Photography Courtesy of BES, Induction Solutions, and the Manufacturers
As much as we often hear of turbo this and supercharger that, nitrous oxide injection is still just as popular as ever—the NMCA even has a class dedicated to just that power adder in ARP Nitrous Pro Street. When we caught wind of Induction Solutions’ Steve Johnson and his plan to put together a research/development/fun machine, we rang up the nitrous guru to following along on the upcoming engine build for the Third-gen Camaro. We also will check back in as the F-body is used to develop new products for the company as well.
While many have come to know Johnson as a nitrous tuner and manufacturer, many years ago he could be found behind the steering wheel and forging what would be the foundation for his business. Johnson got his first bit of name recognition in 1992 at Hot Rod Magazine’s Fastest Street Car Shootout, where he piloted a 1981 Trans Am to mid 8-second times at over 160 mph. A stint in Pro Mod cars followed just a few months after that legendary street car event, but Johnson stepped away from it all in 1996.
“I was competitive in Pro Mod on a limited budget, but when the five-inch-bore-center combination came out, I knew I’d be at a disadvantage,” said Johnson. “Plus the writing was on the wall that I needed to spend more time with family, so it was just the right time to step away.”
But even as Johnson stepped away from driving, his career in the nitrous oxide market accelerated. He went to work for Mike Thermos at Nitrous Oxide Systems. “It was a natural fit,” said Johnson, who traveled to numerous races and provided tune-up and on-track advice to customers over the next six years. He then traded blue for red by accepting an offer from Edelbrock to be the company’s Director of Motorsports.
“I helped them refine quite a few things, and get the name into the racing world more,” said Johnson. Working for the two companies helped Johnson become a recognizable name, and that led to requests for plumbing intakes for nitrous—something Steve did on the side at first, but eventually took off on its own. Recognizing the need for a hands-on approach, and with Edelbrock pushing more requests his way, Johnson formed Induction Solutions in 2006. Twenty years after his first stint behind the wheel and with a successful company now running full steam, Johnson was ready to jump back behind the wheel.
“We wanted something as an R & D project,” said Johnson. “We’re very tech oriented, and we will carry that into the car. But it might also make appearances in class racing too.” After locating a rolling chassis, Johnson dialed up Tony Bischoff at BES Racing Engines for a brand new bullet.
“We’ve worked with [Tony] Bischoff on several nitrous combos,” said Johnson. “He has a great reputation on engines.” FSC spoke with Nick Bacalis of BES Racing Engines for all the details on Johnson’s engine, which Johnson subtly describes as a “class engine build with some different stuff. But with a dyno sheet showing the 588ci engine within 30 horsepower of a current nitrous X275 frontrunner, it should be fun to make laps in.”
Said dyno sheet was impressive, with the big-block churning out 1,085 horsepower naturally aspirated. With a set of .037 nitrous jets in the Induction Solutions X 275 nitrous-oxide system, power output jumped to 1,504 horsepower, with pulls being made from 6,400 to 8,000 rpm. Keep reading below to see how it all went together.