Car Feature: The Hellion Camaro

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photos by: the author

The LS3 is such an impressive, well-designed powerplant that even the smallest changes can equate to large and impressive gains. Cranking out an advertised 430 hp at the crank, these motors are only bolt-ons and a mild cam swap away from the low-11s. Or strap on a pair of turbos like Harry Hruska has, and take your 2014 Camaro SS to rear-wheel horsepower levels deep into the 700 range.

Building the car as a sort of street-going version of the Precision Turbo& Engine drag Camaro that’s been making its rounds all over the country, Harry had the boys at Hellion Turbo craft a twin-turbo kit into the 5th-gen that will run on pump gas, produce respectable dyno numbers and live through the daily grind. Looking through the tech sheet, we think they’ve succeeded.  But before we can actually draw that conclusion perhaps we should dig a little deeper into the build…

Starting with a stock LS3 short block, as delivered from the factory, the bottom end has been left completely untouched. The OEM crank, pistons, rings, rods and bearings are all accounted for. Working our way up, the heads have been left alone; unported and unmolested. The factory camshaft is also still in place, in addition to the OEM valve train. Intake manifold? That’s stock, too.

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Despite the twin snails and Hellion-modified engine cover, the changes to the engine bay are relatively subtle.

Now for the good part, where the once naturally-aspirated LS3 moves up to “boosted status,” relying on a Hellion “top mount” turbo system which includes all stainless steel hardware and a pair of PTE 6266 twin v-band turbos; featuring CEA technology and a Hellion-derived sheetmetal bar and plate, vertical-flow intercooler. Naturally, you can’t install a single- or twin-turbo kit into a car, without upgrading the fuel system – it’s just common sense.

So the crew at Hellion stepped up the Camaro’s fuel capacity with a JMS PowerMax fuel pump voltage booster and a set of DeatschWerks 65-lb. injectors that fuel the Camaro’s appetite, while the spent exhaust gases exit through a pair of 1-5/8 in diameter header tubing that’s been Jet Hot coated and backed by a Magnaflow catback exhaust system. The “cold side” tubing is Jet Hot coated as well, and sized in 2.5-inch and 4-inch diameters, respectively.

In addition to the impressive turbo system, a pair of Precision 40mm wastegates work their magic in perfect harmony with the twin snails, which provide ten-pounds per square inch of boost.

The spark is controlled by the OEM coil packs firing into each cylinder, with only a set of NGK plugs and MSD 8.5 mm wires helping out. Of course you can’t build a twin-boosted Camaro without reformatting the software, and Ed Hutchings of Hi-Tech Tuning lent his expertise to the cause.

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Amazingly, the rest of the drivetrain is left alone; the 6-speed manual transmission, the rearend, the suspension, braking system and steering system are all as stock as they had been when they left the factory. However, a set of TSW Mirabeaus wrapped in Nitto NT05 rubber. The new rolling stock adds a subtle but effective blend of form and function to the car’s recipe.

The resulting numbers on Hellion’s dynameter tell of close to 730 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels! While we sort of which that there was more under th hood of this car, we can’t help but appreciate and respect the fact that so much could be accomplished using a minimal amount of hardware.

We originally shot this car during a raining day in Houston a few months back, but when we spotted it again during the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, it was good to see that she was still set up exactly the same way, holding strong in the same format. It just proves that the LS3, now officially on its way out at General Motors, was certainly a remarkable engine.

TECH SHEET:

  • CAR: 2014 Camaro SS
  • OWNER: Harry Hruska
  • ENGINE BLOCK: Stock; LS3
  • CRANKSHAFT: Stock; LS3
  • PISTONS: Stock; LS3
  • CAMSHAFT: Stock; LS3
  • CYLINDER HEADS: Stock; LS3
  • COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.7:1
  • INDUCTION:
  • POWER ADDER: PTE 6266 CEA twin v-band turbos
  • INTERCOOLER: Hellion sheetmetal bar and plate vertical-flow
  • BOOST: 10-lbs.
  • IGNITION: Stock coil packs, MSD 8.5mm wires
  • EXHAUST: 1-5/8 in diameter header tubing, Magnaflow catback exhaust system
  • FUEL DELIVERY: JMS PowerMax fuel pump voltage booster, DeatschWerks 65-lb. injectors
  • OILING: Stock
  • TUNING: Ed Hutchings, Hi-Tech Tuning
  • TRANSMISSION: Stock, TR-6060
  • CLUTCH: Stock
  • DRIVESHAFT: Stock
  • REAREND: Stock
  • SUSPENSION: Stock
  • CHASSIS MODS: None
  • BRAKES: Stock
  • WHEELS: TSW Mirabeau
  • TIRES : Nitto NT05
  • HP/TQ: 730/700

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