Sometimes the most important things in a car build are simply overlooked. The builders get so focused on "big ticket" items that they develop a form of tunnel vision. This is especially true when the build is something as complicated as the Project American Heroes II (PAH II) '69 Camaro. Everyone became so focused on stuffing in the Turn Key Engine Supply 427 LS engine that nobody even considered the best way to supply atmosphere to the hungry mill. After all, an engine is just a big air pump and the quality of that incoming air has a lot to do with how the engine performs.
Luckily, K&N is just down the way from us and it agreed to rectify this air-intake oversight. After all, proceeds from this car were going to help the troops and K&N knew what was currently in place didn't mesh with the rest of this high-quality build. It didn't have a kit for this completely custom application, but it has tons of parts, killer equipment, and some really talented folks that wanted to help the PAH II Camaro be its best when it went across the block at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Beach, Florida.
Helming this project was Bert Heck, Performance Kit Manager for K&N. As he told Super Chevy, "When the Project American Heroes Camaro arrived at K&N, the first thing that we noticed is that it had a fuel-injected LS7 engine installed. What we've noticed over the years is that when a person is working on a project like this the one thing they always forget is the air filter. PAH was no exception. Everything was finished, fabricated, painted and assembled, but the air filter looked like a last minute quick fix."
And Bert was right, this car had events to attend and the quickest way to get it on the road was to slap a filter onto the throttle body and call it a day. But, this is far from the best solution and besides looking shabby it hurt the performance as well.
Bert explained, "With a filter just clamped onto the throttle body a few issues come up. First, restriction into the throttle body, secondly, turbulence and last, but not least, heat soak. After strapping the Camaro to the dyno, and making a few baseline pulls, we knew something needed to be done. What we came up with was a one-off intake. Paying close attention to tube size, air filter placement, and the size of the filter is how we produced the extra horsepower gains."
Keep in mind that this is a custom deal and while K&N would love to offer it in kit form, the problem is that every engine bay is unique and a "one size fits all" kit would be problematic at best. Nonetheless, the parts they used are pretty common and available separately from K&N; let this be a guide on the proper atmospheric feeding of your LS engine.