Dave Adkins Debuts New 5-Second Capable LS-Powered ’70 Camaro At PRI

You may remember several months ago we brought you coverage of the fastest LS-powered vehicle on the planet. Those bragging rights belong to Dave Adkins and his ’63 Impala. However, we mentioned in the article that Dave was working on something even faster – something that would be capable of going 5s in the quarter-mile, making it the fastest LS-powered ride of all time and the first in the 5s. Well, today we caught our first glimpse at the future.

The future is a second-gen Camaro that has been stuffed with one of the baddest LS engines on the planet. As we mentioned in our previous article, the new LS has been nestled between the fenders of a Jerry Bickel Racecars ’70-1/2 Camaro that is a veritable featherweight. Adkins tells us that they plan to race it at roughly 2,400 pounds. Powered by an LS capable of 3,000+ horsepower, the car should be capable of breaking into the 5s for the first time in LS history.

“Basically what’s happening here is this engine (in the Camaro) is being sold and we’re building two new engines, based on the Noonan block, with gear drives on them and the plan is to have this turn-key and the Impala turn-key and have the motors be interchangeable,” Adkins explained.

But those two LS bullets (one for the Impala and one for the Camaro), while interchangeable in this application, are as special as they come. Producing more than 3,000 horsepower, each engine is based on Noonan‘s billet LS block and displace 427 cubic inches. The blocks are then stuffed with forged internals and bumpsticks spec’d by Baker Engineering. TJ Grimmes, the owner of Baker, has been working with Adkins for quite a while now and is a pivotal part of Adkin’s success.

The mill is fed by two Garrett GTX5533R Gen II turbos, individually capable of supporting 2,500 horsepower on their own. Adkins chose the 94mm compressor wheels for both, making them the largest turbo Garrett currently produces. Both the hot and cold side of the system was fabricated by Baker Engineering and the cold side feeds into a custom billet intake manifold built by Thomsen Motorsport.

To keep the whole system at the right pressures, a set of Turbosmart blow-off valves and wastegates were utilized and the 3,000+ horsepower LS is feeding power into a ProTorque converter which spins a “TH210” (Turbo 400) transmission.

While the car would be just as at home on the show circuit as the race track, Adkins intends to campaign the Camaro quite a bit this season and, in the process, give his infamous Impala somewhat of a break–though it will be competing this year as well. And though the Camaro will be more active this year than the Impala, Dave says he intends to take both into the 5-second range.

“The plan is to race the Camaro at Duck’s race in February,” Adkins stated. “Right now we’re signed up as number 18 alternate in the no-time. So we’re going to test with bars and if everything goes well, first round of eliminations, the bars come off. But if we don’t get in as alternate, I’ll try to make the first qualifier Saturday and race Radial vs. The World, so we’ve got some options.”

He added that they intended to pull as much weight out of the car as the rules allow and is sure the car will be pushing the boundaries of acceptability. The car will make its official debut at Lights Out 9. From there, he plans to run Donald’s sweet 16 101k Race, OSCR in Beech Bend and then switch the Camaro to big tires for the 5th annual Import vs. Domestic race in June. Adkins hopes to take the Camaro into the 5s at Import vs. Domestic since it’s a quarter-mile race.

“We’re trying to keep the thing as simple as possible,” Adkins said. “It’s a real LS, and I think that’s important. It’s got a skirted block, we’re running an inline-valve head, so if anyone questions whether this is a real LS, it is.”

Adkins tells us that the Impala will make a few appearances at a handful of races this season but the main focus will fall on the Camaro this season. All in all, he speculates that he and his team will make it to eight or nine races in total. From the sounds of it, you’re not going to want to miss any of the races Adkins shows up to.




About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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