2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - Kevin Jenkins
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a high-performance sports car that offers a thrilling driving experience. Powered by a supercharged V8 engine, it delivers exceptional power and speed. The ZL1 boasts aggressive styling, a well-designed interior, and advanced features that enhance performance and handling. With its combination of power, style, and technology, the 2014 Camaro ZL1 is a standout option for enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating driving experience.
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'The future is bright as long as we can still Smell the Fumes'
2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Photographer: Wayne Hunter
Performance Stats: Dynoed 611 whp and 641 ft-lbs on 93 (not dyno tuned on e85 yet).
I was born and raised in Roanoke, VA, I have always been involved in cars to some degree especially since Roanoke is known for its car scene. I grew up playing with Hot Wheels and die-cast cars, riding in my dad's Carousel Red 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV, and going to the drag strip on the weekends to watch my uncle Richard (RIP) professionally drag race.
Furthermore, my other uncles owned numerous high-end muscle cars, my brother was an avid Pontiac GTO fan, and we always attended every local car show that we could from when I was a little boy. I guess you can say I grew up with octane in my baby bottle. These days I am heavily involved in the car community in multiple ways.
For over 10 years, I have offered fender rolling for vehicles in the surrounding areas to help them fit larger wheels and tires as well as suspension installs and dialling in their fitment while helping prevent damage to their cars. Through networking and relationships formed while meeting so many new people by working on their vehicles over the years, this led to the formation of a local 501c3 non-profit that I and 10 other local car guys started in 2019 called HopeDriven.
We host car shows and related events throughout Southwest Virginia where we select and sponsor 1 child per event and all proceeds that we raise through the event are then donated to that child/their family to help with medical and associated costs with their treatment. Since 2019, we have officially sponsored 11 children and we have officially raised over $70,000 in donations that we have dispensed to these families.
We have also become a regular host for a car show at a large local music festival every Memorial Day weekend that takes place downtown Roanoke. We are continuing to grow and branch out, and provide better and larger events to the public as we try to bring awareness to these children and the struggles that their families go through. This is the single most rewarding venture that I have personally ever been involved with in my life.
I was inspired to do this after my 5-year-old daughter went through major skull reconstructive surgery in 2018 from a defect she was born with. Her mother and I had a hard time financially, but the surgery was a major success and we had a positive ending to her journey. With that being said, so many families do not have a happy ending in these types of situations, so myself and our board of directors made it our mission to help as many families as we could while rallying the local communities around them to uplift their spirits and give them hope in the darkest of times.
Outside of fender rolling, volunteering with HopeDriven, messing with cars, and being a dad to my 5-year-old daughter Adeline, I (along with my family) host a free-to-enter haunted house that takes place over 2 days every Halloween that we bankroll ourselves and open it to all ages where we also run a pet food pantry drive for our local SPCA (for sheltered animals). Additionally, I am a Senior Business Analyst for a company located in Seattle Washington, I have a wonderful wife that I've been married to for 8 years (Chandler) who is a nurse in paediatrics at a local major hospital, and I am obsessed with movies, games, and random art projects. I consider myself versatile with all the things I am involved with; I never have a dull moment.
I played with Hot Wheels and die-cast cars from 2 years old and onward. Riding in my dad's 1969 GTO Judge was always a treat as well as attending the drag races most weekends to watch my uncle Richard professionally race with his brothers as his pit crew.
The Fast & The Furious came out right when I got my driver's license, so if all the other aforementioned influences with cars didn't win me over, Fast & Furious certainly did. The smell of gasoline, the sound of loud exhaust notes, the individuality of custom-built cars and the reflection of one's self are what keeps me going. As an adult that has owned several custom cars now, the moment's that I live for are the random comments from kids when they see my cars and give me compliments because, at one point, I was one of those kids. It is all about paying it forward!
I owned and built a 2009 Pontiac G8 GT for over 5 years, but I had hit the point where I couldn't go any further with the build without dropping a reckless amount of money into the motor to build the bottom end and boost it. I also had missed owning a manual transmission. So I decided to sell the car and set my sights on finding an LS-powered factory-boosted car with a manual option.
There are not many cars that fit these guidelines and with most Pontiac G8 owners going to the Cadillac CTS-V, I decided to go another route and purchase my 2014 ZL1 just one month after selling my G8. I was extremely fortunate with this car because the people I purchased the car from had babied it from the day they purchased it brand new. It only had 13k miles and was never raced or modified; the perfect starting point in my mind.
They had retired and were selling everything they owned, and then planned to move to Florida. The car was the last thing to go and while I originally only wanted to check the car out to see if I could fit in the Recaro seats (I am a larger guy, so this was a major make-or-break point for me), our long conversations and ultimately them allowing me to drive the car won me over instantly and purchasing the car became mandatory.
I customize all of my main vehicles because I am heavily into art and self-expression, and to me, there is no better self-expression than modifying my car and making it stand out from the pack. My goal with every car I build is that when someone sees the car, there is NO question who's it is. I can't do cookie-cutter builds; my car has to follow its own path and if people start to copy me, then I end up changing the car up to stay far enough ahead in terms of uniqueness.
This car has become the epitome of what I have been chasing most of my adult life. It is in good condition, it has a colour that catches the eye, it is tastefully modded, it garners a lot of attention, I have won awards, and it has been worked on by many very talented individuals that I call my friends. Additionally, the car has the perfect blend of appearance, drivability, comfort, and power. I have achieved the ultimate balance with this car, something I can say I have never achieved with any builds in the past.
What would I say makes my car unique? There are many things that make my car unique, but I believe what allows me to stand out is that I like to blend a mix of all styles into my cars. What I mean by that is I grew up around muscle cars, so I always wanted the sound and performance of a v8. However, I started modifying imports after I got my license and in the import world, the focus is mainly based on modern styling and aesthetics, so I have incorporated a lot of those touches into this car. The wheels on the car are 1-off built fully forged 3-piece wheels by Variant Wheels out of Arizona.
I worked for several weeks with them to make sure we designed something nobody has done before. I went through over 15 powder coat swatches before I was able to settle on a powder coat colour that was close to matching the colour of the car as possible (Blue Ray Metallic). Additionally, we added the candy red hardware to match the Translucent Red Dress Up Bolts kit that was installed on my car which allows the theme to stay consistent throughout the car. When you see my car up close, the most consistent thing about it is the fact that I have such high attention to detail. It is the little details that so many overlook that truly set car apart from the rest.
Something else that makes my car unique is that it was used as the production car for Fortune Auto USA to design the 500 and 510 series coilovers for the 5th Gen Camaros (I got to keep the 510 series coils - HIGHLY recommend!). My car was also used as the production car for Dress Up Bolts offering a 150+ bolt kit for the 5th Gen Camaros. One of my favourite modifications, though, is the custom hand-built 1-off full stainless steel mandrel bent exhaust that was fabricated by DFA Performance in Salem, VA.
The exhaust features dual x-pipes and 4" race mufflers with stainless steel quad tips which gives the car a unique sound, unlike any other 5th gen Camaro I have ever heard. It also picked up over 25 ft-lbs of torque on the dyno when compared to the factory exhaust with headers.
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- Lingenfelter 2.55" upper pulley,
- 9.17" lower pulley,
- Stainless Works Long Tube Headers,
- Custom fabricated 1-off hand-built full stainless steel exhaust with dual x-pipes and 4" race mufflers (built by DFA Performance in Salem, VA),
- Roto Fab Intake,
- Injector Dynamics 1050 injectors,
- DSX Flex Fuel (93/e85),
- DSX auxiliary fuel pump,
- AFCO dual fan heat exchanger,
- LSA spacer,
- Solid isolator,
- Texas Speed Stage 2 boost cam,
Dyno tuned by Dirty Dirty Racing in Bedford, VA.
The car dynoed 611 whp and 641 ft-lbs on 93 (not dyno tuned on e85 yet). The engine bay has numerous stainless steel accents along with some polished and red pieces to match the theme throughout the car. To finish it off, there is a Diode Dynamics full RGBW LED light kit with a pressure switch mounted under the hood to show the bay off at car shows.
- Full carbon fibre trim by Carbon Add-Ons,
- Translucent Red weighted shift knob by Raceseng,
- Alpine touchscreen multimedia player with an Alpine Type S 10" sub and stealth mount in the trunk.
- Front splitter,
- Hardcore Designs custom side skirts and rear splitters/spats,
- Auto Addicts USA C8-style LED tail lights,
- Auto Addicts EVO-style custom diffuser,
- Full LED smoked corner lights,
- Phastek Smoked LED Rapid Fire 3rd brake light,
- LED converted DRLs and matching fog lights,
- Carbon Creations Caron Fiber Trunk,
- Carbon Add Ons carbon fibre mirrors,
- Heritage badgeless upper grill,
- 35% ceramic tint by Executive Tint in Salem, VA, and Ceramic Coated by Perfection Auto Care in Roanoke, VA.
The wheels are Variant Wheels TKB-3P fully forged 3-piece wheels with colour-matched faces, candy red hardware in 20x10 front, 20x11 with custom offsets and fenders rolled/modified front and rear to fit them.
Suspension is Fortune Auto 510 series coilovers running -3 camber front and rear (track spec'ed alignment).
Brakes are OEM 6-piston front, 4-piston rear Brembos.
There have been many people that have helped get this car where it is. The main person that has worked on this car is DFA Performance in Salem, VA. They have done all of the motor work, installed wheels/tires, aligned the suspension, and custom fabricated the exhaust. Additionally, Star City 12-Volt handled the audio installation. Perfection Auto Care handles all of the detailing of the car. Dress Up Bolts used my car to produce and install the full bolt kit. Fortune Auto created, designed, and installed the coilovers on the car. Powder Coating Creations in Hardy, VA handled the powder coating.
Variant Wheels designed and built the wheels. Paint and bodywork are handled by Jason Nolan at Nolan Performance in Elliston, VA. I have installed smaller items like the splitters, the tail lights and rear diffuser, the interior trim, etc. It has taken a tribe to get this car where it is and it would not be possible without all the fantastic people I have in my corner.
The car has an appointment for July 10th to get the front license plate shaved (installing a tow hook mount with a quick-release front license plate so it can be removed for photoshoots and car shows), the upper grill colour matched, and part of the trunk painted to match the car with the top exposed carbon and the whole thing re-clear coated. Next spring the car is going back to DFA Performance to get the blower sent off to be ported, a 5" Big Gulp Rotofab intake, and a 102/103mm throttle body before being returned. Long term goal is to get the entire interior re-wrapped with a deep/blood-red leather and custom pattern on the inserts of the Recaro seats.
Don't follow everyone else; be unique, forge your own path, and make your car stand out from the pack. Make your car reflect your personality. Above all else, be humble, be approachable, and most of all, be a good human being.
DFA Performance in Salem, VA (@dixiefabandauto), Star City 12-Volt in Roanoke, VA (@starcity12volt), Perfection Auto Care in Roanoke, VA (@perfection_autocare), Powder Coating Creations in Hardy, VA (@powdercoatingcreations), Fortune Auto (@fortuneautousa), Dress Up Bolts in Lynchburg, VA (@dressupbolts), Variant Wheels in Arizona (@variantwheels), Jason Nolan at Nolan Performance in Elliston, VA (@nolan_performance), Wayne Hunter (photographer - @hunterseyephotography), and HopeDriven based out of Southwest Virginia (@hopedriven_helpgiven).
The car scene has rewarded me in many different ways. I have forged invaluable friendships, I've developed many professional networking-type relationships, it provided me with the opportunity to work on so many people's cars over the years, and the most rewarding is the fact that I can use the car scene to have a purpose in life by giving back through my charity work.
There is NOTHING more rewarding than seeing the smiles on the faces of the families that we sponsor when we present a large check to them to help them with their struggles. There are no words to explain how much it means to me to be able to enjoy a hobby that also directly impacts the lives of countless others.
I have been asked this many times before and my answer to that is, "I honestly don't have a specific dream car. Instead, I build my dream cars."
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