For 2011, Chevrolet built a concept Camaro specifically for the rigors of road racing. Dubbed the SSX Track Car Camaro (SSX for short), it featured special performance upgrades, including a 6.2-liter LS engine fitted with a larger camshaft, new cylinder heads, and a dry-sump oiling system. In addition, the potent powerplant was backed by a Tremec six-speed manual transmission stuffed with a Corvette ZR1 twin-disc clutch. Chevrolet also employed stiffer suspension components, 20-inch racing wheels, lightweight carbon-fiber body panels, and an adjustable rear wing that rivals the ones utilized on top-fuel dragsters. The brakes were also upgraded to six-piston calipers up front and four-piston units outback with drilled and slotted rotors at all four corners.
All carpeting and sound deadening material was removed for weight savings, along with the radio, speakers, and rear seat. Racing seats replaced the two front stock units, and, to prove that this Camaro was the real deal, a full roll cage, fire suppression system, and trunk-mounted fuel cell were installed.
Visually impressive, the SSX displayed a satin pearl white finish that “mesmerized” the staff at MotorTrend magazine. Black accents, including a carbon-fiber front splitter and the aforementioned rear wing, added function and form, enhancing the car’s menacing aesthetic.
The Build Begins
In 2014, Alex Sica of Winter Garden, Florida, was fresh out of college and decided to be a responsible, mature adult purchasing a safe, fuel-efficient automobile. He owned this ‘boring sedan’ (he was too ashamed to specify the make and model) for about a year when his inner gearhead had him surfing the internet searching for something decidedly less responsible. It didn’t take long to find this Inferno Orange Metallic, 2013 Camaro SS/RS at a dealer in South Florida. As luck would have it, Alex’s parents lived near the dealership, and his dad did him a solid and checked out the car for him. “It only had 14,000 miles and was basically a brand-new car. So I made the 250-mile journey down there the very next weekend to buy it,” he states.
At first, he used the Camaro as everyday transportation, making performance modifications here and there as time and money permitted. But as we all know, these things can escalate quicker than a drunken melee at the local pub. So with the Camaro eventually becoming too radical for daily driving, Alex brought in another ‘boring sedan’ for the workday grind. This freed the Camaro to live a charmed life as a garage-kept, weekend street cruiser.
Alex applied many of the mechanical and visual aspects of the SSX concept to his Camaro.
“When modifying this car, I utilized certain elements of the SSX concept while also taking some creative liberties of my own, styling the car as if Chevrolet were going to build it as a production model.”
Suspension and Brakes
First on the modifications list were suspension and brake upgrades. Alex tackled these duties himself, adding BMR Suspension springs, bushings, and chassis bracing. The stock front sway bar was ditched in favor of a large-diameter Eibach piece, and a Camaro 1LE strut tower brace is color-matched to the car and installed for additional rigidity. The factory-issued, four-piston Brembo brake calipers were also painted body color, and 14-inch rotors were installed, enabling this Camaro to stop on a dime and receive nine cents in change. Wheels are Niche Essen M147s measuring 20×9-inch in front, and 20×10.5-inch rears wrapped with BFG G-Force sized 275/40/20 and 305/35/20, respectively. These enhancements soon had Alex cutting more corners than a county employee on a Friday afternoon.
Custom Body Mods
Next were carefully chosen body modifications that result in an aggressive yet cohesive appearance. In Winter Garden, Florida, Main Street Collision installed the slick Lingenfelter GT-Z heat extractor hood, Lingenfelter GT-Z deck spoiler, and front and rear ZL1 bumpers. Then they expertly matched the existing Inferno Orange paint and added the matte black accents. Further customization included smoking the headlights and taillights and installing a General Motors heritage grille.
Engine and Supercharger
Rated at 400 horsepower, the stock 6.2-liter LS engine was no slouch, but Alex craved more. Geoff Skorupa of Next Level Performance in Longwood, Florida, handled all the engine modifications, including installing the intercooler ProCharger P-1 supercharger. The ProCharger employs a 4-inch pulley, which results in 7-pounds of boost. The OEM throttle body is ported for more airflow, and a Kenne Bell fuel pump and 60-lb. injectors by Fuel Injector Clinic feed the thirsty mill. Taylor spark plug wires and NGK plugs light the fire. The bottom end is entirely stock, save for a Melling high-volume oil pump. The original camshaft handles valve operation and duration measures 195-degrees intake and 201-degrees exhaust at 0.050-inch lift with valve lift at 0.500/0.492. Cylinder heads are 243 factory components.
Texas Speed headers direct the spent fumes through 3-inch Corsa dual exhaust, and together, sound positively nasty upon startup and acceleration. The payoff for these mods is an impressive, dyno-proven 535 horsepower, and of course, slightly worse fuel mileage. “This thing pins you back in your seat when you get on it,” Alex coolly states. All those ponies are sent to the stock 6L80 automatic transmission, and stock rearend featuring a 3.27:1 ratio and limited-slip differential, both of which have proven quite durable thus far.
The cabin space of the Camaro is just as Chevrolet built it, the only deviation being an AEM digital boost gauge. The trim package is “2SS” and includes heated seats, Boston Acoustics speakers, and sumptuous leather upholstery, as the two-tone scheme was an additional option for Inferno Orange cars. We also dig the console-mounted gauges, another 2SS item, and a neat throwback to the 1969 F-body.
Chewing up pavement is what this build is all about, and this beast has eaten up the tarmac in several states, including the infamous Tail of the Dragon in Deals Gap, North Carolina. Alex tells us, “I had some fun but didn’t get too crazy out there; it’s not uncommon to see a car rolled over or motorcycles completely wiped out. I didn’t want to become one of those guys, for sure.”
Aside from the usual compliments he regularly receives about his mean machine, there are some curious comments, as well. “Somehow, my Camaro gets mistaken for a Challenger or occasionally even a Mustang. But nothing was more depressing than when my (then) new girlfriend called it a Camry. She has since come to support my automotive passions and knows I would never own a Camry,” Alex declares. He must have educated her in the finer points of automotive performance, as the two are now happily married.
We applaud Alex and the vision he had for turning his dream car into a reality. The use of specific SSX themes, combined with his unique modifications, alludes to what Chevrolet would have built if they had elected to put the SSX concept into production