From daydream to reality, this 800+hp GTO was well worth years of waiting.
For most of us that lived the struggling college student life at one point, picking up a $35,000 car was nothing more than a pipe dream. Take it from Johnny Guerrero who’d been a fan of the GTO ever since he took notice in 2004, but with school taking up most of his funds, any thoughts of getting his hands on one were pushed aside. After school, life officially began and that led to marriage, a few kids, but still no GTO.
Jump ahead to 2018 and having mentioned to his wife how much he wanted a sports car, she reminded him that he’d always dreamed about that GTO. Instant memories led to a full-blown search to find one and after a few months this 2006 model was located and secured in Michigan.
Already modified, it was pushing 8lbs of boost that equated to about 600whp by way of a TVS2300, which sounds spicy, but it just wasn’t Johnny’s build.
He adds, “I decided to redo the engine and start making it my own. I ripped out the engine and sent the long block to Progressive Racing Engines where Steve took care of my block and made all the changes to it to allow for higher boost and reliability.”
On Steve’s end, the revamp involved boring and stroking the bottom end before adding JE Pistons to handle the expected increase in boost. Up top, the LS3 head was ported, fitted with LS7 lifters, LS3 rockers, Trunion kit, hardened push rods and a .660 lift spring kit before a BTR PDS Stage III cam was added. Supplying enough fuel are FIC 1,300s fed by Lonnies Performance double pumper and Walbro 450s.
All the support and supply upgrades are in place to back up a TVS2650 8-rib supercharger that uses an LSA F.E.A.D. front drive system. The set up is topped off with an LSA intake manifold fitted with a 103mm Nick Williams throttle body that gets incoming air from a KFab custom 5-in. intake. Johnny tells us, “Got the engine back from the builder and I threw the TVS2650 on it but was still on a single belt system and I couldn’t get past like 11 lbs. of boost without major belt slip.”
Rather than fight the issue, he made some changes, adding “That’s when I decided to rip all the accessories off and went with the LSA style F.E.A.D system. Then I had a separate tensioner and belt for the supercharger and I could increase my lower pulley to a 9.65, and my upper pulley down to a 65mm.” Facing minimal slip with the effective updates, the car makes a reliable 17-18 lbs. and the result is almost 900whp with 865 lb-ft. of torque on tap.
The massive jump in power and grunt was more than enough to make this truly Johnny’s build, but he had more tricks up his sleeve.
To give the Spice Red exterior some contrast and a new attitude, a Maverick Man Cowl Hood
while the front bumper received a Maverick Man carbon fiber lip.
The wheels play well with their dark carbon accents against the clean red paint while the meaty tire choice offers fair warning to potential challengers. Both front and rear wheels rely on Maverick Man spacers to clear Cadillac CTSV V2 calipers over Camaro SS front, and Z06 rear rotors.
Rather than attempting a pass and listening to the crumble of axles, Johnny opted for a Driveshaft Shop 1,000hp 1-pc. driveshaft and 1,400hp axles and hubs. Power is transferred through a D&D Magnum T56 trans via McLeod’s RXT 1000 twin disc. And yes, of course that rear diff is built. “As the engine was getting prepped, I made all the changes to the drivetrain that needed updating - from the bell housing to the rear rotor - everything got freshened up or replaced.”
All that power would be more of a curse than a blessing without proper suspension to support it, and Johnny didn’t cut any corners. BC BR front coilovers up front are joined by GForce rears, with Whiteline front and rear sway bars, camber correction mounts, front and rear radius rod bushings, and an adjustable toe kit tightening things up. But wait, there’s more - BMR subframe connectors and GForce rear adjustable HD toe rods were brought in along with a front shock tower bar to top it off.
It took some time, but eventually Johnny got that GTO he was always dreaming about. That annoying adage about ‘good things come to those that wait’ that you used to shake your head at as a kid might’ve held some truth. If nothing else, his journey is a reminder to be patient and never stop dreaming.
Johnny Guerrero’s 2006 Pontiac GTO
Engine Specs LS3 bored and stroked to 418; Hinson polyurethane mounts; Clevite rod and main bearings; JP Performance single roller billet timing kit; Melling high pressure oil pump; Manley H-beam rods, lightweight Series 24-tooth reluctor 190024; 9:1 JE Pistons; ported LS3 head, LS7 lifters, LS3 rockers, trunion kit, .660 lift spring kit, hardened pushrods, .120 wall ARP main and head studs; BTR PDS stage III cam; Lonnies Performance fuel system double pumper Walbro 450s; Harrop Engineering fuel rails; FIC 1,300s; -8AN feed/-6AN return fuel system; Aeromotive fuel regulator, flex fuel sensor; Harrop TVS2650 8-rib supercharger w/LSA feed front drive and intake manifold; Nick Williams 103mm throttle body; KFab custom 5-in. intake; Mighty Mouse Solutions Catch Can; Griffin oversized heat exchanger, EMP high-volume pump, rear 5-gallon ice tank w/1-in. in/out lines; Kooks 1 7/8 long tube headers, street screamer 3-in. cat delete
Drivetrain D&D Magnum T56 1000hp transmission; GMM Ripshift shifter; McLeod RXT 1000 twin disc, 13lbs. flywheel; built rear diff, Harrop true track, diff cover; Quicktime steel bellhousing; Driveshaft Shop 1,000hp 1-pc. driveshaft, 1,400hp axles and hubs
Suspension BC BR front coilovers; GeForce rear coilover kit; Whiteline front/rear sway bars, camber correction mounts, front/rear radius rod bushings, adjustable front toe kit, control arm bushings; BMR subframe connectors; GForce rear adjustable HD toe rods
Wheels & Tires Weld Racing S71 18x8 5x120 medium of height offset +43 backspace 6.2 with a 17mm Maverick Man spacer to clear brakes front; 17x11 5x120 offset +71 backspace 8.8 with a 7 mm Maverick Man spacer to clear brakes rear; Nitto NT555G2 235/40-8 front; Mickey Thompson ET Street 315/35-17 or Nitto NT05R 315/35-17 rear
Inside custom carbon fiber center console, steering wheel
Thanks: Shout out to my buddies David Bailey and Pedro Gonzalez which helped me through the build. A huge thanks to Edgar with dsmlights for the custom tunes that are always on point and to Progressive Racing Engines - by far the best engine builder I’ve ever seen!
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Author -> Staff
Photographer -> Joe Niklo - @driven.films