Every year, we here at Camaro Performers magazine look forward to putting together the February issue. It's the one time we get to revisit each and every Camaro featured in these pages from the previous year. We then compile a list of the top 20 Camaros based not only on the editorial staff's choices, but this year, for the first time, we are using input from our readers and Facebook followers. We then painstakingly whittled it down to the best 11 and called it good. Now we didn't blatantly ask which Camaros you felt should make our list, but we took into account the feedback we received from your emails and Facebook likes and comments.
One thing to keep in mind is that the top Camaros were not chosen based on how much money was spent on building the car, but a number of other factors came into consideration - craftsmanship and build quality, horsepower rating, and how much the owner drives the car are all taken into account. But the major decision-making factor boils down to how cool the car looks. Of course, compiling a "Best of" list is subjective, so your ideas of what makes a Camaro cool may differ from ours. And we want to hear about it, so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or head on over to either facebook.com/camaroperformers or twitter.com/camaroperform to post your comments.
So with the ground rules somewhat laid out, here are the best Camaros from 2012.
Issue: February 2012
Car: 1969 Z/28 Camaro
Owner: Derek Trulson
Photos: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Oftentimes, Camaro owners go well beyond the call of duty when performing a period-correct restoration, and they’ll do so at any cost. Such was the case when Derek Trulson found this ’69 Z/28. It started out as a somewhat plain Jane example, but Derek wanted to construct a Camaro that could have been built as an extreme Trans-Am track fiend from back in the day. A car that some of those passionate gearheads from GM would have built and sold as a super-hopped-up, out-the-back-door hot rod. Derek took extreme measures to acquire the heavy-duty suspension components and sway bars, and other extra beefy components not everyone knows exist. Although fairly expensive, the cross-ram manifold and correct carbs are still attainable, but Derek’s obsession for building an awesome ’60s skunkworks-style muscle car was carried out to the extent to what you see here.
Between your emails and social media feedback, this car was an easy pick for our Best of list.
Issue: April 2012
Car: 2000 Z28 Camaro
Owner: Scott Massey
Photos: Nick Licata
Hit any dragstrip these days and there’s a good chance you’ll run into quite a few fourth-gens. Some fast, some clean, but the odds somewhat diminish when it comes to finding one that’s just as fast as it is clean. Scott Massey likes his stuff looking good and he prefers to go down the strip quickly. The car is armed with a Nasty Nate’s Performance-built iron-block LS stroked to 4.00 inches and bored 4.005 over for a total of 403 cubic inches. Scott is continually tinkering with his stellar Monterey Maroon F-body, and last we heard the car is running low 9’s in the quarter.
This is one fourth-gen that is well deserving of our Best of issue.
Issue: May 2012
Car: 2010 SS Camaro
Owner: Yancy Johns
Photos: Robert McGaffin/Steven Rupp
Many of you readers might recognize CP/28 as the long-term Camaro Performers magazine fifth-gen project car. We started out with the intention of only doing a few engine and suspension bolt-on upgrades, but we just couldn’t control ourselves and ended up building a blown 416 beast that belts out 651 hp and 660 lb-ft to the tires. We treated the ’10 RS/SS to a Magnuson TVS supercharger, JBA headers and exhaust system, then overhauled the suspension with DSE components, armed it with a Centerforce twin-disc clutch, and bolted up a set of rollers from Boze. We then had Mike Norris of Norris Motorsports tune the thing up and finally let the owner of the car, Yancy Johns, get behind the wheel. Upon releasing the clutch, his initial comments were a bit too coarse to print, but let’s just say he is now having quite a bit of fun with it. You can see the car in action on various episodes of SPEED Channel’s new automotive reality show Are you Faster Than a Redneck? in 2013.
You could say this was our “in-house” pick, but with all the positive email we received on this car, there’s no doubt it’s well deserving of making our Best of issue.
Issue: May 2012
Car: 2002 SS Camaro
Owner: Greg Edwards
Photos: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Greg Edwards first spotted this ’02 Camaro making some stout runs at Byron Dragway, in Byron, Illinois, and was instantly smitten. And once he found out it was totally streetable with low miles and for sale, he was hell-bent on being the next owner. Once in his hands, he had JAMR Racing Engines bore and stroke it up to 396 ci then put some extra life into it with a T76 Turbonetics twin-turbo system set at 27 psi of boost. Now bursting at the seams, the fourth-gen is hammering out about 1,240 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque, good enough for 8.60 e.t.’s at over 165 mph in the quarter. Believe it or not, Greg feels the car has a somewhat “sleeper” look to it. We suppose that’s true until you have a gander under the hood. What lies between the framerails is a dead giveaway that this car means serious business.
Fast cars may be considered “dime a dozen,” but the fact that Greg’s SS is in such immaculate condition, this Sunset Orange Metallic Camaro is absolutely Best of material.
Issue: June 2012
Car: 1970 Camaro
Owner: Dave Leisinger
Photos: Josh Mishler
When talking about purpose-built Camaros for our Best of issue, we’d have to go with this ’70 constructed by the guys at Lakeside Rods and Rides for Dave Leisinger. Dave and his wife, Karen, had this car built with one thing in mind: to kick-ass on the autocross. “The Professor” Warren Johnson had a hand in the engine build, which the Leisinger’s had set back 12 inches for better weight distribution. Belting out a blistering 760 hp should be plenty, if not overkill, for any autocross, but that’s just how the Leisinger’s roll. The car features DSE suspension front and rear and Baer 6S calipers grip 14-inch rotors. Boze Mesh wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis rubber reside on all four corners. Anything but contemporary, the interior features an aluminum scene reminiscent of a 1947 P-47 Thunderbolt fighter. Although the car is built solely for track duty, The Crusher as it’s aptly named, is totally at home in a car show atmosphere.
Yes, it’s that nice, and it’s just the kind of ride that belongs in our Best of issue.
Issue: June 2012
Car: 1980 Z28 Camaro
Owner: Bill Hronis
Photos: Robert McGaffin
We’re always on the prowl for later-model second-gens to feature in the mag, so when we heard about Bill Hronis’ ’80 Z28 street machine from the gang over at G-Force Design Concepts in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, we knew it was Camaro Performers magazine material. It’s the sort of Camaro that just about any muscle car enthusiast can relate to. Its big-block (572ci) reeks of kick-ass “blue collar” horsepower that belts out 850 hp and 700 lb-ft. With its killer stance, 15-year-old paintjob that’s stood the test of time, and aggressive demeanor, this is one Camaro that just can’t be ignored.
So we didn’t. Congratulations to Bill Hronis for making our Best of issue.