The Build – Part 2

It’s been too long since my last post, car has been to a bunch of shows…but that will be another post.  So, back to the build story.  HPT had just finished up at ADM Performance.

The story continues……

I drove out of Texas with a HUGE grin from ear to ear and had just an incredible drive home. She was a sleeper…. Even without Supercharger badging and just the stock 1LE hood, she still had all that HP – so much get up and go. I knew I had made the right decision with Andy and ADM. I was home in time for Christmas, with my present sitting in the garage.

But what was next? How could I make her mine, like no one else’s. I was combing over the forums, looking for parts and pieces. A ZL1 rocker panel was the first body mod, then LED side markers. That’s when I saw the next step…on the Camaro5 Forum. USW Forged made a post offering a discounted price for a set of their wheels for a car coming to the Camaro5 Fest if they would agree to be a booth car. I was already planning on taking my car to the Fest so I could run her down the track with the Cowboy. So swapping stock wheels to something custom was a perfect next step. I opened up a conversation with USW, and they made the process quite easy. USW wanted to showcase the Elimin8R wheel, and would make up a custom color to specifically match the color of my car.

USW Wheel Design Drawing

USW Wheel Design Drawing

 

It was a go – new wheels and on display in a booth at Camaro5 Fest. And that lead to the rest of the build process. Matt, from USW, introduced me to Tommy Z at the Fest. Tommy and I started talking about my car and how it was a great starting place to build something special. Of course, as with all plans and designs, it grew, as did my friendship with Tommy. 😉

 

First time HPT was on display, USW Booth. (Camaro5 Fest 2014)

First time HPT was on display, USW Booth. (Camaro5 Fest 2014) 

USW and Oracle Lights also opened the door for my car to be a feature vehicle at SEMA. I had always wanted to go to SEMA. For any of us that watch car shows on TV, it’s all about the SEMA builds. It was THE place to see cool cars and the next gen products.

But before SEMA came the Nashville Goodguys Car Show, where Tommy and I started working on a few sketches for the SEMA build. We started with a basic plan of smoothing out the gills on the rear quarter panels, cutting in some vents on the front fenders, and relocating the fuel door. And, last but not least, figuring out a way to give the supercharger a little more room under the hood.

HPT at Nashville Goodguys 2014.

HPT at Nashville Goodguys 2014.

Nashville Goodguys 2014 was our chance to hang out and get to know each other.   The plan was set, and after the show, off my car went to Grand Rapids for mods. It was an emotional event watching the car being loaded on the trailer.   To be honest, I was a little worried. But I knew Tommy was the right guy for the work. I had seen picture of his cars he had worked on prior, and knew his reputation. Tommy Z was the guy to get this done.

Car Loaded up for the trip north. So the project began. His buddies over at Halo Supercar started work on the fuel door relocation. While at the Camaro5 Fest, I saw how the Oracle car had the fuel door up on the top of the rear quarter panel and loved how that looks. The original concept Camaro had the same thing, just on the left side.

 

 

fuel door 4

Fuel door modifications at Halo

 

After finishing up at Halo, it was off to the mad scientists workshop. Tommy started work on smoothing the gills, adding in front fender vents, and the mysterious “Mohawk”. He and I both wanted to do something special to the hood’s heat extractor. After installing the supercharger under the stock hood, it was a tight fit under the extractor. I wanted something that would give it a little more space, let in more airflow, and give it a one-off look. Hence the “Mohawk” – the centerpiece of the car’s new look. Along with the new look, came new wheels. Tommy had the idea of putting on a set of one-off custom USW wheels. Yes, another set of USW’s. Cause a guy can never have enough sets of wheels…. Of course he was none too happy when I told him I wanted the shiny set of custom wheels painted black. So we compromised by leaving the lip chromed. He was 100% right on that one, it did make the look.

 

Work in progress...

Work in progress…

 

The build was progressing, and SEMA was getting closer. It was coming up on time to do some finishing touches, sand, and go to paint. I wanted to get my hands dirty, and actually help out, so Tommy and I worked out a schedule for me to go up north and help out. That’s when things got crazy…crazy good.

The Build – Part 1

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…

arrival 1

Delivery to 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!

Old Engine out of the car

Old Engine out of the car

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.

WD_0033

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.

 

 

engine bay          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

WD_0047

 

 

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.

2 x 1LE = 1400HP