The year is 1968, and a dealership in Long Island, New York called Baldwin-Motion Performance Combine is doing what GM Corporate is not prepared to do themselves – install the 427 under the hood of the new-for-1967 pony car, the Chevy Camaro. In 1969, Don Yenko begins to creatively abuse the Central Office Production Order system, and the legendary Yenko Camaros are born, with factory-fresh L72 big block engines, or the super-rare all-aluminum ZL-1 427 for motivation.
Fast forward four decades, four generations, and one hiatus in production, and another New York dealership is taking the most potent naturally-aspirated engine in GM’s performance catalog and using it to fortify brand-new Camaros. DeNooyer Performance Division, based out of Albany, New York, commissioned Redline Motorsports to create the HTR-SS454 Camaro, using the GM Performance Parts LSX454 crate engine in place of the stock LS3. The result is a brand-new Camaro with mid-11-second quarter mile performance.
How good is this car? Well, ask yourself how good of a job you’d have to do to earn a spot right at the front of GM Performance Parts’ PRI booth, and more importantly, on the cover of the 2011 GMPP catalog. The HTR-SS454 makes 515 horsepower and 513 pound-feet to the wheels on the chassis dyno; honest numbers considering the crate motor’s 620/590 rating “at the brochure.” A ZR1 clutch, custom flywheel, and upgraded axles are also on the list of added goodies to ensure longevity under the added strain of another 200 horses beyond the stock SS, while handling upgrades from Pfadt make sure the car turns as well as it accelerates.
GMPP 7.4L LSX454
Factory TR6060 6-speed
Corvette ZR1 Dual Disc Clutch
Factory E38 PCM calibrated by Howard Tanner (Redline Motorsports)
American Racing 1-7/8″ Long Tube Headers with High Efficiency Catalytic Converters
Borla Stainless Steel Mufflers
High Capacity Air Intake System
Custom painted HTR Rally Stripes
Paint work by Caprara’s Autobody
Carbon Fiber Bright While Seat Inlays
Custom Accented Door Panels and Dash Trim
MGW Short Throw Shifter
Pfadt Rear Cradle Bushings
Pfadt Differential Bushings
Driveline Shop 1000hp Axles
“These great Camaros exemplify the spirit of dealer-built super car that grew out of the muscle car era,” says Dr. Jamie Meyer, product integration manager for GM Performance Parts. “They are the COPO Camaros of the 21st century.”
Will the HTR-SS454 be as sought-after in the year 2050 as the original COPO Camaros are today? Only time will tell, but only the most cynical, heart-of-stone collector would be able to order one of these cars from DeNooyer and seal it away in a bell jar as an investment – this is a car that is meant to be driven and enjoyed, and whether or not it’s an “instant classic” is irrelevant. It’s the same timeless recipe for success as it was in 1968. Order up the biggest, baddest engine you can find from the GM catalog, bolt it into a Camaro, and let the fun begin.