You ever see a sweet ride going down the road or haulin’ ass down the dragstrip and think to yourself, ‘Man, I’d love to have a car like that’? Yep, we’ve all done it at one time or another. Add in the “car-guy/girl factor” instilled in our little noggin, and we’re talking about a daily occurrence. Well, it happened to Greg Edwards at Byron Dragway in Byron, Illinois, about four years ago when he laid eyes on this ’02 Camaro making mincemeat out of the Mickey’s while ripping off consistent mid-8 second passes down the quarter-mile all day long.
“There’s just something about watching that car go down the track in about 8 seconds and knowing that same car can be driven on the street with no problems,” said Greg. “I really like the ‘sleeper’ look and this car totally has that. No excessive amount of gauges or crazy 4-inch cowl hood, just nice wheels and a very cool stance.”
Tom Izzo bought the car new in order to design, fab, shoehorn, and test his company’s (Speed Inc.) turbo kits. “I was really impressed with the fabrication of the Speed Inc. parts for this car,” relayed Greg. “Not only does it look cool, I was really lured in by the performance of their twin-turbo system.”
Once Greg caught wind that the car was for sale, he bolted over to Speed Inc. and worked out a turn-key deal with Izzo. “It came with a 383 using a new six-bolt block and TFS six-bolt heads,” remembers Greg. “And with their new twin turbos, custom headers, and intercooler system, the car ran a best time of 8.31 e.t. at 170 mph. That was also with the Turbo 400 trans.”
Well, Greg being the car nut that he is, pulled the engine and trans and had JAMR Racing Engines in Loves Park, Illinois, go through and bore the block to 4.100, stroke it to 3.75, and install 10.1:1-compression JE pistons, to bring the mill up to 396 cubic inches. Greg mentions a custom grind COMP solid roller camshaft, but purposely failed to offer exact specs. TFS 235 aluminum heads were brought into the mix along with a Callies crank, Oliver connecting rods, and Jesel lifters.
A FAST 102mm intake works in conjunction with a Big Stuff 3 fuel injection system while a MagnaFuel X2 pump supplies ample fuel. All the ruckus stems from a T76 Turbonetics twin-turbo system set at 27 psi of boost. A Melling oil pump flows the crude and an Edelbrock water pump ensures the GM LT1 radiator keeps running temps in check.
The aforementioned headers are a custom Speed Inc. bend doused in Jet-Hot coating for extra cooling and additional engine bay bling. Speed Inc. also custom-morphed a 3-inch exhaust system making quick exit of the boosted greenhouse into a Borla muffler system.
Greg’s efforts offer up a stout 1,240 hp at 7,100 rpm and 1,000 lb-ft of twist at 6,600 rpm. Numbers not for the weak at heart, for sure; and certainly power that requires a more-than-healthy drivetrain. To handle the hit, Greg called up the gang at B&C’s Transmission in Rockford, Illinois, to assemble a Dedenbear Powerglide transmission capable of handling the anger-driven twin-turbo F-body. They armed the ’Glide with a Neil Chance 3,600-stall converter and Coan Racing valvebody, which sends twist to a 3-inch Strange driveshaft. A Strange 9-inch rearend loaded with 3.73:1 cogs and a Strange spool ensure the angry inertia gets evenly distributed between the axles.
Stock GM spindles and A-arms up front tie in the Strange adjustable shocks, while QA1 adjustable dampers manage the shenanigans out back. Wilwood binders peek through a set of Weld RT-S five-spoke wheels on all four corners: 15x3.5 up front and 15x10 rear. Mickey Thompson Sportsman 26x7.5-inch rubber reside up front and Wolf Race Craft wheeltubs provided ample real estate to accommodate the bulbous Mickey Thompson 325/50-15s.
Keeping with true street fashion and a simple scene, the interior lacks the racing motif one might expect. Even though the stock CD head unit remains in the dash, it’s safe to say the majority of the music going through Greg’s head comes straight from the twin-turbo–powered symphony of eight. The GM seats and gauges are stock offerings. Besides the custom LRT Racing rollcage (certified at 8.5 sec. and above), the Turbo Action Cheetah steering wheel, and Simpson five-point camlock racing harness lead on that this F-body means serious drag racing business.
Before Greg purchased it, the car was mainly used for R&D purposes by Izzo and the crew at Speed Inc. Needless to say, the mileage was kept low (4,300 when Greg bought it) and the fourth-gen’s pigment retained the original Sunset Orange Metallic’s attractive luster over it’s 10-year life span.
Greg does his part in keeping the car in show-car shape by protecting the rear quarters from rock chips and burnt rubber on race days by taping on a layer cellophane wrap. Call him anal retentive or just a Camaro guy who likes to keep his stuff nice. Regardless, the car gets a good amount of street time, but is more at home on the dragstrip.
“The biggest rush for me was taking the car to the dragstrip for the first time,” recalls Greg. “The half-track charge a turbo car makes is incredible. It just keeps thrusting your back against the seat. I still haven’t pushed it to the limit, so I’m hoping to improve my times.”
We’ve seen Greg’s car in action on the strip at the LSX Shootout in Indy, and we’re happy to report that we didn’t have the misfortune of lining up against him at the tree. That would have been one huge head start advantage for us, and what might have felt like an eternity for Greg going up against ours or any other 13-second fourth-gen for that matter.
The half-track charge a turbo car makes is incredible. It just keeps thrusting your back against the seat.