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2013 New York Auto Show: Chevrolet rolls out new Camaro Z/28

March 27, 2013|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Designers removed every bit of extra weight they could from the track-ready 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
Designers removed every bit of extra weight they could from the track-ready… (General Motors )

Chevrolet unveiled a restyled 2014 Camaro line at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday and offered a surprise for motor sports enthusiasts by bringing back a track-ready Z/28.

With Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle” pulsating in the background, Mark Reuss, president of GM’s North American operations, took the stage and introduced the Z/28.

“This is not simply a straight-line, 0-60 drag strip car, although you can do that if you want,” Reuss said. “This is a car set up for track perfection, just like the original Z/28.”

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“If you want a street-legal track car this is the car for you. It is the real deal,” Reuss said as he showed off the matte white car with black wheel rims.

It’s not for those looking for creature comforts. It comes only with a six-speed manual transmission. There’s no automatic option. About the only available amenity is air conditioning, and even that isn't standard equipment.

Chevrolet didn’t say how much the Z/28 would cost when it reaches showrooms next year. Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 is currently the most expensive car in the model line on the market. It starts at about $55,000.

To increase speed, Chevrolet jettisoned just about everything that added weight but wasn’t critical. That includes carpeting in the trunk, insulation and every speaker but one. Reuss said drivers still need to be able to hear the seat belt chime, which is required by federal safety regulators.

“Our goal was to get rid of everything that didn’t make the car faster, and keep only what was required by law,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer.

The moves took about 300 pounds out of the car.

The Z/28 has a lightweight, high-revving, 7-liter V-8 engine that produces about 500 horsepower and has high-tech features such as titanium intake valves and connecting rods as well as sodium-filled exhaust valves. Other features include carbon-ceramic brakes and integrated coolers for track use.

"The Z/28 will provide an option for buyers looking for an even more aggressive Camaro to combat Ford and their Shelby lineup," said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at KBB.com. "The Camaro Z/28 is a halo car and won’t sell a high amount of vehicles but brings buyers into the showroom. The Camaro also has the best resale values in its segment."

General Motors Co., which owns Chevrolet, sold about 84,000 Camaros last year. Its main competition is the Ford Mustang, which has sales of 83,000 vehicles in 2012.

Although you wouldn't know it from the new Z/28,  the definition of muscle cars is evolving, said Jeremy Anwyl, vice chairman of auto information company Edmunds.com.

"Cars like the Camaro today are a lot more sophisticated when compared to muscle cars of the past. Yes, they're still high performance vehicles, but they also offer levels of efficiency and refinement that are thoroughly modern," he said. "But despite the way muscle cars have changed, one thing that has stayed the same is that they are uniquely American, and that heritage is the most valuable asset that these cars bring to Detroit's automakers."

All of the 2014 Camaro models, including those with the smaller engines and amenities that will allow drivers to more comfortably use them on their daily commutes, will feature a revised exterior design to improve aerodynamics for more stability at high speeds.

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