts with a Walbro pump, which feeds the 42-pound injectors, while ignition is handled by the stock coil packs. Outgoing air flows through a set of Kooks 17/8-inch headers and 4-inch exhaust before it enters the Dynomax mufflers.

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Once the engine was ready to fire, Jonathan took the car to Scott Bowen at In Tune Motorsports for dyno tuning, where it put down 503 hp and 492 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. Jonathan's dyno pulls were on the motor alone, but his not-so-secret weapon is a Nitrous Express dual-nozzle fogger system. It's built for a 300hp shot, but Jonathan generally runs a 250hp shot, so there's no doubt his mill makes over 800 hp at the flywheel.

With that kind of power, most folks would build a bulletproof automatic transmission, but Jonathan enjoys the challenge of a manual. He actually converted the car to an automatic, but switched back to the six-speed not long afterward. The current transmission is a Six Speeds Incorporated Stage 3 model, and power application is controlled by a Textralia twin-disc clutch.

Camp_1002_13 2000_chevy_camaro_ss Headlights 12/18

Visually, Jonathan's Camaro is impressive, simply because of its cleanliness and aggressive stance. The bright red paint is in great shape, even as it approaches the ten-year mark, and the blacked-out taillight panel is the only modification so far. Inside, Jonathan kept it simple, only adding a few gauges and an Auto Meter tach to keep him in the know. The stock Ebony leather is still in great shape, and Jonathan added a really cool armrest for the backseat passenger-even if it is only a nitrous bottle.

Jonathan is having a blast driving his Camaro on the street, but if he chooses to make a few more changes, the car will be ready for the track. It doesn't have a roll cage or safety harnesses, aside from the factory equipment, so a half-throttle pass would get him run off from even the most lenient of drag strips. Jonathan says a cage and harnesses are the next modifications on the list.

This car will belong to Jonathan's son, Brett, in another decade or so, but we're sure it'll have a new combination by then. If Brett is anything like his father, he won't be afraid to squeeze off a 300-shot while shifting gears and fighting the wheel. For now, Jonathan will remain the primary driver, and have a little fun while the kids are young.

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