A Chevrolet Dealer-Built New Camaro SS - Bringing Back The Good Ol' Days

Dealer-Built Muscle Is Still Available

Jerry Heasley Apr 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0204_01_z Dealer_built_ss_camaro Action_shot 1/2

Dennis Barker is like a lot of us. He just plain likes Camaros, especially if they have big gobs of torque and horsepower. Working as fleet sales manager at Berger Chevrolet in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dennis was in the right place at the right time to create a very special Camaro SS.

Dennis filled us in on the making of these new dealer-built musclecars. "I bought a new '99 SS Camaro and started going to Camaro events. Because we had a 75th anniversary coming up, I got with Scott Settlemeyer, the assistant brand manager for Camaro, and talked with him about giving us a special allocation if we would build a special SS Camaro."

Scott was certainly interested. "Chevrolet agreed they would go along with the project. So I took the whole deal to Matt Berger. He looked it all over and approved the deal." To do the job, Berger contacted Matt Murphy at "GMMG" in Marietta, Georgia. In 2000, Berger ordered and sold 30 SS Camaros in an even hotter Berger SS series.

"The '00 Berger SS was a similar package to the current '02 except it had 75th anniversary emblems as opposed to 'Prescribed Power' emblems. We made moderate changes from 2000 to 2001, and we made wheel changes for 2002." Production totaled 27 in 2001 and for 2002 Berger's plan is to do 43, bringing the total for the three model years to exactly 100.

Berger debuted their '02 at the 35th F-Body Birthday Celebration held September 21-23, 2001, at the National Corvette Museum. Barker glows with appreciation as he talks about the car. "It's got the heritage style stripe package. We designed a new billet front grille with an SS emblem for the car that replaces the regular, plastic SS grille." The functional hood scoop is from SLP.

Berger played up the heritage of their COPO Camaros on the Berger SS by blacking out the rear taillight panel, symbolic of the First-Generation big-block cars. Directly below the SS emblems on the front quarters are "Prescribed Power" decals. We wondered if they were similar to the ones from 1969. "Yes, designed right after it," Barker said. The special, billet, five-spoke wheels, fitted with SS emblems, are built specifically for the Berger cars.

Inside, Berger designed a white-face gauge package and the white and red interior. The cars are numbered in a Berger series of cars. The run of 43 Berger SS Camaros for 2002 will be available in coupe or convertible and in any SS Camaro color-Red, White, Black, Blue, Pewter, Silver, and Sunset Orange Metallic.

Barker explained their goal: "We wanted to build a full package, something fast, something which handled the road very well. We wanted to build a really driveable fast car." With 380 hp on tap and a six-speed manual (no automatics are available), Berger claims quarter-mile numbers of 12.9@109 mph on street tires. For more information contact Berger Chevrolet, 2525 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512; (616) 575-9627.

Berger SS
Package Content:
380hp, 400-lb-ft package
Cat-Back chambered exhaust
All-new, high-flow airbox lid
Progressive e-rate front and rear springs
Special 17x9.5-inch wheels
Dimpled, front and rear, rotors
Dual hood and decklid stripes
Black rear taillight panel
"Prescribed Power by Berger" decal
Chrome "by Berger" rear emblems
Painted body color top hoop
Berger numbered console plaque and key fob
Fitted car cover with Berger SS logo
Horsepower and torque dash plaque
Berger "Prescribed Power" emblems
Camaro SS floor mats
All-new grille with SS emblem
White face gauges with "by Berger" logo
Rearview mirror with compass
Temperature and auto dimmer
Power antenna

Chevrolet factory content:
Equipment group LSD
SS performance appearance package
Power steering cooler
Federal emissions requirements
5.7L small-block V-8
Six-speed manual
Hurst short-throw shifter
275/40ZR17 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires
Leather bucket
Six-way power driver's seat
Acceleration traction control w/resume
Carpeted rear mats floor covering
Sport twin remote electric mirrors
Color-keyed body side moldings
Monsoon AM/FM stereo w/CD player
Power door lock system
Remote keyless entry
Theft-deterrent alarm system

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