2001 Intimidator SS Camaros - The Intimidation Factor

When Dale Earnhardt Sr. Put His Name On A Camaro, Everyone Paid Attention- Even Four-Time NHRA Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin Jr.

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While taking some time between the NHRA Drag Racing series, the Coughlin brothers made it a point to take a shop tour of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) in Mooresville, North Carolina. As luck would have it, their arrival was just one day before the official unveiling of the Intimidator SS Camaro. Steve Crisp offered the Coughlin's a shop tour of the facility. During the special tour, Jeg noticed a garage that had coverings over the windows and inquired with Crisp about the contents of the seemingly "off limits" garage also known as the Deer Head Shop-an exclusive area that isn't part of the normal tour.

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Crisp allowed the Coughlin's in and explained that Dale Sr. was about to unveil the Intimidator SS Camaro project the next day. A quick tutorial on the subject and a peek under the car's black cover revealed the Dale Earnhardt-designed 2000 prototype. This instantly grabbed the Coughlin's interest. Enough so that they both laid down deposits on the limited-run hot rods then and there-the first to do so. But instead of ordering car numbers 1 and 2, both drag racers chose their NHRA competition numbers: Mike #28 and Jeg Jr. #25.

As a unique feature, each Intimidator SS would carry Dale Earnhardt's personal signature on the new silver dash face. Unfortunately, only 33 of the gauges were signed before Dale's untimely death at Daytona in 2001. This meant that out of the 83 '01 Intimidator SS Camaros, 51 were left unsigned. Fortunately, having ordered their Camaros early on, both of the Coughlin cars came with the personally autographed dash face. The only difference between Jeg and Mike's Intimidator Camaros: Jeg ordered the T-top and Mike the hardtop. In fact, you could only order your Intimidator SS with two options: T-tops and traction control.

When we arrived to photograph Jeg's car, it only had 316 miles on the clock, so it's safe to say he values the car from the standpoint of collectability. Mike tells us, "My Intimidator SS comes out twice a year: Once during the Daytona 500, and again on Dale Sr.'s birthday."

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The Coughlin brothers couldn't be happier with their very special fourth-gens. With a performance-enhanced LS1 that belts out 381 hp, it's easy to understand why.

The GMMG chambered exhaust delivers a wicked tone and reaps the benefits of increased air velocity from the high-flow carbon-fiber airbox lid and black MAF sensor ends.

The six-speed manual transmission is treated to a Dale Earnhardt Short Throw Shifter, while a posi rearend accommodates the 3.73 cogs and ensures the Camaro stays glued to the boulevard even in a moment of unavoidable illicit street behavior. You never know when an unsuspecting Ford Mustang might provoke.

The interior plays home to a race-inspired theme that pays tribute to Dale's NASCAR Winston Cup Monte Carlo SS via the silver-faced dash and white Hurst shifter knob. The seats and floor mats are dressed with the embroidered Intimidator SS logo. While the numbered console plaque provides the car number, the dash plaque indicates the horsepower and torque numbers-a stealthy reminder that this car means business. They're all subtle touches that make no attempt to overpower the roots of the early Camaro's initial design plan.

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The exterior reeks of the Intimidator badness with deep, black pigment poured throughout, and a stinger deck stripe amassed in gray for added "sass" on the otherwise ordinary SS hood. It's a direct tribute to Dale's friend, Jon Moss, and the GM prototype ZL1, also adorned in black with a gray hood/deck stripe. To keep the retro theme going, Dale tied in the vintage Trans-Am style of the late '60s, by incorporating the aforementioned 17x9 Magnetallic Gray five-spoke American 200S wheels on all four corners.




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