Back in the late ’60s, when the new muscle cars hit the showroom floors, the crafty hot rodders would do whatever it took to put themselves ahead of the curve in the style and performance arena. Fast-forward about 40 years and you’ll notice not a whole lot has changed. There’s tons of guys like Rick Andrade who instantly felt the need to upgrade his ’10 Camaro with killer looks and a whole lot more horsepower, just days after purchasing it. Needless to say, Rick’s new pride and joy spent very little time in stock trim.
Like many who have gotten into GM’s latest SS darling, Rick reminisces back to his high school days when he owned a pretty mean first-gen. “I had this ’68 SS 396 that was fast for the time,” tells Rick. “It was a total rust bucket, but I didn’t care. I had some really great times in that car. My new Camaro reminds me a lot of that old big-block car, only this one is quite a bit faster.”
To say Rick takes the horsepower and speed of his newest hot rod seriously would be a slight understatement. Back in October 2010, Rick and his modded up ’10 claimed top spot in the Camaro Performers magazine Duel in the Desert event held at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Arizona. The event featured two performance competitions: drag racing and autocross. Bonus points were awarded to the competitors who joined in on the cruise from California to Arizona, with an additional five points up for grabs in the show ‘n’ shine portion. Rick took First Place in the drag racing competition with a 12.44 e.t. at 120.51 mph, and Third spot in the autocross. “I know the car has more in it,” said Rick. “But I had to soft launch on the drag strip because the car still has stock axles. There’s just no way they’ll hold up on a prepped drag strip.”
It was still good enough to accumulate enough points to take home top honors and major bragging rights.
“Winning the Duel in the Desert event was huge for me,” said Rick. “I knew my car had enough horsepower to do well in the drag race, and with the Hotchkis Suspension components dialed in, the car was just awesome in the autocross.”
Rick takes every opportunity he can to get the car out on a road course or autocross, so the Duel in the Desert wasn’t his first rodeo.
Rick: “I took the car out to California Speedway in Fontana last year at the Hurst track day event and had the quickest lap time of the day. Since then I’ve upgraded the suspension with even more handling goodies, so I can’t wait to get it out on a road course again.”
Although the performance accolades are a rewarding aspect to the hobby, Rick was quick to make a point about all the new friendships he’s developed from attending fifth-gen cruises and Camaro5 events. He also mentions meeting his current gal, Kristina, as a major highlight since buying the car. Apparently dudes with Camaros can still pull in the chicks.
Chris Johnson and Rick handled the installation of the Magnacharger TVS 2300 on top of the GM LS3 mill and wisely installed an ADM twin fuel pump to ensure the 72-lb injectors get plenty of fuel. Rick pulls no punches when it comes to staying “one up” on the competition, so he had Kevin McMillian of McMillian Speed and Fabrication plumb in a Snow Performance Methanol Injection system to accommodate the 10.8 lbs of supercharged boost. With undisclosed cam specs, Rick does let on that lift and duration rely on a COMP stick. With a “conservative tune,” Rick’s ’10 manages a stout 648 hp and 597 lb-ft of torque to the tires — a bit more than most who’ve enlisted in the late-model muscle car wars.
A Roto-fab cold air intake provides extra flow, and a pair of Dynatech 1 7/8-inch headers manage the spent fuel and rush it through a Magnaflow X-pipe exhaust system. To bite off a few decibles and keep peace in Rick’s South Orange County neighborhood, it’s topped off with a set of Magnaflow Comp Series mufflers.
The stock Tremec TR6060 six-speed trans remains, but Rick wisely trashed the standard single-disc clutch in favor of a more capable Centerforce Twin-Disc system installed by 2 Edge Performance (Costa Mesa, California).
Rick attributes much of the car’s road course success to the Hotchkis bolt-on handling goodies, which include an aluminum chassis brace, front strut tower brace, sport sway bars and endlinks, and 1-inch lowing springs on all four corners. It also sports a full set of Energy Suspension poly bushings.
It takes an ensemble effort to bring all that portly fifth-gen muscle to a hurried stop at just about any speed, so Baer 6S six-piston calipers and 15-inch plates were called to duty. Greg Foster of Industrial Motoring did the wrenching.
Pirelli P-Zero rubber (275/45 R20 up front and 305/40 R20 in the rear) wrap around a set of black powdercoated Axiom AX 601 wheels (20x9 front, 20x11 rear). It’s an effective and stylish blend of function meeting form where handling and performance are the major players in this game.
With a good portion of the interior featuring the GM’s assembly line offerings, Frazier Auto Upholstery in Anaheim, California, stitched the custom leather Katzkin seat covers, and a Hurst short-throw shifter with a Hurst T-handle shifter is at the ready for quick-decision gear changes. Besides, it just looks cool.
Rick takes pride in the fact that his ’10 hot rod carries a one-off paint scheme of his own design. Robert Dipietrantinio at 3D Customz handled the bodywork and prepped a canvas to accept the PPG Aqua Blue Metallic and black with blue pearl laid down by William Wipperman at Prestige Auto Collision. Wipperman also penned the graphics that set this late-model SS apart from the masses.
Carbon fiber is the latest hot rod drug, so Rick pushed a Seibon piece as the hood of choice. An IVS front and rear spoiler, rear diffuser, and Street Scene Equipment side skirts frame up the aggressive scene, while a T-Rex Phantom grille announce the Camaro's ability to pounce at a moment's notice.
It’s been said a million times over that history repeats. And if you buy into the adage, then the fact that Rick plans to replace the LS3 with an LSX, only confirms that a true hot rodder’s appetite to go faster will never be fully satisfied, or ever understood, by those who haven’t given in to the muscle car addiction.
Rick Andrade is living proof that there is no cure, twelve-step program, or skin-toned arm patch to curb the urge for speed. Besides, that would just create a breeding ground for slower e.t’s. And who has time for that?