Fifth Time’s a Charm for this 2016 Chevy SS
Chances are, if you’ve tackled an engine build or two in your day, you likely ran into some issues along the way. In fact, you might’ve even experienced the feeling of your stomach dropping as you lose oil pressure or hear the unwanted metal-on-metal rattle as you chuck a rod.
It’s all part of the experience and pushing the limits of performance, and it’s something Holly Rops is all too familiar with. Dealing with her 2016 Chevy SS and its “issues” on multiple occasions hasn’t slowed her down one bit.
Ten years ago, GM spilled the beans on their SS model. Holly spotted the ad and immediately sent it off to her husband, vowing to own one at some point.
That point would arrive two years ago when this 2016 model was picked up and, moments later, fitted with an LSA blower. At 500hp and 12.1 E.T.s without breaking a sweat, 2021 was spent just enjoying the car. Eventually, though, that excitement died down.
“I decided I wasn’t happy with that, so I down pulley’d the blower and put a Bald Eagle cam in,” she says. “I put a DSX aux pump and 1,200cc injectors in and switched to e85.” A surefire way to bump the power output, the car was delivered to a tuner to dial in the new set up, but things didn’t go as planned. She adds, “It blew up on my birthday. What a great phone call to get.”
After crunching some numbers and trying to determine if she’d put the car on the back burner for a while or take on more work in order to generate some additional funds, she decided to hunt down an affordable engine replacement and found a 6.2L truck engine with a bad head gasket at a price she couldn’t pass up. Refreshed and fitted with a TVS2650 to replace the LSA unit that was grenaded on that first dyno session, the car made its comeback with 730hp.
Moments later, it was pulled off the dyno only to blow a head gasket. “Ugh, the luck. I went home and fixed the head gasket, then loaded up for Rocky Mountain Raceweek,” she recalls.
The grueling seven-day event includes multi-state street driving combined with various drag strip visits along the way and all was going well until Holly’s string of bad luck decided to pay her another visit. She states, “I made it all the way to Kansas just to sit there with a bad radiator. So, I ordered a cold case radiator and knocked another upgrade off the list.” But wait, there’s more. On the drive to Omaha, as she pulled into the I29 drag way, low oil pressure revealed a spun rod bearing. Once again, Holly rolled up her sleeves and the engine was yanked back out as she adds, “at this point, I’m sure I could do it in my sleep.”
In terms of the car’s look, Holly had managed to keep things simple and remarkably clean.
The car’s factory Slipstream blue finish was paint corrected and ceramic coated and the original wheel and tire combo swapped for a set of 17-inch Weld Racing wheels covered in Mickey Thompson rubber.
To add a more aggressive look to the front, a polyurethane bumper lip was added
while spicing up the rear end is a set of LED taillights – available exclusively through Maverick Man as well.
If you get the feeling that nothing is going to stop Holly and her mission to go faster, you’re not alone. Through all of the setbacks, motivation hasn’t been a factor. In fact, after the rod bearing incident, Holly’s rebuild has proven to be rock solid with multiple dyno sessions and over 50 passes on the strip.
Currently dialed in at 815whp, her best effort is 10.56 at 135mph (a best of 139mph was also achieved) with signs of a slipping transmission, which is being rectified as you read this.
Having finally found the right combination for her SS, if things continue to go her way, she’ll likely be clicking off 9-second passes in 2023.
2016 Chevy SS
Owner Holly Rops
Engine L92 swap; Texas Speed 10.5:1 drop-in pistons, rods; Bald Eagle boost cam; TVS2650 supercharger, TVS 2650 fuel rails; FIC 1,200cc injectors; DSX aux fuel pump; American Racing 1 7/8 headers; Mighty Mouse Catch Can, stock bi-modal exhaust; American Racing pipes; Cold Case radiator
Drivetrain built 6I80 transmission
Wheels, Tires 17-inch Weld Racing wheels; Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires
Exterior LED taillights; polyurethane front lip; paint correction and ceramic coat
Interior Banks Data Monster gauge
Thanks Big shout-out to Andy Burdess with A to B Performance and Tuning for all the help at the track and tuning.
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Author -> Staff
Photographer / Photo Credit -> Michael Perez / Holly Rops