Nitrous: Nitrous Oxide Systems
Dollar for dollar, nothing's going to top a good ol' nitrous injection system in the bang-for-the-buck department. For a very reasonable $760, NOS's wet nitrous kit for LS-series small-blocks can add up to 200 hp. This system, PN 05169, was originally designed for LS2 engines, but Holley technicians confirm that it can easily be adapted for use on LS3s and L99s. The kit includes a spray bar plate that bolts behind the throttle body, a 10-pound bottle, oversized fuel and nitrous solenoids, jets, steel-braided lines, and all the necessary wiring accessories. Yeah, you'll have to refill the bottle once you suck it dry, but there's something sinister about running with a high-dollar stroker small-block, using a stock long-block enhanced by a supplemental oxygen supply at a fraction of the cost.
Monster Clutch: Spec
It's really quite amusing if you think about it. The only thing a bad clutch is good for is clutching onto your wallet. Nothing is as infuriating as adding grunt underhood and grip in the meats, only to smoke the clutch when the punk in the other lane wants a piece. Unfortunately, the easy horsepower potential of the new Camaro, combined with its 4,000 pounds of mass, means such an ignominious scenario is very likely. That said, the problem with heavy-duty clutches is that their aggressive disc designs and stiff pressure plates lead to irritating chatter and a sore left leg. As luck would have it, Spec has figured out the perfect solution with its Super Twin clutch for the Camaro SS. As its name suggests, the Super Twin uses dual clutch discs that provide twice the surface area of a conventional single-disc clutch. This allows using a softer pressure plate and less aggressive clutch lining materials for stock-like driveability. Don't let that fool you, because the Super Twin can handle between 900 and 1,800 lb-ft of torque, depending on how it's optioned. The Super Twin boasts an aluminum pressure plate with billet steel wear surfaces, and fully dampened discs lined in an organic, fiber, or metallic friction material. Once you do finally wear it out, the Super Twin is fully rebuildable. At $1,400, the Super Twin isn't cheap, but it's likely the last clutch you'll ever have to buy.
Roll Control: Detroit Speed & Engineering
Aside from brute power, what makes the fifth-gen Camaro such an intoxicating package is its balance of acceleration, handling, and braking ability. The floatiness of the stock suspension tuning is fine with stock horsepower levels, but adding more power and grip to the mix only increases pitch and roll. What the chassis needs is some more roll stiffness and a dropped stance, and DSE has the goodies to do just that. While DSE is best known for its cutting-edge suspension products for early muscle cars, it's taking a crack at the late-model market with its spring and sway bar package for the fifth-gen Camaro. The $975 setup was designed in conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports, and includes stiffer progressive-rate springs-which lowers ride height 1.5 inches-and larger diameter front and rear sway bays. DSE says that the combo improves ride quality and flattens the chassis out in the corners. It sounds like a tough feat to pull off, but if there's one company that can do it, it's DSE.
Big Brakes: Baer
Thanks to massive 14-inch rotors and four-piston Brembo calipers, stomping on the brakes in a new Camaro SS is almost as entertaining as squeezing the throttle. Two tons of heft notwithstanding, the sucker flat-out stops. Even so, with as easy as it is to add hundreds of horsepower and improve lateral grip, even the impressive factory Brembos have their limits. Baer has the solution with its new Extreme Plus big-brake kit. The system features two-piece drilled and slotted 15-inch rotors, six-piston monoblock calipers, mounting brackets, steel-braided brake lines, and fastening hardware. That's right, those 15-inch rotors are as large in diameter as many OE muscle car wheels from the '60s. Larger rotors equal increased braking torque, and Baer's brake package increases stopping power while reducing fade. Designed to fit behind the factory 20-inch wheels, the Extreme Plus system lists for $3,300. The road racers at DSE liked it so much, they installed it on their in-house '10 Camaro test car. She looks sweet, Kyle.
Short-Throw Shifter: MGW
Even though a stalled automatic will beat a manually shifted car nine times out of 10, slamming gears like a hooligan is way more fun. Like most production cars, fifth-gen Camaros are plagued with long throws to maximize leverage for girly men with noodle arms. The numb, rubbery shifter feel doesn't help matters either. Although it's a relative newcomer to the scene, MGW has just released one of the nicest short-throw shifters on the market. CNC machined with aircraft-grade stainless steel, the MGW unit reduces throws by 33 percent and replaces the entire stock shifter assembly, not just the handle. One trick feature any racer can appreciate is an internal spring return on the 3-4 gate, which facilitates brisk 2-3 power shifts and smooth 5-4 downshifts. Furthermore, urethane bushings replace the factory rubber pieces for improved shift feel, and a patented sound-dampening center shaft prevents unwanted vibrations from jiggling up the shifter assembly. The MGW short-throw shifter costs $350, and it can be topped off with either a stock or an MGW shift knob.
Old-School Dress-Up Parts: Retro USA
As one of the best-looking cars ever built, by default, the '69 Camaro has to be the best looking Camaro ever built. It's not surprising, then, that GM ripped itself off by profusely integrating retro design elements of the '69 Camaro into the fifth-gen. If the new Camaro still doesn't fulfill your retro quotient, Retro USA can help. The company offers chromed plastic dress-up bumpers, rocker moldings, quarter-panel moldings, and hood vents to complete the '69-ification. The body parts are made from a durable thermoformed plastic that the company says will never crack or chip. The pieces can be purchased individually, or all together as a kit for $1,395.