The 2010 Chevy Camaro was the de facto car of the year at the big 2009 SEMA show in Las Vegas. The floor was chock-a-block with new Camaros in nearly every imaginable guise and configuration. Supercharged. Touring. Road racing. Drift. Drag racing. Body kits-a-plenty. The only thing that wasn't there was an off-road or rock crawler Camaro. Maybe next year! This annual industry event turned out to be a showcase to celebrate modified versions of the latest production reentry into the American muscle car resurgence atmosphere.
One Camaro in particular bridged the gap between the past and present with 750 hp and the racing heritage of the legendary John Lingenfelter. While Lingenfelter passed away in 2003 due to complications following a drag racing accident in 2002, the performance lineage he established lives on not only at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, but also with this LPE-constructed '10 Camaro SS that packs a blown LS7 underhood and race-bred suspension engineering under the chassis to back up the boost.
John Lingenfelter literally wrote the book on modifying the engine synonymous with Camaro performance: the small-block Chevy. While global arguments ensue over the superiority of multiple camshafts with variable timing and cylinder head chambers composed almost entirely of valve tulips and nano-robots, the basic single cam overhead valve pushrod engine that Duntov created back in the '50s makes more horsepower with each new update on the original architecture, despite a lack of quad-cam over-engineering.
Relatively light and compact compared to its European multiple camshaft V-8 cousins, and almost infinitely flexible in performance, the small-block Chevy was the basis for John Lingenfelter's racing lineage. Lingenfelter took 13 National NHRA national event titles in everything from Comp to Pro Stock Truck with powerplants of his own construction. His first national event win was behind the wheel of a '69 Camaro SS/NA Camaro in 1972. Lingenfelter later took the knowledge gleaned from years of V-8 racing into the four-cylinder world, and clicked off the first-ever NHRA six-second pass in a four-pot race car with his Chevrolet Ecotec-powered Cavalier. It was a day later in the same car that a tragic accident took the life of the man behind the horsepower. His legend, however, is one that lives on.
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering was founded in the late '70s, and continues building on the tradition of velocity today. In September of 2008, distant cousin Ken Lingenfelter leveraged considerable financial resources to acquire Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, or LPE. The Camaro gracing these pages is a finished example of what Ken set out to achieve in carrying on the tradition of engineering excellence and maximum performance set in motion by John Lingenfelter some 30 years earlier-750 hp on 93 octane pump gasoline, along with a series of well-executed exterior and interior upgrades, takes this Camaro far beyond stock and falls into line with the goals Ken set when he took the helm at LPE.
"Lingenfelter's heritage is in using precision engineering to bring even more capability to already high-performing vehicles. "Our LS7 Camaro SS package follows that tradition," said Ken.
Taking a stock LS7 engine into the 750 hp range is not a job for the uninitiated. John Lingenfelter took a twin-turbo small-block into the 1,400 hp range and put it into a '89 Firebird for a crack at the 300 mph club out at Bonneville. Multiple bottles of nitrous in the trunk didn't go into the combustion chambers directly, but rather bathed the land speed car's intercoolers with super-cool gas to help the turbos do their thing. He made it to 298 on the salt, but proved that knowledge is indeed power. So it goes. The LPE 427ci LS7 under the hood of this Camaro squeezes the forged JE pistons at 8:8:1. The LS7 heads feature titanium intake valves and exhaust valves comprised of Inconel-an austenitic nickel-chromium based superalloy. High exhaust gas temperatures from boosted horsepower cannot defeat superalloy. A production LS7 crank sits at the heart of the small-block, with titanium rods connecting the assembly.
At the top of the horsepower chain is the key to the LPE LS7 power. A Magnuson-Eaton TVS2300 supercharger is mated with a custom-fabricated LS7 cylinder head supercharger base manifold. The twin vortex gas huffer is twisted by LPE fabricated drive systems to add 8-10 psi of intercooled boost. Fuel goes in by way of a LPE Camaro SS twin-pump delivery system and exhaust goes out though Corsa stainless steel twice pipes with LPE custom tips. Left foot action works a LPE twin-disk clutch against a six-bolt LPE flywheel. Adjustable Lingenfelter-SACHS units dampen the Hotchkis Sport Suspension sprung LPE coilovers. Hotchkis antisway bars and a subframe brace hold it all together through the corners. A set of custom Lingenfelter design ten-spoke Forgeline wheels with Pirelli 275/40ZR20 tires on the front and Pirelli 305/35ZR20 the out back do their best to keep this monster glued to the tarmac. Heavy-duty Driveshaft shop half-shafts spin the rear wheels, and massive Brembo rotors and binders scrub off velocity. With the stepped-up underhood and chassis performance, LPE took to the exterior and interior of the '10 Camaro SS to a matching level. A front fascia splitter, rocker extensions, rear deck lip and spoiler, and rear fascia extension all work together for a lower, meaner-looking Camaro. A carbon-fiber grille works with the air extractors in the LPE hood to deliver on form and cooling function. Bringing some exterior into the cabin are a set of Muth turn signal sideview mirrors and a Mito rearview mirror with integrated video display. An LPE-Grant custom steering wheel joins LPE CNC-machined and branded pedal covers for stylish control. LPE floor mats and custom upholstery embroidering add some accent to the throwback interior. Finishing off the package are genuine Lingenfelter badges.
The '10 LPE Camaro SS takes an iconic automobile with an already established groove in American history and combines with it the collective heritage of engineering and excellence achieved by company founder John Lingenfelter. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering not only built this SEMA show special, but also engineers, tests, and produces a vast array of high-performance technology from engine packages to turnkey vehicles. Ken Lingenfelter is carrying on the performance behind the Lingenfelter name from the past into the future. This 750hp Camaro SS is the proof.