Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hail to the new King, the 2013 Camaro 1LE

Well this is an interesting turn of events that I do not think many people expected and I think deep down inside Chevrolet might be a little be surprised too.  What I am in fact talking about is the overall performance of the Camaro 1LE along with a journalist review of the new Camaro over at Jalopnik.

When Ford’s new Boss 302 Mustang Laguna Seca came out a year ago, most of the automotive enthusiast world stood in awe of the car and what it was capable of achieving.  However has Chevrolet been able to achieve the impossible with their porkier car? Perhaps.

Anyone that knows anything about the 5th generation Camaro that was first made available as a 2010 model knows that it suffers from being a bit of a porker at almost two tons.  However things look a little better when you compare it the obese Challenger.  Chevrolet decided to tackle many of the handling complaints when they introduced the 2012 Camaro ZL1, the super charged beast rides on electromagnetic suspension that allows the car to have amazing handling and cutting a sub 7 minute 50 second Nurburgring time.  However many of the ZL1 developments were initially developed to be put onto the Camaro 1LE test mule.

Chevrolet is making the 1LE an option for any manual Camaro SS, and the package will cost an additional $3,500.  This three and a half grand goes a long way including 20-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle G:2 tires (what the ZL1 has) and are 285/35/20 all around to further increase balance.  The package also includes monotube rear shocks, larger stabilizer bars (27 mm up front and 28 mm at the rear), 3.91 gear ratio, short throw shifter, among other cosmetic additions.  It is no surprise that Chevrolet has the Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca in its cross hairs.  However can the heavier 426 hp  even compete with the lighter 444 hp Boss?  Well Chevrolet is claiming that not only can it compete but it can surpass the Boss.

One thing is for certain, the 1LE completely blows the Boss out of the water when it comes to the price.  You can snag the 1LE for as cheap as $37,035 but you’re going to have to reach a little deeper into your wallet if you want the Boss, with a price tag at around $49,000.

Now what does this all me?  The 1LE has got a bunch of bells and whistles, but can it deliver?  Well it is faster at Virginia International Raceway than a 2009 Audi R8 with the amazing V10 engine and can even take its Cadillac cousin the CTS-V.  What about Fords 2013 200 mph Mustang GT500?  The 1LE is only 0.3 seconds behind the 662 hp monster.  So that’s probably leaving you wondering, what can it do against its primary competition the Boss 302.  GM claims that the 1LE is 4.5 seconds faster than the Boss.

All of this sounds good and the claims are nice.  However I’d like to see the 1LE independently tested against the Boss 302 Laguna Seca to see if these numbers and claims hold true.  I’m sure it won’t be long before someone picks one up.

Camaro 1LE

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Update on Super Charger

Well after going to the drag strip two weeks ago, I took some data logs and e-mailed them to Vince at Trifecta.  He reviewed the logs and at around 7 psi of boost my fuel system cannot keep up.  Smoke1lt from sent his car back down to Tracy to get the over drive pulley (that I have currently) and to figure out what is need to make the fuel system keep up.  We currently have two options, the first is using a meth kit, which should work no problem since another member is making 450 rwhp with twin turbos.  The second option is an after market high pressure fuel pump.  However after talking to Vince, he feels that the fuel pump is not 100% compatible with the bosh ecu.  I'm going to hold off on making a decesion on what to do until we hear from Tracy and what they did to Smoke1lt's car.  I should hear something by the end of this week, or early next week at the latest.

This past Friday member V6owner down here in Texas made a few runs at the drag strip with the stock super charger pulley and he was able to run 13.12 @ 109 mph with a 60 foot of 1.9x.  Apparently that run was his last and he was running on fumes.  He believes that he could have broken into the 12's, but unfortunatel that had to be his last run for the night.

If I decide to settle on the stock pulley I think I will be more than happy, being able to run stock SS times is pretty darn good!  Check back for news on the super charger over drive pulley fuel system and what I ultimately decide to do!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Car Supercharged by RX Performance

I've had my 2010 2LT/RS since September of 2009.  Originally I was going to only do minor mods to the car.  However, once I started I could not stop.

Performance mods before the Supercharger were:
VMax Ported Throttle Body
Ported and Polished Intake Manifold
MRT V1 Mufflers
SS Mid Pipes
ARH LT Headers and High Flow Cats
Injen cold air intake
PFADT Lowering Springs, Sway Bars, Endlinks

However, I was pretty much at the end of the naturally aspirated route.  Once I graduated college I debated trading my car in for a 2012 Camaro SS.  However after thinking about it, there is absolutely no way I could bring myself to do that.  I learned everything I know about cars on my 2010, from oil changes to changing the brakes, headers, etc.  My 2010 simply had way too much sentimental value to me.  It was then that I started to think about going into the forced induction route.  After looking at the different companies I quickly decided that I would go with one of the RX Performance builds.  Tracy at RX Performance has invested a ton of money into R&D for products for the 5th gen V6's while most other performance companies have not.  However that wasn't the sole reason, Tracy has been supercharging vehicles since the 70's and has vast knowledge about forced induction.

Once I decided that I would go with an RX system, I then had to decide about going with a twin turbo build or a supercharger build.  I looked into both systems, however I have always been a fan of superchargers and  decided that's what I would do.  Along with getting the supercharger system (which uses a Vortech V3 supercharger), I also got RX's super chiller (air-to-water intercooler) which cools air temps down to 55-60 degrees, which is amazing in this Texas heat (90-100 degrees outside).  Finally I had my rear diff replaced with the rear end from an SS, the added power would likely play havoc with the automatic V6 rear end that didn't have limited slip.  

The system is absolutely amazing and I am very impressed with it.  However it seems that the Achilles heel of the entire build is the stock mass air flow sensor.  I had issues with it coming back from Florida, I'm not sure whether all the extra boost (8 psi) blew out the MAF or if it was possibly damaged from condensation that I found on the MAF from the super chiller.  I will be monitoring this over the next few days to weeks, to try and come to a conclusion on what the issue is.

Video of my car after the install

New badge

Intake Tube (RX Supercharged)

Picture of the blow off valve

Picture of supercharger (Vortech V3)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2012 ZL1 vs. 2013 Shelby GT500

It started off with Chevrolet saying that they were bringing back the ZL1.  Chevrolet released the ZL1's numbers as 580 horsepower and 556 torque, but just a day later Ford shoots back claiming their new Shelby GT500 will have over 650 horsepower and 630 torque and will be able to achieve 200 mph.  These claims more than took the wind out of Chevrolet's sails, they once again one upped Chevrolet.

The ZL1 is under powered and overweight, which is why I was surprised to read this excerpt from Edmunds review - "Nothing is more humbling than watching a car with 100 fewer horses and the extra weight of an NFL running back disappear into the distance on a back road. But that's exactly what happened when we brought the two cars together to establish which is the best-driving pony car ever. The answer, as improbable as it seemed, was as obvious as the Camaro's shrinking taillights." However it is no surprise that the Camaro won the handling competition, given that it has an independent rear suspension and state-of-the-art magnetic ride control.  What is surprising to me, is after all of this hype about the GT500, it fails to deliver as the best all around car.  The GT500 seems to be a one hit wonder, it's all go and that's it.  It seems that the GT500 is stuck in the old pony wars while the ZL1 is adapting to the times.

It should be noted that Edmunds recorded some of the best lateral acceleration that they ever have with the 2012 ZL1.  The ZL1 produced 1.03g which is more than the last ZR1 tested and the same as a McLaren MP4-12C and a Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ferrari Enzo Replacement

Thanks to Car and Driver, there has been some information about the Ferrari Enzo's replacement.  Code named F70, this new beast will sport a hybrid V12 engine producing an estimated 920 hp.  Additionally the body will benefit largely from carbon fiber and weight is set to be around 2,650lbs.  Think about that for a minute... a 2,650 pound 920 hp Ferrari. Amazing.


New Ford Mustang Leaks

Car and Driver was able to get some information on Ford's new Mustang.  The update will come in mid to late 2014 as a 2015 model.  However some are speculating it might come mid year, to celebrate the Mustang's 50th birthday.  Either way it is just around the corner and it appears that this isn't just going to be a cosmetic update.  While the V6 and V8 engines will remain the same (although they may get direct injection), Ford is planning on adding a 4 cylinder with ecoboost to the line up.  This is the first time since the '80's that a Mustang will appear with a turbocharged 4 cylinder.  Perhaps the biggest change will come in the rear end of the Mustang.  Rumors are Ford will be releasing the Mustang with an independent rear suspension.  This would mark the first time a Mustang would have IRS, with the exception of the SVT Cobra's that were produced from 1999-2004.  While this may not be confirmed yet, Car and Driver was able to snap some pictures (see below) of the IRS on one of the test mules.  Finally it looks like Ford is planning on shaving some weight from the Mustang.  This may not sound like much, but it really is.  Since the Camaro and the Challenger weigh 3,700-4,200lbs (V6's & V8's) which is anywhere from 200-700lbs heavier than the current Mustang, these weight savings can create a huge gap between the competition.  However, the Camaro will see a decrease in its weight as well in 2014 when the Camaro switches over from its current Zeta platform to the newer, lighter Alpha platform.

2015 model Mustang

A look at the test mules independent rear suspension

Car and Drivers article can be read here 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ford Focus doing some serious record settings

Ford's 1.0-litre ecoboost Focus set 16 world speed records recently, an amazing accomplishment by the American auto maker.  However the help of Ford's world rally championship super start Jari-Matti may have helped attain this records a little easier.  The records were set at CREAM test circuit, located in France.

The little 1.0-litre Ford hits 0-62 mph in 11.3 seconds and has a top speed of 120mph, it does all of this while attaining 56.5mpg and having a C02 emission of 114g/km.

List below are the records Ford's Focus set:

Standing start 1 kilometre113.522 km/h
Standing start 1 mile79.402 mph
Flying start 1 kilometre176.168 km/h
Flying start 1 mile108.548 mph
Highest average speed over 10 km172.053 km/h
Highest average speed over 100 km187.579 km/h
Highest average speed over 500 km186.793 km/h
Highest average speed over 10 miles110.237 mph
Highest average speed over 100 miles118.412 mph
Highest average speed over 1 hour191.056 km/h (118.716 mph)
Highest average speed over 1000 km164.361 km/h
Highest average speed over 500 miles102.656 mph
Highest average speed over 1000 miles103.357 mph
Highest average speed over 6 hours165.555 km/h (102.871 mph)
Highest average speed over 12 hours166.784 km/h (103.634 mph)
Highest average speed over 24 hours171.029 km/h (106.272 mph)

Ford's Focus' used to set the records
sources taken from 3D Car Show

Police chase in Russa ends better than you may think

I have a hard time believing that all of the police in Russia are this nice, even the police in the U.S. wouldn't end a chase this way.  There are some rumored thoughts of what just might be going on here.  The first is that this guy is an undercover cop, I mean the the license plate T-KILLAH it really makes you wonder the legitimacy.  Second maybe this guy bribes the police, I mean it is Russia isn't it?  Finally, perhaps this guy is taking advantage of wonderful diplomatic immunity.  Whatever the case maybe, it must sure be nice to drive like this and get off so easy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chevrolet Supporting Gay Marriage?

Some may have never thought that they would live to see the day that an auto maker would take a stance on gay marriage.  However Chevrolet's latest ads seem that it supports gay marriage through its silly yet very straight forward ad, as seen below.  Controversial? Perhaps.  Good marketing? Definitely.  This is the first time that any auto manufacturer has taken a stance on gay marriage and whether or not this was specifically intended  to target LGBT groups or not it will definitely have a lasting effect.  Sure there will be some individuals that may not agree with Chevrolet and GM with their stance, I do believe that this has the potential to be a real advantage.  People are already starting to comment on this around the internet, some of the posts I have seen are "I hate Chevys, but after seeing this I want to buy one now."  Only time will tell how this will all play out.

Chevrolet's new add targeting LGBT groups by supporting gay marriage

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Camaro going under the knife!

It's official, my Camaro's overhaul has begun yesterday.  Tracy over at RX performance had just moved to a new facility and the electricity hadn't been hooked up and thus the lights, lifts, and just about everything couldn't be used.  Luckily all that has been taken care of and they have started work on my car.  Stay tuned for more updates about my car!

First step towards force induction

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Supercharged in Florida

Originally I was looking into trading my 2010 2LT/RS in for a 2012 2SS/RS.  However it was a difficult decision to make since I have put so much blood, sweat and tears into my car.  After toying with the idea I have decided to go the force induction route.  I have looked at several different companies, the choice was pretty easy, I decided to go with Tracy at RX performance in Florida.  He is the ONLY performance company that has put in a lot of R&D money into the LLT engine.  I have bought a few products from him in the past (RX Catch can and CNC ported throttle body), the products are of great quality.  Tracy is also VERY active on forums, both and BowtieV6 which is a plus in my book.

I then needed to decided on if I was going to go with a single turbo build, twin turbo build or a supercharger.  I quickly discarded the single turbo due to the fact that I absolutely hate turbo lag, and I honestly cannot see a Camaro having a turbocharger over a supercharger.  After looking at the twin turbo build I decided I did not not all that power (close to 500 rwhp) since this would be my daily driver, so that left me with the supercharger.  I've always been a fan of a supercharger build over a turbo build so it was somewhat of an easy decision. 

 The build is costing $9,400 - this includes all labor, tune, supercharger, RX super chiller (air to water intercooler), and a new rear diff that is from an SS Camaro.  Additionally there will be a before and after dyno pull to see the net gain.

I decided to get my car shipped to Florida and I'll go down and pick it up on June 11th.  I was a bit worried about my car getting shipped, however everything went well and according to Tracy the car looks great.  However I'm not very surprised considering the cars that were in the trailer were a Shelby HPE 650, Ferrari F430 and a McLaren MP4.

Shelby HPE 650

McLaren MP4

(left to right)
Shelby HPE 650, McLaren MP4, Ferrari F430

McLaren MP4

McLaren MP4

My Camaro 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GM Stock Prices Soar, Once Again Worlds Largest Auto Maker

GM reported an 11% (18% if adjusted for EBIT) increase in revenue in 2011 to $150.3 billion, which is an impressive increase over the $135.6 billion in 2010.  Stock prices went from just shy of $26 to nearly $28 in the course of a day and a half, it has been nearly a week now and stocks have dropped a bit, but still well above where they were prior to GM's financial announcement.  This has allowed GM to reclaim the title of worlds largest auto manufacturer, something it hasn't been able to do since 2007 when the Japanese giant Toyota took the number one spot.