Super Chevy Interview - The Man Behind The Camaro

Al Oppenheiser Knows More About The '10 Camaro Story Than Any Man Alive, And He Tells Super Chevy Most, But Not All, Of The Details.

AO: Some early Camaro customers noticed that there are weights on the Camaro SS calipers. With high-performance vehicles like the Camaro SS, minor brake noise is not uncommon. The weights act as a damper to reduce noise in certain driving conditions. This was done after careful evaluation and validation by our engineering team. These weights will only be added to early builds of the Camaro SS.

SC: What's the current status of any Camaro body-in-white program for those who want to build racecars but don't want to buy a complete car at retail?

AO: We get asked all the time. We have people interested in buying 500 cars. We have people interested in buying 100 cars. We have people who want to buy them one at a time. I won't say we're against doing that. We're looking at what is the opportunity for us to partner up with someone to do a body-in-white program. I think that, working with our performance parts guys, and working with SEMA, you might see something like that this fall. We've already done the math work to see if you can package a solid axle under the rear of the car for drag racing. We've already worked with (factory Corvette race team) Pratt & Miller on a rollcage assembly. All the work is already done.

SC: Will it work? Would you have to use a solid axle from a pickup truck, like a Silverado?

AO: Yes, that should work. We think this will be one of the most customized and accessorized cars to come out for a long time.

SC: Will you ever take a Camaro to Bonneville in the same way you took the streamliner and the Cobalt?

AO: Never say never. We could make 500 hp from a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and take it to Bonneville to race it in Competition Coupe. When the time is right, when the opportunity presents itself ...

SC: How fast did the car go at the Nurburgring?

AO: Our best lap at the Nurburgring was eight minutes and nine seconds. We didn't really have the clocks set up for an official record, but that was our time.

SC: Is the Camaro going to be able to survive the new gas mileage and CO2 regulations just announced by President Obama?

AO: I think however the Camaro gets defined to meet the regulations, it has a place in the segment and in our portfolio. There will always be a way to have a Camaro in our portfolio, whether it's volume restrictions or whether it's four-cylinder. Whatever we have to do, the Camaro's place in the matrix fits the American market.

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