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Chevrolet Camaro Highs and Lows: The Best and Worst in 50 Years of Track Testing

Tracking the Camaro's Performance Progress Through 0-60, Braking, Quarter-Mile, and More

Tracking the Camaro's Performance Progress Through 0-60, Braking, Quarter-Mile, and More

With each generation of Camaro, we were there. From our First Test of the ’67 models in the December 1966 issue all the way up to our August 2016 issue, we’ve got the performance numbers, and some of them will amaze you. Our methods of measuring acceleration  have changed considerably over the years (two-up with a bank of handheld stop watches to one driver and the bumper-mounted fifth wheel to radar and finally to satellite data recorders), but we have instrument-tested results from precisely 104 of them, or about two each year. Number of Camaros tested by Motor Trend by generation: 10 (first), 9 (second), 18 (third), 34 (fourth), 29 (fifth), 4 (sixth).

Read more about the Camaro as it celebrates its 50th anniversary:


Engines of MT Tested Camaros

2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS front three quarters in motion

Smallest: 2.0L/275-hp I-4 turbo (2016 RS)

Largest: 9.4L/725-hp V-8 (’96 ZL-1 from Chevy’s “Secret Toy Box” Special Vehicles Team).

Largest (production car): 7.0L/425-hp V-8 (’67 Yenko, ’69 Dana); 7.0L/505-hp V-8 (2014-’15 Z/28)

Least powerful: 2.8L/135-hp V-6 (’87 RS)

Most powerful: 9.4L/725-hp V-8 (’96 ZL-1 from “Chevy’s Secret Toy Box” Special Vehicles Team)

Most powerful (production car): 6.2L 580-hp supercharged V-8 (2012-’14 ZL1)

Lowest power density (hp/liter): 27.2 (’75 LT, 5.7L/155-hp V-8)

Highest power density: 137.6 (2016 RS, 2.0L/275-hp turbo I-4)


Quarter-mile stones

Sharing the title of the first production Camaro to run in the 14s are both the 1967 Z/28 (14.8 at 96) with the close-ratio four-speed manual and the 1967 SS396 (14.5 at 95) with the standard four-speed manual (15.4 at 92.0 with the optional HD three-speed automatic).

The first production Camaro to run in the 13s and to surpass a 100-mph (161 km/h) trap speed came an agonizing 29 years later with a 1996 SLP-built 5.7-liter, 305-hp Z28 SS (13.8 at 101.4). Incidentally, a 2016 Camaro RS powered by a 2.0-liter, 275-hp turbo-four produced nearly identical results (13.9 at 101.0).

It took 14 more years to drop into the 12s (12.9 at 110.7) with a 6.2-liter, 426-hp V-8 in the 2010 SS. No production Camaro has yet to dip into the 11s, but two Hennessey-built supercharged, 6.0-liter V-8 Camaros (HPE550/HPE650) ran 11.9-second times at 121.6/121.3 mph (196/195 km/h), respectively.

Only one Camaro MT has tested ever got into the 10s. Built by John Moss’ Special Vehicle Team and plucked from “Chevy’s Secret Toy Box,” the 6.6-liter, 530-hp V-8 drag racing car on slicks ran consistent 10.2-second, 133.3-mph (214 km/h) passes.

Slowest quarter-mile elapsed time: 18.7 sec (’68 4.1L/155-hp I-6)

Quickest: 10.2 sec (’98  “Toy Box” Drag Car, 6.6L/530-hp V-8)

Quickest (production car): 12.1 sec (2012 ZL1, 6.2L/580-hp supercharged V-8)

Lowest trap speed: 74.2 mph (’68, 4.1L/155-hp I-6)

Highest trap speed: 133.3 mph (’98 “Toy Box” Drag Car, 6.6L/530-hp V-8)

Highest trap speed (production car): 117.4 mph (2012 ZL1, 6.2L/580-hp supercharged V-8)


Zero to 60 mph

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 side

First sub-8-second time: (7.0 sec) ’67 Z/28, SS396

Sub-7: 6.9 sec (’85 IROC-Z)

Sub-6: 5.8 sec (’90 IROC-Z 1LE)

Sub-5: 4.5-4.7 sec (2010 SS)

Sub-4: 3.8 sec (2012 ZL1)

Slowest: 13.6 sec (’68 4.1L I-6)

Quickest: 2.3 sec (’98 “Toy Box” Drag Car)

Quickest (production car): 3.8 sec (2012 ZL1)

1986-Chevrolet-Camaro-Z28-IROC-Z


60 to Zero mph

2014-Chevrolet-Camaro-Z28-front-three-quarter-in-motion-031

Longest stop: 169 ft (’68 “250”)

Shortest stop: 97 ft (2014 Z/28)

Biggest one-year improvement: 143 ft to 110 ft (’92-’93 with the addition of ABS)


Handling

2015-Chevrolet-Camaro-Z28-with-Wicker-Bill-promo1

Skidpad, slalom speed, (mid-’80s-2002), figure eight (2010-present)

Lowest lat g: 0.71 g (’84 Berlinetta)

Highest lat g: 1.08 g (2015 Z/28)

Slowest slalom: 59.6 mph (’88 IROC-Z)

Fastest slalom (tie): 69.8 mph (’94 Hennessey RS330, Paxton GSS)

Fastest slalom for a production car: 68.9 (’94 Z28)

Slowest fig-8 lap: 26.6 sec (2010 Camaro V-6)

Quickest fig-8 lap: 23.3 sec (2014-’15 Z/28)


Motor Trend December 2015 cover

Since the Camaro’s 1967 birth, we’ve pitted it up against the Ford Mustang more than 20 times. Each time it’s a hard-fought, emotional battle between the two ponycar heavyweights as they duke it out. For our last issue of 2015, the Camaro would face off against the Mustang once more (and again in turbo-four form HERE). Each and every time these legends enter their next generation, we imagine the Blue Oval and Bow Tie boys (and girls) eyeing each other warily and muttering two simple words to themselves: “You again.”

Shown below are exclusive shots of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition.