Over the years, we’ve seen our fare share of fifth-gens. Heck, we’ve even built a couple ourselves. But it’s been a while seen we have seen one as unique as Zack Marcus’ Sinful Camaro. With its 502 cubic inch RHS tall deck engine and custom airbrushing throughout, the Sinful Camaro is one of the most unique and powerful naturally aspirated fifth-gens you will ever come across.
Zach tells us that his desire to build a fifth-gen first started when the Camaro ended its almost eight year hiatus in 2009, after it debuted at the Detroit Auto Show as a 2010 model. He was enamored with the car’s looks and unique aesthetic appeal that harkened back to its first generation older brother. His desire to own one was reinforced once again when Transformers hit the scene and Bumble Bee stole the show disguised as an, at the time, brand-new fifth-gen Camaro.
At this point, Zach could bare no more and headed down to his local dealership to order one up. He opted for a SS/RS model adorned with the requisite racing stripe packages and extra little touches. It wasn’t long, though, until others noticed just how good the fifth-gen looked with all of the options Zach had selected.
“One of my neighbors really liked how the car looked and copied mine almost exactly,” Zach said. “I was like ‘wow, really?’ so it made me want to do something a lot more unique. At first—my buddy did one of the first graphic packages for these cars—so we did a whole stripe kit on it that was different than you could get from the factory, but I ended up liking them so much that I had the car repainted with the same stripes.”
Zach wanted to keep moving forward with the project but was, and still is, an active duty military member and was deployed soon after the stripe kit was completed. This, however, allowed him to save money for parts each time he was deployed.
“It turned into deployments and then buying parts and more parts,” Zach said. “Originally I wanted to just do a strictly show car but I started watching racing videos while I was deployed and that ended up landing me in the middle of both. Honestly, the goal was to just make it different because everyone was doing the same thing.”
The plans for the engine started relatively mild. At first, Zach wanted to just do a cam and the accompanying bolt-ons. Luckily for Zach, he had a friend that works at CC Performance who just so happened to have a 502 cubic inch LS engine, based on an RHS tall deck block, sitting around the shop. The previous owner was in a hurry to get the motor sold and let it go for less than half of what it normally would fetch.
HKE originally built the engine starting with, as we previously mentioned, an RHS tall deck block. The block was then stuffed with a Callies Billet Ultra crankshaft measuring in at a healthy 4.600-inch stroke—which just so happens to be one of the largest cranks Callies produces for the LS. The crankshaft is connected to 4.168-inch custom Wiseco pistons via a set of Callies Comp Star forged connecting rods measuring in at 6.460 inches and capped off by ARP hardware.
Up top, the mill utilizes LS7-based LSW -2 heads from All Pro that have been ported and prepared by West Coast Cylinder Head. The intake valve is a massive 2.250-inch piece and the exhaust valve measures in at 1.600-inches—both of which are titanium in construction. The intake runner specs out at 312 cc and the heads are capable of flowing almost 450 cfm at .850-inch of lift—ensuring the mill never runs out of air at any RPM. A set of Jesel C5R Pro-Series adjustable shaft mounted rockers, designed for solid rollers, were used to operate the titanium valves.
Tickling the valves is a custom ground bumpstick from HKE that specs in at 263 degrees of duration on the intake and 274 on the exhaust, all at .050-inch lift. The cam is ground on a 113+3 lobe separation angle to keep the beast plenty rowdy but maintain a usable powerband. HKE Mega valve springs, topped by titanium retains and designed to work with the Morel mechanical lifters, keep the valves under control.
To keep the engine fed, a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold was used and it is modulated by a 105 mm Nick Williams throttle body. The mill is fed fresh octane by a set of Injector Dynamic ID850 fuel injectors.
An Armstrong Racing Engines dry sump oiling system keeps the mill flush with petroleum and uses a higher pressure first stage to ensure no loss of oil pressure. Zach told us that mounting the external reservoir was one of the biggest hurdles of getting the behemoth between the fenders since, at the time, no one had really done many dry sump systems on fifth-gens that weren’t Z/28s.
“We had a hell of a time find a place to mount the reservoir for the dry sump system,” Zach said. “Eventually, I saw where they placed the reservoir on the Z/28, so we took a reservoir from a Z06 and put it in a similar location. We had to move the radiator back to make it all fit though and that is why we only have one fan on the radiator, which is why the A/C doesn’t currently work. We kept all of the A/C parts, we just need to find another way to mount the condenser fan.”
The car was originally tuned by TunedbyTad, who got the car running and driving. However, when we caught up with Zach, he was at Cunningham Motorsport to have a few more ponies squeezed out of the mill.
While Zach’s goals with the engine may have come from humble beginnings, that in no way stifled the lofty goals he set for the car. He told us that he didn’t want to go with any power adders on the build but still wanted it to be one of the baddest on the block.
“We were shooting to build one of the highest horsepower naturally aspirated Camaro on the road, and I think we’ve done that,” Zach said. “The car makes more than 850 at the crank—no blower, no turbo, none of that stuff—I just wanted a big motor to make the power. It does just over 700 to the wheel, but we think we’ll get a bit more out of it.”
All that power is channeled through a McLeod twin disc race clutch and fed into a TR6060 six-speed manual transmission operated by a MGW short throw shifter. The twist is then fed into a 9-inch GForce differential, stuffed with 3.73 gears, that then splits the power to 35 spline half-shafts from Strange Engineering.
When we asked Zach what he had to sacrifice for the build he told us, “a lot of money on parts and a lot of pissed off girlfriends.”
When we asked Zach what he had to sacrifice for the build he told us, “a lot of money on parts and a lot of pissed off girlfriends.” A sentiment many gear heads can relate to. And though the car has a beast of an engine in it, Zach wasn’t content to just up the car’s game in the engine department—he had big plans for the interior and exterior as well.
For the body work, Zach turned to his friends at Sinful Enhancements to help him with all of the custom work, paint, and airbrushing—which eventually led to the car’s name: Sinful. A Havoc body kit was used to get the Camaro a menacing look and an ACS Composite front splitter helps generates some additional downforce up front.
Zach and Sinful Enhancements also modified the fenders to give it a one-of-a-kind look while an MPD1 cowl induction hood gives you just a hint of the beast that dwells beneath it. Sinful also handled much of the interior modifications and airbrush work, such as the custom sub box in the trunk that cleanly disguises everything but the subwoofers and wraps them in a work of art. The car is equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system as well that features two 12-inch JL Audio subwoofers paired with a Pioneer touch screen head unit. Zach wrenched alongside the guys at Sinful for much of the interior and exterior work.
The car derives its aggressive stance from a set of Eibach lowering springs combined with a set of their sway bars as well. The rest of the suspension has been upgraded with pieces from BMR. The car sits on a set of Rohana wheels in a 20X9-inch size up front and 20X11-inch out back. They are wrapped in Nitto NT05 275/40R20 (front) and 315/35R20 (rear).
Zach originally set out with the goal of making this Camaro one of the most unique rides on the road, and we would have to agree that he has done just that. From the immaculate paint and body work to the 502 cubic inch monster lurking under the hood, Zach’s fifth-gen is one of a kind in every way.
But while many think that the car has reached its final form, Zach says that there is still more to be done to the car.
“I have racing seats waiting for it at home and there are still think I would like to do to the engine and body,” Zach said. “Cars like these are never really done.”
And whether your sin is greed, gluttony, lust, wrath, pride, envy, or sloth, you’re sure to feel at least one of these seven deadly sins when looking at Zach’s fifth-gen Camaro—for him, the car has been all seven.