With a desire to showcase the potency of its single-supercharger kit, TorqStorm Superchargers turned this '69 Camaro into an LS-swapped race car powered by a Prestige Motorsports-built powerplant.
Fit For A King
Written by Steve Turner Photography courtesy of TorqStorm Superchargers
There are few cars that exemplify the classic muscle car more essentially than the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. Likewise, there are few powerplants that embody the essence of potent modern power in swappable form like the vaunted LS. While fans of other brands may disagree, it is hard to argue with the popularity of these platforms. When it came to putting together a car and combination to promote is line of bolt-on supercharger systems, it's no surprise that TorqStorm chose a '69 Camaro powered by a modern LS engine. As you might imagine, it was a match made in boosted heaven.
This is not what you would expect to find under the hood of a classic Camaro, but Prestige Motorsports constructed this boost-ready, 388-cube bullet to withstand the rigors of NMCA competition and a generous dose of boost from a TorqStorm supercharger. Anyone in the game knows a stock LS can really thrive when boost is applied, but there is an inherent risk to pushing the stock hardware to its brink. Given that its project would ultimately be battle tested in NMCA competition, TorqStorm needed a boost-ready, built bullet to survive and thrive in that environment. Fortunately, thanks to prior experience which we documented in these pages (Double Trouble, September 2020, p. 98) with the team at Prestige Motorsports, the TorqStorm team knew just where to turn. We worked with them on the Holley giveaway twin LS project, TorqStorm co-founder Chris Brooker said. They were great to deal with and very knowledgeable. Doug (Aitken) wanted to be a part of what we were trying to accomplish.
Without a solid foundation, any engine build is on shaky ground. To ensure its Camaro was race ready, TorqStorm opted for an RHS LS Aluminum Race Block. Featuring a standard deck heigh of 9.25 inches and a 4.120-inch bore, this sleeved blokc is designe with a raised cam centerline and priority main bore oiling to supported a stroke of up to 4.6 inches. Hewn from A357-T6 aluminum, the heavy-duty block features a six-head-bolt design and full water jacketing, like an LS7, and accepts Gen III or Gen IV cam and knock sensors.Working together the companies developed a combination based on the foundation of a Racing Head Service block with a 9.240-inch deck height. To make certain it stays together when the boost is flowing, they selected a forged crankshaft from K1 Technologies, which swings BoostLine rods, and D.S.S. Racing pistons. Topped by Prestige Motorsports's CNC-ported aluminum heads, its valvetrain receives commands from a custom-ground COMP Cams bumpstick. Breathing through a Visner Engine Development billet intake manifold and burning VP Racing Fuel methanol, it releases the hounds through a pair of custom, fender-exit headers with 2-inch primaries built by Go-Fast Productions. All told, it is a stout piece that reaches its potential thanks to a prominent bolt-on power adder.
Of course, a stout block won't survive if the internals aren't up to snuff. Prestige filled the RHS aluminum block with a K1 Technologies crankshaft, BoostLine forged rods, and D.S.S. Racing Pistons FX Series pistons.Of course this engine was built to showcase the company's single supercharger. This self-contained unit features straight-cut gears riding on ceramic ball bearings and lubricated by a self-contained oiling system. That geartrain spins an eight-blade, 76mm billet impeller that is good for generating as much as 1,250 cfm of airflow and more than 700 horsepower. In this case, it was far more than that. We are very happy with it, Brooker said of the finished engine's output. It is the highest horsepower from a single TorqStorm to date. We think over 900 horsepower from a $2,800 supercharger system is pretty good. That horsepower per dollar from the USA is hard to beat!
On the business end of the cylinder pressure created by an 11:85:1 compression ratio and 10 psi of boost are a set of Boostline rods married to a set of D.S.S. Racing FX Series pistons. The former parts feature a three-pocket design specifically that delivers 60-percent more strength than a traditional H-beam rod. Forged from 4340 steel they will support more than 2,000 horsepower. Installed with King bearings, these rugged rods swing the aforementioned D.S.S. slugs, which are also designed for big-power applications. Forged from a premium aircraft aluminum alloy they feature extra internal gussets for strength and are CNC milled to reduce weight. The FX units also feature the patented D.S.S. X-Groove skirt design, which extends ring life and improves ring seal.Pushing just over 10 pounds of boost and running 24 degrees of timing, the Prestige-built, 388-cube LS engine delivered nearly 912 horsepower and 747 lb-ft of torque to the flywheel. That is a pretty efficient combo, and it is all the more impressive because it is the result of an off-the-shelf blower. There are no trick pulleys or anything like that going on, Brooker said. This is the same supercharger we sell to everybody else.
Built from 4340 steel, the K1 Technologies crank is Nitride-hardened for better strength and longer bearing life. It is available with a variety of strokes, but the TorqStorm build utilizes the factory 3.622-inch stroke. Featuring large-radius fillets that eliminate stress points, this crank features straight-hole oiling for maximum bearing lubrication. Prestige installed it in the RHS block using Clevite H-series main bearings.While the TorqStorm supercharger has its roots in revising an existing design, the current unit is a completely redesigned supercharger that features a number of robust features that ensure its durability. Likewise, its impeller and scroll designs targeted efficiency, which keeps discharge temps in check and produces more power for a give boost output. There is no Voodoo in moving air, Brooker explained. We took what we learned from making billet compressor wheels for the turbo diesel world and applied it to our wheel.
Featuring chilled main bearing bulkheads for added strength, the RHS block features cast in and machined piston oil squirters that will cool the piston and prolong a slug]s life. It benefits from billet main caps that are optimized for improved windage, which frees up a bit of power. These caps retain the caps with help from ARP ½-inch main studs.For this combination, pushing the envelope made sense for both the combination and its mission of promoting the company's off-the-shelf products. We used the smallest pulley we sell to everyone. This was a max-effort build so we tried not to leave anything on the table, Brooker said. We did want to spin the motor a little harder but it is all done around 7,400 rpm. There might be some more with the cam change.
With the rotating assembly installed, Prestige installed a ATI Super Damper for supercharger applications. It not only ensures racetrack legality, but they also eliminate torsional crankshaft vibrations. These dampers are grooved to drive serpentine belts, and are rebuildable. If the camshaft is swapped for another custom grind, it will be simple enough to dial in the new combination for maximum power, as the TorqStorm Camaro's blown LS in under the control of a Holley Dominator electronic fuel injection system. As it stands, the combination works well as Prestige Motorsports set up a complementary calibration right out of the gate. It was pretty easy, Brooker said. Doug from Prestige tuned it and we put in the car.
Prestige topped the stout short-block with its own CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads. Fastened by ARP studs, these heads are fitted with Manley 2.185-inch intake and 1.59-inch exhaust valves controlled by Air Flow Research valve springs. They take commands via BAM solid-roller lifters and COMP Cams push rods from a custom COMP Cam that delivers .690-inch lift with 248 degrees of duration on the intake side and 260 degrees on the exhaust side with a 116-degree lobe separation. With the built and boosted bullet dialed in and ready to go, the TorqStorm team had high expectations right out of the gate, and the fresh combination did not disappoint on the drag strip. We were hoping for eight-something, Brooker said. The first full pass was an 8.66. I think there is an 8.4 in it yet. I don't think I can lose enough weight go much faster at this power level.
Prestige topped the TorqStorm LS engine with a billet EFI intake from Visner Engine Development. It breathes through a front-mount 105mm throttle body. A pair of Visner billet valve covers completes the billet-aluminum look.Besides a new health regimen, the next step is dialing in the driver to match the combination's capabilities. Given the level of drivers and machines in NMCA racing, it might take a little time to start going rounds in heads-up competition, but the real mission is keeping the TorqStorm brand front and center, as both the sponsor of the NMCA's True Street class and with this entry in the LME Street King class. I am going to do my best. I haven't raced competitive drag racing in a long time. I used to run points bracket racing back in the day at US 131, Brooker confessed. I need a lot more seat time to make a statement like that. I watched the competition and they are dang good! To have the car making passes down the track will help get the name out there more.
The cherry on the sundae is one of TorqStorm's LS Conversion“Single Supercharger Kits along with custom brackets to accommodate the alternator, and power steering pump. After proving the viability of the single TorqStorm unit this year, the company might just make the natural leap to two blowers in the offseason. For those seeking four-digit outputs, the company offers its Twin-Charger system, which double-up the boost with two supercharger units and support more than 1,200 horsepower. We are going to add a second blower maybe this winter, Brooker teased. Everyone will have to stay tuned for results. TorqStorm is also building another car for True Street. Hopefully it will be done for next year.
In the TorqStorm Camaro, the exhaust vacates via custom, fender-exit headers with 2-inch primaries from Go-Fast Productions. Here it hit the dyno, with dyno headers installed, and Prestige dialed in the Holley Dominator EFI system to safely maximize its performance. More boost and another project for 2022 means like we'll be seeing a lot more TorqStorm boosted power in the future, but for now this is what went into creating all that power with a single supercharger.
With the Holley calibration locked in and the blower pullied for 10 pounds of boost, the built LS cranked out impressive power. This bad boy put out 912 horsepower and 747 lb-ft of torque at 10 pounds of boost at 6800 rpm, says TorqStorm. No tricks here. This is on our standard blower with the 3.1 pulley, higher compression, good flow and methanol.
On its maiden voyage down the quarter-mile, the TorqStorm Camaro clicked off an 8.669-second elapsed time at 154.85 mph. The TorqStorm team believes there is a quicker time in the car, and it will definitely pick up the pace when the company upgrades the car to one of its Twin-Supercharger systems this winter.SOURCES
ARP (805) 339-2200 ARP-bolts.com
ATI Performance Products (877) 298-5039 ATIracing.com
BoostLine (800) 321-1364 Boostlineproducts.com
COMP Cams (800-365-9145 Compcams.com
D.S.S. Racing (630) 587-1169 DSSracing.com
Holley Performance Products (866) 464-6553 Holley.com
K1 Technologies (440) 497-3100 K1Technologies.com
Moroso Performance Products (203) 453 6571 Moroso.com
Prestige Motorsports (704) 782 7170 Prestigemoto.com
Racing Head Service (877) 776-4323 RacingHeadService.com
TorqStorm Superchargers (616) 226-9476 TorqStorm.com
Visner Engine Development (616) 726-6600 VisnerEngine.com