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Camaro ZL1 Lead Engineer: You’re Welcome, Mustang Fans

Posted in auto industry, Camaro, Chevrolet, Detroit, Ford, Mustang, News by Kurt Ernst | November 23rd, 2011 | 5 Responses |

The 2013 Camaro ZL1, in topless flavor. Image: GM Corp.

If you thought that the announcement of the 650-horsepower 2013 Shelby GT 500 meant the end of the pony car wars, you’d be wrong. Al Oppenheiser, the chief engineer on the Camaro ZL 1 program, was his normal outspoken self in a a letter to the faithful on the Camaro5 website.

As quoted on Left Lane News, Oppenheiser wrote, “For Mustang fans. you’re welcome. Clearly the Camaro has encouraged Ford to throw everything they can at us. The days of ‘no replacement for displacement’ are over, and it’s not enough to be fast in a straight line. With the Camaro ZL1, we set out to deliver integrated performance, and be equally good at acceleration, braking, grip and turning. As you will soon see, that’s why the Camaro ZL1 will set the performance benchmark for the segment.”

That’s a line in the sand if we’ve ever seen one…

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5 Responses

  1. 8oom3r says:

    Al’s statement is akin to telling Ford,”Okay, so you punched us, but i bet your hand hurts now! Ha!” Just admit that Ford took a far greater jump with the Mustang than you expected them to, and you’re now scrambling to reassure the bowtie-faithful that your f-body is still better than the original ponycar. The track times and sensations made and felt by the professional drivers will speak for themselves. But there’s no doubt in my mind that GM’s dismal plastic bathtub will once again be trounced by SVT’s(NOT Shelby’s) monster. Anything the Camaro can do, the Mustang can do better. It’s just coincidence that the GT500 has more horsepower than even GM’s halo car, the ZR1 Vette.

  2. SNAK3 says:

    lets just wait till amateurs try to take the gt500 ’round tracks, or get on it when they aren’t ready.
    I see the crashes now. And for the camaro, you can’t see where you are going, so it is already a fail.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      @SNAK3, as long as drivers leave the electro-nannies (i.e. stability control, traction control) on, today’s muscle cars are remarkably forgiving and easy to drive. Turn them off and put your foot in it, however, and bad things are bound to happen.

  3. Vernon says:

    Not for nothing but I am curious, now that the Mustang has upped the ante yet again and continues to be a solid car in terms of sales whereas the Camaro disappeared and came back, where does that leave the Corvette? GM is pretty much saying that they are going to make the Camaro every bit an equal if not better than the Mustang while the Mustang has pretty much reached Corvette level perfomance. The appeal of the Camaro used to be and to a certain degree still is, affordable high performance. What incentive does a person have to buy a Corvette over a Camaro that is cheaper, has the same engine, and goes just as fast?

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      @Vernon, the obvious answer is that GM needs to make the Corvette faster than the Camaro. In stock form, the Corvette is a pretty capable track day toy. Excluding the ZL-1, the Camaro is a little on the heavy-duty side for track days.