The moniker, “ZL1” is synonymous for large displacement, high horsepower and brutal torque levels. Initially attached to a super low production Camaro in 1969, it would go on to become one of the most iconic pony cars ever made. When the modern ZL1 Camaro was introduced for the 2012 model year, it brought with it much of the same formula, but with additional performance capabilities; incredible handling, immense braking power and supercar level top speeds. Although a 427 cubic-inch big-block was nowhere to be found, in its place was 376 cubic-inches of small-block LS and a Roots-type supercharger that produced more power from the factory than the original could ever hope for.
When it was time for General Motors to release an updated version for the 6th-generation Camaro, horsepower of the ZL1 jumped up from 580 to 650 by way of the then new LT4 engine — sharing the same 6.2L displacement as the previous car. With the new car, brought new tech and a lighter curb weight, and a much more balanced, nimble and overall faster vehicle.
Of course, many of those who purchased one of these examples couldn’t leave well enough alone and it almost no time at all, many ZL1s found their way into tuning shops all across the country for increased horsepower and performance capabilities. You’re looking at one such example here.
Owned by a gentleman in Florida, he wanted the utmost performance from his ZL1, while at the same time, looking to pair 100% drivability and reliability of a stock ZL1 to the formula. He enlisted the help of Erik Bentley of Florida High Performance to the task at hand. Erik, having years of experience with LS and LT hot-rodding under his belt was only happy to oblige.
Starting with that LT4 engine foundation, a Texas Speed 416 stroker was built using all high-quality components. Featuring a set of Wiseco pistons, Callies rods, crank and a stock compression, it made for the perfect recipe for a boosted application. The OEM Roots-type blower was ditched for a ProCharger F-1A-94 unit, intercooler, and intake manifold that develops an astonishing 38-psi of boost. In conjunction of a methanal injection kit, 93-octane fuel and an AWE exhaust it produces over 1000 horsepowers to the rear tires. The transmission has been paired with a Circle-D high-stall converter.
While quarter-mile times or half-mile trap speeds have yet to be recorded, the idea was to build an impressive machine that can be daily driven. One that’ll smoke most exotics and modified pony cars, and be able to drive to the store, the dry cleaners, or even across the country, if the owner wanted to. It’s the perfect balance of form and function coming together, and we think the team at Florida High Performance has succeeded.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.