Some people call it the "X Factor," a quality that can't always be described but can always be noticed. For us, it is one of the main factors in choosing a feature car, it has to have something special, something almost greater than the sum of its parts that separates it from all other cars. In a hotel parking lot literally chock-full of custom 2010 Camaros, this "X Factor" is what immediately attracted us to Rodrigo Olmedo's 2010. The stance, the wheels, and the paint were almost spot-on perfect, and the turbo LS3 under the hood was certainly a welcome addition, but it was the entire combination working together that really made this Camaro a show-stopper.
And while that was enough to get me interested, it was Rodrigo Olmedo's story that pushed it over the top. Turns out, Rodrigo is actually a tool and die maker for General Motors and was on the team responsible for creating the tooling for the rear quarter-panels of the 2010 Camaro, one of the most complicated stampings GM has ever attempted. "I knew I wanted this car when I first laid eyes on the concept at the Detroit Auto Show back in 2006. I really fell in love with the dream the day I was able to be a part of the team responsible for machining several of the sheetmetal dies, including the beautiful body side die." Unfortunately, after months of working on the project, as well as years working on other dies, on January 1, 2009, just months before the 2010 Camaro hit dealers lots, Rodrigo found himself in the same position as many GM employees-on an indefinite layoff and facing a future with a company that may not have been able to pull out of financial ruin. "My dream of having a 2010 Camaro had all but vanished. Some nine months later, as the light at the end of the tunnel began to shine, I decided, with the support of my girlfriend, that it was time to take a leap of faith both on my future and GM, so in support of my company we went out and bought my first Camaro."
At first, still without work, Rodrigo took things slow. "I found out that Motorsports Performance Design (MPD) was looking for a car in order to make a one-off fiberglass hood and rear spoiler for a SEMA project. I called Eric Peters (owner of MPD) and set up a day to drop off the car. Eric also introduced me to James Newsome from CAI Inductions who also needed a car for a couple of days; so off to him it went and the bug had bitten." Remember Rodrigo's leap of faith in supporting his company? Well, it wasn't but two weeks after buying his Camaro that he got a phone call to come back to work, GM was getting back on its feet and needed quality people back on its team. By the end of his first week, Rodrigo decided it was time to help other local businesses and shops, so he set out to build an all-out show car using as many local Detroit-based shops as possible. "I ended up over at Victory Racing Engines (VRE) in Clinton Township, Michigan, to see what I could come up with. I met with the owner Eric and head fabricator Mark Hayosh. We quickly sat down to discuss what I wanted, with the end result being a car that was extreme in performance but still very driveable."
With those goals in mind, the trio decided to first pull down the stock LS3 engine, replacing the factory slugs with a set of custom 9.5:1 Diamond pistons, which had been developed to work with just a mild hone and without needing a complete rotating assembly rebalance. Other than a new set of head gaskets and some bolts, the rest of Rodrigo's engine was left stock, which gave the team enough budget and time to get cracking on building a killer single-turbo system. "We decided on VRE's Street Sniper turbo kit, which gave me the power I was looking for right now with the ability to turn it up at a later date." Using a set of stock manifolds, VRE began fabrication, eventually ending up with a top-mounted Turbonetics TC76 turbo, cooled by a Vibrant front-mount intercooler, which on just 7 psi belted out 580 rwhp and 606 lb-ft of torque.