Fifth-Gen Chevy Camaro - Transformed

An action flick provoked Erik Cederberg to hop up GM’s latest muscle car

Robert McGaffin Sep 1, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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Like so many auto enthusiasts, chasing horsepower and overall performance is a constant. Take Erik Cederberg, a Swedish transplant now living in Miami, Florida, for instance. His former list of “toys” include a few Mustangs and Corvettes, even a 500hp Viper-powered truck, but he was in the market for something new. “The movie Transformers piqued my interest in the Camaro concept, but I wasn’t 100 percent sold on it until I saw it in person,” remembers Erik. “I looked at the new Mustang 5.0, Challenger SRT-8, and others, but they were either too slow, too heavy, or just plain boring to me.”

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In late 2009, while on the way home from catching a movie, he and his wife happened to drive by a Chevrolet dealership and couldn’t help but notice a couple of new Camaros on the showroom floor. “My wife took particular interest in a black one with the GFX body kit. It had the manual transmission and no sunroof—exactly what I was looking for,” remembers Eirk. “We ended up buying it right then and there.”

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A little background on Erik: he’s an avid road racer and autocross fanatic, so having a car that’s fast and handles well is of utmost importance; especially the handling part. Erik is also the owner of Torq, a shop specializing in dyno tuning and installing high-performance parts for late-model cars and trucks, in Miramar, Florida.

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Since the new Camaro would be Torq’s latest calling card, it had to do everything great. Actually, this thing would have to be better than great. It would have to be outstanding while being able to handle the long-term effects of hard miles related to road racing, autocross, and hundreds of quarter-mile blasts.

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With all that in mind, Erik was anxious to get cracking on the upgrades. But before getting started, some dyno testing was in order. He also wanted to hang the car out at Homestead Miami Speedway for some track time so he could obtain a bit of feedback on the car’s handling ability in stock form. “I was actually surprised with how well the car did, but there were definitely some areas that needed addressing in order to prove itself as a true handling machine.”

With baseline testing done, the first task at hand was to beef up the stock LS3. Erik started by installing a set of Torq Stage 1 aluminum heads. For a bit more “salsa” in the higher rpm range, a Torq “Roadrace” custom grind replaced the stock cam, but for now Erik is keeping specs on the “down low.”

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A FAST 102mm LSXR intake gobbles up atmosphere fed by an LSR Performance air filter. Customized Katech cast-aluminum valve covers adorned with the Torq logo dress the otherwise blasé scene. The nifty coil relocation kit—that’s also by Katech.

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Kooks 17/8-inch headers exit into an MBRP stainless X-pipe exhaust and 3-inch mufflers. The sound is ruthless under hard acceleration, but docile enough for street cruising; a bonus as Erik passed on the extra girth of heavy sound equipment. For this ride, amps and subwoofers are an unnecessary weight gain to an already swollen hot rod.

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Erik’s not the first to initiate the LS3’s ability to ignite with a head and cam swap, but with the addition of long-tubes, the Torq machine wakes up to the tune of 475 hp and 419 lb-ft to the tires. The added beef would easily melt the stock clutch so a Katech ZR1 twin-disc was called upon to handle the increased power affair.

With the horsepower perked up, the suspension was next on the “hit list.” “I wanted a well-balanced, daily driven spec monster that could turn amazing times at the track and also be a reliable car I’d be able to drive across the country in comfort.”

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Pfadt Race Engineering was quick out of the gate in developing suspension parts for the new Camaro, so Erik started off with their springs and sway bar kit. A vast improvement over stock, the next phase included Pfadt adjustable coilover shocks, trailing arms, adjustable toe links, spherical control arm bushings, and camber plates—also adjustable.

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