Berger Chevrolet has been building special Camaros since the first-gen roiled tarmac 42 years ago, but considering the number of tuners scurrying to complete their visions of what the ultimate aftermarket 2010 SS Camaro should be, it might seem that Berger's a bit late to the current party. Perhaps, but the prolific west Michigan dealer has something that the others do not: a special market heritage that defines and epitomizes the company's valiant muscle car history.

None of the other principals in this retro-fray are bona-fide new-car dealers, the point being that anything sold through the dealership network must be 100 percent squeaky clean or the seller conceivably faces something less than jail time. Some outfits offer a 700hp LS9 transplant as well as twin snails on a 427-cubic-inch motor and output that easily crests 1,000 hp. Call that lunatic fringe, and as we all know, these days the lunatic fringe has nearly become the status quo.

Despite the new Camaro's porky sides, you really don't need all that meat in order to have a good time. The Berger SS isn't meant to be the Godzilla of all time, but rather a buttoned-down GT car that would be at home on any road in the world.

The 376-cubic-inch LS3 (426 hp/420 lb-ft) is a big leg up, but the bigger-is-always-better arena and $60,000 specialty vehicles need more numerical sack, so you aspire to a company that has built millions of superchargers, a great many of them destined for OE applications. The hook is dead-on reliability and longevity. Though there is certainly more power to be had after the purchase, the Berger package utilizes a Magnuson MagnaCharger MP 2300 TVS supercharger system, in essence a big, hairy bolt-on.

The intercooled MP 2300 uses four rotors featuring a high-twist 160-degree helix that takes less power to drive, reveals cooler discharge temperatures, and is much quieter than any other Magnuson blower of history, nearly silent, in fact. Additional efficiency is directly related to a bypass valve that reduces parasitic drag during normal driving. In the Berger repertoire, the supercharger is the sole power adder; no tubular headers or computer tweaking beyond an ECU re-flash. The produce is 550 hp and 475 lb-ft at the flywheel with 6-7 psi of positive manifold pressure. Horsepower is 497 at the rear wheels on Magnuson's tune.

The excess waiting to be unleashed probably won't pass emissions, so Berger runs Magnuson's CARB-certified tune on the ECU. This includes a 36-month or 36,000-mile powertrain warranty to take the place of the one Berger voids. The addition of a 160-degree thermostat, a high-flow airbox, tube headers, and low-restriction cats will enable somewhere between 570-600 hp at the wheels. Berger has a local tuner working on an upgrade that will be available only through this gentleman's skunkworks to accomplish those numbers. Not a bad bunch of grunt without even busting the heads off the motor.

How's that 497 hp translate to a curb weight of 3,849 pounds (and more than 4,000 with driver)? Though we have no firsthand information of these feats, we've read of 0-60 reflections in similarly equipped Camaros spanning 3.5 seconds and quarter-mile rants from 12.5 (stock) to 11.7 seconds at more than 120 mph, the latter achieved with drag radials. Since we had only a few hours of driving time with the stock SS and its enhanced image and were dodging intermittent showers all the while, we were unable to do our own calculations, but seat-of-the-shorts input says that such claims are distinctly possible.