We recently posted this absolutely monstrous 5th-gen Camaro that hit the Texas Mile with the goal of achieving 260 mph. If it’s at one end of the spectrum, then maybe this bolt-on upgraded 5th-gen ZL1 is at the other. And, brother, if this car is at the mild end of the range, then you know for sure we have it good, don’t we?
Regardless of where this thoroughly racy-sounding ZL1 lies on the continuum, it’s certainly one giddy good time to drive as far as “The Smoking Tire” host Matt Farah is concerned.
To briefly review, the 5th-gen ZL1 starts out as no slouch as its supercharged 6.2-liter LSA engine is rated at 580 horsepower in stock trim. The same basic engine is also found in the 2nd-gen (2009-2015) Cadillac CTS-V and in that car it’s rated at 556 horsepower.
Of course with nearly 160 horsepower more than the 426-horse LS3 found in the standard-issue 5th-gen Camaro SS model, the ZL1 certainly benefits from a nice head start.
But no matter, as the drive is what matters most on any of these cars as you will see by watching the above video. And what’s impressive is how little needs to be done to get the ZL1 to around the 700-flywheel-horsepower mark. As Kyle, riding shotgun in the car, basically says, “it has long-tube headers, a full exhaust, a cold-air intake, a tune, and a pulley.” Not much to be sure. But what are the results?
Quite impressive, actually. Kyle says the baseline test of this particular car resulted in 454 horsepower at the rear wheels. With the add-ons, the outcome is 550 at the rear wheels—nearly a 100-horsepower improvement. A good result under any circumstance.
While 454-wheel-horsrepower seems somewhat less than a stock LSA and the improvement the bolt-ons provided would make, given that the baseline is 580 at the flywheel, there is a reason for that.
And that is because different makes and types of (inertia or Eddy current) chassis dynos are used to test cars with aftermarket upgrades, and our experience tells us that a 454-wheel-horsepower baseline is quite conservative given that it’s a 22-percent parasitic loss from 580 at the flywheel (580 x 22% = 127.6 and 580 – 127.6 = 452.4).
Cars with manual transmissions, such as this one, are usually in the 15-18-percent range. Auto-trans-equipped cars usually have a higher figure in the 20-percent range. And by the way, these ZL1s were available with an automatic. So, the dyno used to test this car obviously supplied quite conservative numbers that what might be expected.
The thing to keep in mind with dyno-test results, is to factor in what brand of chassis dynamometer is being used for testing. In our experience and in general, different makes and models of dynos give different test-result numbers than others theoretically testing the same car. Using the same parasitic-loss percentage on this car for the stated 550-wheel-horsepower, we can surmise it’s basically matching a stock Dodge Hellcat and making about 700 horsepower at the flywheel (550 x 22% = 121 and 580 + 121 = 701). That always has been and always will be an impressive number for any street-driven car. Even these days.