Check It OutIt's new, it's fresh, and we dig it. If you hadn't already taken notice, we've pushed off our news department and replaced it with CHP Garage. Rather than bore you to death with mediocre news bits, we've integrated your letters with news items you can relate to, book reviews, and the latest thoughts and happenings on the Internet-think of it as a graffiti wall of sorts. You'll even get to read monthly scribbles from staffers Bob Mehlhoff and John Nelson. Quite frankly, don't miss out on Nelson's first rambling. It's not only entertaining, but it proves we're only human too. Keep in mind that this is also your place to rant. See something cool on the streets or have interesting news items that just won't fit in another department-this is the place for it. Send all e-mail and images to firstname.lastname@example.org. -Henry D.
In the May '06 issue we showcased the new Camaro Concept and asked you to submit letters regarding your personal opinion. Since then, we've been receiving them at a steady pace and decided to share a few. We're still planning to send the letters to GM, so keep them coming at email@example.com. -HD
I've seen photos of the new Camaro since October 2005. I've been writing GM every month telling them they should build this car and give it an affordable price tag. Not $30,000-plus, but in the mid-$20K range, and it'll sell like hotcakes. I'm 56 years young and would like to see the new Camaro on the streets again. Anyways, tell GM (which I retired from) to build the Camaro and we will buy it.Daryl BrooksPrescott, Michigan
I'm 32 years old and have owned a '69 SS Camaro, a '75 Pro Street Camaro, and now I own a '99 Z28. I love everything about the new Camaro, and my wife and I plan on purchasing one, assuming GM decides to build them. I would like to think I will be able to special-order one with specific options. Also, I hope they plan on building a convertible, especially since my wife has been wanting another one, and nothing would make me happier than for it to be a Camaro. The car also needs to compete with the new Mustang-I mean in price, not performance. After all, we all know the Camaro will outperform the Rustang. Thanks for listening, GM, and we hope to see you at the dealership soon. Thank you from a loyal Camaro ownerA.J. Fowlkes Chapin, South Carolina
Build it and we will buy it. It's the perfect mix of nostalgia and leading-edge technology. I'm already making room for it in my garage.Ralph WhiteSpring, Texas
Like you, I would also welcome the return of the Camaro. I haven't been in a GM dealer's showroom since 2002. Parts counter, yes; showroom, no. I'll soon be in the market for another Camaro to add to my stable of three: a '73 LT, an '84 Z28, and a '98 SS. Recent news out of GM and a pessimistic outlook lead me to believe I'll have a '69 in my driveway before GM has the production molds for a new Camaro in their hands. Nonetheless, I still hold out hope that the car gets into production. When it does, I hope GM will give us a lot of ways to truly individualize our car. Break those pesky option packages into smaller bits. Some of those options should include classic striping, and bring back the old COPO-style radio delete, get'r-done, go-fast cars. There should also be a version for drag racers, autocrossers, and road racers, which would go further to promote the car than any form of conventional advertising.Roger BrendeckeVia e-mail
I have to tell you, I was pissed at GM for stopping production of the Camaro. So much that I went to Chrysler twice. (You hear that, GM? Twice.) I refused to get a Ford.
I kept my fourth-gen Z and first-gen '69 coupe-they'll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. Vettes are too expensive and too darn preppy; I prefer the get-down-and-dirty not-so-civilized performance from a Camaro. They never let me down.
As far as the new Camaro is concerned, right now I am willing to forgive and forget. I like the ominously cold, you-shouldn't-have-messed-with-me stare from the taillights. I might make the front rectangular grille spacing a little smaller, more like the '69. Provide a cold-air induction, and I'd surely have a check box for a 427ci powerplant and a six-speed manual tranny. C'mon boys, it can be done. Make sure you put in a switch to disable the 8-6-4 economy stuff. Make plenty of room for the wide meats in the back too! The Camaro is a fighter-let it come back with a vengeance!
Oh, yes, where do I place my order? It's OK to have three Camaros, right?RobDracut, Massachusetts
You can never own enough Camaros, Rob. Executive editor Terry McGean over at our sister pub Car Craft owned two '67s and a '69 at one point. We're trying to pry the remaining '67 from him, but he won't part with it.
I wouldn't change anything on the new Camaro; however, I would offer stripes as an option on the Z28, similar to those on the '69 Z28. If the General prices this car right, it will be as popular as the first-generation Camaro. In 1967 my wife and I purchased a new Rally Sport convertible and a '67 Impala SS hardtop. The Camaro was priced comparably with the Impala-less expensive, actually. That's the kind of pricing structure it will take to sell a lot of these cars. If it is overpriced, it will end up like the SSR, cancelled shortly after introduction.
I've owned 20 new Chevys and currently have an '05 Impala, an '04 Blazer, a '96 Z28 (summer-only car), and a '34 Ford coupe (Chevy-powered). I'm ready to place an order as soon as the car goes into production, if it is priced fairly.
Nice to see The General getting back on track.J. M. WeidnerVia e-mail
I don't write anyone regarding cars, repairs, or mods. I do, however, feel it is my duty as a lover of Camaros and current owner of an immaculate all-black '02 SS to voice my opinion in hopes someone at GM will hear my pleas to build this gorgeous new car. We have waited too long for GM to show us this new beauty (four years is an eternity for us die-hards). Words can't describe how I felt when I laid eyes on the pix of the new Camaro Concept. It was near perfect. It wasn't a replica of the old, but didn't stray far from it either.
The nose looked like it came from a Cadillac. That's not to say it looked bad, it just looked like it kind of doesn't belong with the rest of the car. GM needs to offer up a stronger-performing engine. I won't complain with the LS2, but Dodge will have the Hemi 420hp Challenger. I believe I'll check the box for the 505hp LS7! Keep the wheels the same size as they are now (21s and 22s). Don't change a thing on the exterior. Offer up some colors for that translucent orange-colored wraparound dash thing. What is that anyway?
I doubt it will ever be offered, but how about the T-top? That's one thing on my current Camaro I would hate to give up. And no, I will never own a convertible. I just don't like them. GM should also consider adding as standard the rearview mirror with the garage door opener, direction heading, and temperature gauge. That might seem petty, but it's old technology by now and should have been offered a long time ago. There are other options I would like to see, but all I really want is what everyone else wants: a newer, better, faster, wider, cleaner, higher-gas-mileage, better-handling, badass Camaro. Tell GM to build what they unveiled and not to worry and I promise you it will sell. And to help keep that promise to GM, I am saying right now that I truly hope I will be the first in San Antonio to own the new Camaro. Until then, I'll be dreaming of my new baby.Douglas IdenSan Antonio, Texas
I have owned a '68 Camaro for 20 years, which I bought from the original owner. I also just bought a new car yesterday, and it is sad because if the new Camaro was out right now I could have bought it instead of giving my $40,000 to another marque.
I've been a die-hard Chevy man since the '70s, and it is a real shame that Chevy killed off the Camaro, but the good news is that the people like me who have been craving a new Camaro will finally see their dream come true.
My only request is that they try to keep the car as retro as possible. At first I was disappointed with the design, as the Challenger and the Mustang offer a far more retro approach, but I am now warming up to the new design a little. Don't get me wrong; I'd buy one in a heartbeat given the chance, but If I had anything to do with the new design I would at the very least use the '69-style rear taillight design and try to keep the rear quarters a little more like the first-gen. I find the rear end looks too much like the Corvette. I would also change the dash and the center console to look a little more like the '69. There are hints there, but the details and forms should be more pronounced and obvious. I think Chevy is moving in the right direction with the styling cues, but it's the right ones in the right places that will truly satisfy the Old Guard and the up-and-comers alike. I think they are close, and the right tweaks here and there will be the difference between meeting target sales and falling short (whatever those target numbers are).
Overall, I think where manufacturers fail in the retro arena (e.g., the Thunderbird and the GTO) is when they reintroduce or continue models that have little more than names in common with their predecessors. Obviously the new Camaro has taken many styling cues from the first-gen, but my advice to the designers overall would be, "When in doubt, go retro."Mike PriceVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
I was extremely disappointed when Chevy discontinued one of the greatest musclecars in history. When I heard the buzz of a possible comeback, I jumped at the opportunity to go see the it. I attended the Kansas City 2006 Auto Show, where they had the new Concept Camaro on display, and I was amazed with what Chevy had done. It is the most beautiful car I have ever seen, and to know it's a possible production car is very exciting. I can't really say there is a lot that I would change about the car; my only suggestions would be ample headroom front and back, rear-seat legroom for at least 6-footers, a decent V-6 engine with standard 250-300 hp, and more options for power, handling, and specialized SS packages that really mean something for the extra money, la the Z06. With an SS version, I can guarantee I would be one of the first in line to buy. The truth of the matter is when Chevy discontinued the production of the Camaro, it was as if they were giving up on the battle with their competition. They were forcing the loyal Chevy customers into the hands of Ford Mustang, Chrysler/Dodge 300 and Charger, Nissan 350Z, and even BMW and Lexus. The Camaro was a moderately priced performance car that hard-working, blue-collar Americans could be proud to own, and Chevy turned its back on us. Then it became a choice of purchasing a Mustang or an import, which I can't bring myself to do.
Sure, Chevy has the Corvette, but not everyone can afford to lay down that kind of cash for a performance car and it still wouldn't be a Camaro. I would love to own a Corvette myself, but reality tells me the closest I will ever get was having my picture taken in one at the auto show. It's truly a do-or-die moment for Chevy. Either bring back the Camaro or continue to lose customers to the competition.Robert AmbroseVia e-mail
Have something you want to share? Did we do good or did we blow it? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young GunsBrittany Lippold's fourth-gen Camaro packs a punch with its K&N air filter and five forward gears. Cumberland, Maryland, is where Brittany calls home and where you can find her cruising her jet-black Camaro through town. She tells us she recently put her girlfriend's Mustang deep in her rearview mirror. Those driving skills were learned at the wheel of her boyfriend's LS1-powered '98 Z28 on U to the 2. Sounds like Brittany enjoys keeping with fast company. -BM
Stick It!This is your chance to show us your Chevy High. We know you're sporting the CHP logo somewhere-probably on your car-but hey, creativity counts! Snap a photo and e-mail it to us at email@example.com. If we dig it, we'll publish it right here in the Garage
Need a sticker? Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Chevy High Performance, Attn: Stickers, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Shots Heard 'round the WorldThe Latest Ramblings From The Net
Maybe those of you who work for or have connections at GM can shed some light on the subject. Rumor is that Toyota is going to or talking about buying GM out.Roddr1968lateral-g.net
Dynacorm seems to think they can recreate an entire body shell!jtjohnstonchevelles.com
I posted a few months ago about my Z71 and everything was going fine until I came on here bragging [about hitting 315k miles].mason1hchevyhiperformance.com
The Power Of The MediaA recent story in the Detroit News stated that both Toyota and Honda have been boosting their horsepower numbers on some models ("Toyota, Honda Must Fess Up to Less Vroom," March 13, 2006 ). It turns out that with the auto industry's new SAE certified horsepower testing program (test procedure J2723 in effect), Toyota and Honda lowered published ratings on some engines that are virtually unchanged from last year. The lowered ratings for '06 range from a 4 to 20 horsepower drop from the '05 figures. And while this occurs, U.S. automakers generally publish horsepower ratings at or below the actual readings.
After reading this story I was reminded of a friend of mine who a few years ago bought a Toyota SUV after looking at many domestics. The day after his purchase he called me at the office to tell me that one of the reasons he decided to buy his Toyota over a GM product was because the Toyota had a slighty higher horsepower rating. Then, months later, he bought a ski boat and complained that his Toyota struggled at full-throttle towing on grades. In essence he made a buying decision based on erroneous information that he did not even question.
After the Detroit News story ran I looked for other reports. In Southern California I watched the local newspapers, news stations, and the 24/7 cable networks. I also looked on several news sites online. Guess what? I didn't find any coverage.
I can't help but wonder that if domestic automakers (especially GM) advertised higher than actual horsepower numbers how frequently we would be overpowered with widespread front-page news coverage. -BM
For SpeedThis January I spent three days in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Barrett-Jackson auction. For any car guy-or someone with even a passing interest in cars-the show is beyond exciting. Unlike watching it on TV, standing there, hearing the crowd, walking the aisles, and smelling the exhaust is an experience that exceeds expectation. Besides the endless rows of over 1,500 cars waiting to hit the auction block are the sellers, buyers, and general public who come out to witness this phenomenon. Sure, some say the auction is not reality and the prices are beyond the cars' true value. But for the most part, the cars are stellar examples from years gone by. For those with the credentials to buy, it's definitely a fun way to spend three days and find your dream car.
The auction does more than command some high numbers. It seriously puts the entire musclecar movement into a spot it never would have arrived at. The media coverage, daily newspaper stories, and conversations the auction generates are countless. One of my favorite post-auction experiences was telling my Volvo-driving neighbor that a '70 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 convertible (although he didn't know what that was) had sold for over $1 million and then watching the look on his face as he processed this. I think he left my front yard thinking the '76 four-door Chevy Nova he drove in college would have been worth a lot of money today.
For some there is the amazement, confusion, and doubt-then there are the few who just get angry. You know, the PC type who still believes that all musclecars should have been crushed in the '70s to save the planet-now the fact that these cars have lived on to invigorate the economy is just troubling.
But for most folks it's fun to talk about the cars, the people who attend, and the latest prices. Perhaps it has motivated someone to pull that old car out of the far side of the garage, give it a three-month restoration, and have fun driving it again. And although it may not mean that a big-block-converted '72 Camaro will command six figures, it surely makes a fair contribution to keeping the musclecar hobby alive. I can hardly wait for next year.
Who is That?Want some cool Chevy High Performance paraphernalia? The first reader to correctly put a name to the face on page 24 will get what we're calling the CHP Package. Actually, count on a couple stickers, a license plate, and whatever else we can dig up. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers. -HD
Pod What?We here at Chevy High Performance try to provide F-body owners with all the info they need for their vehicles, but when you don't have a copy of our rag handy, reach for your iPod, because camaroz28.com provides weekly podcasts you can download through iTunes and take with you. As the popularity of podcasts grows, so will the content, so get on board. -DC
Book Learnin'"Without a doubt, camshafts and the engine valvetrain are the most misunderstood areas of engine performance and have been for a long time." Author Graham Hansen makes this sweeping understatement on the back cover of his new S-A Design book, High-Performance Chevy Small-Block Cams & Valvetrains, and then does his best to demystify this critical area. For the most part, he succeeds. Working from the premise that a camshaft predetermines the torque and horsepower curve before an engine even fires, Hansen goes on to suggest that enthusiasts take a "broader, two-dimensional approach to power that asks both 'How high?' and 'How wide?'" This common-sense viewpoint underlies the entire book, making it a valuable source of info.
The "Camshaft Basics" chapter alone is worth the price of admission. Hansen's explanations of lobe centerlines, advance and retard, and especially overlap are user-friendly and enlightening. His discussion of roller cams is also well worth the read, extolling the virtues of the popular hydraulic setup without dismissing the advantages of a mechanical roller or even a flat-tappet 'stick. There are also at least five chapters covering the balance of the valvetrain, and these are equally valuable. (The section on selecting and properly installing rocker arms is key.) Hansen includes a pair of chapters on how to choose a cam, a more esoteric section on "Valvetrain Dynamics," and a rundown on matching cams and heads that will give builders plenty to think about.
Hansen concludes this well-rounded volume with a series of dyno tests that illustrate the characteristics of various cams in several popular engine configurations. We have to admit that the material on degreeing a cam left us scratching our head a bit, but this may be our hang-up. Other than that, this book is full of solid, well-grounded info for the performance engine builder. We'll be referring to it frequently in the future. High-Performance Chevy Small-Block Cams & Valvetrains (ISBN 1-932494-08-01) by Graham Hansen is available from CarTech Inc.; 800.551.4754; cartechbooks.com. -JN
OversteerWe walk a fine line here at CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE. We want to bring you the cold, hard facts of performance. We want to tell you why something works and give you the equations and measurements to back it up. On the other hand, this is also a hobby of passion. Sometimes mere numbers don't tell the whole story. For that matter, sometimes mere words don't tell the story. Sometimes we come up a bit short, no matter how much we try to convey the adrenaline-inducing experiences we encounter-all in the line of duty, of course. Yeah, right. An obligation to fill pages every month can't explain everything, but sometimes we have trouble conveying that to you. OK-by "we" I mean me. It comes down to this: There's something about a Z06 that makes me come unhinged.
How unhinged? I confess I've gotten a ticket every time I've driven a Z06 on a public road. Number one: exhibition of speed and power. Duh! Isn't that what the thing is for? And how was I to know it would do a burnout with the traction control on? Some might have learned their lesson after being busted in front of a big Corvette show. Then again, some might proceed to level two, speeding at 96 mph. Come on-in Sixth it's not even showing two grand! And then there's three, speeding at over 100 mph and getting one's license suspended. But officer, I'm testing for CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE magazine... OK, where do I sign? Sounds insane, doesn't it? And that's the point-it is insane! Rational thought has nothing to do with it. Put me behind the wheel of a Z06, and all sense of reality disappears. Jekyll takes a holiday; Hyde decides to see if the new Z06 really needs a 200-mph speedometer. (And baby, it really does!)
Don't get me wrong. I'm not particularly proud of these lapses of judgment. The consequences could have been beyond bad. I'm hopeful that I will grow up and develop some common sense...or build an open-track car to keep my act off the public byways. On the other hand, these fits of Z06 insanity carry a strange attraction to this day. Is it just me, or is there something irresistibly compelling about the times the inner maniac takes over? So now you know-we occasionally lose it too.