During the unveiling of the new Camaro Z/28 I saw the face of a man in love. It was the face of Mark Reuss, President of GM North America, as he spoke about the newest addition to the Camaro family.
The love affair started about two years ago when this model was in development. After a board meeting the team took a few of the board members for a ride in the prototype vehicle and the love was contagious! The team got the nod to further the development, resulting in the prototype unveiled at this year’s New York Auto Show.
This car was built for speed, and as Mark Reuss described it, “set up for track perfection, just like the original Z28.” The engine is a high revving, naturally aspirated, small block LS7 V8 with an estimated 500HP and 470 foot pounds of torque. Just to make sure you get where you’re going as fast as possible any extra weight was removed. This was done by removing extra insulation, using special glass for the rear windshield, eliminating most of the speakers, and if you really are a purist you can decide to go without air conditioning – yes, that is optional!
But as much as you’ll want to blow down the track in this street legal race car, you may need to stop once and a while. Don’t worry, you’re covered with carbon ceramic brakes made especially for track use.
During the press conference this car was described as “The defining point of the Gen-5 Camaro.” Inside and out this car is designed for the driver with the need for speed…it’s lean toward performance and away from luxury may not appeal to the masses, but for the racer Camaro fans out there this is the car for you!
When most think of a Camaro they think of a sleek racing machine. Although they may be well built, the words durable and rugged would probably not be the first to roll off the tongue when describing this Chevy. But this Halloween at SEMA LINE-X and West Coast Customs unveiled a customized 2013 Camaro 1SS Coupe dressed up inside and out in LINE-X Body Armour. This Camaro is ready for anything, and still looks great.
Many truck enthusiasts know LINE-X for their spray on bed liners, but their product line includes protective coatings for a variety of applications. In fact, West Coast customs finishes off many of their projects with LINE-X coatings. We got the chance to walk through this project with WCC’s Shop Manager Kenny Pfitzer. He explained that they choose to use a Camaro for this project to show an “outside the box” application of LINE-X, spraying this textured, durable finish on every surface imaginable. Not only is the entire exterior finished in the Body Armour coating, but the interior door panels, dash components, sound system and even the rims feature this textured finish.
After the unveiling many onlookers honed in on the door components and other aspects of the car where a thick paint coating would be problematic. But Kenny explained that this textured coating sprays on in a thin layer and still offers the durability expected from LINE-X. Preparing this car for paint was similar to other projects, no modification to the body was required to apply the Body Armour.
When asked what the most difficult aspect of the project, Kenny answered with certainty “the graphics.” Although the texture added difficulty to the masking, they razor cut each line to produce the perfect job we’ve come to expect from West Coast Customs. They used the high gloss sheen of the base coat in contrast with the textured topcoat to add even more detail inside and out.
But the customization did not stop with the addition of Body Armour. The team at West Coast customs chose a performance hood and spoiler by SLP Performance parts, while they gave the car a low profile look using rocker panels by Street Scene Equipment. Asanti wheels and Continental Tires get this car where you want it to go, while a custom LED lighting package from ORACLE Lighting lights the way. More customization is under the hood with SLP High Performance Headers and custom dual high flow exhaust package.
This Halloween LINE-X and West Coast Customs treated SEMA with this one-of-a-kind Camaro, showing everyone that the possibilities for LINE-X Body Armour really are endless. How would you use it to dress up your ride?
First Generation vs. Fifth Generation… who am I to judge? Sure I’m a little biased, I’ve been rolling around in my ’68 Camaro since I turned 17, and that was kind of a long time ago. I’ve come to expect the squeaky sounds it makes when it passes over a bump in the road, and always ride with the radio on high so I don’t really hear the windows rattle when they are rolled halfway down. The promise of one day installing that AC kit keeps getting pushed to next year, so in the meantime I open my Astro Ventilation (yes, that was luxury in 1968) and keep it moving so the breeze keeps blowing on a hot summer day. The one thing my radio doesn’t drown out is the sound of my 327 engine as I blow down the street…not too fast though, my days of racking up speeding tickets went out with the grunge look. But the look of my car has never gone out of style. Its curved lines make it look fast even when it’s sitting still, and its chrome accents give it just the right amount of shine. Yes I have to say I love my car, one of the few constants in a life of many changes.
But I have to give it to the new generation of the Chevy Camaro. I took one for a test drive when they first came out and I was pretty impressed with the way it handled. It was the 6-cylinder model and still packed some power, although I’m sure the V8 is even more impressive. The muscle under the hood is complimented by features like 4-wheel independent suspension, Brembo brakes and Magnetic Ride Control. Even though its still a car best driven fast on a sunny day, its built in technology allows it to handle bad weather with ease…unlike my ’68 which is like being in a four-wheeled sled if I get caught in the snow. The influence of the first generation is obvious in its design, but the latest incarnation of this classic retains its own identity. The proportions are similar with subtler curves, giving way to a more brolic look. And did I mention it has air conditioning?
Despite the temptation of these modern conveniences I will stick with my antique – somehow its sentimental value outweighs all the extra features. But I wouldn’t mind parking a nice new Camaro next to my classic and taking it out for a ride once and a while. Hey, who says you can’t have it all?
This year the New York Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center had something for everyone. All the major manufacturers were there to represent, and many of them rolled out new concept cars. Cadillac featured the Urban Luxury concept car. It has the recognizable Cadillac lines in a compact shape – I guess that’s where the “urban” comes in. Saab showed the PhoeniX concept: the lines on this car make it look like it’s going about a hundred miles an hour standing still – this car is hot! Mercedes had the Concept A-Class on the floor. This is a good looking car, with a nice twist on the classic Mercedes traits. Volkswagon had some fun this year with the Bully concept, which gives a big nod to its VW minibus predicessor.
But enough about concepts, what about the muscle cars? Dodge had a big presence this year, a continuation of the strong marketing campaign they’ve been running. The new Charger with the redesigned rear lighting was looking great on the floor. But the not-to-be forgotten Challenger was there too, with it’s tried and true throwback design. This year Chevy took over its own area of the show, and featured the new Camaro convertible. The Corvette Z06 was featured as well, in the hottest orange I’ve ever seen! Not to be outdone, Ford’s Mustang was ready to go in off the assemblyline and customized versions – all looking very good.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, hybrids were everywhere this year and with the rising price of gas their popularity is no surprise. Lexus showed the CT200h, Toyota featured the CR-Z Hybrid R Concept and Chevy prominently displayed the Volt, to name a few. Expect to see more and more of this technology in the coming years.
Some other highlights were the exotic cars, and specialty displays like the History and Heritage collection. This years show had a lot to see, and in case you missed it take a look at our Gallery page for pics from this year’s show.