As I sit here in my hotel room in Las Vegas, waiting on my car to arrive for SEMA Show 2014, I think back on the journey that started a year ago. How did I get here?
Why a Camaro?
I have always loved the look of a Camaro. I think the 1968 Camaro SS is the baddest muscle car out there. And I admit it, I even owned a 1994 Camaro, not the best looking, but I wanted a Camaro while I lived in Germany. I really love the look of the new Camaros, specifically the 2014. So in the fall of 2013, the Corvette was put up for sale with the plan to purchase a new car to tinker with as soon as it sold. My corvette found a new home in TN, and I was off in search of my new ride.
The start of the journey…
I knew what I wanted; I was going to go big or stay home but was having a hard time finding it at a dealer. I was on the fence between a 2SS 1LE or getting the ZL1. The ZL1 had the factory-installed supercharger, but it was just that…factory, with little room to tinker and make it mine once the papers were signed. And, to be honest, it was out of my price range at the time. So, 2SS 1LE was the final decision. But I still had to find one. I wanted only what I wanted, and not the “extra” stuff that I didn’t want (and didn’t want to pay for).
After a long discussion with the local Chevy dealership, I decided to order my car from the factory so I could get exactly what I wanted. On 10/23/2013 my order went in for my 2014 Blue Ray Metallic, 2SS, RS, 1LE with Dual Mode Exhaust. Then the waiting began… and it wasn’t easy at all, I felt like being a kid waiting for Christmas.
While waiting impatiently, I started reaching out to some of the big name companies (Hennessey, Lingenfelter, MTI) about engine mods. I did a lot of research in a short amount of time, but November flew by and I hadn’t picked an engine builder. That is when I talked with Andy at ADM Performance, at the recommendation of another fellow Night Stalker (and close friend…Cowboy Coker). He just had Andy put twin turbos on his 2014 Camaro (almost the exact same car as what I had ordered, but in Black). I wouldn’t say I copied him, cause it would go straight to his Gun pilot head. But his car did look awesome, and that did help cement the decision on the Camaro. But I digress… Andy seemed to be the right guy for the job. He had a great reputation in the Camaro engine world as being “THE” guy that can make your car go faster.
On Dec 12th my car arrived at the dealership…
I had the strangest conversation with the finance manager. You know how they all want to sell you the best extended warranties they have? He began by asking if I wanted the extended warranty. I simply said, “no thank you”. He then switched tactics, trying to persuade me by replying,, “You don’t understand. These cars are very complicated, and you don’t want the cost later if anything goes wrong.” My response, “You don’t understand. I am going to void the powertrain warranty on this car in three days.” He gave me a puzzled look as he gave up. And I left the dealer with my new toy and a plan for my new Horsepower Therapy – to let Andy loose with his magic.
Good as my word, just three days later I took my new toy for its first road trip to Texas. I left town in a freezing drizzle, enjoying every minute of the drive. The whole drive out all I could think about was “wow, I’m really doing this to a brand new car….crazy, crazy, crazy!” I arrived at ADM first thing on Monday morning with a car filthy from the ride out in the rain and sleet. He got his guys to give her a quick wash and set to getting the old engine out. Old engine, you know, with all of 850 miles on it. After getting the car on the lift, the engine was literally out of the car in less than 40 minutes. I was amazed at how fast he and his guys were able to disconnect everything. I am always amazed at how the engine, transmission and front suspension drop out as one component. Very cool!
Andy had all of the new components laid out, dress right dressed, in complete order. There was the shiny supercharger sitting on the bench, and a beautiful forged part LS3 engine sitting on a stand waiting to go in to my car.
I was there every day, probably much to Andy’s chagrin, and even got my hands dirty turning wrenches on the car. It was a great experience to watch them work, and help them out. It only took a few days for Andy and his team to get the new engine in and ready for it’s first pull on the Dyno. Andy was meticulous with the details. Every wire and hose wrapped and tied. The new supercharger looked stock, like it was always there. Of course with a couple of extra goodies, like an ADM race intake, a Lingenfelter Oil catch can, and a custom belly pan. It’s those little details that make ADM the best.
At the end of the week, she was all buttoned up, this was what it was all building up to, dyno time. The whole week Andy figured she would pull at least 675, that was his back of the napkin estimate. The first pull, 679…. Pretty darn good. Second pull…692…. That’s what I’m talking about. One last adjustment to the numbers, load up the file….third pull 702.78 RWHP with 678 lbs of torque. PERFECT!!! She broke 700 at the wheels. Andy dubbed her the Z1LE 800
A really big thank you to my buddy Coker who was good enough to put me up at the Coker Ranch while I waited on them to finish up my ride. We got off a great picture of a LOT of HP sitting there, that almost 1400 RWHP sitting there.