Most dyno tests we cover go as planned, but every now and then, the tuning shop has to face an unexpected incident. The folks at Complete Street Performance were working on a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to have it ready for the Camaro Fest XII when the muscle car caught fire. The “TreeL1” was already making 811 horsepower but CSP wanted to extract a bit more oomph. After software tweaks, the dyno test was repeated, only this time it went horribly wrong.
The transmission blew up and the car was engulfed in flames, followed shortly by the deployment of the side airbag. Thankfully, the driver got out without any serious injuries, although he did hurt his shoulder when the airbag popped out. You can see a couple of fire extinguishers on the table next to the Camaro, so CSP was prepared for the worst-case scenario, which became a reality in a matter of seconds.
Aside from a pool of oil underneath the car, footage of the aftermath also shows the seat airbag as well as the airbags on the right side of the car were also triggered in the fiery incident. The good news is the Camaro ZL1 will live to see another day. In fact, the engine – which was pushing out 829 hp seconds before the transmission exploded – remains in one piece.
A closer look at the dyno graphs reveals something happened to the transmission while the car was doing 163 mph (262 km/h). Despite the scary incident he went through, Andrew Zurick (who owns the shop and the car) sees the glass half full by making the logical assumption the outcome would’ve been a lot worse had the gearbox failed while the car was on a drag strip or on a public road.
While the ZL1 obviously didn’t make it to the Camaro Fest XII in Bowling Green, Andrew did attend the event with a Corvette C8 and other cars. He remains optimistic about fixing the ZL1 in a short time. In fact, Pennsylvania-based CSP already has a transmission ready to go into the Camaro.