2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer - Beast Mode
Nine seconds flat in a street-driven, nitrous-injected, LSX-powered, R.P.M. Motorsports–built Trailblazer SS
From the April, 2012 issue of GM High-Tech Performance
By Justin Cesler
Photography by The Author
With the smoke still lingering in the air, I was left alone to load up my camera equipment while Martin Cox and Ryan Robinson attempted to quietly merge back into traffic and head for our predetermined hide out. Under the veil of a setting sun, the all-black Trailblazer SS looked almost innocent, if not for the sound of the 14:1 compression 427 reverberating off of the walls and trees around us. In the 45-seconds it took me to throw my camera in the back of the rental and scurry away from the parking lot, I didn't see any video cameras or police cars, but I can't say for sure whether or not we got away with those smoky burnouts without issue. You see Garner, North Carolina isn't a very big town and I am pretty sure guys like Ryan and Martin are fairly notorious there, if not for the 9-second Trailblazer then for a variety of other barely legal and terrifyingly fast machines they bring out on the street for "testing." According to Martin, his TBSS drives "as smooth as ice" and he regularly "takes the kids for ice cream in the summer" with it. It runs 9.06 at 149 miles an hour and makes over a thousand rear wheel horsepower. That's right, folks, we're dealing with a set of builders who have long escaped reality and think nothing of it unless a project is making enough power to do serious harm to an entire neighborhood in a matter of milliseconds. This is the R.P.M. Motorsports crew and they get down with some of the nastiest street machines you can imagine.
Take for instance this four door 2006 Trailblazer SS, which sports four--count 'em, four--aluminum Kirkey race seats inside and matching roll cage door bars front and rear, side to side. It's still got the touch screen navigation with satellite radio, still has power windows and doors, still drives legally (well, semi-legally) with four occupants to the local ice cream shop yet it has enough hardware stuffed underneath to run times most people couldn't even dream of in a race car, let alone in a street driven truck. Honestly, if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would have a hard time reporting that this thing can even drive on the street, but we took it out, hit up the local spots, did big nasty burnouts in it, and drove it home all without the slightest hesitation and with Martin Cox behind the wheel, it's saying something if it stays together under his no-nonsense heavy foot. If you're starting to wonder why you don't own one of these, welcome to the club. If you've got the means, follow along as Ryan and the R.P.M. Motorsports crew let us in on their secrets.
To run a 9.06 at 149 in a heavy black brick you really need a plethora of raw horsepower, so it should come as no surprise that the R.P.M. team is using a serious bullet in this truck. And by serious, we mean they pulled out the big guns and had the late Wheel 2 Wheel machine them a 427 cubic-inch LSX block that was subsequently stuffed with goodies from Callies, Diamond and Howards, a rotating pile of money that could either fund a 401(k) or withstand massive amounts of nitrous and the extreme cylinder pressures served up by the 14:1 compression ratio and the custom Comp Cams solid roller camshaft that features 262/274-degrees of duration, .801/.802-inches of lift, and a mean 112-degree lobe separation angle. Up top, All Pro LSW heads control the incoming and outgoing air, which is delivered via a gorgeous Wilson sheet-metal intake manifold and subsequently expelled through a set of Kooks long-tube headers. Jesel shaft-mount rockers, giant pushrods and a helping of other "race only" hardware can also be found lodged between the shock towers of this truck, but it's almost impossible to see anything other than the red and blue fittings which are strewn about the 'bay, the very fittings that deliver the nitrous oxide and fuel that Martin requires when he hits the track.
And hit it he does, with two nitrous systems plumbed to the intake manifold, both of which draw fuel off of a custom engine bay mounted fuel cell. Nitrous Pro Flow solenoids control each system, both of which can flow a significant amount of the good stuff. Use your imagination here...it's a lot of spray.
Humorously, the 9-second time slips are not even the reason we find this Trailblazer to be so cool, even though they are certainly part of the allure. It's the little touches that really take Martin's SS to the next level, the small details that make this truck one for the history books. "I wanted to be different, to achieve my goals" is all Martin said about his creation, and while we would have appreciated more words on the tech sheet, Martin actually did a ton of talking through his and Ryan's work on the Trailblazer. The slick RacePak digital dash tucked perfectly into the gauge cluster, the two fuel cell fittings that pop up through the factory rear carpet, the mini wheelie bar that Madman made as a half serious, half twisted joke that simply slides into the factory hitch receiver. Tiny touches such as these and more that you will find in the photographs are what make this one of the most complete builds we've seen in quite some time, even though this project has actually been around for quite awhile (just ask the R.P.M. fans on our website). If you didn't think a big SUV belongs in GMHTP, we're pretty certain you're probably a believer by now and if you didn't need any convincing at all, now you know who to call when you finally sell your significant other (or loan officer) on the idea that you just can't live without a 9-second Trailblazer SS for the street and track. Who knows, you may just need to run out and get some ice cream with the kids one day!
With over 1,000-rwhp to channel back to the rear tires, the R.P.M. crew had Rossler build them a serious TH400 transmission, which backs the LSX engine along with a custom Neal Chance 4,500-rpm stall converter that is set up to handle the big nitrous hits. Out back Martin relies on a fabricated 9-inch rear end stuffed with 4.30:1 gears to move the power outwards to the Bogart wheels, which are wrapped with a set of M&H Drag Radial tires. Well, they were wrapped in a set of drag radial tires until we showed up and demanded burnout shots... now they probably have a fresh set of stickies out back! Thinking about running out to your wife's TBSS and installing a big motor and nitrous system? We should probably let you in on the rest of the build, since you're going to need a suspension master like Madman to get all of this power to the ground. "Full Custom by Madman" is how most of the suspension system reads on our tech sheet for this monster, but we can tell you that the stance is courtesy of a set of DJM upper control arms and AFCO shocks and springs mounted front and rear. The engine rides up front thanks to a custom motor plate setup and Madman was also responsible for the manual steering rack and rear Panhard bar. Like we said, you're going to have to get a Madman of your own if you want to jump into the 1.32-second sixty-foot range with these guys.
|Car||2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS|
|Heads||All Pro LSW 285cc, 2.200 intake, 1.600 exhaust valves|
|Cam||Custom Comp Cams solid roller, 262/274 duration at .050, .801/.802-inch lift, 112 LSA|
|Rocker Arms||Jesel, shaft-mount|
|Throttle Body||Wilson, 105mm|
|Fuel Pump||Aeromotive A1000, in-line|
|Ignition||Relocated coil-near-plug, NGK plugs|
|Engine Management||Big Stuff 3, tuned by Ryan Robinson at R.P.M. Motorsports|
|Power Adder||Nitrous Pro Flow, 2-stage direct port system|
|Exhaust System||Kooks 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers, 3-inch Flowmaster mufflers|
|Transmission||TH400, built by Rossler Transmissions|
|Converter||Neal Chance 4500-stall|
|Front suspension||DJM upper control arms, Afco springs and shocks|
|Rear suspension||Madman upper and lower control arms, Panhard bar, Afco springs and shocks|
|Rear End||Fabricated 9-inch, 4:30 gear, Moser 40-spline axles, Moser spool|
|Brakes||Stock front and rear|
|Wheels||Bogart D-10 17x5.5 front, 17x10 rear|
|Front Tires||Yokohama S-drive 215/55/17|
|Rear Tires||M&H Drag Radials 390/40/17|
|Best 60-ft. Time||1.32|