Camaro is 45 years old

September 29, 1966. Chevrolet showrooms are graced with the presence of the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. My father worked at Dick Shalla Chevrolet on Harper in Detroit, Michigan at the time. With the market buzzing about the new Chevy Camaro, he ordered one for my mother. 1967 Camaro with a small block V8 and an automatic transmission was on the way. 

Shortly after placing the order, Shalla Chevrolet gets word of the L78 SS availability. Being an avid local drag racer, my father changes the order to one of 1,138 1967 Camaro RS/SS L78 4 speed car. It was clear this wasn't going to by my mothers car after that. One of the first L78 Camaros produced, within weeks the motor was out, cam was swapped and the motor was balanced. A local artist letters up the car and it is ready for the local racing scene.

Within a few years, the car is sold without the motor or transmission. Over the next 20 years it changed hands one more time, is tubbed and a 12 point roll cage is installed. 

During the 1989 Detroit Autorama, dad and I  stumble upon the old Camaro. We keep in touch with the owner and eventually buy the car back. Thankfully the owner had the foresight to keep the original black bucket seats and fold down rear seat and all exterior chrome trim.  

Thanks to a friend and local fabricator, the car has had the floors returned to the stock configuration and the roll bar is gone. The car sits for long periods between restoration efforts.Hopefully we will return the Camaro to it's original glory very soon and it will be back where it belongs, roaming the streets of the Metro Detroit area.

Happy 45th Birthday Camaro. That is our story, what's yours?

Camaro Drag Pack car headed to SEMA?

Word on the street (by street we mean internet) is that GM will unveil a 'Drag Pack' edition of the Chevrolet Camaro at SEMA in Las Vegas in November. With the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet and the Dodge Challenger Drag Pack cars already in owners hands for some time, GM is late to the party.

With the selection available from the GM Performance Parts catalog, we have no doubt a Stock Eliminator version of the Camaro will have plenty of power under the hood. With the power train and chassis options, will it be enough to complete the 1320 quicker than the lighter Mustang CJ? Time will tell. Stay tuned for more information.

Don Baskin NMCA Pro Stock 2010 Camaro drag car

OnStar Reverses Decision to Change Terms and Conditions

If you have a new Camaro, you have OnStar. This has caused quite a stir on the internet this past week.Many automotive based forums have gone so far as to create DIY threads on how to disconnect the service completely. It looks like the people have spoken, or OnStar planned this all along. Maybe some strange marketing ploy? We'll see.

DETROIT – OnStar announced today it is reversing its proposed Terms and Conditions policy changes and will not keep a data connection to customers’ vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

OnStar recently sent e-mails to customers telling them that effective Dec. 1, their service would change so that data from a customer vehicle would continue to be transmitted to OnStar after service was canceled – unless the customer asked for it to be shut off.

“We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,” OnStar President Linda Marshall said. “This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers’ hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.”

If OnStar ever offers the option of a data connection after cancellation, it would only be when a customer opted-in, Marshall said. And then OnStar would honor customers’ preferences about how data from that connection is treated.

Maintaining the data connection would have allowed OnStar to provide former customers with urgent information about natural disasters and recalls affecting their vehicles even after canceling their service. It also would have helped in planning future services, Marshall said.

“We regret any confusion or concern we may have caused,” Marshall said.

One and only 2012 Camaro ZL1 in Carbon Flash Metallic

Today, at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction in Las Vegas, NV, a very unique 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was was sold at auction (lot number 674.3). Rick Hendrick had the high bid of $250,000!

This particular model is the only 2012 Camaro ZL1 in Carbon Flash Metallic. It will also feature a VIN that honors the original ZL1’s – a VIN ending in 00069. Only 69 of those first ZL1’s were produced in the 1969 model year. All proceeds from the auction’s sale will benefit the YMCA of Southern Nevada.

Image: blackjackcamaro on Camaro5
The Barrett-Jackson Auction began on Thursday, September 22, 2011. As has been the tradition the last couple of years, the auction was covered live in primetime on the East Coast by SPEED TV. Since the ZL1 auction will be a centerpiece at this year’s Las Vegas auction, a new :30 second ad featuring the ZL1 will debut during SPEED’s three days coverage of the auction.

Image: blackjackcamaro on Camaro5
The point of the ad is to drive consumers to Once consumers arrive at the site, they will be able to view short films on two different development aspects of the new ZL1. These two new short films will be available on the website sometime during the afternoon of Thursday, September 22, 2011.

Image: blackjackcamaro on Camaro5
Look for further announcements and videos on the Camaro ZL1 in the coming weeks.

Camaro ZL1 Delivers 580 Horsepower!

Supercharged, 6.2L LSA V-8 delivers 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm)
ZL1 power complemented by exclusive Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management

Track-capable standard equipment includes high-performance fuel system, as well as engine, transmission and differential coolers

DETROIT – The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s supercharged 6.2L engine is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm) – making it the most-powerful production Camaro ever.

The ZL1’s outstanding power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies, including exclusive Performance Traction Management and third-generation Magnetic Ride Control.

“The Camaro ZL1 delivers supercar performance and technology in the sports-car segment,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “For sheer power, the ZL1 delivers more horsepower than a Ferrari 458, more torque than an Aston Martin DB9 V12, and a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

“The Camaro ZL1 also features exclusive chassis and traction technologies,” Oppenheiser said, “to offer the best of all worlds – including balanced handling for the track, acceleration for a drag strip, and the comfort of a daily driver.”

The most-powerful production Camaro ever.

The 2012 Camaro ZL1’s surpasses the advertised power of the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1’s 427 cubic-inch big block by more than 150 horsepower (112 kW) – while meeting modern emissions requirements. And, the new ZL1 is backed by General Motors’ five-year / 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

“The torque is going to make the ZL1 a car you won’t want to get out of,” said John Rydzewski, assistant chief engineer for small block engines. “Not only will the ZL1 have more power and torque than the competition, we’re making it available with an optional automatic transmission, to appeal to a wider group of sports car enthusiasts.”

The all-aluminum LSA supercharged V-8 is part of GM’s legendary small-block engine family. For a solid foundation, the engine’s lower end uses six-bolt main bearing caps that clamp and lock in the forged steel crankshaft to the deep-skirt block. Its 1.9L Roots-style blower uses an efficient four-lobe rotor set and compact intercooler to deliver boosted air into the high-flow cylinder heads.

For the Camaro ZL1, the LSA features a unique induction system, with a lower-restriction air filter, dual inlet paths, and improved airflow through the supercharger housing. Other changes include a higher-efficiency supercharger inter-cooler and electric power steering system, which consumes less engine power than hydraulic-steering systems.

The ZL1 will be offered with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Tremec TR-6060 “MG9” manual features 30 percent more torque capacity than in the Camaro SS. The higher torque capacity results from a strengthened output shaft, high-strength rear housing, and additional roller bearing. The MG9 has also been tuned for improved shift feel, with a dual-mass flywheel, twin-disc clutch, and triple synchros for smooth, precise shifts.

Similarly, the Hydra-Matic 6L90 automatic has been strengthened to handle the torque and horsepower produced by the 6.2L supercharged small block. The 6L90 features a strengthened input gearset with two additional pinion gears, additional clutch plate, and a strengthened output shaft and gearset. To make the ZL1 perform equally well on street and track, the 6L90 features three distinct drive modes:

  • Drive: The shift pattern is calibrated for optimal fuel economy, including second-gear starts, while the shift feel is tuned for a smooth driving experience. Engaging the tap-shift feature on the steering wheel or shift lever engages temporary manual mode.
  • Sport: The shift pattern is calibrated for more aggressive driving, including first-gear starts for maximum performance. The shift feel is also more aggressive, with a performance algorithm that holds the transmission in lower gears during aggressive driving.
  • Manual: Here, the 6L90 offers the driver true manual control, with no automatic up shifts, and staged upshifts for incredibly fast shifts and maximum performance.

Other track-ready features of the ZL1 include:
  • An engine-oil cooler, identical to the system on the Corvette ZR1. The integral liquid-to-liquid system is so effective that both the manual and automatic transmissions are deemed to be fully track-capable with the standard factory-installed cooling package.
  • A rear-differential cooler, which pumps transmission fluid to a heat exchanger, reduces temperatures in the differential by more than 100 F.
  • A high-performance fuel system delivers fuel to the LSA engine under any performance driving condition. For example, the system features additional fuel pickups on the primary side, and the secondary fuel pickup is moved outboard for continuous fuel access during high-g cornering under low fuel conditions.
  • Magnetic Ride Control 3.0 adjusts damping 1,000 times per second
  • The Camaro ZL1 will feature the third-generation of Magnetic Ride Control (MRC).

MRC employs valve-less damping and Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid technology. MR fluid is a suspension of iron particles in a synthetic fluid. When the system is activated, the particles are magnetized and aligned into fibrous structures, changing flow resistance. By controlling the current to an electromagnetic coil inside the piston of the damper, the system varies the suspension firmness to match the road and driving conditions.

“Traditional suspension systems at some point compromise ride quality for road-holding grip and body control,” said Oppenheiser. “With Magnetic Ride Control, we can offer customers the best of both worlds: A comfortable ride that makes the ZL1 appropriate as a daily driver and the incredibly precise body control that makes the ZL1 so enjoyable on the track.”

For the third-generation, MRC uses new twin-wire/dual-coil dampers at all four corners. The smaller dual-coil system – with one coil at either end of the damper – replaces the larger single-core design of the previous generation.

The new design allows even more precise control of the electrical current (and magnetic flux), allowing greater range between the softest setting for ride comfort and the firmest setting for track driving. The new dual-coil design also enables faster response, with damping levels now adjusted up to 1,000 times per second – about one adjustment per inch of vehicle travel at 60 mph – making the system exceptionally responsive to changing driving and road conditions.

There are three settings for MRC in the ZL1: Tour, Sport, and Track.

Exclusive Performance Traction Management for the race course, and the drag strip

The Camaro ZL1 will also offer Performance Traction Management (PTM) as standard equipment, exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, PTM is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance performance on the racetrack and drag strip.

For example, the launch control feature (manual transmission only) automatically modulates engine torque for the best possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin. When the driver pushes the throttle to the floor, the system holds a predetermined engine speed until the driver releases the clutch. Then, the system modulates engine torque 100 times per second to maximize the available traction. The system is capable of approaching a skilled driver’s best effort and repeats it consistently.

Similarly, on a road course, the driver can apply full throttle when exiting a corner and PTM will automatically manage acceleration dynamics to maximize exit speed based on available traction.

Five PTM performance levels or modes are available to accommodate the given ambient and track conditions, driver experience/vehicle familiarity and driver comfort levels. They include:

Mode 1 – Traction control set for wet conditions, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Tour.
Mode 2 – Traction control set for dry conditions, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Tour.
Mode 3 – Traction control set on Sport 1, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Sport.
Mode 4 – Traction control set on Sport 2, with stability control off and Magnetic Ride Control set on Sport.
Mode 5 – Traction control set on Race, with stability control off and Magnetic Ride Control set on Track.

Launch control tuned for VHT-prepped drag strips.

“Like the Magnetic Ride Control, the Performance Traction Management system improves the ZL1 experience as a daily driver and on the track,” said Oppenheiser. “By offering five distinct modes of traction management, the driver can select what’s best for them based on their experience and the driving conditions. As a result, novice drivers will find the ZL1 is very enjoyable to drive, while expert drivers will find PTM supplements their driving skill without interfering with their intentions.”