photos by: Daean Chase
This 5th-Gen Camaro SS is our Orange Crush
It seems like it was only yesterday when the 5th-generation Camaro first hit the street and took the world by storm. F-body fans finally had some validation after taking snubs from Brand X owners for several years. New for 2010 was an entirely new car; nothing was carry-over from the previous Camaro of 2002, and it was a breath of fresh air.
For the first time in a long time, Camaro buyers had a car that had upright seating positions (no more gangster lean), a high-quality interior and a body-style that was a direct nod to the ’69 model. The car also received a boost of 101 hp from the 2002 SS to the 2010 SS, and an independent rear suspension. It was a fully-modern car and still was in most respects when it went out of production at the end of the 2015 model year.
One of the good things about being replaced by the current model, is the fact that loads of 5th-gen Camaros are now hitting the secondhand market in droves and for a very decent price. Despite that, there are those who were fortunate enough to pick one of these up when they were brand new, and that brings us to Johnny Matney and his Inferno Orange Super Sport.
Acquired brand new back in May of 2012, Johnny picked the car up as a project with his father in which they tore into the Camaro by the 4500-mile mark — starting with a set of Kooks long-tube headers and a COMP Cams bumpstick upgrade. Despite the fact that he was off to a great start, things came to a screeching halt on the car immediately following the elder Matney’s sudden passing.
For a while, Johnny was left flabbergasted, depressed and unsure he wanted to purse the project any further. After much thought, however, he remembered his late father’s fondness for drag racing, who had spent more than his fair share on the dragstrips back in the day. Wanting to honor his father, Johnny ultimately decided upon finishing the Camaro and continue the build as planned, if not even better than originally anticipated.
With that decision finally made, Johnny reached out to Vortech Superchargers for a sponsorship, and they sent over a V3-Si blower, dialed in at 12-psi. of boost and an air-to-air intercooler. A TiAL blow-off valve also became a part of the mix. Leaving the entire long-block alone, the only other upgrade to the 376 cubic-inch mill was a boost-friendly COMP/Speed Inc. hydraulic camshaft that specs in at a .231/.237 duration, .617/.607 lift and an undisclosed lobe separation angle.
Pumping up the fuel system to meet the standards of a supercharged powerplant begins with an octuplet of Injector Dynamics ID850 injectors, paired with Squash Performance fuel pumps and an Aeromotive regulator with Flex Fuel capabilities. Expelling the fumes is handled by the set of aforementioned Kooks headers, Magnaflow exhaust pipes and mufflers originally intended for the ZL1 version of the Camaro. Stock coils, NGK plugs and Taylor 10mm wires create the spark
Sitting behind the blown LS3 is a manually-shifted TREMEC TR-6060 gearbox with a McLeod RXT twin-disc clutch with a billet flywheel. The power is then transferred to the stock driveshaft and rearend, housing 3.91 gears and 1400hp-capable axles from the Driveshaft Shop. With an HP Tuners program embedded into the stock ECU, courtesy of Speed Inc., the axles will be able to handle every bit of abuse that 776hp and 679 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels can throw at it.
However, the stock SS brakes wouldn’t quite be up to the challenge, so that’s why Johnny upped the ante with 6-piston Brembo calipers borrowed form a 2012 CTS-V, and a set of 4-piston calipers out back retrieved from the same car. The braking has been improved dramatically, and they sit nicely behind a set of Weld Racing RT-S 5-spoke rollers, measuring 18×5 in the front and either 18×10.5 or 17×10 in the rear, depending on how Johnny is using the car on that particular day. M&H Front Runner skinnies sit up front, obviously, with Nitto NT05 on the 18-inch rears and Hoosier 28-inch slicks on the 17s.
Suspension is a contributing factor when it comes to building a competitive street/strip machine, and Matney took things to the next level with PFADT coil springs (front and rear), BMR front and rear sway bars, rear upper and lower control arms, end links, stock shocks/struts and a Hotchkis subframe brace. The stock shocks/struts remain, but we see Johnny upgrading to adjustable coil-overs in the near-future.
On the inside, it’s largely standard issue Camaro, with just a few subtle changes that make it stand out from the other Inferno Orange Camaros out there. Chief among which is a MGW short-throw shifter that helps Johnny’s shifting become more precise, and much quicker. There’s also an A-pillar gauge pod that’s equipped with SLP gauges and an Auto Meter shift light that provide the driver with all of the feedback necessary, in addition to the factory gauge cluster.
The exterior of the Camaro has seen some subtle adjustments as well but none that jump out at you unless you’re really paying attention, despite the wheels. Where the factory hood once sat is a VFN COPO-style fiberglass hood, that’s balanced out with a SLP rear spoiler (which is a one-of-five unit that reached the public, that wasn’t already attached to a ZL-575). An SLP front lip/splitter is attached under the front fascia while ZL1 rocker panels and rear valence add some additional attitude that some may argue the SS lacks.
With he mechanicals and cosmetics completed, Johnny took the Camaro to his local dragstrip and laid down some numbers. With some issues launching the IRS-equipped Camaro and a “terrible” 60-ft time, Matney managed a low 10-second quarter-mile with a trap speed just a hair over 130 mph. It’s clearly putting down the power numbers Johnny is clamming, but we think with some more practice, it could go a little quicker. But it’s not about that with Matney, it’s about fulfilling his father’s legacy of a father-son project that lives on with his father’s memory.
That alone makes all of the blood, sweat and tears worth it, we think.
- CAR: 2012 Camaro SS
- OWNER: Johnny Matney
- ENGINE BLOCK: LS3
- CRANKSHAFT: LS3
- PISTONS: LS3
- CONNECTING RODS: LS3
- CAMSHAFT: COMP Cams/Speed Inc.; S15V2, hydraulic, .231/.237 duration, .617/.607 lift, undisclosed LSA
- CYLINDER HEADS: GM; LS3
- COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.7:1
- ROCKER ARMS: LS3
- INDUCTION: LS3 intake manifold, Nick Williams 102mm drive-by wire TB
- IGNITION: Stock coil packs, 10-mm Taylor wires, NGK plugs
- EXHAUST: Kooks 1-7/8 inch long-tube headers, Magnaflow 3-inch diameter tubing, mufflers and X-pipe
- FUEL DELIVERY: Injector Dynamics ID850 injectors, Squash Performance fuel pumps, Automotive regulator with Flex Fuel conversion
- OILING: Chevrolet Performance pump, Holley pan and racing baffle
- POWER ADDER: Vortech; V3-Si supercharger, 10-rib 3.12-inch pulley
- BOOST: 11-12 psi.
- TUNING: HP Tuners; tuned by Speed Inc.
- TRANSMISSION: TR-6060
- CLUTCH: McLeod; RXT twin-disc
- FLYWHEEL: McLeod Billet
- DRIVESHAFT: Stock
- REAREND: Stock; 3.91 gears, Driveshaft Shop 1400 hp-capable axles
- SUSPENSION: PFADT springs (front and rear), BMR front and rear sway bars, rear upper and lower control arms, end links, stock shocks/struts, Hotchkis subframe brace
- BRAKES: CTS-V Brembos; 6-piston (front), 4-piston (rear)
- WHEELS: Weld Racing; RT-S, 18×5 (front), 18×10.5, 17×10 (rear, depending on use)
- TIRES: M&H Front Runner (front), Nitto NT05 (315/40/18, rear, street), Hoosier 28-inch slick (dragstrip)
- HP/TQ.: 776/679
- BEST 1/4-MILE ET: 10.xx at 130.xx
- BEST 60-FT.: “terrible”