A few months back, I got to go for a ride in Ross Gray’s 2011 supercharged Chev Camaro, in the rain. Let’s just say traction was an issue. After months of us both trying to find a day when we were both free, I finally caught up with him in Paraparaumu, to have a closer look at his absolute beast of a Chev.
Ross bought the recently imported car in 2012, and after a while the gloss black paint just didn’t do it for him.
“I was looking at all the basic colours these cars came out in, to me they all looked the same. I have always liked the matte look, so thought why not paint it,” Ross says.
He initially looked at getting it wrapped, but the price put him off, so it was good ‘old paint to the rescue – and the car looks sensational. He had the entire car repainted late in 2016, but decided that wasn’t quite far enough. So he searched online and found something he really wanted.
“The standard hood is a bit boring, I wanted a far more aggressive look. I spotted a carbon fibre bonnet online in the US with bigger functional scoops, and bought one.’ Naturally, the shipping of the bonnet cost more than the bonnet itself, but the result is exactly what Ross was going for. The car screams aggressiveness as it comes towards you.
His Camaro is fitted with a Whipple supercharger, and it had this fitted before it got to New Zealand. Ross says he’s seen an unconfirmed rating of 670HP for the Chevy, and being driven around in it, just the sound alone seems to confirm this. There is lots of whirring and other mechanical noises, all confirming that the BEAST number plate is fitting for this car.
The thing is, he didn’t buy the number plate for this car – it used to be on a Hummer that Ross owned before the Camaro. But I don’t think there’s another number plate that would suit it more.
The car is fitted with the standard 6-speed manual box, and came with the 22” rims – Ross got them painted matte black with the car; silver rims would not have suited a matte black paint job he thought.
Ross also changed the factory stereo and added a couple of amps. He managed to get a complete kit with air con controls, screen and everything for a few hundred dollars, and it even has carbon fibre trim on it to match.
Not stopping there with the carbon fibre, Ross went further and sent some of the interior trim to Hamilton to get the carbon fibre look too.
With 670 horsepower, how is reliability? “I’ve broke an axle once, so car was off the road for months waiting for the new one,” he says. “Initially the garage ordered the wrong axle, so I went and sourced the correct one myself.”
He must have seen the look on my face at that point; all I could think was 670HP and a road somewhere…broken axle. Ross clears up what really happened: “I spun the wheels on some loose gravel, and had a slightly deflated tyre which gave too much grip and that broke the axle.”
Ross loves driving the car, which has now done 60,000k; – it had 8k on the clock when he got it. So this is no Garage Queen: He’s toured the South Island in it, and has been to Auckland from Kapiti a number of times.
Does it get attention? Oh yeah. “Lots of people talk to me at the gas station or just anywhere I stop, lots of them take pictures. Once I had someone try to buy P from me when I was with the car. It seems to be one of those things.”
Is Ross keeping the car, or ready for a change? “Keeping it? Yup it’s my dream car.” Enough said.