As the Camaro ends production, it does so with a model, the SS, that will turn mid-13-second e.t.s and deliver almost 30 miles per gallon of gas on the highway. Those two facts alone defy any rationale for the current SUV mania.
Berger Camaro SSAfter a successful sellout of last year's limited edition Camaros, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Berger Chevrolet is back with a more powerful, yet still limited run, Camaro SS. Taking advantage of a camshaft revision all LS1engines received in '01, the latest Berger Camaro SS is rated at 380 hp. And that includes the great-sounding chambered exhaust system, which is comprised of '69 Camaro-style resonators.
There are subtle appearance differences, also, which distinguish the car from last year's model. New polished wheels and red-painted calipers, along with some interior and exterior badging complete the changes. The SS striping, blacked-out taillamp panel, and grille insert remain, and all look good. We especially like the white-faced gauges with the "Berger Prescribed Power" logo on them.
In addition to the "standard" 380hp versions, Berger has also built a couple of downright insane 435hp monsters. Cam, heads, intake...They've all been tweaked to add more power. We flogged their Hugger Orange prototype recently and were reduced to giggling. The horsepower-level six-speed's gear spacing and the 3.73 ring-and-pinion come together in a near-perfect balance of barely contained street performance. From Second gear to Third, for example, the engine doesn't drop out of the power band for an instant-it just keeps pulling harder, propelling the car down the road as if God was flicking his own Hot Wheels across a linoleum floor.
Dennis Barker, Berger's resident Camaro nut, tells us there won't be any other 435hp Bergers...Well, except for that second one they built for NASCAR racer Johnny Benson. Let's just say that if you called with a no-limit credit card number handy, Dennis probably wouldn't hang up the phone.
That is, if there are any Berger Camaros left by the time you read this.
Camaro B4C Special Service PackageFirst went the Caprice, now the Camaro will exit the market as Chevy's last rear-drive police car.
Although not as prolific as the Caprice or Ford's Crown Vic (or even the previous-generation Mustang, for that matter), the Z28-based B4C police package has quietly found a niche with police agencies around the country. And "quiet" is the operative word.
"They're mostly used for traffic enforcement," says Chevy's Scott Settlemire. "A lot of agencies don't even put decals on the cars, or if they do, it's often just on the passenger-side door."
Sneaky, indeed. We drove around with Settlemire recently in a B4C demonstrator, complete with a slim, LED-lit light bar on the roof. Besides less aerodynamically bothersome, the LED light bar provides brilliant lighting but draws fewer amps than a traditional strobe-lit bar. Actually, a nod to electrical output is just about the only difference a B4C Camaro has over a regular production Z28-the alternator has a higher-amp output.
A few hundred B4Cs are sold each year, mostly with automatic transmissions, to local departments, sheriff departments, and state patrols. Unless Chevy plans to press the Corvette into police service, the '02 Camaro B4C will be the last rear-drive Chevy to carry a badge.