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Death Sled - 2000 Chevy Camaro SS

9.5 Seconds with 904 RWHP on 93 Octane! Inside Keith Fidura’s Street-Driven, Supercharged Camaro SS

Justin Cesler Jan 1, 2013
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“The car handles like any death sled should. You don’t really drive it as much as you aim it… It’s just overpowered because I wanted a challenge. Wasted a lot of money being stubborn.” Well, that’s one way to get started. Meet Keith Fidura and his awesome 2000 Camaro SS. It’s got over 900-rwhp, runs mid-nines at the track before he gets kicked out, and drives anywhere whenever he wants it to. “I wanted a car that was fun to drive, easy to work on, and made cool noises.”

2/10

As with most epic journeys, Keith’s begins humbly, at a “shady used car lot in the middle of Pennsylvania. It came complete with a salesmen with a pocket protector.” Believe it or not, he was actually after a Trans Am, telling us that he “…was never really a fan of the catfish, but saw this one and immediately liked it. I found out later I probably loved the car because of the silver hardtop in lieu of the black T-top.” Sometimes that’s all it takes to set a car off from the rest, and in this particular case, it was the perfect reason to get started on modifying the car even further to make it more unique. “Over the years I would build the car little by little as the money came in. Like any good soldier I blew all of my deployment money on making my Camaro go fast.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t all smiles and burnouts for Keith as he eventually dropped a valve in the stock LS1 engine and massacred the motor while “showing off like I owned an import.” Yeah, we all know exactly what that means…and we’re all probably guilty of doing it at one point or another.

3/10

With the motor in pieces, Keith decided to build a low-compression engine to stuff between the framerails of his Camaro, which he complemented with a couple pounds of boost thanks to a highly modified STS remote mount turbo system. “The STS kits are great as long as you re-do everything.” Okay, well, Keith clearly did something right, as the new combo made over 700 rwhp, but oiling issues kept the project from really taking off the way he had hoped. It was a ride in a centrifugally blown ’03 Cobra that really cemented the decision to swap over power adders, and it was that exact swap that took this Camaro from a typical street car to a certifiable death sled. “I ordered an F-1A ProCharger kit and tried to make it work. Well, it worked too well.” Too well means a ton of power, but it came at the expense of quite a bit of oil. “I had blow-by and it would positively charge the crankcase and blow oil out of the valve cover bolts. It made an amazing design on the inside of the hood.” We can only imagine…

All of this trial and error brings us here, to the newest incarnation of Keith’s Camaro, which currently sports a 414 cubic-inch iron block mill stuffed with quality parts from Callies and JE Pistons. It’s still low compression like his older motors (9.5:1), but has seen a ton of machine work to get everything setup perfectly for big boost. With the new engine in place, topped by a set of AFR 225cc heads spec’d by the one and only Tony Mamo, and a lot of work by Jason at FBC Performance in Baltimore, Maryland whom Keith regards as “nothing short of a saint,” it was time to take the Camaro back to the dyno to see how the new combo would perform. “I had the engine rebuilt, took it to a roller, and the car put down crazy horsepower and maxed everything out. So then I had the great time of re-replacing all of my other supporting mods.” Keyword there would be “re-replacing”… you know you’re in deep when that starts to come up. Regarding the drivetrain, all of the gear grabbers will be happy to know Keith stuck with the factory T56, which he spins up with a SPEC Stage 3+ clutch. Out back, it’s all Strange Engineering, who built Keith a 12-bolt rear stuffed with a 4.10:1 ring and pinion and Strange 35-spline axles.

4/10

“During all of this fun, I got tired of working in a cramped engine bay. So I started ripping things out in lieu of ripping up my knuckles. I talked to a fabricator and told him what I wanted. He did everything I asked for plus more.” Keith must have had a great plan, because the end result is an ultra-sanitary engine bay that looks more like something out of a show car than a fourth-gen Camaro project. “I never had the money or interest to customize the outside of the car. But I love a clean engine bay, so I spent much of my time there because it not only looked great, but I could see anything that was out of order. Plus, it made belt swapping a breeze.”

8/10
9/10

The end result of Keith’s hard work, dedication, and vision is a machine so fast it can’t really be used for anything, which sounds like exactly what Keith wanted. “I usually get one or two passes per track rental, so this hobby can get pretty frustrating. Yeah, I know it’s dangerous… Luckily I have a great girlfriend who gets me a track rental once a year for my birthday. And then I get to break something on my birthday!” Yes, you just read that correctly. Yes, that’s as good as it gets. Yes, she has a sister (good luck with that). “The car doesn’t have a cage, and never will, so I’ll never really ever be able to compete.” For safety equipment, Keith literally wrote “helmet?” so that should give you an idea of his priorities. “Racing it is easy for me. I launch off idle, or close, and granny shift. Any time I would try to shift fast I would break something. The car is nowhere near efficient for drag racing.” And by nowhere near, Keith means it actually runs 9.58 at 148 mph with a factory six-speed manual transmission on a drag radial… and makes just north of 900 rwhp and 800 lb-ft of torque. “It’s just a fun car.”


Data File


Car: 2000 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Owner: Keith Fidura
Block: LQ9, 414ci
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Heads: Air Flow Research 225cc, 2.055 intake, 1.600 exhaust valves
Cam: Custom hydraulic roller, 23X/22X duration at .050, .600/.600-inch lift, 116 LSA
Rocker arms: Stock, 1.6-ratio
Pistons: JE Pistons, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: Callies Dragonslayer, forged
Rods: Callie Compstar, forged
Throttle body: Nick Williams 90mm
Fuel injectors: 96 lb/hr
Fuel pump: Walbro, twin in-tank
Ignition: Stock coil-near-plug, NGK plugs
Engine management: Stock, tuned by Frost
Power Adder: custom ProCharger F-1A
Boost: 18-psi
Bypass Valve: ProCharger Race
Intercooler: XS Autochrome, air-to-air
Exhaust system: Kooks 2-inch long-tube headers, custom 3-inch H-pipe, Edelbrock 304 mufflers
Transmission: T56
Clutch: SPEC Stage 3+
Driveshaft: stock aluminum
Front suspension: QA1 coilovers, Spohn K-member, upper and lower control arms, no sway bar
Rear suspension: Strange single-adjustable shocks, GM V-6 springs, Spohn torque arm, lower control arms, sway bar, Lakewood Panhard bar
Rear end: Strange 12-bolt, 4.10:1 gear, Strange 35-spline axles, Strange HD differential
Brakes: stock, front and rear
Wheels: Weld Draglite 15x3.5 front, 15x10 rear
Front tires: Khumo 165/80/15
Rear tires: Mickey Thompson drag radial 275/50/15
Fuel: 93-octane
HP/TQ: 904/823
ET/MPH: 9.58/148

10/10

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