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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ATI Performance Products
Holley Performance Products
Moroso Performance Products
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Racing Head Service
Visner Engine Development