I must confess, I'm not really a Camaro guy. Or a new-car guy, for that matter. But who says no to a short weekend in Chevrolet's latest supercharged wonder gadget? With the fob stuffed in the column, I wheeled this 2014 Camaro ZL1 convertible out of the CC shop and into the world to see if anyone cared.
Just because I'm not a Camaro guy, doesn't mean I haven't driven, owned, tinkered with, and hammered on an F-body. I owned a second gen and a third gen, like every other car guy won't admit—and secretly liked their Camaro-ness. To me, the word I just made up means a big, beastly V8 with a huge cam, meats, and maybe a stripe kit. The buyer is, well, you and me. These are the things we like about the Camaro, right?
This new car is aimed at the BMW M6, Aston Martin DB9, and the Mercedes Benz SL63 AMG—cars I have never noticed and likely never seen. Do they see the Camaro or me in it as a threat to their speed and importance? I will never know. The good news is that Chevrolet has matched power with these exotics to compete in the marketplace and we get to benefit from the technology. The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 makes 580 hp and 556 ft-lb at 4,200 rpm. It does this using the LS3 tweaked with an 8-bolt forged LSA crank, heads, and supercharger. It revs so fast that it will embarrass you while it waits on the limiter for you to hit the paddle shifter and find Second. It pulls hard everywhere and is quiet as a mouse, relatively speaking.
Because the ZL1 looks like a regular convertible in traffic, you aren't getting the whoops and thumbs-up you'd get from, say, a '69 with red stripes and a bottom of the page roller cam and a hot blonde on board. Maybe the lack of attention will keep you out of jail because the power is irresistible and it will drop your maturity level to around 17 years old. It's really that fun.
But enough about payment-plan hot rods, you can buy all the parts to put this shrieking mill and electronic six-speed into any muscle car, including that hot red 1969 Camaro. Just be sure to keep the original 350 and all the parts, you will want them back some day.