So, what did it all get us? Testing was done with an Escort g-Timer GT2 Vehicle Performance Monitor we happened to have on hand, and with the stock brake setup in place, we registered a best stop of 156 feet, with a three-stop average slightly above that, which actually isn't bad. Pedal feel, however, was seriously lacking. The pedal was mushy; it was like you could feel the rubber hoses expanding as the pedal was mashed. Braking power was low at first, and increased as the pedal was depressed. And with repeated use, braking got predictably worse as temperatures increased.
It was notably different with the upgraded components in place. After bedding in the pads to the rotors as specified by Hawk, several things quickly became evident. Right off the bat, we had a much firmer pedal to deal with-no more mushy pedal feel. Consequently, brake response was immediate, though not grabby. Braking power was more consistent throughout the pedal's travel-and there was more of it. We recorded a best stop of 142 feet, a very good improvement over our original 156-foot figure. In a panic-stop situation, 14 feet could be enough to save your car.
Just as important, our three-stop average was 9 feet better, and we think it can get even better as we adjust to the more positive feel of the new brakes. In fact, we spent at least an hour beating on our Z in search of the perfect stop, and the brakes never really faded. Unlike the stockers, which registered 170-plus feet as testing wore on, the new setup stayed firmly in the 150s for as long as we cared to abuse it-and this on a day that was at least 10 degrees hotter.
So in the end, while we're still craving a set of 17s and the platters to fill them, it turned out that our merely stock system was actually quite capable when properly outfitted. And while third-gen Camaros are noted for handling platforms that should be able to stop well, here's the cool thing: The principles we applied here apply to any Chevy that's still wearing its stock brakes. Increase the line pressure and upgrade the friction surfaces, and as long as you've got decent tires in place, you'll get better braking. You'll appreciate it when you really need to stop-and it doesn't cost all that much, especially if you're already due for a brake job.