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1996 Chevy Impala LSX - B-Body Blockbuster

To Test The LSX Block, GM Performance Parts Built The Baddest Impala SS Ever-With Two Turbos And Pumping Outover 2,000 HP!

By Barry Kluczyk, Photography by Barry Kluczyk

Two turbos and 2,000 hp While the stock front framerails were retained during construction, there's nothing recognizable from a production Impala SS when the hood is lifted. Tubing from the turbochargers and intake system dominate the view, their precise routing a testament to the craftsmanship involved with the car's construction.

Beneath the tubing is the aforementioned 2,048hp LSX-based engine. It uses a pair of 88mm Turbonetics (www.turboneticsinc.com) compressors that blow more than 25 pounds of boost into a custom intake plenum; through a pair of 2,100cfm ACCEL-DFI throttle bodies mounted on CNC-carved tunnel ram-style intake manifold; and into a set of prototype LSX racing cylinder heads. There's a bunch of forged rotating parts in there, too, including GRP aluminum rods, Diamond aluminum pistons (each with a 50cc dish!) and a Callies 3.750-inch-stroke crankshaft.

A production-style coil-on-plug ignition system was out of the question for an engine with this much cylinder pressure, so ACCEL-DFI's Joe Alameddine wired up a Mallory Hyfire ignition and ACCEL dual-sync distributor.

If you're saying to yourself, "Hey, LS engines don't have a provision for distributors," you're right. Fortunately, GM Performance Parts sells a front-mount distributor kit for circle track racers whose class requires it. The kit includes the mounting bracket, as well as a drive gear and fuel lobe that are added to the camshaft.

Alameddine, who commutes during the warm months in his own 1,000hp, twin-turbo Impala SS, also handled the tuning of the engine. He used ACCEL-DFI's recently introduced Thruster EFI engine management system, which allowed him to batch-fire the cylinders.

A Spearco custom air-to-water intercooler is used with the engine. Copeland's team built a four-gallon ice water tank for it. The engine block and heads are cooled via the circulation through a custom Griffin radiator.

Channeling the engine's more than 1,500 lb-ft of torque is the work of a Lenco three-speed "Lencodrive" automatic transmission, a manually shifted racing piece with an air-activated trans brakes. It also has a magnesium case and weighs only about 135 pounds. It's matched with a Bruno converter drive and a Neal Chance converter. From there, power is sent to a Strange Engineering 9-inch carrier mounted in a Vanishing Point Race Cars' housing. Inside the carrier is a Strange spool and a 3.90 gear set, while a set of Strange 40-spline, gun-drilled axles deliver the torque to the wheels.

The control center of this warp-speed Impala takes some contortion in order to squeeze into the Kirker aluminum racing seat, but once there the pilot will recognize the production dashboard-only it's been filled with more Auto Meter gauges than we have room to print. There's also a racing-spec removable steering wheel from Flaming River.

Surprisingly, the firewall area and front floorboards are stock; and the car even retains the production door panels, although they're modified to clear the NHRA 25.5-spec roll cage. Heck, even the front power windows still work.

Beyond the safety considerations built into the Impala's cabin, there's some truly gorgeous fabrication in the form of aluminum panels and luscious carbon-fiber wheeltubs.

The carbon-fiber motif extends to the bodywork, too, as Copeland commissioned nearby Specter Werkes/Sports (www.spectergtr.com)-a company better known for its aftermarket C5 and C6 Corvette components-to form a set of custom door panels, fenders and trunk lid (all removable) of the lightweight composite material. Additionally, the front and rear fasciae, and the hood, were sourced from Street Trends. The paint is GM's Atomic Orange color used for the Corvette.

By Barry Kluczyk
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