Point a kid or teenager to the Chevrolet Camaro and they will probably just scream "Bumblebee!" Thanks to GM's association with the billion dollar Transformers trilogy (S$3.38 Billion in box office receipts to be exact), the retro Beetle was replaced with the fifth generation Camaro concept, and modified versions of it appeared in the sequels - much to the hatred of hardcore Transformers fans. But hey at least the sfx was awesome.
The Camaro was envisioned as a competitor to the legendary Ford Mustang. But compared to the American stallion, the bowtie did not fare well in sales or recognition as a muscle car in its first year.
Production commenced in September 1966, and the Camaro survived four generations until the model went out of production in 2002. After eight years of hibernation, the Camaro name was revived with the fifth generation (or post Transformers generation) armed with a new design and platform.
I have to admit after years of viewing the mustangs, corvettes and challengers - it was refreshing to see the sharp and striking looking Camaro.
Not to mention the larger than life heroic portrayal in the live-action Transformers trilogy aided the nameplate, especially with the younger audience.
I am no expert in muscle cars, but if there is anyone out there who knows his muscle cars more than anyone else - it could be is none other than the self-confessed auto nut, Jay Leno. Frequent visitors of the blog might be familiar with his web series – Jay Leno’s Garage – where Mr Leno would take a spin on the latest and greatest cars from the Volvo C30 Polestar to the Pagani Huayra.
Making an appearance in the garage this time round, is the all new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. News of the Z/28 badged Camaro was heard during the New York International Auto Show in March, and I believe Leno is the first to test drive the car - besides the folks at GM.
The new Camaro Z/28 features a full aerodynamics package that creates downforce at speed, which according to Chevrolet, helps make it the most track-capable offering in Camaro's history. The first Camaro Z/28 was introduced in 1967, and competed in the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am 2 class.
While the new Z/28 however is not intended to compete in a specific race series, it is built solely to focus on track capability within the constraints of a street legal car. Like the original, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is offered only with a manual transmission with air-conditioning available as an option.
The Camaro Z/28 is powered by a lighter, naturally aspirated 7.0-litre LS7 power unit first introduced in the Corvette Z06. The LS7 features unique induction and exhaust systems, and delivers at least 500bhp and 637Nm of torque. The racing-style, cold-air induction system and large K&N air filter provide maximum air flow.