Prestolite Performance Launches Operation Muscle

With the old gang back in action, the American Muscle Car wars are back in full swing. One company supporting the return of performance icons such as the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger is Prestolite Performance. Prestolite is the parent company of the legendary aftermarket companies Mr. Gasket, ACCEL, Mallory, Lakewood and Hays and they’ve got a plan to make this late model battle the best yet.

Just a few short weeks ago, Prestolite Performance purchased a brand new 2010 Camaro SS and Mustang GT as part of what they are calling internally Project Muscle. (A Challenger is also expected to be purchased.) The idea is to take these cars and use them as test beds for research and development for the many Prestolite brands to design their new products for these cars. “Over the coming several months, these vehicles will be serving as development mules for countless new products across all of our brands. They will also serve as company mascots to our industry, letting our customers know that Prestolite Performance is well positioned to be a leader in the Performance Automotive Aftermarket” explains Eric Scheinerman, CEO of Prestolite Performance. It also means you can follow along with project build updates, and testing information.

Check out the COMPLETE update below, and then be sure to visit www.prestoliteperformance.com for even more information.

2010 Camaro SS – 6.2 L LS3, 6-Speed Manual

The Camaro SS was first taken down to Dragway 42 just outside of West Salem, Ohio. There the stock LS3 powered the new car down the 1320 in 13.25 at 108 MPH (Beating out the Mustang’s run of 13.65 @ 102 MPH). Back in the shop, Prestolite strapped the SS onto their DynoJet chassis dyno for some real world horsepower numbers. The numbers were 365 HP and 363 TQ at the rear wheels.

With the base line testing complete, the guys from ACCEL wasted no time developing a set of their Ceramic Wires for the 2010 Camaro. These are the same type of wires that you can order up ACCEL’s Wires Direct website where you can custom order a set of spark plugs for your application.

They were also able to check the fitment of their Silver Tip Spark Plugs. These shorty style plugs are designed for use with aftermarket headers – so we are sure that headers are in the future for this car. ACCEL claims that the silver center electrode not only allows for a wider heat range compared to conventional spark plugs, but the low ignition voltage requirement allows easier starting too. They are also extremely resistant to fouling and can be ordered one step colder in heat range for use with nitrous, superchargers, turbochargers, or high compression.

From Mr. Gasket, They have confirmed the use of their Ultra-Seal Exhaust Gaskets. These are made with a high-temperature graphite facing which gives great heat resistance as well as helps with thermal conductivity that works to transfer heat away from the cylinder head. Underneath, a steel core exhaust material provides a stable base for torque retention. Overall, they work by conforming to and sealing minor surface irregularities.

Suspension wise, the Lakewood team has been spending a lot of time in the rear of the car. For the 2010, as many know, the Camaro uses a independent rear suspension compared to previous generation’s sold axle. This has present a unique challenge for the engineering team, but they are looking at the four main components of the system (Toe Link, Trailing Arm, Lower Control Arm and Stabilizer Bar), to see where upgrades are needed the most. They decided to start with the Toe Link, which controls the toe angle of the wheel.


Big things are planned for the rear of the 2010 Camaro, here are some photos just released of the new Toe Links.

Lakewood is in the final testing stages of their tubular replacement for the stock stamped piece. They say this will really help beef up the rear suspension on this car. For those looking to adjust it as well, your in luck as an adjustable version is enjoying the same final stages of testing. These are going to be paired with shocks offered in the popular 90/10 and 70/30 ratios again from Lakewood.

Another big thing for the Camaro is an all new Strut Tower Bar. While we couldn’t show exactly how it mounts, according to our sources inside Prestolite, “The new strut tower bar for the Camaro will be something completely new and revolutionize how people are installing them of these cars.” We can tell you that there will no need to drop the struts out of the car and there will be limited to NO drilling or cutting needed to install it.

Other points the Prestolite teams are working on are trying to fit a decent sized drag radial under the rear fenders. The plan is looking like they will drop the wheel size from the stock 20 inch in favor of an 18 inch wheel. They feel that this car should be running deep 12s with the power and weight of the vehicle, traction seems to be the problem – and the clutch. After a few hard runs on the drag strip combined with dyno pulls and plenty of street testing, there are reports of a grinding noise from the transmission area when performing near redline shifts. Hays has already begun development of a clutch and flywheel package to solve this issue.

Finally, we have some of the first photos of a new Subframe Connectors. One thing that Prestolite has reported about the Camaro is the over abundance of wheel hop. Remember the 2010 uses an independent rear suspension that makes for a smooth ride and performance handling through corners, but fights the car out on the strip. To solve this, a 4-point subframe connector was developed to tie in the subframe rails on the main body of the car to the rear suspension.

2010 Mustang GT – 4.6 L Modular, 5 Speed Manual

The 2010 Mustang GT is a five speed car equipped with the 3.73 ratio performance rear axle – not a bad car, even in stock form. This is backed up by the baseline testing Prestolite completed on the Stang before putting it under the knife.


A day at the track for the 2010 Mustang GT

The Mustang was treated to a day at the track before being brought to the shop where it ran a solid 13.65 @ 102 MPH in the quarter-mile. Once back at the shop, the GT was run on Prestolite’s DynoJet dyno to get a baseline. 278 HP & 294 TQ were the results of the best of four runs.


The 2010 Mustang GT ran 4 runs on the dyno to get the baseline numbers.

While those times and numbers are great for a bone stock car, there is plenty of room for improvement. The guys from Lakewood wasted no time looking for ways to improve the suspension, starting in the rear.

With very little changed under the sheet medal of the Mustang for 2010, and as a result, many of Lakewood’s, Mr. Gasket’s and ACCEL’s components were able to transfer over from the 2009 models.


Upper Control Arms from Lakewood Industries.

Adjustable upper and lower control arms, drive shaft safety loop, subframe connectors, K-Members braces and adjustable pan hard bars are all confirmed from Lakewood. With the components from Lakewood, this car will be able to launch harder and be more consistent. Plus you get the advantage of the suspension being adjustable to really dial it in for the track conditions. From Mr. Gasket, this Mustang GT got a newly designed exhaust gasket made from a steel core for top level torque retention, and a high-temperature graphite facing with great heat resistance and thermal conductivity to move heat away from the heads.

Mr. Gasket also offers a molded one piece Oil Pan Gasket and a rear end differential gasket for the 8.8” housing to make sure this Stang doesn’t a drop of fluid.

ACCEL confirmed the fitment of their Silver Tip Spark Plugs for this application as well. These plugs use a silver center electrode which allows for a wide heat range, low ignition voltage requirement and is extremely resistant to fouling. They have two part numbers for both the 4.6 L & 5.4 L Modular engines, one of them being one step colder for use with forced induction or nitrous.

Speaking of the laughing gas, Nitrous Express was kind enough to supply nitrous kits for both the Camaro and Mustang for.. ummm… suspension testing. The plan is to install these kits for use with the ACCEL 1-step colder plugs, and to give these cars the kick in the pants from a nice shot of N2O.

We’ll keep updating you on this project as more information and parts are available. Or head over to Prestolite Performance to read more about this project.

About the author

Tom Bobolts

Tom started working for Power Automedia in early 2008 at the young age of 20. Starting off as an intern spinning wrenches in the PowerTV garage, Tom cut his teeth helping us build the very project cars we feature. Since moving inside the office, most of his time is spent writing and shooting installs - but he still finds time to get out in the shop. Outside of work, Tom enjoys a variety of different motorsports from Street Bikes, Muscle Cars and just about anything that demands high amounts of horsepower.
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