First off, I'd like to thank Rich at Backstreet Performance, Paul at Stainless Works, Jonathan at AAC, Justin at McElwain Motors, and my Mom & Dad, my sister Julie & brother-in-law Don for helping me get everything ready for while I was overseas, and my brother-in-law Ben for helping me turn some wrenches while I was home. It's far from finished, but I only had a few weeks home, and I wanted to spend some time driving it, not just working on it... I've been planning this build for a long time, and there's a lot more to come, but I'm a firm believer in taking the time to research ever step, and making sure there are no compromises and everything is done properely.
That being said, the journey began when I sent Julie to find me a car. She searched every dealership in 100 miles for the best price for exactly what I wanted. She found it at McElwain Motors, in Ellwood City, PA, which is the same spot she bought her SRX from. Justin was more than helpful in setting up the deal with me being over 7,000 miles away. And they let my family pick up the car for me. It was ready right on time, just over a month before I came home. Even got my sister a nice "Camaro" shirt to pick it up in.
This gave my sister time to get the car out to Rich at Backstreet Performance, in Medina, OH, who I had been working with for almost 2 years. Working in conjunction with Forgeline & Pedders, I purchased a set of Forgeline S03P’s, 20 x 10.5, all around, designed to work flawlessly with Pedder’s “Justice” Packge Supercar Coilovers, which were waiting for my SS at Backstreet. Normally, I like to do this kind of work myself, but since I was only going to be home for a short time, and I wanted to actually drive my car, opposed to laying on the garage floor for a week pressing bushings, so Rich and Backstreet were the perfect choice to help me out. My sister and Don dropped the car off a few weeks before my homecoming. They had a great time while they were there. Everyone was all smiles, and they got a nice tour of Rich’s facility.
Rich stayed in contact with me throughout the entire process, and was very helpful, bouncing questions off of me, and keeping my updated with the work. We decided on a set of the new Potenza S001’s in a 305 all around for the rubber. Rich dialed the suspension to an ‘aggressive street’ alignment for me, which I figured would give a good starting point for the future autocross and track time the car will see, and had the car ready for my sister to pick up, right on time before I got home. When I landed in Pittsburgh, my family was waiting for me, with my new SS in the parking garage. They made me close my eyes and walked me over to the car.
I couldn’t believe good everything looked and how everything fit. The wheels are pieces are art, and the stance was amazing. I seriously did a double take when I first saw it and said, “Is that mine?” Driving home from the airport was amazing. The car had no body roll, and felt planted at all times, which was to be expected, but what really surprised me was how smooth the ride was. Pennsylvania roads aren’t the best out there, and the Pedder’s Supercars ate up the expansion joints and settled spots like it was nothing. I can’t wait to take my long trip in this thing, because it rides like a dream.
My first free day being home, I spent fooling around in the garage, making some small visual changes, just so my SS would look like ‘mine’. Jonathan at AAC provided me a nice package of clear LED sidemarkers, and HID conversion kit, a white/red dual halo kit, and a red LED interior kit. A quick debadging of the front finished off my ‘clean’ look. I had plans to tint the tails, paint the bezels and put on a rear blackout kit, but I just didn’t have the time.
After driving the car for a few days to visit some people, it was time to get back into the garage. Paul at Stainless Works helped with the exhaust, and I had a full Stainless Works system waiting in the garage. 2” primaries on the headers with no cats, and their S-Tube mufflers. I wrapped and sprayed the headers before putting them on. I think they came out pretty nice. I headed over to my brother in law shop so we could use the lift. Ben I had the whole system replace in 3 ½ hours. We secured the headers with some locking bolts, and the only issue we had was clearance on the boot for the steering column, so we cut it off. No problem, just gonna keep an eye on it so it stays clean and lubed. The first time we fired it up after the new exhaust, both of our jaws dropped. It was deep, full & LOUD. Everyone agrees that the car now sounds the way that it should. I let Ben drop the car back to his house, and I followed in his car, just so I could hear it. Gave me chills...
Here's a quick video of my sister pulling out to go buy us some more ammo while we were playing with our AR-15's.
I still have a MGW short throw shifter assembly to install, but I just didn’t have the time for it. I also wanted to take a trip back out to Backstreet to see Rich to personally thank him, but I just couldn’t find the time. My baby sister got married the last week I was home, so my schedule was really booked.
Shot of my SRT in the mirror. ...on the street, it would be the other way around.
My sister just took it to have the windows tinted over the weekend. She's the best.
I had plans for some low mounted twins when I finally make it home for good, but because of the low ground clearance, I’m thinking I might turn my direction to a NA build. I already got some ideas...
Hope you guys like the pics, and I’d like to thank the Camaro5 community for all the information and contacts I made that helped me put this dream together. I’ll keep you guys updated on the build.
Thanks again to everyone who made this possible!
The weather broke early this year, and I bought a house, so I was a little late on the tuning season. After some long thought, I decided to begin the HP gains with some good 'ol NA power.
I've been talking with Rich, at Backstreet Performance ( who did the Pedders install and setup for me ), and he had some ideas that we'd thought we put to task.
First, the heads were removed and sent to Total Engine Airflow so the LS3 could breath better. The heads were disassembled, CNC'd and then received a multi-angle valve job. New seals, springs & seats followed, and Rich installed a Harland Sharp bearing and trunion kit up top when they came back together. A custom grind cam followed, along with a Lingenfelter 3 blolt conversion kit and some new push rods. A Katech oil pump was thrown in to keep her making strong pressure even at idle.
When it came back together, Backstreet's Tuner, Aric, threw her on the dyno and started tweaking.
Final results: 484.66HP - 429.97TQ
Here's a quick video of how the cam at start up, idle and a little low-rev.
Rich also raised the ride a bit for me and realigned everything. Now I don't have any (major) issues with scrapping, and the stance still looks great.
I had some problems with my LED sidemarkers filling with water,
so while the car was at Backstreet, I sent the markers back to AAC and Jonathan was very helpful in getting me replacements. Turns out, I had one of the first sets, and they weren't sealed around the edges. The new ones are, so I doubt I'll have any problems with them.
I re-installed those once I got the car home.
And here's a quick video of a few of my co-workers (trying) to take my SS for a ride during a lunch break.
Again, I'd like to thank Rich at Backstreet Performance for all of their amazing work. I've never dealt with anyone as helpful and friendly as him, and I'd recommend him to anyone who is looking to take their 5th Gen to the next level. I'm sure I'll be seeing him again for the next step.