As you pull up to the stoplight, the staccato rasp of the open exhaust mingles with blower whine as the fuel-injected mill settles into an easy lope. Even at idle, all 427 inches of blown Gen IV LSX transmit a continuous shock wave of automotive terror through the chassis, steering column, gearshift lever, and floorboard. The car is alive, a brutal extension of your inner beast. Even here in Las Vegas, there's nothing on the road that can remotely touch you, nevertheless, your palms sweat profusely as your hands exert a death grip on the wheel. This '68 Camaro isn't even moving, yet depending on what town you happen to be in, you'd probably be breaking at least a half dozen statutes just by sitting still. It's that good.
At the red light, the other lanes start stacking up with traffic, drivers alternately telegraphing fear, disgust, admiration, and envy your way. The SEMA show has just finished, and a kid with a built Mitsubishi Evo blips the throttle, its wastegate chirping like a sparrow on methamphetamine. You crane your neck to peak around the throbbing mountain of blower poking through the hood, and get a glimpse of the light just as it turns green. Gingerly, you nurse the clutch out, its dual ceramic discs grabbing smartly. You know First gear is a lost cause-even with the sticky Nittos-so you don't even try. Light throttle, and a short shift to Second nets a small chirp, then you feed the beast. It's still useless, so you let off and short shift again to Third.
Out the corner of your eye, you spot the Mitsu, popping, whistling, and farting desperately to catch up. A little smile begins to form at the edges of your mouth as your right foot squeezes past the halfway mark. The banshee wail of the roots blower is now almost completely drowned by the scream issuing from the bright red glasspack side pipes. Suddenly, it's 1968 all over again, and you become one of the few brave pioneers to strap on a Saturn V rocket and ride the lightning into the Ionosphere-or so it feels. The speedo needle climbs precipitously, and just as it passes 80, the rear tires break loose again. If you had the presence of mind to check the rearview, you'd see a retreating Evo obscured by twin vapor trails of rubber, but instead, you crank in a touch of opposite lock to keep it straight. Two blocks away, a dog vomits.
Nearing 100, common sense takes over and you slow the red and black beast. This ain't your car-you've still got to spend the next six hours getting photos in the can. That'll be kind of hard if you're trying to make bail. The big Baer brakes confidently tug on the chassis, snugging your seatbelt in a reassuring manner. Negotiating the route back to the parking lot takes you through the neighborhood, so some restraint is in order. You flip the toggle switch below the ignition cylinder, and giant unseen hands muzzle the hounds of hell, redirecting the exhaust through a set of real mufflers and 3-inch over-axle pipes. Stealthy it ain't, but at least now it can pass for legal.