The fifth-generation Camaro is obviously a great platform for modifications, but it’s safe to assume that most owners get a few months of regular driving under their belt before getting serious with speed parts. This was not the case with Terry and Kristie Cramer of LaFayette, Georgia. They didn’t waste any time upgrading their 2010 Chevy Camaro, and while it disposed of their warranty, the new additions are a sacrifice the couple was willing to take. The end result is a car that handles much better, has 580 hp at the rear wheels, and looks wicked, too. We’d say it was a good call on the Cramers’ part as the finished product turns heads, especially when it roasts the tires at highway speeds.
Terry and Kristie ordered the Camaro from Mountain View Chevrolet in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and waited patiently for it to arrive in spring of 2010. Before the car reached its destination, the Cramers approached Jason Harvey and Shane Brown of Top End Fabrication with big ideas in mind. These plans involved taking the brand new Camaro and outfitting it with a custom turbo system, among other go-fast parts. It was up to the guys at Top End to figure out the right components for the job, and they had almost everything ordered before the car had arrived at the shop. The main goal with this project was to create a killer street car that would still be reliable, while also stepping up the appearance package.
When the car rolled into Top End’s shop, it hadn’t even reached the four-digit zone on the odometer, and it was quickly disassembled to begin fitting the turbocharger, and its piping. It was decided that the most suitable turbocharger for the Camaro’s 6.2-liter LS3 engine was a Precision unit, which features a 76mm billet compressor wheel. According to Precision, the billet wheel 76 has proven to out power standard 78mm turbochargers, yet spool quicker than a standard 76mm unit, making it perfect for the LS3. Rather than opt for a bolt-on kit, the Cramers had the guys at Top End build a custom setup from scratch, which started with a pair of Borla shorty headers. Jason cut the original two-bolt collectors from the stainless steel headers, replacing them with a V-band flange, and TIG-welding the seam.
The outlet of the headers would remain in the same basic location, and the 3-inch piping from the driver side of the engine would snake around the rear of the transmission, making a U-turn and heading toward the front of the car. Other turbo goodies include a Tial 44mm wastegate and a Tial blow-off valve, as well as a custom air-to-air intercooler. Top End also fabricated the down pipe and routed the new exhaust piping in the factory configuration with dual pipes exiting at the rear bumper and no mufflers to be found. To say this Camaro has a distinct sound would be a major understatement.
Helping support the new turbocharger equipment are ZR1 fuel pumps, along with a set of 69-lb injectors. Everything else is stock under the hood, but the crew at MTI Racing in Marietta, Georgia, strapped it to the Dynojet and cranked out 581 hp and 585 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, over 200 hp higher than stock rear-wheel horsepower figures. The best part about this basically stock LS3 is the fact that it runs on 93 octane and still gets decent fuel mileage 14.1 mpg to be exact. Behind the engine is a six-speed manual transmission, which relies on the stock clutch to transfer power and a Hurst shifter for precise gear selection.
Out back, the rearend is stock, but pretty much everyone involved in the buildup agrees that the car will need better half shafts if Terry ever decides to bolt on a set of sticky tires. He’ll cross that bridge when he gets there. The Camaro’s unibody structure is stiffened with a pair of Hotchkis subframe connectors, while the car’s altitude is adjusted with a set of H&R lowering springs. Stock brakes ride on all four corners, and hide behind massive 22-inch wheels, which are made by Forgiato and measure 9 1/2 inches up front and 11 inches out back. Nitto Z-rated rubber offers a wide contact patch, but the short sidewall does little for traction when it’s straight-line go-time.
Another visual aesthetic added by the Cramers is the RKSport ground effects kit, which features a custom front valance, side skirts and valances for each side of the rear bumper. Mark Wilson is responsible for laying down the matching silver paint on the new body panels, as well as the antenna. Inside, the Camaro is all stock aside from the custom gauge pod, which was made by the owner and painted by Mark Wilson. The gauge pod rides between the dash and console and houses three digital GlowShift gaugesboost, fuel pressure, and air/fuel ratio.
Though it still retains many of its original components, Terry and Kristie’s Camaro has plenty of custom flair, and lots of power to back it up. Jason and Shane at Top End Fabrication put in lots of hours to piece the turbo system together, and the result is a custom kit that squeezes every ounce of power from the stock LS3. Now that the car is on the road, Terry and Kristie share driving duties and quickly figured out that traction is an issue as soon as boost comes into the picture. Future plans call for another set of wheels and tires that would help hook up the turbocharged power plant. With only 2,015 miles on it at the time of our photo shoot, Terry and Kristie are currently enjoying their newly finished Camaro and agree that completely voiding the car’s warranty was totally worth it!
To say this Camaro has a distinct sound would be a major understatement.
The end result is a car that handles much better, has 580 hp at the rear wheels, and looks wicked, too.