If you’ve been a fan of badass Camaros for any length of time, you know the name Nickey. For those of you that are newer to extremely hardcore Camaro performance, Nickey is similar to Yenko, except they’re still in operation, whereas the Yenko name went into semi-retirement some time ago. The company builds ZL1 Camaros with three levels of performance–Stages I through III. Tony Drost is the proud owner of a 2012 Nickey Stage II ZL1 Camaro, number plate 001.
The Quick Story Behind Drost’s Nickey ZL1 #001
The car started life as a 2012 Camaro ZL1 with a stock LSA engine until it was delivered to Nickey’s performance shop in St. Charles, Illinois. It then underwent a transformation that turned it into the Stage II ZL1 it is now. Drost says that he thought about buying one of their 2SS Camaros, but then saw the Nickey ZL1 when it came out and said to himself “I had to have it.”
What’s Under The Hood?
The block is stock LSA but has a cavalcade of serious performance parts added to it. The most obvious upgrade is the ADM cold air intake feeding the supercharger. The cam is a Nickey proprietary Stage II custom ground by Comp Cams. The stock heads were CNC ported and received a custom multi-angle valve grind and had the chambers cc’d. Eliminating valve float is a set of beehive springs made to spec by PSI.
Stuffing the air into the engine is a stock ZL1 Eaton Twin-Vortices supercharger that Drost usually has running at 20 pounds of boost. Making sure enough fuel is able to flow through the Nickey K900 injectors is a Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump. An AVCO dual pass water-to-air intercooler with two fans keeps the air charge in a usable temperature range. Feeding the intercooler is a D3 reservoir. The car has an overdrive damper pulley and underdrive blower snout pulley system from ATI. However, even with all these improvements, he says the car still runs on 91 octane pump gas.
Backing Up The Horsepower
The transmission is a stock Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual. This is backed up by the stock rear end. However, Drost uses two sets of gears for different purposes. When he’s out doing quarter mile passes, the differential is stuffed with the stock 3.73 gears. However, when he’s out on the flats participating in land speed records, he uses a set of 3.23 rear gears.
The stock axles are equipped with DSE racing studs and open lugs. Most of the time, he runs around with a set of stock wheels and (the fourth set of) Goodyear rubber. He slaps on a set of 17-inch Weld Racing wheels with Hoosier bias ply slicks out back and M&H Front Runner skinnies up front when drag racing.
Suspension Upgrades For Racing
The magnetic suspension on the 2012 Camaro from the factory was pretty stout. However, Drost had high-speed plans for the car, so it wasn’t enough. First on the list of improvements was a set of BMR subframe connectors that help eliminate body flex on launch. A set of BMR drop springs and DSE solid rear cradle mounts and bushings helped stiffen the suspension. With these upgrades and the addition of a roll cage, he informs us that there is almost zero body roll now.
Adding The Whoa Factor At The End Of The Track
He had Nickey replace almost everything in the brake system except the rotors and master cylinder. Because he races with his car quite a bit, he uses track pads in the ZL1 Brembo calipers. Running through the braided stainless steel brake lines is Motul 600 racing brake fluid. Keeping the rotors, spindles, and calipers cool is a set of Quantum brake ducts fed by a set of ACS brake bumper ports.
Other Mods To Make It Safe On The Track
Most of the sanctioning bodies require a number of safety mods before you can enter a car in their competitions. To comply with these requirements, he installed such things as a roll cage certified for use in NHRA/SCCA sanctioned events and wrapped it in leather. Bolted to the cage are five point safety harnesses. For when it’s required, the cage also has provisions to connect window nets. He’s also got a set of Corbeau leather racing seats. Topping all this off is a full fire suppression system.
How fast has Tony Drost gone in his 2012 Nickey ZL1 Camaro #001? How does better than 203 miles per hour sound? Yeah, he didn’t think it was good enough either. He tells us he’s shooting for at least 210 next time.