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Looking to the Future: Camaro Markets Itself Globally, Designers Look to 2020 and Beyond

The Future of GM Features Many Things, and the Camaro is Chief Amongst Them

This is a 2-parter update, as I wanted to share both of these videos with you. So, I’ll break it down in to two parts:

 

Part one: The Camaro Advertises to the Brazilian Market

The future of American automobiles is tied almost as much to foreign markets as it is to our own domestic one. This has become obvious as we’ve seen Ford make major moves in to the European market with their vehicles, and make even bigger plans for moving ahead with a full global strategy for their Mustang.

For their part, Chevrolet hasn’t been sleeping on global markets. We’ve seen commercials featuring the Camaro from Brazil before, two of them in fact. And they’re good. This year, with the 2014 redesign hitting Brazil as well (the Brazilian market is the largest non-North American Market for the Camaro), a new commercial has been released:

This new commercial is incredibly reminiscent of the Chevrolet ‘Find New Roads’ commercial featured during the Super Bowl last year, and for a good reason: it’s basically a Portuguese language version of that very same ad campaign. However, the American version didn’t ever feature a Camaro–or, for that matter, Mike Tyson, either. In the American version the Corvette had the premiere spot, but, the Brazilian commercial definitely treats the Camaro as the flagship car with, arguably, the advertisement’s best segment.

Here’s the American version, for comparison:

Part Two: A look to 2020 and Beyond

In a new video released by GM featuring Frank Saucedo–GM’s Director of Advanced Design–we get a glimpse of what GM’s strategy is moving forward with design and production. They have a long-term plan that looks past the year 2020 in an effort to stay ahead of the curve and continue creating vehicles like the C7 Corvette and Chevrolet Camaro which highlight the most forward thinking visual and performance design cues.

Strangely, the video focuses on the California automotive culture instead of the more classic American ones of the Midwest and Southeast, in its efforts to look toward the future. The video makes some great points about consumer desires and highlights the Bumblebee Camaro a fair bit, but, it also seems a little shortsighted ultimately–a strange comment to make about a video titled 2020 Vision whose focus is looking to the future and for the long term.

They mention foreign cars and foreign car design, but, they also fail to mention the very American identity that has made vehicles like the Corvette and Camaro so undeniably successful. Here’s to hoping these aspects aren’t forgotten as Chevrolet moves forward, too.

Strong August Sales Keep Camaro in the YTD Lead

Camaro Posts Strong Sales Raises in August and Build Larger Lead in the Pony Car Sales Race

The number one competition for the pony car industry doesn’t take place on any track: it occurs in a battle of numbers from showroom to garage floors. Vehicle sales are the number 1 indicator of which car in each segment is the best, as they’re based not only on the track numbers vehicles produce, but also the public popularity–an indicator of success in design and marketing far beyond what any writer could tell you.

That being said, the Camaro is king in its class, and further proved so this August.

The Camaro saw a 33% increase over August of last year to total 8,875 deliveries (deliveries are completed sales). These totals put the Camaro’s YTD deliveries at 59,156. This number is good for a sizable lead over the Mustang and Challenger. The Mustang had come close, pre-August, in YTD totals, but a 22% decrease in sales from last year left their August total at 5,866 and their YTD numbers lagging behind the Camaro with 54,745. The Challenger has the fewest sales of the three, but is also the only vehicle to post consistent sales increases over the last two years. While just two years ago the Challenger held an almost invisible portion of the market share, today they account for 4,392 deliveries in August (also a 33% increase) and 38,645 sales for the entire 2013 year.

Full charts and numbers below. All infographics courtesy of Camaro5 forum member Enator:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

 

 

LS7 Powered Camaro?

Leaked GM Dealer VIN Card Declares LS7 Engine Option for 2014 Camaro

For those Camaro lovers who have been waiting for their Z28 model, the time may finally be here. In the Dealer VIN cards handed out by GM to dealers, an image of which was posted online today, there was an amazing find. Amongst the available engine option codes was an available E code–which would be the VIN identifier for the 7.0L LS7 engine.

Now, nothing’s official about this engine just yet, but this does seem to signal a move towards according it in a Camaro trim level. What that trim would be is the mystery, though, and if there’s a VIN designation for it it would seem there would be some trim level featuring it.

Of course, all of this is mysterious, as 2013 was intended to be the final year of production for the Camaro. With the C6 Corvette run’s coming to an end this final year of the C6 Z06 was intended to be the last vehicle to feature the LS7 engine. Seeing it here though, and being aware of the Camaro’s longer time table before we see the next generation, it may make sense that GM has decided to extend the engine’s life a little while longer.

If it does come to grace a Camaro, this means we’ll then see a naturally aspirated fifth generation Camaro capable of outputting 505hp. Those numbers, which are the current performance numbers for the 7.0L LS7 engine as it is tuned in the Z06, would make for an extremely powerful Camaro with a more natural torque and power curve–albeit less overall power–than the ZL1. A combination of that engine with a 1LE like lightened performance package would be the ideal coupling for a Z28 Camaro–matching, very closely, the Z28′s history of being a higher powered and more lightened and track focused naturally aspirated Camaro iteration.

What do you think? Could this be the Z28? If so, would it do the Z28 badge justice?

vincard-camaro-ls7

The Return of the 4-Cylinder Camaro Rumor

In 2008, before the fifth generation Camaro had even been seen by the public, the rumor of a 4-cylinder Camaro began to circulate. At the time Bob Lutz, who was then Vice Chairman of GM, made an allusion in an interview the possibility of one such Camaro offering. Then the C5 was released and such a thing never materialized–something many purists are very thankful about. The car went on to be one of the most popular American Sports Cars ever built and during it’s illustrious lifespan has outsold all of its competition impressively–today it holds around 40% of the entire market share.

With the sixth generation Camaro quickly approaching, the rumor has once again reared; however, this time it seems like less of a rumor and more of an inevitability. With the C6 Camaro moving to the newly developed Alpha platform, and the promises that platform brings with it of being smaller and lighter, it seems like now would be the key time for GM to make such a change.

At current, the Camaro’s direct competition seems to be going in the same direction. All indications are that the next generation Ford Mustang will feature an Eco-Boost 4 Cylinder engine in its lowest performance package, and the Camaro will likely follow suit. This change seemingly comes about as need to meet two different modern points: the rise in popularity of the Asian/European sports car once again, and the stricter CAFE regulations placed on American automobile makers.

GM Authority themselves have made the claim that sources (albeit, unnamed ones) have confirmed that the sixth-gen Camaro will in fact be available with a turbocharged 4-cylinder 2.0L engine. While this may seem like a move away from what made the Camaro great, it does make some sense. The inclusion of a lower-power and higher MPG effeciency Camaro will make room for production of high displacement engines–both V6 and V8 versions–without handicapping the company’s capabilities per CAFE restrictions. Also, with the Alpha platform being utilized, a forced induction 4-banger will still provide a fast, responsive, and fantastic driving experience.

There are downsides to make such a move, though. Outside of the idea of watering down the Camaro name and brand by forcing it to compete with vehicles of lesser-regard, it also means the drivers who purchase and own the 4-cylinder Camaros will almost certainly not have the same love affair experience that even today’s V6 Camaro drivers have. The exhaust tone will be a more subdued, higher-pitched variant on what we’re used to, and the torque numbers–and thus, 0-60 performance times–will certainly be well below what the lowest level Camaro today produces.

Thankfully, though, GM doesn’t seem to have any intentions of letting a move towards a 4-cylinder base destroy their dedication to the small-block V8. The new C7 Corvette will feature an incredible new variant on the Small Block–redubbed the LT1–and GM has invested a lot of time and effort in to updating that engine line’s technologies to achieve higher performance numbers in conjunction with greater fuel efficiency. This means we’ll almost certainly see an SS or Z28 build Camaro featuring an updated LT engine variation at some point during the sixth generation Camaro’s life time.

What do you think? Does the idea of a 4-cylinder Camaro leave a bad taste in your mouth or do you wholly embrace the idea of one such vehicle? I myself am torn. My first car in high school was a 4-cylinder Toyota MR2, and while that boxy beast was underpowered by comparison, it had an amazing driver feel thanks to its mid-engine and RWD configuration. GM could achieve a similar vehicle with a well-designed Alpha platform Camaro that would only be greater with the inclusion of V6 and V8 engines. They could also, however, end up leading us down a stray path where the American pony car loses its large engine identity, and that’s a world I don’t want to live in.

Great Videos of the Camaro as the Launch Vehicle for the U-2 Spy Plane

The Chevrolet Camaro is the officially used chase and launch vehicle for the U-2 Spy Plane

For a few decades now, the Camaro, and other similar Chevrolet vehicles, have been used as the chase car for the U-2 spy plane on take off and landing. The use of a chase vehicle is necessary for a plane like the U-2, as its extremely specialized nature requires visual confirmation for all take-off and landing aspects. The Camaro is utilized because of the vehicle’s capability in getting up to speed quickly, and following behind the plane.

The videos are incredible, really, as we get to witness the speed and go of the Camaro at Wide Open Throttle, as well as see a multi-million dollar piece of military machinery touchdown and take-off. The last two videos also show the history of the Camaro’s place chasing U-2 spy planes, and they show Third and Fourth generation Camaros chasing down airplanes–as well a few other GM vehicles doing chase duty.

Enjoy!

New CAFE Standards and How They’ll Change the Industry

Comments and Thoughts Concerning the new CAFE Standards

New CAFE Standards Standards and Regulations Placed Upon Automotive Industries Will Make American Muscle Cars Like the Dodge Challenger “As Rare as White Flies”

This past week, following an uncertain and unprecedented delay, the Obama White House administration signed in to place an updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy, known as CAFE for short, standard agreed upon by the American Congress. These new standards will move the requirements for an automotive company to a fleet-wide average of 54.5 MPG. This 54.5 MPG benchmark number–which will not affect work related vehicles–will result in the average MPG of all passenger and light truck vehicles being more than double the current-day rating by 2025. This is the largest overall jump in those CAFE numbers since the CAFE guidelines were first put in to effect in 1978.

In his speech concerning these changes, President Obama stated that “These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil”. Environmental scientists have also pointed out the fact that these changes will result in an almost 50% reduction in release of greenhouse gases resulting from American automotive use. Other aspects of this change pointed out by Government officials and Economists highlight an average of almost $8,000 in savings for the average American family on fuel costs over the life of their vehicle, and others have pointed to possible creation of close to 570,000 jobs within the Green Energy sector and Automotive R&D areas as result of these changes.

GM's Detroit Plant where the Chevy Volt is Currently Produced in Mass Numbers

GM's Detroit Plant where the Chevy Volt is Currently Produced in Mass Numbers

Of course, not everybody has as rosy an outlook on the new guidelines, and the actual impact the new CAFE standards will have on the automotive industry are uncertain. Some automakers, including Ford and GM, seem ready to embrace the new standards. In anticipation of these changes–which were at one point expected to be 56.2MPG standard, and had even had a 62MPG number floated by White House officials–these two automakers have diversified their corporate portfolios. Ford has added investment stake in the all-electric automakers Tesla, and begun expanding their line-up of Natural Gas burning vehicles in to their F-Series truck market as well. Chevrolet recently invested heavily in the Electric-vehicle group Proterra, as well as the creation of their own electric vehicle plant in Maryland to support the sales of their Volt automobile, and their expansion back in to clean diesel engines, similar to those used by automakers like Volkswagen in Europe where 50-60+MPG ratings are regularly attainable at fuel conscious driving conditions.

However, others aren’t reacting as happily to this news. Many naysayers in the automotive industry have pointed to the fact that these standards will result in future automobiles being much smaller, resulting in both decreased passenger space as well as decreased vehicle safety. These same individuals are also claiming that the largely battery-based automobile will actually be more harmful for the environment as result of the chemical processes used both to create these enhanced cell batteries, as well as the waste they leave behind once they’ve stopped functioning. Finally, too, they point to increased vehicle costs to the consumer as another potential downfall of the problem.

Of the program itself, Obama’s Presidential challenger in the upcoming Election, Republican politician and former Bain CEO and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney branded the CAFE standards as “extreme” and claimed that they “hurt domestic automakers and provide a benefit to some of the foreign automakers”. Of the diversification by automakers in to the Electric market and the development of the electric vehicle as a viable alternative, Romney says that the electric vehicle is ““a technology that people aren’t interested in” and that if elected he would work to repeal the CAFE standards. His side also argues that repealing of CAFE, when coupled with the removal of oil drilling regulations, would result in the creation of “millions of jobs”, but have not provided any evidence to support the claim of millions or to provide a hard number, outside of the some 14,000 lost in that industry since 2008 being rehired.

Chiming in on the change, also, was the Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne who seems to be falling directly in between both the Obama and Romney camps. Marchionne himself seems entirely confident that Chrysler will be able to meet the 54.5MPG standard without issue come 2025, and even mentioned at one point being excited about embracing the change and the movement towards developing new technology that it will allow, but also warned of some side effects.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne speaking at an American plant concerning the new CAFE regulations

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne speaking at an American plant concerning the new CAFE regulations

The most pointed to negative side effect of the CAFE changes that Marchionne pointed to was that they will ” “will change the way this industry operates” and effectively make the development and building of large, V8 powered performance vehicles like the HEMI powered 392 Challenger SRT-8 that he himself drives daily, as “rare as white flies”. Ultimately, Marchionne and other analysts who agree with him, feel that the CAFE changes will bring about the death of the incredibly popular American muscle car segment–one of the market share areas that foreign automakers have never been able to compete with American corporations at.

Some analysts point to the industry’s same worries over CAFE regulations in the late 70′s and early 80′s as proof of exactly why this won’t come to fruition. During that time period, following the first CAFe implementation, automakers were opining the event as the death of the V8 engine, yet today more, and far more powerful, V8 performance cars are available than ever before, thanks in part to large technological advances. Today, vehicle’s like the 600-plus horsepower Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Chrysler/Dodge’s own 640hp SRT Viper are readily available, and were the sort of thing nobody could have even imagined in the late 70′s, much less predicted would ever be available directly off of a dealer lot or showroom.

CAFE Standards Information Released by the White House website

CAFE Standards Information Released by the White House website

In all, the CAFE regulations will certainly change the industry functions, but how much and in what ways are currently uncertain. Experienced automotive industry analyst predicts that by 2025 the industry itself, and the vehicles which they put on the road, “will change less than anybody imagines – but more than anyone wants,” a sentiment which puts him directly in line with Marchionne. So, whether the future is in electric, hybrid, diesel, natural gas, or another newly developed alternative energy technology, only one thing is for certain: that it is the future, and we’re headed quickly in that direction. In fact, with the rise of the four cylinder in America, an engine configuration which now powers 43% of all new vehicles sold, we’re closer than we thought. Here’s to hoping, no matter what this future has in hold, that doesn’t kill off those vehicles we all love like the Challenger, Corvette, Viper, Mustang, and Camaro.

Camaro ZL1 Reviews Are Coming Out, and They’re Great!

Camaro ZL1 Reviews

Major automotive publications begin rolling out their Camaro ZL1 Reviews, and they’re very very good!

So, by today most of the major automotive publications have had a chance to get behind the wheel of the Camaro ZL1, and over the last week we’ve seen some great reviews from them hitting the web. There’s a lot of them, and I haven’t had a chance yet to get behind the wheel of one, so I’ll just give you some of my favorite snippets from them and include the links to the original reviews(as well as a few parenthetical remarks from yours truly). Before we get in to them, let me just say, these are incredibly exciting. The ZL1 looks to be such an amazing and exciting vehicle.

From AutomobileMag.com where they decided to compare the ZL1 to the Grand Sport Corvette for the basis of their review:

“During development, one ZL1 endured 600 clutch-dumping launches as part of the most demanding driveline durability testing program in the history of General Motors.” (Sounds like a monster of a driveline in this new Camaro!)

“Third-generation Magnetic Ride dampers charge and discharge faster than earlier examples, allowing for more precise control of damping rates. Their flexibility and bandwidth also allow the ZL1 to use the same springs as the Camaro SS. Sport and tour buttons just ahead of the shifter adjust the dampers accordingly, and a third mode — track — is available when Performance Traction Management is active. Unlike most cars, in which sport mode alters throttle calibration for quicker acceleration with less pedal travel, the ZL1 makes the throttle-pedal mapping less aggressive to allow for finer modulation.

“Rather than focus on reducing drag to, say, hit 200 mph, the ZL1 team aimed to maximize high-speed stability with downforce. The hood extractor, front splitter, and rear spoiler create enough downforce to eliminate lift as the ZL1 nears its top speed of 184 mph.”

On a 2.75-mile road course at Inde Motorsports Ranch, twenty-one turns make the case for the ZL1. We expected the intoxicating effect of more power and assumed there would be significantly improved body control, but we were skeptical that the ZL1 would revolutionize the way the Camaro handles. In fact, it does.

“The fast, balanced steering of the ZL1 is much more confidence-inspiring than the Camaro SS’s hydraulic power steering. The effort, the damping, and the return are tuned for a perfectly natural weight, but the electric rack does filter out most of the front-end feel. That’s even more true when compared with the Corvette, which boasts an equally quick rack with a robust hydraulic assist. While both cars deliver satisfying shifts, the Camaro’s shorter, snappier throws are more inviting than the Corvette’s longer shifts.”

From Autoweek.com:

“Packaging in the Camaro allows better intake and exhaust flow, with a 30 percent reduction in flow restriction compared with the CTS-V.”

“Its shifter was developed by Chevrolet, using slightly longer throws than the Hurst package in the Camaro SS, and was optimized for a road course rather than drag racing.”

“The ultimate Camaro also offers something you can’t get in a Mustang GT500 or Boss 302: an automatic transmission… There’s another technology in the ZL1 that you can’t get in a Mustang, and it’s significant. GM’s Magnetic Ride Suspension (MRS), now applied in supercars such as the Audi R8 and the Ferrari FF, has been upgraded for the ZL1. The Gen III MRS gets a faster processor and four smaller magnets in each shock, rather than two larger ones. The objective is quicker reaction time.”

The ZL1 comes standard with track stuff you don’t get on a GT500, including a transmission cooler, differential cooler and brake-cooling ducts, and its aerodynamics have been optimized for high speed.

“Chevy says development included a 24-hour, high-speed flog at GM’s proving ground in Milford, Mich., with a 150-mph-plus top speed each lap and an average of 88 mph, stopping only to change tires and brakes.

Here’s Car and Driver’s review. It’s my favorite one of the bunch:

“It features GM’s second-most-powerful engine: With 580 horsepower, it’s behind only  the truly absurd, 638-hp Corvette ZR1. No surprise that during its development it was known simply as the “HP.” And it carries the most sophisticated adjustable dampers and stability-control system any amount of money can buy. For this, GM asks a base price of $56,295, which includes a $1300 gas-guzzler tax; all the go-fast parts are standard issue.”

The ZL1 is not your old-school, all-ate-up-with-motor muscle car, although its name derives from such a vehicle. It is built with the GM Performance Division mantra of  “go, stop, and turn” in mind. Track ability was always part of the HP program from back when everyone assumed the car would be called the Z28.”

“Get everything right, and the ZL1 hits 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and passes 1320 feet in 12.3 seconds at 119 mph—or better, as the cold and dusty track at Inde was less than ideal for acceleration runs. Few cars costing less than $60,000 can claim such feats. And the ZL1 sounds angry, with a throaty bass-boat rumble backed by a faint supercharger whine. The V-8 fires up with a roar, and the exhaust crackles when you back out of  full throttle.”

“Starker is the transformation of the ZL1’s handling characteristics from those of a stock SS. In the latter, the driver is always fighting the car—it understeers on turn-in and oversteers on corner exit, all served up with a healthy dollop of body roll. The ZL1 does exactly what you want all the time, with no surprises. Front grip is tenacious enough that you actually get a sense of the tires biting in as you turn the wheel. Power comes in so creamily and with such linearity that it’s easy to forget you’re driving a 580-hp car. The brake pedal feels solid but still offers enough travel for smooth application, and it shows no fade. The ZL1 goes around the track with a composure that would shock many BMW M3 fans.” (Comparisons to an M3 are huge praise from C/D who are famous for their love of the BMW M-Series vehicles)

“We saw 0.98 g on a dusty skidpad (did we mention Tucson is in the desert?). This is supercar territory.

Each body alteration either improves cooling or reduces lift. Or, in the case of the bulging center section of the hood, which is made of carbon fiber (and covered in clear-coat paint for an additional $600), both.”

“Should you wish to save some fuel, or suffer a fit of social responsibility, you can comfortably drive the ZL1 gently, but that seems contradictory to the car’s whole mission. Isn’t 580 horsepower supposed to be—and feel—ludicrous?

“What’s crazy is that the ZL1 is not crazy; it’s comfortable and easy to drive. With the ZL1, General Motors has made the Camaro into a true GT car—daily driver, long-range missile, and track-day special all in one. “

For the purposes of their review, MotorTrend ran the Camaro up against the fastest production Mustang available right now, the Boss 302:

“For 2012, Chevy aims to redefine the ponycar completely in one electronically optimized fell swoop. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 takes the once-simple formula for all-American performance and reworks it into a recipe for a modern cyborg warhorse. Literally leaning on suspension technology originally developed for Cadillacs and Corvettes, the Camaro achieves better-than-Boss levels of handling with the highway ride quality of a CTS-V.”

“With professional racer Randy Pobst behind the wheel, the ZL1 laps the 2.2-mile Inde Motorsports Ranch circuit 2.45 seconds faster than the Boss. That’s huge.

The Camaro felt far more composed on the track than the Mustang. “I can put this thing right where I want it!” barked Randy as he slid the car around with one hand. Although heavier than the Mustang, the ZL1 still changes direction easily and is capable of pulling higher g-forces mid-corner. The constantly variable damping rates make the Camaro feel as though its tires sink into the track. Bumps that shook the Boss simply disappeared and never upset the ZL1. More important, more of the track became usable since curbing wouldn’t throw the Camaro into a tailspin.”

“The Camaro clearly came out on top of this fight. Although the Boss 302 is probably the best Mustang ever built, it just feels and performs like it’s a generation behind. Randy summed it up: “The Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca was my favorite American musclecar — until today.” It isn’t the lack of power; it isn’t the lack of amenities. It’s simply a lack of technology.

Popular Mechanics did what they do best in their review (which is to say offer solid information in an annoying slideshow format whose embedding stopped functioning for me on slide 4 of 7 and required reloading and starting over at slide 1. We should be past this slideshow format in web journalism, guys!):

“The ZL1′s headline-grabbing figure is 580 hp, which, admittedly, is an addictive amount of giddyup to have under your right foot. But focusing solely on the power overlooks the fact the ZL1 is probably the first Camaro in history that turns better than it sprints.”

“Depending on the driver’s skill, PTM can make the ludicrously quick ZL1 feel somewhat safe when pushing the car to its limits.” (Never underestimate how important driver confidence is to performance and lap times.)

“Approaching a gentle but very fast right-hand kink at Arizona’s Inde Motorsports Ranch, we cut the corner just a touch too tightly, dropping the right-side wheels into a hole next to the track surface. Running at 100 mph, that’s the sort of mistake that can turn ugly in an instant. The ZL1, however, bounced out of the hole, immediately regained composure, and carried on as if we’d driven perfectly. That’s the kind of forgiving nature that’s rare in a car as fast as the ZL1. “

We’d be just as happy to pilot the ZL1 on a mountain road or road course as we would on a drag strip.

“Many onlookers will focus on this horsepower war, but that misses the point of the ZL1. While we’ve always appreciated the style and, of course, the power of previous Camaros, the ZL1 is the first one that we actually want to drive. And for all it delivers, the asking price is a bargain.”

Jalopnik’s review begin feeling almost bitter and grumpy, but it quickly got very positive in favor of the Camaro ZL1:

“The ZL1 itself gives me my first scare a couple of laps in as I come around the 180-degree turn that empties onto the straight. I’ve decided the tires—and my abilities—are as warmed up as they’re going to get. Gunning it on the straight to catch up to the Bondurant race instructor playing leader in a Camaro SS, the ZL1′s tremendous torque pitches the back end of the car back and forth over the width of the drag racing road surface. The sensors that send information to the PTM system are doing a full reading roughly about every inch, so within a quarter-of-a-second the relatively timid Mode 2 has set the ZL1′s fishtail back on a straight line and I’m at 100 MPH with no tail flash in sight.
I’d modulated the throttle when the back end started getting squirmy because that’s what one does when getting a lot of unwanted wheel slip. But according to the Camaro’s engineers, I didn’t have to. In fact, had I kept the throttle smashed to the floor, the car would have still done what was necessary to keep the ZL1 from spinning out into a wall.

You’d have to really hate cars not to enjoy throwing a ZL1 around a track.

That is the ZL1 in a nutshell: an incredible, frighting behemoth of a car, entirely too powerful for its own good, but reined in by clever engineer-wranglers who have worked very hard to allow even terrible drivers to keep themselves safe.

“You can’t ever grade over the rough disappointments of youth, but you can leave them behind. And with cars as mad and indignant as the Camaro ZL1, you can sure as hell make an adulthood worth remembering.

The reviewer for MotorAuthority absolutely loved the Camaro ZL1 and gave it my favorite comparison of all the reviews–a 2012 Porsche 911:

“I realized, while mentally re-visualizing the last set of laps, that from turn-in to apex, under fast entry speeds with a fair amount of trail brake, the ZL1 felt, acted, and moved almost exactly like the 2012 911 did under similar circumstances.”

“Wait for the lights, step off the clutch, and WHAM! it’s off, scrabbling and chirping down the 60-foot, making the most of the tsunami of torque-producing atmosphere being crammed down the gullet of the V-8 engine by the supercharger.”

“It’s not that the ZL1 isn’t really, really good on a road course. Its 7:41 Nurburgring time says it is, as does my own first-hand experience. It’s even outfitted from the factory with transmission and differential coolers–bits the ZL1′s main rival, the Ford Shelby GT500, makes optional add-ons.”

The ZL1 is a true driver’s car, and regardless of its ultimate pace in comparison with sports cars or supercars in its price, power, or performance categories, it delivers an experience that, at times, is on par with the very best of them.”

So, there you have it. Six of the world’s biggest automotive publications have great great things to say about the Camaro ZL1. Anyone else as excited as I am to get behind the wheel of one and see for themselves?

GM to Focus on Chevrolet, and the Camaro, for Superbowl Marketing

Typically GM buys a few Superbowl ad spots and distributes them amongst their various vehicle lines(even though they took a 2-year hiatus during the economic recession while they rebuilt their company’s economic standings), but this year the Chevrolet will be their only focus. Chevrolet has purchased five 30-second commercial spots during the big game (and an additional 30 second post-game spot), and will use that time to advertise their Cruze, Volt, Silverado HD pick-up truck, and their new Camaro Convertible. As for what these commercials will be is still a mystery, as Chevrolet has not followed the suit of some competitors who have begun sharing their Super Bowl ads on websites like Youtube. Being the biggest marketing stage in the country (and, arguably, the globe), you can be certain that new advertisements are being made for each of the vehicles to highlight their most desirable aspects. In addition to these commercials, Chevrolet has also put together a deal with the Super Bowl itself, and will be handing over the keys to a brand new Camaro Convertible to the MVP of the big game.

This specific advertisement spot, the Super Bowl MVP gift, may be an even bigger deal than the commercials, honestly. The commercials have to be fantastic to really stand out from the Super Bowl crowd–which will be littered with other vehicles, as well snack foods, paper products, website services, and other items–but by giving the keys to the Super Bowl MVP, Chevrolet is allowing the Camaro Convertible to stand alone, separate from the crowd, and be judged less on the commercial and more on the beauty of the vehicle. Also, knowing that the Super Bowl MVP will be driving a Camaro will certainly raise interest towards it among that team’s fanbase, who will undoubtedly view either that Steeler or Packer as a bit of a hero.

Of course, the decision to advertise Chevy products only (and ignore Cadillac, Buick, and GM) is the most interesting aspect of this entire deal. It makes business sense, as Chevrolet makes up over 70% of GM sales, but also leaves some of the company’s most desirable vehicles (most notably, for me at least, the Cadillac CTS-V) out of the lurch. While the majority of the Cadillac, Buick, and GM line-up lacks the press and popularity that really necessitate a Super Bowl ad spot, a few of their vehicles could really benefit from such, especially again the CTS-V which has gotten lots of press for its style, luxury, and incredible performance. Whatever the case, GM is approaching the Super Bowl with a renewed excitement after their hiatus away from it (a hiatus that broke up a 15-year run of Super Bowl advertisement), and you should expect the Camaro Convertible to compete against the Budweiser Clydesdales, Doritos snack explosions, Hyundai sheep, GoDaddy’s half naked women, and others for being amongst the big events most memorable commercials.

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

Camaro Officially Outsells The Mustang in 2010- Ends Ford’s 24 Year Reign Atop the Pony Car Market

For close to a quarter-century Ford has maintained a stronghold on the American Pony Car market with its Mustang, but 2010 was the year that all changed. In the first full year of sales for the Camaro revival, the Mustang was unseated from its throne.

In 2010, the Camaro sold 81,299 to the Mustang’s 73,716. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not only a victory, but a solid one at that. Of course, neither vehicle was ultimately hurting, as each saw their sales increase from the year prior. The Camaro by an impressive 32%, and the Mustang by 11%. This should not come as any news, however, as the Pony Car race has bolstered, and even been a large part of the revitalization of the American automotive industry. This is surprising, as it comes at a time when lawmakers are trying to push the American public towards the antithesis of the Pony Car-smaller, more fuel efficient, less powerful vehicles, like the Chevy Volt.

Of course, Ford contributes their loss in the sales race to the fact that this was the first full year of sales for the Camaro. This accreditation lacks the foresight of the fact that the Camaro performed this impressive feat with basically only two models on sale. The Mustang, however, had 7 vehicle models in its line-up. With the release of the Camaro and Camaro SS Convertibles this year, as well as the Z28 in the near future, one might speculate (with relative safety) that the Camaro will begin a new reign atop the vehicles sales race in their class. Further proof towards this are the numerous accolades and awards that have been bestowed upon the Camaro since its release. Whatever the case may be, 2010 was a great year not just for the Camaro, but for American Pony Cars in general, and the future only looks like it will be even brighter.

Camaro Outselles Mustang for 2010

Stevenson Camaros Take 1st and 2nd at Final Grand-Am GT Race of Year

The Stevenson Camaro racing team had slowly improved all season. Race by race their performances improved, including a couple top 3 finishes and a pole in early races. All season though, a victory had eluded the premiere Camaro racing team. All season, until Saturday that is. On Saturday, 9/11, Stevenson Camaro showed just how much promise the 5th Generation Camaro has a racing-performance car by taking both 1st and 2nd place at the Grand-Am Rolex Utah Race.

Taking first is always impressive and taking second is never something to scoff at, but for a team to take both first and second with two of the same car, that’s simply incredible. A great high-note to end the Grand-Am GT season, and a huge boost for the Stevenson Camaro team looking forward to next year’s race season. Congrats Stevenson and congrats Camaro, this is a great sign of things to come.

SpeedTV even posted the last lap of the race online, so you can watch these two Stevenson Camaros in all of their glory:

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