Nitrous. For some, it's an addiction. For others, it's a habit they don't care to even risk trying. Anyone who has used it can tell you how thrilling it is to inject loads of horsepower into your engine by simply activating a switch or pressing a button. Trust me, it can be exhilerating.
It's commonly referred to as the poor man's supercharger, and for good reason. They essentially do the same thing, but in two totally different ways. Superchargers and turbochargers force high-pressure air into an engine, increasing the amount of oxygen present, allowing more fuel to be added, thus creating more horsepower. Nitrous, or N20, is two parts nitrogen and one part oxygen. Pure oxygen would be too volatile. The presence of this extra oxygen means that more fuel can be added as a catalyst, making more power.
Twenty-nine-year-old Progressive Insurance customer-service coach Jarrod Hess is very open about his nitrous obsession. He has a passion for speed, and found the easiest path to it was via a bottle in the back seat of his '01 WS6.
Rather than bother with hiding it, Jarrod proudly displays his 10-pound NX bottle in the b
Back in March 2005, Jarrod was set to marry his girlfriend, Jen. His father, Timothy, decided he would drive down from his home in Missouri to attend the wedding in Florida. "He had just purchased an '04 GTO and was willing to put the miles on to come down with it," Jarrod recalls, "I took it for one test drive and fell in love with the power!"
Unfortunately, it's not always the best idea for a newlywed to buy a new car, so he began to look for something more in line with his budget that would offer the same thrills and an LS1. With the GTO out of reach, and a used Vette costing around the same, he became hooked on the Trans Am's styling and price. "I love the overall aggressive styling on the WS6, so I set out to find one," he says.
"I knew I wanted an automatic transmission because I planned on drag racing the car," he continues. "I was willing to give up the thrill of a six-speed on the street for the consistency at the track and better 60-foot times of a properly stalled automatic." Ultimately, this red LS1, automatic, 3.23-geared, '01 WS6 was the winner; he took it home on June 30, 2005.
The Trans Am’s rear fascia incorporates cutouts for the exhaust to exit, but you’ll note t
Jarrod's color choice was influenced by his father's Torrid Red GTO, and he didn't waste a minute getting started on modifying the Bird. He took the WS6 to the track within two weeks of ownership to establish a baseline in completely stock form. His 13.5 at 103 mph was an excellent starting point. He claims he purchased his first mod, a new lid and K&N filter, before his first car payment was due.
Here Come the Mods
Within three months, he found a used Yank ST 4,000-stall converter and had Jeremy Formato, who would continue to tickle the keys for his WS6, tune it for the new torque converter. Soon thereafter, Jarrod was back at the track, anxious to see how much more e.t. his new mod shaved off. He was rewarded with an impressive 12.6 at 106 mph with the stock exhaust manifolds, suspension, and WS6 exhaust.
Less than a month later, a coworker removed his NX Wet Kit from his Honda Civic and sold it to Jarrod for $250. By this time, Jarrod had become good friends with local LS-engine guru Kyle Briese. Kyle installed the NX kit, and set the fuel and nitrous pills to safely accommodate 75 rwhp. Again, Jarrod was back at the track. On his first pass, he clicked off an 11.97.