What you are seeing is believed to be the Camaro used in the upcoming Transformers 3 movie. The car is known to many as Bumblebee. The front clip is similar to the one on Jay Leno’s Camaro seen at last years SEMA show. Other changes include the rear wing, new stripe design, rear quarter panel inlets, wheels and front lip spoiler. Who knows what if any of these changes will show up on the Z28 if when it shows up.
So I am driving in Uptown yesterday afternoon and stumble upon this massive pile of fail. This isn’t just a fail but a massive pile of fail. This is a Chevrolet Camaro with a bad body kit. Even if the body kit was painted instead of just covered in primer it’s still bad. The icing on the cake? The Honda Accord headlights in the front.
Below is a video taken at Camaro5 Fest put on by Camaro5. Chevrolet saw fit to bring out the second 2011 Camaro (2011 Camaro #00002) built which happens to have the newly optional heads-up display (HUD). While the video does not show all the optional screens it does show the start up sequence and a few screens.
Have you ever wanted your cars emblem to have more personality and really come alive? Yea, me neither, but apparently at least one new company thinks there is a demand for car emblems with pizazz! Meet Emblem Alive by JEPP Industries
This “innovative” new technology (really?) will make your cars emblem really come alive! This is accomplished by adding sound and motion. They utilize a patent pending (really like someone else would patent this) design with VeSAM technology with projected availability in 2011. The initial launch will be for the Chevrolet Camaro and late model Ford Mustangs (1999-2004, which is old.) Emblem Alive’s tag line is “Your Cars Personality Coming to Life.” I personally do not want my cars personality coming to life in this manner. I can’t keep writing about this because I can’t stop laughing. I dare you to watch the video and keep a straight face.
What do you do when you have a car that won’t be launching for almost a year? “Leak” your own photos, of course. Chevrolet did just that this afternoon, posting two photos of the upcoming 2011 Camaro convertible onto their Facebook fan page. They asked the question, “Anything about this Camaro look different to you?” Why yes Chevrolet, that looks like a convertible – not a coupe.
Things we can note from this is the rear bumper has the little sensors for a back up sensing system, which will be available on the 2011 Camaros. We can also see how the rear end has been designed (from a straight on viewpoint). The vehicle pictured is obviously the V-6 model, due to the missing fake hood intake. One of the things we already know about the convertible is that it will feature a cloth top rather then a hard top. I am fairly confident that this is the exact Camaro convertible I saw when touring the various GM design centers during the GM Tech Event last August. Until we get more pics, enjoy what Chevrolet has provided us.
This past weekend, Autorama’s World of Wheels show came to the Twin Cities. This show travels around the nation and is one of the premier custom car show series. The show itself is put on by Championship Auto Shows. Sponsors include everyone from O’Reilly Auto Parts to Meguiar’s. I went with Jason Pawelsky and we agreed, without question, that the show had its high points and low points. So! Let’s get to it.
1970 Mach1 Mustang
Without a doubt, there were some really nice cars there. A Ford Mustang club was in attendance with a booth filled with Mustangs. One that really stood out was a 1970 Mach1 with gorgeous canary yellow paint. It was one of the highlights of the show and was just a great looking car. It looked terrific and was sitting next to a fourth generation Mach1 (circa 2000). Not to be outdone, the Mustang section had competition from their fierce rival, Camaro. A Chevrolet Camaro club had a section with classic Camaros from yesteryear including a gorgeous Camaro SS featuring a 427 in the engine bay. Of course, quite a few new Camaros were on the show floor as well, sitting next to their vintage elders.
A number of old Chevrolet 210 sedans, along with the older Corvettes, were scattered throughout the show floor. A 1961 Chevrolet Impala was getting quite a bit of attention, probably because it was un-restored and yet looked great for its age. The car’s paint was not terrific and the interior was slightly faded but many of these cars on the floor were full restorations so it was nice to see something that was original and in rather good condition.
Supercharged LS9 V8
Another highlight was a 1957 Chevrolet 210 2-door sedan. This car was being done by L’Cars Automotive Specialties in Cameron, WI. A customer brought the car to the fine people at L’Cars and they have created one heck of a beast for the lucky owners. Starting with an Art Morrison GT sport chassis and a Ford 9 inch rear end, including a limited slip differential as the base, the engine is a crate supercharged LS9 V8 from the Corvette ZR1 with a Hennessy cold air intake feeding the engine. The supercharged LS9 is pushing out 700 hp to the rear wheels and 650 ft-lb through a GM 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission. The exhaust is a polished stainless steel set up from Borla with dual 2.5 inch oval tips in the rear. The exhaust system has an electric cut out system with straight outlets under the car. Bringing all this to a stop is 13 inch Wilwood drilled and slotted rotors in the front and rear with 6 piston calipers in the front and 4 piston calipers in the back. This whole vehicle was 99% completed and they were just working out some fuel delivery issues. Without a doubt, this was one of the coolest cars at the show.
1957 Chevrolet 210 2-door Sedan with supercharged LS9 V8
Then there were the low points. One of the saddest things I saw was a GNX and, if you know me at all, you know how much love and respect I have for the GNX. It was just this particular GNX that just made me sad all over. I was excited when I saw it across the show floor but as I got closer and closer, my excitement turned to devastation. The paint was in terrible condition with swirls all over and the rear window had a tint job that looks like a child performed the deed with a break in the middle of the rear window where a new piece of tint was spliced in. The interior was actually in fairly decent condition but the engine bay, which needs no help after leaving the factory, was chromed out. From the ugly, oversized manifold in black and chrome to other oversized things, it was all over the place under the hood. Do not even get me started on the stickers! The thing was just a hot mess, except for the interior. There were more low points because several cars had terrible paint jobs with swirls in the finish. It is one thing when you have original paint, but to restore a car with a new paint job and improperly use a buffer is just sad.
OMG its Doc Hudson!
Overall the experience was fun. People were enjoying the cars and the atmosphere. A special attraction for the kids was the Hudson Hornet aka, Doc Hudson, from the movie Cars. Friends know I am a huge Cars fan and so seeing Doc Hudson was yet another highlight for this big kid. Overall, the show was a great way to spend a Winter Saturday afternoon as Spring and the season for fun cars approaches.
The 2011 Mustang already had one large announcement last month about the new 3.7L V6. With the new V6 putting out almost as much horsepower as the current V8 you did not think Ford was going to leave the V8 alone did you? Of course not, the 2011 Mustang GT will receive an all new 5.0L V8 pushing out 412 hp and 390 ft-lb of torque. What was important about that last sentence is simple, the 5.0 is back! This is no old school V8, modern technologies are in full force to help achieve an estimated 17/25 mpg (with the six speed automatic). That 25 mpg rating on the highway is 1 more mpg then the Camaro SS with the six speed automatic. Though slightly down on horsepower to the Camaro SS, the Mustang has a distinct weight advantage.
2011 Ford Mustang GT (Notice 5.0 Fender Badges)
Some of the new technologies packed into the new 2011 Mustang GT’s 5.0 were recently implemented in the new 3.7L V6 Mustang. Both feature Ti-VCT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) new six speed transmissions (both automatic and manual), and electric power steering. The new 5.0 will receive a large capacity deep sump oil pan. This enables sustained high rpm use and what Ford believes to be a 10,000 mile oil change interval. Handling should be slightly improved with the use of the stiffened rear stabilizer and improved rear lower control arms.
2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
The new 5.0 is a huge step forward for the Mustang GT. The 2010 GT used a 4.6L V8 pushing out a mere 315 hp and 325 ft-lb of torque. The new 5.0 is pushing out a full 97 more hp and 65 more ft-lb of torque. More power with the same if not better gas milage (depending on transmission choice) is quite impressive. Both the automatic and manual transmissions are six speeds. The manual is estimated to achieve 16/24 mpg which is the same milage as the 4.6L. The automatic, as stated earlier, is estimated to provide 17/25 mpg which is 2 more mpg on the highway then the 4.6L. The speedometer has been increased to 160 mpg while the redline has been moved up from 6,500 rpm to 7,000 rpm.
The new 5.0 V8 engine is not the only new thing for the 2011 GT. New colors offered include Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red, and Ingot Silver. Also the fenders adorn a 5.0 badge heralding the return of the 5.0 V8 engine. For enthusiasts a Brembo brake package with 14 inch rotors and larger calipers will be offered from the Shelby GT500 Mustang. Finishing off this package will be 19 inch wheels with summer performance tires. New convenience content is also on the 2011 Mustang including standard message center, integrated blind spot, MyKey programmable key, illuminated visors, universal garage door opener, and sun visor storage.
This overview provided to the press sums up the changes to the 2011 Mustang GT quite well. “This powertrain honors Mustang’s heritage by raising the bar on performance while increasing fuel economy,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Powertrain Development. The bottom line is simple, with the new V6 and V8 engines for 2011, the Mustang is closing the competitive gap left by the new Camaro. The next step is that solid rear axle.
The pony car wars are back in full swing. I covered this with the review of the Camaro V6. I will not focus as much on the pony car wars rather, the focus will be on the Camaro SS itself. The Camaro has been enjoying brisk sales. Most are leaving the dealers lots at full MRSP. The new Camaro continues to outsell both the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger each month since it has re-arrived on the scene, it would be fair to say the Camaro has been a hit so far.
This car is based on the Zeta platform, which is not a light platform. Pair that with sophisticated independent suspension set up, and you end up with a heavy car. To say this car is a porker, well, it would be justified. It needs to call up a weight loss clinic and lose about 500 lbs quick. The SS I had was equipped with a manual 6 speed transmission. The cars official weight, according to General Motors, is 3849 lbs! The Camaro SS is slightly heavier then the V6, and the extra weight is sitting directly above the front wheels. You can directly feel this weight when driving aggressively.
Optional Inferno Orange Interior
The car I had was a 2SS with a few nice option packages including the RS package, interior accent trim package, cyber grey metallic stripe package, 20″ polished aluminum wheels, and inferno orange metallic paint. The RS package is $1200, and for that you get 20″ flangeless painted aluminum wheels, body-color roof ditch molding, high intensity discharge headlights (xenons) with halo rings, and RS unique tail lights.
RS Unique Tail Lights
I like that the xenons that come with this package are bi-xenon. They do not list them as such. That means both the high and low beams are xenon, vs having the high beams be regular halogens. The polished wheel package replaced the regular painted aluminum wheels that come with the RS package for $400. The most interesting of the options was the combination of the inferno orange metallic exterior paint and the interior accent trim package. This combination had the interior swathed in inferno orange from the stitching to the black and orange seats. Also, we can not forget the orange plastic moldings. This made for a very bright interior. At first it was a little much, but as the week went on the orange interior grew on me.
The big draw to the SS is the engine. Equipped with the lovely and ever versatile 6.2L LS3 pushrod V8 from the base Corvette. In the Camaro SS the LS3 is slightly detuned to 426 hp and 420 lb-ft with the manual transmission.
When equipped with an automatic, the engine is no longer the LS3 rather the L99, putting out 400 hp and 410 lb-ft. There is no question this engine is good for much more power with a slight electronics adjustment and some upgrades like superchargers and cold air intakes. The car can handle the power just fine. Rated at 4.7 seconds 0-60, the car is no slouch at the drag strip. Seat of the pants puts you in the range though it feels a tick slower due to the heft the car has about it. The car is rated at 16/24 mpg, and I can honestly say I topped the highway rating. I took the Camaro on a road trip down to Des Moines, IA. On the way there I managed a respectable 21.2 mpg average. That was ok, but on the way back I averaged 25.2 mpg, which I was truly impressed with. I had the cruise control set at 75mph both ways. With the cruise control set at 60 mph, I would venture a bet you could get close to 28mpg.
This car could just possibly be the national symbol for thumbs up. Everywhere I went someone was giving me a thumbs up. I blew past a man in a Jeep Liberty, he was craning his neck to see the car so hard I thought he was going to drive off the road. Everyone wants to look inside and tell you about their Camaro story from back in the day. Do not go to the mall and expect to walk right in. Someone will stop you to talk about the car.
I mentioned the interior in the last review and aside from the inferno orange trim package the interior is the same. I love the retro styling that Chevrolet has done with the interior. The graining on the materials is decent looking, but the materials themselves are very hard and cold. The Mustang has the upper hand when it comes to technology when you consider the available touch screen navigation and Microsoft Sync system.
I hope for the next generation that General Motors can find a way to shed some major weight. They could use more high strength steel, or more exotic materials. Maybe they should just dip into the Corvette’s parts bin. Make some body panels out of composite or better yet, carbon fiber. A sticking point could become using more exotic materials becomes expensive quickly. This car is not at a high price point for what you are getting.
The take aways after driving this Camaro for a week were pretty clear to me. First, you always get out feeling like you drove an American hero or a national icon. Second, the interior materials could use an upgrade in the next generation along with an overall diet. Third, muscle cars can now do more than just a straight line. Fourth and final, the American public has spoken and they love love the new Camaro!
Hennessey Performance Engineering, also known as HPE, has been tuning cars for a long time. They are very well known and tune various cars, everything from Chevrolet Corvettes to Audi R8’s and many other high performance cars. Taking something that is already powerful and overall a great car, and making it better is truly an art. HPE has been working hard on the new 2010 Camaro since it came out and is finally getting close to releasing the HPE700. The heart of this beast will be the 6.2 liter supercharged LS9 V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. This is not a simple drop and swap engine job. Hennessey is tweaking the engine to extract even more power from this amazing V8. The HPE700 will be rated at a incredible 725 hp and 741 lb-ft. That power is good for a quick sprint 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and you will be stopping from that speed in just 104 feet. Stopping will be handled by the upgraded 15 inch Brembo brakes. Other upgrades include a carbon fiber body kit and three piece 20 inch Hennessey designed wheels This car has been in development for quite a while and enthusiasts have been waiting impatiently. The official car is going to debut this week at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. The HPE700 is set for a limited production run with only 24 units being built.
The below video was put out by Hennessey back in September of the HPE700 on the Dyno. Note- The hp and lb-ft numbers were different then the final numbers when the video was taken.
Forget the auto shows, the public at large knows the new 2010 Camaro as the star of Transformers, Bumblebee and that is not a bad thing. Chevrolet needs an Autobot to help the tarnished name and increase revenue. Stirring the pot is not the only thing the new Camaro is doing. Consider this, since it has gone off the market the evil enemies known as Decepticons have landed and are known as the newest iteration of the Ford Mustang and the new Dodge Challenger. The Camaro has been off the market since 2002 which I must say feels a lot longer then 8 years. With slowing sales and lack of interest the car was pulled from the line up. They say you always want what you can not have and that is obviously the case here. The new Camaro has beat both the Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang in sales for the past four months straight.
The new muscle car wars are in full swing and everyone seems to be bringing the big guns. The all new Camaro is full on retro with improvements of the 21st century. With independent rear suspension and a wide stance the Camaro actually handles well. That said it is not a light car, it could stand to go on a diet and lose a few hundred pounds. Driving through the country side on twisty winding roads this car handled with little to no body roll. When I attended the Product and Technology event put on by GM, I test drove a Camaro equipped with a V8 and a manual transmission. While hustling that car around the track it was even more evident it needs to go on a diet, though the car was predictable and completely under control. Turning off the traction control allows for effortless burnouts whether in a V6 or V8. This car is built on a shortened Zeta platform which was shared with the now deceased but still awesome Pontiac G8.
3.6L Direct Injection V6
The new Camaro comes with two engine options. For the first time in history the V6 in a muscle car can not be called a “secretary special”. The Base engine is a direct injection V6 with variable valve timing. Putting out 304 hp and 273 lb-ft this V6 is technologically advanced and powerful. The SS with the V8 will net you 426 hp and 410 lb-ft with the manual transmission (400 hp and 410 ft-lb when equipped with a automatic). The car I had was equipped with the V6 and the optional automatic. The V6 was actually enough engine in this car. The V6 engine sound is similar to that of the new Nissan 370z which is not bad company to be in. Do not fret I have not gone soft I would still purchase the V8, though I might pause for a mere second and think about the V6. With less weight over the front wheels, the V6 has slightly better balance. The automatic was actually good and was consistent with keeping the engine on boil when left in sport mode. The paddle shifters were almost useless considering how good a job the sport mode did though still fun to play with. When driving in normal drive mode the engine is refined and easy to drive around town. Rated at 18/29 mpg the V6 with the automatic is definitely not your typical gas guzzler rather a great highway cruiser.
The interior of the new Camaro has many retro throw back cues from the 60’s. With switch gear not shared with other Chevrolets it is nice to have a car that is not all parts bin. The climate control switch gear is all Camaro exclusive as is the gauges. The radio is similar to other new cars from GM but really it is different as well. With a high belt line you feel like you are sitting low in a bunker with a slit cut out for the windshield. The windshield base is at your eye level so looking out you see the the huge expanse of hood in front of you and then it just drops off. Visibility could be better. This vehicle could really use a back up camera similar to that one in the new Equinox which integrates the screen into the rear view mirror. The interior is great looking though I wish there was more use of soft touch plastics. I would not knock the Camaro too much for the interior, for me the design outweighs the feel and there is a ton of retro cues in the design. For me the interior is a win.
The Camaro I had was a 2LT which means it was pretty loaded up. Optional equipment outside of the 2LT package included 21 inch tire and wheel package #2, ground effects package, RS package, six speed automatic transmission with remote vehicle start, and body-color painted engine cover. The wheel and tire package while they looked great they were $4680! That seems ridiculously priced when compared to aftermarket wheels and tires. I think GM needs to re-evaluate the price on that option package. The ground effects package, RS package are both great options that really finish off the cars styling. I can not invest a body-color painted engine cover for $285. I would say while I personally would buy a manual transmission in this car, the automatic in this car is not bad, it is still a sports car and I am a car guy. The sticker on the car I had with all the options and packages was $37,345.
The Camaro is back and for a week I pretended I had my own bumblebee. Though Megan Fox never did show up I have to say the car rocks all the same. With more then acceptable gas milage, great sounding engine this car makes sense once again. It is no real wonder why GM can not make enough, the public at large wants what they could not have. The question is where is the future for this car? I truly hope they keep up and do not let the car get stale in years to come. If you are in the market for a sports car I would definitely take a spin in the new Camaro, that is if you can find one to get your hands one.