"We knew with 700 hp, we needed something better than the stock suspension. We went to our friends at Pfadt Racing and got their suspension set up and it really handles great," Steve says. "The front and rear sway bars' end links have heim joints for more solid feel, and the car is lowered about 2 inches."
The factory struts, shocks, wheels and tires complete the package, though we did employ Nitto 555R drag radials for our strip testing (275/40R20s).
Our test came in the middle of one of the meanest Florida summers in years. It was 95 degrees and the humidity was above 90 percent-in other words, we were racing in soup. But the NeSmith Camaro was a game companion. The Nitto drag radials worked well enough to bog the engine on our first run (the stock rear gears don't help). Once we found the correct combination on takeoff, Senior Editor Evan Smith was able to make the Storm boogie. The best 60-foot time was 1.993 and this resulted in a 12.001 e.t., with the speed hitting 118.99 mph. We did have one pass that was over 120 mph-120.69 to be precise-but the e.t. was a couple of ticks slower at 12.036. While these weren't the low 11s we'd hoped for, the air conditions and car weight (4,110 pounds with driver) simply weren't conducive to low elapsed times. It's also 1.18 seconds quicker than our previous SS tester. (For comparison's sake, we tested a new Z06 on the same day and it ran a best of 11.90 at 120-four tenths and almost five mph slower than the last LS7-propelled Vette we had our mitts on.)
Driving the Storm on the road course, Evan reported, "It's a very nice car, much heavier than the Corvette and you can feel it as soon as you take off and start doing laps. It didn't have the same overall level of grip as the Corvette, but it's 800 pounds heavier. You have to take a different approach when you're driving the Camaro. It's a four place car, and there's a little understeer. However, the LS9 engine is amazing. Just roll a little throttle on and you can bring the tail around and steer with the back of the car. Or you can roll out of the throttle and correct your steering, ending up with some nice grip."
The massive Baer brakes worked wonderfully on Gainesville's tight 1.6-mile, 12-turn course. It's not easy to slow a two-ton, supercharged ponycar repeatedly, but the six-piston Baers got the job done with just a little fade at the end of our track sessions. Ultimately, the Storm whipped around the circuit in a best of 1:05.50, or about three seconds a lap faster than a stock SS.
The overall result is one of a factory supercar-the interior, wheels, and tires remain stock SS fair. Everything underhood looks like it was engineered in Detroit, as opposed to a tuner car. The biggest downer, naturally, is the price. All this engineering and fabrication doesn't come inexpensively, and the NeSmith Storm Camaro you see on these pages retails for $124,000. According to Gordon, only 11 will be made in '11 and we're guessing there's some room to dicker on that sticker. It's a chunk of change no matter how you slice it, but the LS9 engine alone will set you back $24,000 and that's all you get-an engine with a blower.
What's the price for glory? Now you know.