How Can I Make My Camaro Faster?

by Richard Rowe

The word "Camaro" is French in origin and literally translates to "best friend." This is a descriptor that seems borne out by several generations of enthusiasts, who have been modifying and racing Camaros longer than most of us have been alive. What follows is one popular recipe for Camaro performance, but the only real limitations lie in the owner's wallet and imagination.

Power

Never mind all the "pony car" nonsense; Camaros are all about big, stupid V8 power. True, you could go with a centrifugal supercharger, nitrous oxide or a standard turbo but why not break the mold? Squire Turbo Systems (among others) makes an excellent rear-mounted twin-turbo system that fits in where the stock muffler used to be. At $7,400, a rear-mount system won't be the cheapest route to power, but the kit comes complete and makes a stealthy 500 to 650 horsepower in bolt-on form. They'll never know what hit them.

Chassis

Before anything else, you're going to need to install some sort of chassis bracing, or risk your 600 horse WMD twisting the frame into a pretzel. An under-car X-brace is the bare minimum, but consider further enhancements. A roll cage is never a bad idea, and serves the alternate purpose of protecting you from your own driving. Custom fabricating a flat, two-bar roll cage that fits inside your stock interior panels will provide protection and maintain your stealth fighter's low profile.

Suspension

Nobody wants a dyno-queen that makes absurd horsepower numbers but handles like a garbage truck. Investing in a good set of adjustable coil-over shocks and springs will help to bring you Camaro's handling into this millennium. While you're there, replace all of your Camaro's worn rubber suspension bushings with stiff polyurethane replacements like those sold by Energy Suspension. These two enhancements will run you $2000 to $3000 for a basic setup and will make a massive difference in handling.

Wheels and Tires

None of this will make any difference if your new power or handling prowess doesn't make it to the pavement. Consider moving to a set of forged 18-inch wheels if you haven't already, and wrap them with the best tires you can afford. Though they will greatly improve your quarter-mile times, resist the temptation to use D.O.T. legal drag slicks if you're planning to make it home. Sticky R-compound street tires cost little (if any) more and have real water sipes (channels) to help you avoid a horrible death in the rain. Remember: when it comes to tires, you get what you pay for. The highest-level performance tires can run over $500 a piece, so beware of those $90 department-store "performance" tires and shoot for something in the middle.

About the Author

Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.