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Remember when Chevrolet relaunched its Camaro as the modern muscle car as a 2010 model? Much of the preproduction development was done at General Motors’ Australian affiliate, Holden, by an engineering team of Yankees and Aussies.

To validate their work, they drove prototype vehicles through frigid Canadian winters and extreme summer temperatures in the United States and Australia. They pushed the car to the limit with laps around the famed Nurburgring racing and test track in Germany.

But Camaro prototypes weren’t the only vehicles they drove on their German road trip. They also took along a prototype for another car that was going into production. That car was a seemingly ordinary four-door family sedan that had been developed as the Holden VE Commodore. Except this version wore Pontiac badges and had the 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 engine usually reserved for the Chevrolet Corvette. It delivered more than 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.

I was writing a book on the new Camaro’s development and tagged along with the engineers on their European trip so I could document the car’s laps around the famed German racing circuit. I’d made arrangements to borrow a small crossover van from GM’s Opel affiliate. Because Camaros aren’t known for their trunk capacity, my van became the luggage hauler for the engineering team.

From time to time the engineers would take pity on me trying to keep up with them on European freeways and through winding mountain roads in a little but luggage-weighted van, and offer to trade seats. That meant that I got to ride in one of the Camaros, and at one point I was offered the keys to the Pontiac.

We were on a toll road and with the keys came the suggestion that as I left the toll booth, I pretend I was in a drag race and see what this thing could do. Wow. The car was an earth-bound rocket ship!

It wasn’t too long before the car was offered at Pontiac dealerships as the G8 GXP, and it was a real sleeper, a relatively ordinary-looking sedan with amazing performance capabilities.

As you well know, GM’s Pontiac division didn’t survive and G8 GXPs are now available in the used-car marketplace. But after acquiring such a car, you can contact Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, a Michigan-owned company in Indiana, and order the G8 GXP TVS2300 Supercharger Package for your 6.2-liter LS3.

For $10,995, Lingenfelter will install a Magnuson TVS MP2300 intercooled supercharger, Kenne Bell Boost-a-pump fuel pump voltage booster, a 160-degree thermostat, a Rotofab G8 air intake system, and exterior, interior and engine badges. Its staff will do the installation and engine software calibration and a chassis dyno test to verify the car’s drivability and will send you on your way with an extra 120 horsepower, 120 more pound-feet of torque and a 3-year/36,000-mile engine warranty.

Oh, and if for some reason the G8 GXP isn’t to your liking, or you can’t find one available, Lingenfelter offers performance upgrade packages for the G8 GT, the last-generation Pontiac GTO, and for recent Camaros, Corvettes, the Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet SS and even for GM pickups and full-size SUVs.

For information, visit www.lingenfelter.com

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@cox.net.

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