The original ZL1 Camaro is one of the most coveted cars ever produced by General Motors. Its fire breathing aluminum 427 is truly the stuff of hot rodding legend. When Chevrolet announced that they would build a modernized version of that famed F-body on their new Zeta platform, enthusiasts across the nation immediately began spec’ing out their hopes for the car. By the time SEMA 2011 rolled around in November, it was clear that most major shops in North America had also spent the year dreaming and creating their own visions of what the hot new Camaro should be. While there was no shortage of F-bodies at SEMA that year, none took performance as seriously as this 2011 Camaro SS.
Built by Source Interlink Media, who you may know better as the parent company of magazines like Super Chevy, Hot Rod, Automobile and Motor Trend, plenty of BIG names were called in to help out. The list includes GM Performance Division, Thomson Automotive and Pedders Suspension just to name a few. After its SEMA debut, the car was taken to Lingenfelter Performance Engineering for a full shake down. The end result is a brand new Camaro packing over 800 fully streetable horsepower. There are few fifth generation Camaros that could touch this car in a quarter mile and absolutely zero with this kind of provenance. If you’ve been eyeing a new Camaro as an investment, they simply don’t get better than this. Click on Read more!
Like many low-mileage, factory-fresh pieces, this car presents as new in every conceivable way. Glossy, smooth and finished in GM Summit White, the main color is accented by Inferno Orange racing stripes. At the front of the car, the body width V shaped grille sits below an SS exclusive mail slot hood scoop. Housed within that grille is a chrome trimmed Chevrolet bowtie and a red “SS” emblem that, by its color, denotes the car’s Rally Sport package. At each corner of the grille, RS specific HID headlights feature halos and complement round fog lights in black bezels. At the sides of the car, sculpted rear view mirrors sit atop door panels that feature pace car lettering from the 100th Indianapolis 500 held in May of 2011. The lines of the car flow from nose to tail to give the car a familiar coke bottle shape and include fast C-pillars and a contoured roof inspired by the Corvette. The rear of the car displays prominent fender ridges that emphasize the cars width and evoke an awesome crouched tiger appearance. The racing stripes terminate at a subtle rear decklid spoiler just above the taillights. The rear bumper houses an air splitter with two polished stainless exhaust tips, small square reverse lights and a yellow tag bracket. Only a red “SS” badge hints at the destructive forces under the hood.
It wasn’t that long ago when a reliable 500hp street engine was a big deal. These days, 500hp is little more than a respectable baseline. Under the hood of this Camaro lies one of GM’s potent 7.0 LS7 V8′s, built by Thomson Automotive and breathed on by the team at Lingenfelter. The end result is over 800 pavement thumping horsepower wrapped in a truly street friendly package. Despite the level of tech used in modern engine building, the essentials remain the same. An upgraded cam, forged steel crank, forged I-beam rods and forged-aluminum coated pistons build the basis of this beast. At the sides, upgraded LS9 heads are hidden under the valve covers and coil packs. Up top, a LS9 TVS positive-displacement blower with an integrated liquid-to-air charge cooler sucks air through a 90mm throttle body. At the front of the bay, a massive aluminum radiator rated to 1000 hp keeps the mill cool. The factory exhaust manifolds are surprisingly efficient, so they’ve been left in place. Aftermarket mufflers provide a rich tone without being overly loud.
Power flows from the torque rich LS7 to a slick-shifting Rockland Standard Gear TranZilla 6-speed manual transmission rated for over 1200 hp. From there, power is transferred through a one-piece carbon fiber driveshaft into a NASCAR-style limited slip rear packing 3.73 gears . Built around that transmission and rear end is a Nurburgring tested all-independent performance suspension that’s been upgraded with the Pedders Pace Car Package. While the stock suspension is plenty capable, it doesn’t hold a candle to this GM-approved upgraded version. Variable ratio, speed sensitive power steering and Camaro SS specific Brembo four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake distribution ensure that this is the best handling Camaro to date. And GM’s Stabilitrak traction and stability control system and a 6-speed Camaro SS exclusive launch control system keep the power as safe and manageable as possible. Sitting in front of the cars “Brembo” and “Chevrolet” branded calipers are 20 inch chrome American Racing wheels with “Special Edition” center caps and 245/40 front and massive 305/35 rear Nitto 555 rubber provided by Wheel Pros.
Inside the car everything is factory new with no trace of wear on any of the seats or carpets. The heated and power adjustable Inferno Orange leather seats are near perfect in every way. When combined with the cars Inferno Orange door panel coves, dash accents and stitching, they really set off an otherwise simple and dark interior. The dash is unblemished and displays traditional silver trimmed Camaro gauges that are complete with a driver information center. To the right of the gauges, controls for the Boston Acoustics 9 speaker sound system that includes a CD player, an MP3 input jack and XM Satellite capability sit right above the center console. Inside that console you’ll find factory optioned four pack gauges and a shifter with a leather shift knob and Inferno Orange stitching. Above the windshield you’ll find a self-dimming rearview mirror that is equipped with GM’s OnStar emergency assistance and navigation. In front of the driver, the tilt and telescoping steering wheel features leather with Inferno Orange stitching and houses buttons for the cars Bluetooth connectivity, the Boston Acoustics audio system and cruise control. The door panels house controls for the power adjustable heated outside rear view mirrors, power door locks and power windows with the express down feature. Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, side impact airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and a theft deterrent system.