While perusing the grounds at the 2011 LSX Shootout held at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana, (just outside Indianapolis) we were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of show cars in attendance. In previous years, the LSX Shootout has been, for the most part, all about drag racing with some local show cars thrown in for good measure. Not the case at this particular event, as the show car area was stacked with quality cars. And as you’d expect from an event with “LSX” in its title, there was a very high concentration of Camaros throughout.
While making our way through the numerous rows of show cars, we couldn’t help but notice an outstanding yellow ’10 SS; the pair of non-stock hoodscoops were immediately attention-grabbing. A couple steps around the car revealed custom-vented fenders and LED side-view mirrors. OK, bait taken. This car is just too cool and it needs to be in Camaro Performers magazine.
Pete Petruzelli owns this custom fifth-gen. He happens to be a co-founder of chicago5thgen.com and is also the owner of www.showstopperaccessories.com. The Showstopper deal explains all custom exterior, interior, and underhood bits, and the Chicago5thgen thing tells us this dude is a hard-core Camaro guy.
With no special reason for building the car except, “I just love modifying Camaros. I ordered the car the first day GM began accepting orders for the fifth-gen,” Pete explained nonchalantly. “From day one I had every intention of modifying the thing.”
And so he did. Within the first week of ownership, he began mocking up underhood accessories for his new, late-model muscle car. “I have always made accessories for the fourth-gen, and the fifth-gen is one of those cars that easily lends itself to quite a bit of personalization. I try to incorporate unique parts that make a statement without them being the absolute focal point.”
Pete admits the hood is reminiscent of an IROC Camaro, and he was careful not to totally disturb the factory appeal—it’s part of the plan. He also incorporated side fender vents that he feels could have definitely been OE. “Those two pieces were a design collaboration between myself and Vince Collela. On top of his design skills, Vince is an amazing fabricator, so being able to work with him on this project has been a great experience,” added Pete. “Between the both of us, we’re always coming up with cool ideas to incorporate into the fifth-gen. I think people feel better about their cars when they can add something to make it a little different than the one they’re parked next to at any given car show or cruise.”
For the most part, Pete’s engine is a streetable concoction put together by Speed Inc. Consisting of mostly basic bolt-ons, Speed Inc. provided their specs for a custom grind COMP stick featuring a lift of .617/.607 and duration of 231/237 at 0.050 with an LSA of 112. The remaining performance upgrades include a Mast Motorsports fuel injection system, Dynatech Supermax 17/8-inch headers, and Flowmaster 3-inch American Thunder series bafflers. The ensemble spins the rollers to the tune of 441 hp and 407 lb-ft of torque to the tires.
From the factory, the fifth-gen engine bay sits rather pedestrian in the looks department, so the first thing to go was the less-than-stellar stock engine cover. Some refer to it as a trash can lid. “I’ve taken a few of my design mistakes from other cars and kicked them up a notch for the fifth-gen,” said Pete. His experience and eye for attractive detail led him to produce a plethora of engine accessories and covers designed to hide many of the more unsightly underhood necessities. The Katech aluminum valve covers and custom Showstopper radiator shroud complement Pete’s vision of what the fifth-gen engine bay should look like. The throttle body and water pump are also smoothed and painted. Pete subscribes to the age old adage of “less is more” when it comes to making dress-up accessories. “Just because a company makes a product for your car, doesn’t necessarily mean it will look good. You have to be careful not to go overboard,” Pete insists.
Knowing the stance had to be low and mean to invoke the look and performance he was going for, Pete incorporated BC Racing coilovers to bring the car down to just the right height. Still not completely happy with the scene, Pete shaved the rear XM antenna and went so far as to paint the roof black to give the car an even lower appearance.
Keeping with the stealth approach, black with yellow pinstriped 22-inch Precise Super Concave Cor Wheels were shoehorned on all four corners—10-inch wide out back and 9-inch up front—and wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber (265/30-22 front, 315/30-22 rear). For Pete’s driving needs, the stock Brembos suffice—at least for now. For a more custom flavor, he painted the calipers black and matched the logo to the car’s exterior pigment.
Pete’s customizing experience also carried into the interior with various subtleties including black-painted bezels and a custom Ace Steering wheel wrapped in black suede and yellow stitching. With an affinity for European-style interiors, Riggs Brothers Auto Tops and Interiors in Chicago handled the business quarters. They incorporated black leather and Alcantara on the seats and door panels to offer a tasty, mixed theme of style and performance throughout. Check out the accompanying yellow double-diamond seat stitching. MGW provided the shifter and composite SS race knob—another piece of attention to detail that sets this Camaro apart from the rest of the over 275,000 fifth-gens on the road today.
Although the car retains its stock GM Yellow pigment, Pete loaded his gun with a PPG blend and sprayed the custom hood, fenders, and ground effects for a perfect match. The aforementioned roof was sprayed in PPG Black.
Pete remembers turning the key for the first time and thinking that GM really got it right with the new Camaro. Even though the car is a little over two years old, he still enjoys long, spirited drives. “I take it out quite a bit when the weather allows, and I really enjoy the car’s handling ability,” Pete told us. “ Of course, I could always use a little more power, but beyond that I wouldn’t change a thing on this car.”
Influence always seems to play an important role when it comes to building or upgrading cars. It can be family, friends, or something random that sticks in one’s mind. But Pete wanted to make it a point to mention that although his dad didn’t physically have too much to do with the car, “he always pushed me to strive for perfection no matter what I was doing,” Pete proudly admits. “I can’t thank him enough for always pushing me to the next level, and I think this car reflects that.”
Pete’s future plans include getting a new Camaro and developing products for that car as well. No doubt those parts will be just as attention-grabbing as the pieces on this killer ’10 Camaro.