The combination of old school muscle with new school technology is the perfect marriage when it comes to powering your Chevrolet muscle car. The power delivered from the latest technology is in many cases easier to attain, when compared to older powerplants. The design, the airflow, less friction, and less parasitic drag, add up to increased power when using the latest Chevrolet has to offer.
Case in point, when Adam Hodson broke the camshaft in his previous small-block engine, he immediately installed an LS engine with help from his buddy Chris Bisher. To power his 1973 Camaro Z28, Adam chose a 2005 LS 5.3-liter engine that had 110,000 miles on it. As of this writing, Adam has driven his car enough to make increase that to 117,000 miles. The bottom end remains stock, but a Tick Performance camshaft, and new valvetrain items like pushrods, and valve springs were installed. To prepare the LS for boost, Adam added ARP head studs, and LS9 head gaskets. Up top is a Holley Hi-Ram intake with a 95mm throttle body, and the boost comes from a Borg Warner S475 single turbo using a Tial 38mm waste gate and 50mm blow-off valve. Adam tunes the combination with a Holley HP EFI engine management system, and the fuel is delivered to the engine via Holley twin fuel pumps, filters, and regulator. The engine gulps E85 via the stock fuel tank that has an added sump.
Behind the LS is a Matt Rodgers-built Turbo 400 transmission with a Precision Industries Vigilante 4,000 rpm converter and a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter with a Pistol Grip handle. The stock 10-bolt rearend is still out back, but the axle tubes have been welded, to add strength. Inside the rearend is Strange Engineering’s best parts, including axles, spool, and C-clip eliminators. The gearset is a 3.08 ratio, and a TA Performance cover keeps it all in place. As you know, the Camaro has a leaf spring arrangement, but the factory leafs were discarded in favor of Calvert Racing split mono-leaf springs and CalTrac bars, while rear sliders are in place of the factory shackles. QA1 single-adjustable shocks control the suspension on all four corners. Adam uses a Mickey Thompson 275/60R15 ET Street radial as his tire of choice. The stock front and rear wheels are in place for right now, but Adam says he has a set of Weld V-Series wheels on order. A Wilwood brake upgrade will also come online at the same time as the wheels, although the rear has already been upgraded to a Wilwood disc brake conversion.
“I have over 200 passes and 7,000 miles on this combo, including 2013 and 2015 Hot Rod Drag Week finishes,” Adam says. The car’s best pass to date is a 9.43 at 144 mph with a 1.43 short time, while foot-braking it. As quick as the car is, with a Northern radiator, an LS3 water pump, and a Derale electric cooling fan, the car is equally at home on the street. “I drive this car a ton, including back and forth to work two to three times a week during the summer,” Adam adds. For entertainment, Adam throws the wife and kids in the Camaro, and they all go to cruises and local car shows. He also participates in street car drag classes he organizes at his local track.
When the winter thaws out, look for Adam’s Camaro to look a little different with the Weld wheels, and to also be quicker thanks to the addition of a water-to-air intercooler, and a revised exhaust system. “The intercooler will allow me to get a little meaner with the tune up,” Adam says. He’s hoping to get the Camaro deeper into the 9-second range, or perhaps even the high-8s.