With the smoke still lingering in the air, I was left alone to load up my camera equipment while Martin Cox and Ryan Robinson attempted to quietly merge back into traffic and head for our predetermined hide out. Under the veil of a setting sun, the all-black Trailblazer SS looked almost innocent, if not for the sound of the 14:1 compression 427 reverberating off of the walls and trees around us. In the 45-seconds it took me to throw my camera in the back of the rental and scurry away from the parking lot, I didn't see any video cameras or police cars, but I can't say for sure whether or not we got away with those smoky burnouts without issue. You see Garner, North Carolina isn't a very big town and I am pretty sure guys like Ryan and Martin are fairly notorious there, if not for the 9-second Trailblazer then for a variety of other barely legal and terrifyingly fast machines they bring out on the street for "testing." According to Martin, his TBSS drives "as smooth as ice" and he regularly "takes the kids for ice cream in the summer" with it. It runs 9.06 at 149 miles an hour and makes over a thousand rear wheel horsepower. That's right, folks, we're dealing with a set of builders who have long escaped reality and think nothing of it unless a project is making enough power to do serious harm to an entire neighborhood in a matter of milliseconds. This is the R.P.M. Motorsports crew and they get down with some of the nastiest street machines you can imagine.
Take for instance this four door 2006 Trailblazer SS, which sports four--count 'em, four--aluminum Kirkey race seats inside and matching roll cage door bars front and rear, side to side. It's still got the touch screen navigation with satellite radio, still has power windows and doors, still drives legally (well, semi-legally) with four occupants to the local ice cream shop yet it has enough hardware stuffed underneath to run times most people couldn't even dream of in a race car, let alone in a street driven truck. Honestly, if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would have a hard time reporting that this thing can even drive on the street, but we took it out, hit up the local spots, did big nasty burnouts in it, and drove it home all without the slightest hesitation and with Martin Cox behind the wheel, it's saying something if it stays together under his no-nonsense heavy foot. If you're starting to wonder why you don't own one of these, welcome to the club. If you've got the means, follow along as Ryan and the R.P.M. Motorsports crew let us in on their secrets.
To run a 9.06 at 149 in a heavy black brick you really need a plethora of raw horsepower, so it should come as no surprise that the R.P.M. team is using a serious bullet in this truck. And by serious, we mean they pulled out the big guns and had the late Wheel 2 Wheel machine them a 427 cubic-inch LSX block that was subsequently stuffed with goodies from Callies, Diamond and Howards, a rotating pile of money that could either fund a 401(k) or withstand massive amounts of nitrous and the extreme cylinder pressures served up by the 14:1 compression ratio and the custom Comp Cams solid roller camshaft that features 262/274-degrees of duration, .801/.802-inches of lift, and a mean 112-degree lobe separation angle. Up top, All Pro LSW heads control the incoming and outgoing air, which is delivered via a gorgeous Wilson sheet-metal intake manifold and subsequently expelled through a set of Kooks long-tube headers. Jesel shaft-mount rockers, giant pushrods and a helping of other "race only" hardware can also be found lodged between the shock towers of this truck, but it's almost impossible to see anything other than the red and blue fittings which are strewn about the 'bay, the very fittings that deliver the nitrous oxide and fuel that Martin requires when he hits the track.