If there is one thing the Americans do really well, it's muscle-cars - huge, torquey V8 engines in dramatic two-door bodies they call mid-sized and everybody else calls impressive.
And high up on the list of list of muscle-car greats is the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
The original Z/28 was introduced in 1967 specifically for the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am 2 class. It featured a smaller, lighter, five-litre V8 for improved weight balance, as well as quick-ratio steering and heavy-duty suspension for track use.
In keeping with its road-racing focus, the 1967 Camaro Z/28 was not available with an automatic transmission or air conditioning.
BUT THIS IS NOW
This week Chevrolet introduced the restyled 2014 Camaro lineup at the New York auto show, including the return of the Z/28.
The 2014 Camaro represents the most significant redesign since the introduction of the fifth-generation Camaro as a concept car in 2006.
It's wider and lower both front and rear with a wider lower intake in the front fascia and a narrower upper intake that also updates the appearance of the “halo ring” headlights in the Camaro RS package.
The bonnet scoop on the Camaro SS is for real, helping to reduce heat and aerodynamic lift, as do the sculpted boot-lid and rear diffuser.
FULL AERO KIT
The Camaro Z/28 comes with a large splitter, connected to an underbody panel that further reduces lift, extended rocker panels and fender flares over the front and rear wheels, and an aggressive rear spoiler and functional diffuser.
While the new Z/28 isn't intended to compete in a specific race series, it is solely focused on track capability, with comprehensive chassis revisions that make it capable of 1.05g in cornering acceleration and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes capable of 1.5 g in deceleration.
The naturally aspirated Z/28 weighs 136kg less than the supercharged Camaro ZL1, with changes ranging from lightweight rims to thinner rear-window glass
Like the original, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is offered only with a manual transmission; air-conditioning is available, but only as an option.
The Camaro ZL1's supercharged 6.2-litre LSA V8 is good for 528kW, but the new Z/28 has the lighter, naturally aspirated seven-litre LS7 first introduced in the Corvette Z06.
This hand-built monster has titanium intake valves and con rods, ported heads, a forged-steel crank, high lift camshaft, an 11:1 compression ratio and a dry sump to deliver 373kW and 637Nm.
It's available only with a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual gearbox and helical-geared limited-slip differential.
Race-proven, spool-valve dampers allow four-way adjustment to precisely tune high and low-speed compression and rebound settings; springs and suspension bushes are both stiffer than standard.
The Z/28's 19” rims and tyres reduce unsprung weight by 19kg compared to the 20” hoops on the Camaro SS and ZL1 - and lower the centre of gravity by 33mm.
Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes - 394 x 36mm platters and six-pot callipers in front, 390 x 32mm discs and four-pot callipers at the rear - save another 12.5kg.
To save even more weight the development engineers removed all the sound-deadening material and the carpet from the boot, put in a smaller battery, thinner glass in the rear window - and even removed the unused wiring for the fog lights, speakers and air conditioning!