Car Feature: Undercover Brother

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photos by: Greg Connoyer

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We’ve all been there; you see those cop headlights in your rear-view mirror and you tense up, clench the steering wheel and feel your heart sinking in your chest as you see that police cruiser fly up on your tail. All you can think about is getting hit with a citation, adding two more points on your driving record and your wallet being a few hundred bucks lighter than it was when you left your house that morning.

But before you can pull your iron over to the side of the road, the police cruiser sails passed you while a distinctive growl from an LS motor and a hint of blower whine fills your ears as you notice that however fast you were going, “it was baby stuff compared what this dude was doing.” You’ve just got schooled by an undercover police car.PPV-8

Oh, and it was no lame 230 hp Crown Vic, either; it was a Chevy Caprice PPV. What, you never heard of it? Well let us school on it, then, son! From 2011 and all the way up to today, Chevrolet has been offering the boys in blue an exclusive police pursuit vehicle (hence, PPV) that some may confuse as a stretched G8 with Chevy badges. Mostly because it sort of is.

Essentially, General Motors had worked their Holden Caprice Statesman into a stripped down, and police-action ready cruiser for the boys in blue here in the ‘States and in Canada.

Under the hood, you’ll find an LS-based 6.0L V8, dubbed the L77 that came to party with 348 hp – which, if you’re familiar with General Motors and the way they rate their engines, can be a touch on the conservative side. Initially available exclusively with the L77 when it launched in 2011, the PPV would pick up the 3.6L V6 option for 2012.

Our feature car today is fitted with the former, and though the L77 has plenty of potential under the hood for more grunt in the form of natural-aspiration, the car’s owner, Kevin Sullivan, wanted boost. Don’t we all? But we’re moving too fast, so let’s back up a bit.

Back in 2011, Kevin was scouring eBay for a new Caprice PPV. Knowing full-well that they weren’t available to the public, several car dealers were getting them in and selling a few as used cars once they had a several hundred miles on the odometer. After running across this Hugo Blue example on the popular auction site, he called the dealership and made an appointment to come see the car. Long story short, Kevin ended up signing on the dotted line, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, Kevin has been slowly modifying his Caprice into a supercharged sleeper that puts it squarely on the map as the current [known] fastest Caprice PPV in the country. Wanting to leave the engine itself untouched, for now, Sullivan bolted on a ProCharger D1SC supercharger to the LS-based mill. Attaching a 3.9-inch pulley rewarded Kevin with 11-psi. of compressor boost.

Understanding that the stock manifolds are OK for an unmolested Caprice, the amount of air that the D1SC can move would mean a header and exhaust install was next on the list. So he ordered up a set of Kooks 1-7/8 inch long-tube headers, a custom X-pipe and Vibrant mufflers as well as dual 3-inch diameter tubing to get the spent gases expelled in quick order.

PPV-4Now normally, we would continue to tell you about how he bored and stroked the engine, slid in a boost-friendly camshaft and installed a track-ready suspension kit. Nada. As it turns out, the rest of the PPV remains pretty much stock. Other than a 3600-stall Yank torque converter, a Camaro transmission pan and a recently installed 5th-Gen Camaro 3.27 gear set, it’s pretty much factory-issue.

But that’s not the end of the story, oh no. In fact Kevin had the car tuned by Shane Hinds of St. Louis, Missouri. With a few key strokes of the laptop, Shane was able to tune Kevin’s Caprice to 500 rwhp and 600 lb-ft of twist to the tires. With nothing more than a rear set of Nitto NT05R rubber mounted on a pair of 18×9.5 TSW Panoramas out back (18×8 in the front), Kevin was able to pull an 11.35 at 119 mph with a 1.60-second short time.

Wanting to keep a closer eye on his engine vitals, Kevin installed a set of Auto Meter gauges inside the cop car cockpit. With over 500 raging horsepower, it’s nice to know what exactly is going on underneath that big hood. So far, the 6L80E transmission is holding up quite nice, and provides a good balance of daily-driver comfort with reliability on the dragstrip. After all, it’s the PPV’s only transmission choice.

You can call this car tame if you want, but considering the weight of the stretched Zeta (about 4300-lbs.) and its sleeper cosmetic appeal, we feel that cars like this represent the next generation of GM EFI tuning. Kevin’s dare to be different approach is working out quite well, and it is nice to see something different than another Camaro or Firebird whipping up on unsuspecting Mustangs and imports with what looks to be an undercover car.

Being no stranger to police package Chevys, having owned an LT1 Caprice 9C1 and even a ’67 Caprice, Kevin’s a big-body fan at heart. With so much untapped potential under the hood and throughout the rest of the car, we can only assume that there’s much more to come just over the horizon.

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TECH SHEET:

  • CAR: 2011 Caprice PPV
  • OWNER: Kevin Sullivan
  • ENGINE BLOCK: Stock L77; aluminum block
  • CRANKSHAFT: Stock L77
  • CONNECTING RODS: Stock L77
  • PISTONS: Stock L77
  • CAMSHAFT: Stock
  • CYLINDER HEADS: Stock
  • COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.4:1
  • INDUCTION: Stock L77 intake
  • POWER ADDER: ProCharger D1SC; 3.9-inch pulley
  • BOOST: 11-psi.
  • INTERCOOLER: ProCharger 3-core
  • IGNITION: Stock coil-near plug
  • EXHAUST: Kooks 1-7/8 long-tubes, custom X-pipe, Vibrant race mufflers, 3-inch diameter tubing
  • FUEL DELIVERY: ID 850 INJECTORS,
  • OILING: Stock
  • TUNING: Shane Hinds; St. Louis, Mo.
  • TRANSMISSION: 6L80E; custom BCM and pushbutton shift, Camaro pan
  • CONVERTER: Yank 3600-stall
  • DRIVESHAFT: Stock
  • REAREND: 5th-Gen Camaro; 3.27 gears
  • SUSPENSION: Stock
  • CHASSIS MODS: Stock
  • BRAKES: Stock
  • WHEELS: TSW Panorama 18×8 (front), 18×9.5 (rear)
  • TIRES: Goodyear RSA (front) Nitto NT05R (285/40/18, rear)
  • HP/TQ.: 500/600
  • BEST 1/4-MILE ET: 11.35 at 119
  • BEST 60-ft.: 1.60
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