Any gearhead worth his gear oil knows the story behind the fames Camaro Z/28. But just in case you’ve been holed up in a cave the last 30 something years here’s an abbreviated history:

Beginning in 1967, Chevrolet built a limited number of high-strung road warriors, aimed primarily at SCCA road racing, that incorporated a high-revving 302-cu-in. V-8 (305 cu in./5.OL was the SCCA class limit), a bullet- proof Muncie four-speed manual gearbox, and heavy-duty suspension and brakes. Getting one was as easy as checking the RPO Z28 option code on the order sheet. SCCA rule changes for 1970 allowed the Z-28 to pack larger 350-cube V-8s. Plainly put, the rev-friendly Z/28 (FYI:
'67 -'69 = Z/28, '70-'92 = Z-28, ’93-present = Z28) kicked butt.

To commemorate the original Z/28, General Motors recently teamed up with top aftermarket vendors to build a radical new/old version of the modern LS1 V-8-powered Camaro Z28, tailored after the specs of the '67-'69 Z/28 (most notably its revvy 302- cu-in. V-8). Westech Automotive (262/889-4346) removed the stock LS1 and stripped it to a bare block. Afterward, a shorter-stroke GM crankshaft, lightweight rods, and 11.5:1 pistons were installed. Up top, a set of highly modified Corvette LS6 cylinder heads, shaft-mount- ed roller rocker arms, an aggressive solid roller-lifter camshaft, and a Z06 intake manifold were added. TTS Power Systems (310/669- 8101) supplied custom headers with 3.0-in. exhaust and performed special computer calibration. Chassis dyno testing revealed a stout 378 rear-wheel horsepower at 6800 rpm. That’s right – much more power, with about 48 less cubes, than a new Camaro/Firebird LS1!

To ensure stellar handling, a plethora of Hotchkis wares were installed, including shorter/stiffer springs, tubular A-arms, Panhard bar, and larger anti-roll bars. Koni double-adjustable shocks help control the motions of American Racing Torq-Thrust II 18xl0- in. wheels shod with sticky EFG G-Force T/A295/35ZR18 tires. Eaer Racing's 14-in. front/13-in. rear rotors with special PER calipers provide positively fade-free stopping, and they look downright cool. Inside, driver-hugging Recaro seats team with RSJ seatbelts and a Year One rollbar enhance safety.

At the track, the acceleration of this new-age 302 Z28 was seriously hampered due to excessive wheelspin - despite the wide rear tires. A 2500 rpm launch with very careful (far from WOT) throttle application yielded 12.8-sec e.t.s. This modern-day road racer provided a confident feel through the slalom, but a rubbing rear tires during cornering transitions kept us from trying to post max cornering times. This thing is also a blast to drive on the street, and we enjoyed some spirited cruising alongside Manuel Bogosian's ultra-sano original cross-ram '69 'ZJ28, brought along for flavor and historical perspective. Although the new 302 would be the victor in any sort of shootout, Bogosian's 'ZJ28 proved remarkably spicy. Regardless of what type of muscle you like (new versus oId), one thing's for sure - if
It's got a Zee-Two-Eight badge, It's going to be a fighter.
--John Kiewicz


For insurance reasons Z/2Bs were rated at 290 hp, but real output was in the 360-hp range. A crossram intake manifold with two Holley 600-cfm carbs was a $500 option. Also avail- able for $500 were four-wheel disc brakes via the RPO JLB option code.


With 15-percent-Iess cubes than a stock LS1, the new 302 LS1 generates 16-percent higher revs and 40-percent-more hp. Baer Racing's 14-in. rotors and PBR calipers provide throw-out-the- anchor-Iike stopping.



 

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