*photos by: Kevin DiOssi
Looking for a Street Sleeper/Grudge Racer, Jevan Smith’s G8 Ultimately fit the Bill Perfectly
The previous decade was one of many battles, from the recession of 2008-09, to the shuttering of several of our favorite automotive brands including Oldsmobile and Pontiac. War was the main topic on any given news channel, and things were looking bleak. There were many causalities along the way, but in that traditional American sense, we persevered.
If there’s one car from the “modern era” that left us prematurely, we would have to say it was the Pontiac G8. Being in production for only two model years, it had its life cut short for a laundry list of reasons, predominately the cancellation of Pontiac and the economic collapse.
Although its sister car, the Holden Statesman – essentially a stretched Commodore – would return to our shores just a couple of years later as the Caprice PPV, it would be yet another three years where enthusiasts could walk into a GM showroom and buy an updated version in the form of the Chevy SS.
“Jevan Smith decided to find a secondhand G8 in his area back in 2008, with the sole intention of turning it into something of a street sleeper/grudge racer.”
Not willing to wait that long, one Zeta fan by the name of Jevan Smith decided to find a secondhand G8 in his area back in 2008, with the sole intention of turning it into something of a street sleeper/grudge racer. With low-mileage on the clock and the typical bolt-ons already in place, the G8 was the perfect canvas in which to build upon.
Wanting a crack-team of experts to put the work in, Jevan recruited the help of Lashway Motorsports in Oakland Park, Florida. With Erik Bentley and Co. at Lashway crafting the Pontiac sedan into what Jevan had envisioned, the crew started with the most obvious; the 6-liter L76. The idea was to build an all-motor powerhouse that would withstand the immense pressure and stress of what a direct-port Nitrous Express (NX) nitrous system would deliver – all additional 400 horsepower’s worth! That’s not a typo.
That meant a serious overhaul of the rotating assembly, which included a Callies Dragon Slayer stroker crankshaft and a set of forged MAHLE pistons, that together, would bump the 364 ci. L76 up to 418. Go big or go home, right?
“[418 cubic-inches] meant a serious overhaul of the rotating assembly; which included a Callies Dragon Slayer stroker crankshaft and a set of forged MAHLE pistons…”
But that’s not where the story ends for the stroker L76, as the original heads, intake manifold and camshaft would be put to rest, too. The Lashway crew stepped it up with a carb-style Edelbrock Victor Jr intake manifold, CNC-ported PRC/TSP LS3 cylinder heads and a hefty hydraulic-roller COMP Cam, spec’ing in at a 242/250 duration, 641/642 lift and a 113 lobe-seperation angle. Lumpety-lump!
Wanting to keep the soundtrack in check without coming across as in-you-face (remember, they were thinking “sleeper” here), Lashway did install a set of Kooks 1-7/8 long-tube headers and X-pipe to expel the fumes, while a pair of Magnaflow mufflers now sit in place of the originals. Balancing out the air induction with the exhaust is Lashway’s own cold-air induction system, a Nick Williams 102mm throttle body and a K&N air filter.
Fuel delivery comes by way of 56-pound injectors borrowed from the C6 ZR1 Corvette, with a combination of the stock and NX fuel pumps pumping high-octane fuel to each of the eight injectors. The bottom end stays lubricated thanks to a Melling oil pump bolted snugly inside the OEM oil pan.
Now you would think a grudge/street racer would be all about his 6-speed manuals… but nope! This G8 GT is rocking a very stout, Jakes Performance Level 4 4L80E automatic with a TCI 3600 rpm stall converter wedged between the engine and the gearbox. A Driveshaft Shop ‘shaft connects the transmission to the factory IRS rear axle, that sends the power to the rear wheels, and ultimately, to the pavement.
The Lashway crew tuned the car on their in-house chassis dyno, resulting in a rather conservative 475 hp and 435 lb-ft being sent to the rear wheels. Hit the spray button, and the car completely comes to life with 870 hp and 837 lb-ft of twist hitting the blacktop! Strangely enough, most of the stock suspension remains in place, while the only upgrades listed on the tech sheet is a set of Billet Specialties trailing arms and toe rods!
“Strangely enough, […] the only [suspension] upgrades listed on the tech sheet is a set of Billet Specialties trailing arms and toe rods!”
According to both Erik and the owner, the car hooks amazingly well, especially with the help of the Weld RT-S wheels (wrapped in M&H rubber, not pictured). They also mention that when properly pairing a well-built LS powerplant with modern electronics, everything from the nitrous, to the fuel system and transmission all work in perfect harmony together.
Jevan wants to thank his friends at Lashway Motorsports for such an excellent build, Josh Isaacs at Lashway for his tuning expertise, Jakes Transmissions for building a solid gearbox, Wilson Manifolds for the nitrous plumbing, Mike at Total Engine Concepts (TEA) and Texas-Speed for providing a high-towing set of heads for this late-model Pontiac.
- CAR: 2009 Pontiac G8 GT
- OWNER: Jevan Smith
- ENGINE BLOCK: GM L76
- DISPLACEMENT: 418 ci.
- CRANKSHAFT: Callies Dragon Slayer
- PISTONS: MAHLE Forged
- CAMSHAFT: COMP Cams; hydraulic roller, 242/250 duration, 641/642 lift, 113 LSA
- CYLINDER HEADS: PRC/TSP; CNC-ported LS3, stock valves, stock 1.7 rockers
- COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.5:1
- INDUCTION: Edelbrock; Victor Jr. carb-style intake manifold, K&N filter, Nick Williams 102mm throttle body, Lashway cold-air induction kit, custom Aaron’s elbow
- OILING: Stock pan with Melling pump
- EXHAUST: Kooks 1-7/8 inch, long-tube diameter primaries and X-pipe, Magnaflow mufflers
- FUEL DELIVERY: 56-pound injectors (C6 ZR1), stock/standalone N2O pumps
- POWER ADDER: NX Direct-Port nitrous with 400 hp jets
- TUNING: Lashway Motorsports
- TRANSMISSION: 4L80E; Jakes Level 4
- CONVERTER: TCI 3600 rpm stall
- DRIVESHAFT: Driveshaft Shop
- REAREND: Stock IRS rearend, 3.91 gears, posi
- SUSPENSION: Stock; upgraded with Billet Specialties trailing arms and toe rods
- CHASSIS MODS: None
- BRAKES: Stock
- WHEELS: 17-inch Weld RT-S (installed after photo shoot)
- TIRES: M&H Racemaster Front Runner (front), 325/45/17 Drag Radials (rear)
- HP/TQ.: 870/837 (on the bottle)
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.