While at the International Motor Press Association's annual test days in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago, I ran into fellow CSK Publishing alumnus Jim Koscs. For those not familiar with CSK, it was a small company based in north Jersey that was one of the first niche car magazine publishers. Among it stable of periodicals was MuscleCars, High Performance Pontiac, High Performance Mopar and Vette.
But the magazine it was most notorious for was Cars Illustrated. It was vulgar, irreverent, disturbed, and positively wonderful. It shot from the hip. It took press cars street racing. It had the "Slam of the Month" car feature that ridiculed both feature car and owner--really twisted stuff. Its subscription ad bragged it was "more fun than a letter bomb." It went out of business in the late 1980s (no one would advertise in it and frankly, it scared most people, even the readers).
Nowadays, Jim's a high-powered automotive writer who does work for many of the world's largest car companies. One thing that hasn't changed is his passion for American iron. He still loves musclecars and it wasn't long before we were talking about the 2010 Camaro and the new Dodge Challenger. Like me, he is stoked about the former and does not foresee a long shelf live for the latter. Maybe five years, just like the original Challenger.
Well, not long after Test Days did he whip the chart you see here. It's a comparison of the upcoming F-body vs. the icon that is the 1969 model. What is shocking to me is how close in size the new car is to the '69. Yes, it's a little more than 4-inches longer, but how much of that is federally mandated bumpers? It's only an 1.5 inches wider.
(If you're curious to what "Linear length" is, that's Koscs' own creation--it is what you get if you add the length, width, wheelbase and height together.)
One perhaps controversial number is the guesstimate on what yesterday's musclecar engines would make under the latest SAE net ratings GM uses today. When GM first switched to net ratings in 1972, it was said the difference was 20-25 percent lower. The most recent standard instituted was stricter still so don't freak when you see what he put down for estimates. If you look at the mph figures garnered from the old road tests and do the calculations based on weight, they're pretty close.
The new Camaro--if GM's published weights are correct--will be 100 lbs heavier than the old car, but it makes about 162 more horsepower in V8 form. No one wants the new car to be heavier, but when you add a half-dozen airbags, their attendant hardware, a bunch of computers, 20-inch wheels and tires, enormous Brembo brakes, etc., it's hard to keep the pounds out.
Again, do what you want with this info. And as the commercial says, "Your results may vary."
Camaro Proportions and Performance
Prepared by Jim Koscs for his own amusement (and now your amusement).
Dimensions 1969 Camaro SS 350 and SS 396/2010 Camaro and Camaro SS Percentage difference
Wheelbase (in.) 108/112.3 (+4%)
Length (in.) 186/190.4 (+2.3%)
Width (in.) 74/75.5 (+2%)
Height (in.) 51/54.2 (+6%)
TOTAL LINEAR (in.) 419/432.4 (+3.2%)
Weight (lb.) - 3,450 (350 V8) (est.) - 3,780 (V6 6-speed) (+10%)
3,650 (396 V8)* - 3,860 (V8) (+6%)
Performance, 1969 s.b. V8 vs. 2010 V6
Engine and displacement for comparison SS 350 cu. in. V8, 4-bbl. / 3.6-liter (217 cu. in.) (-38%)
Horsepower (SAE net) (1969 net figure estimated) 300 (gross)/200 (est. SAE net) - 304 (3.6 V6) (+50%)
0-60 mph: 7.5 sec* / 6.1**
Quarter mile: 15.4@90* / 14.2@98**
Top speed: 115* / 140**
Fuel economy avg. est. (EPA estimates for 2010) 13 est. combined 21 est. combined (17 city/26 hwy./21 comb. est. for V6 auto.; man. trans lower) (+60%)
Performance: 1969 b.b. V8 vs. 2010 6.2 V8
Engine for comparison 396 cu. in. (6.5 liter) 4-bbl. / 6.2 liter (376 cu. in.) LS3 V8 (-5%)
Horsepower (SAE net) (1969 net figure estimated) 375 (SAE gross) - 260 (est. SAE net) / 422 (w/6-speed manual) (+68%)
0-60: 6.8* / 4.7***
Quarter mile: 14.2 @ 102 mph* / 13.2 @ 110***
Top speed: 125 mph* / 170 mph***
Fuel economy avg. est. (EPA estimates for 2010 Camaro) 10/17 est. combined (15/23 for V8)*** (+70%)
* Results from contemporary road tests (Motor Trend for SS 350 and Popular Hotrodding for SS 396/375 with L89 option
** Figures provided by Chevrolet to Motor Trend magazine; top speed is an estimate based on Pontiac G8 V6 tests
*** Estimates based on Pontiac G8 tests. Chevrolet provided highway MPG numbers for the 2010 Camaro; I estimated city MPG numbers.
Chart by the Super Chevy staff.