Embarrass a Classic V8 Muscle Car… With a New Four Cylinder Performance Car!

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The new Chevy Camaro has 335 hp and does zero to 60 in about five seconds flat.'16 Camaro

That’s with the V6.

Which is the one to buy.

Because it is affordable – $27,195 – vs. $36,300 for the V8 powered Camaro SS.

Which isn’t.

Either to buy – or to insure.

Nor feed.

The 2016 V6 Camaro (and the V6 Mustang) on the other hand, boast more horsepower than almost all of the classic-era V8 muscle cars had – and are much quicker. How many classic muscle cars could post a five second zero to 60 run?'16 Camaro 2.0 engine

Very few.

And absolutely none of them were capable of  almost 30 MPG on the highway – as the new V6 Camaro is.

The ’16 Camaro’s new four-cylinder engine (yes!) should crest 30.

It also makes 275 hp … out of 2.0 liters. Cue The Kingfish …holy mackerel!

We are, despite all the bad stuff happening, living in some very good times.

Performance car-wise, at least.

Consider: The four cylinder-powered 2016 Camaro is stronger – and quicker- than all the V8 performance cars of the 1980s (excepting exotics) and most of the V8 performance cars of the ’90s.'77 TA 6.6

And it makes the V8 muscle cars of the ’70s seem sore-gummed and sad in comparison.

Some of you may remember the Smokey & The Bandit movies, which featured a river-jumping, sheriff-flummoxing ’77 Trans-Am. This car was – with one exception – the strongest and quickest America performance car available in 1977. Here are the numbers and stats:

6.6 liter, 400 cubic inch V8.

200 horsepower (this was the “high performance” version; the standard version produced 180 hp).

0-60: 7.5 seconds; standing quarter-mile, 15.9 seconds.

Top speed: 118 MPH (mechanically limited).

Gas mileage: 16 highway.

The balls-out quickest (and most powerful) American car you could buy in the late ’70s was the Chevy Corvette powered by its optional L-82 350 (5.7 liter V8) which made 210-225 horsepower. The Corvette’s standard engine (L-48) whelped out a miserable 185 hp. '77 L-48 badge

That’s 50-90 fewer horsepower less – from more than twice the engine – versus the ’16 Camaro’s standard 2.0 turbo four.

Fast forward into the ’80s. Tuned Port Injected Z28s and 5.0 Mustang GTs were much less embarrassing but still only running six-seconds to 60 and maybe dipping into the 14s through the quarter mile.

Easy meat for the new Camaro.

As recently as five years ago, a five second to 60 run was solid for a V8 performance car.

What I am trying to get cross here is that – by the grace of the Motor Gods – it is no longer necessary to buy a V8 to own a muscle car. Or at least, to own a performance car that will easily beat most muscle cars made back in the ’60s – and all of them that were made back in the ’70s.

Even better, the new Camaro is a bargain.

Both to buy – and to drive.

To keep, too.

Lookee here, say the Kingfish. And take out your inflation calculator.Burt's TA

A 2016 Camaro with the four cylinder engine (MSRP $25,700) would have cost you $6,548 back in ’77 (see here). Which is about what you’d have paid back in ’77 to get a top-of-the-line Smokey & The Bandit (SE) Trans-Am with the optional W72 (“T/A 6.6”) 400 V8 (see here).

Now let’s look at the relative cost of the current Camaro SS (the V8 model).

Its starting MSRP – $36,300 – is equivalent to $9,249 in ’77 dollars.

That sum would have bought you a new L-82 Corvette (about $8,650 in ’77) and left you with enough surplus to feed it for at least a year    

The new Camaro 2.0 costs a third less – and uses half the gas.

Let’s not forget the other critical factor – often overlooked when discussing performance cars (and muscle cars): The tab to insure the thing. Which will be a function of its replacement cost as well as its perceived reputation for shenanigans. The new V8 SS Camaro stickers for about $10k more than the base four-cylinder turbo version. That $10k will come out of your pocket up front and premium-wise.'16 Camaro profile shot

But probably, it’s the V8 car’s rep that’s the killer.

Just as it was back in the day. The insurance mafia put the screws to anyone under 30 who had one, even if the owner had a “clean” driving record. The presumption being that you just hadn’t been caught yet. An attempt was made by the major purveyors of muscle cars to run under the radar by offering less objectionable models such as the Olds Rallye 350 (a sort of 442 in drag) and the Heavy Chevy (an SS Chevelle, kinda-sorta) but the mafia was wise. These were still basically the same cars as their more blatant brothers and still had V8s. Detuned, sure. But easily re-tuned.

The new stuff enjoys the presumption of being gelded by dint of not having V8s. A little four cylinder Camaro? A V6 Mustang? What possible harm could there be in that?

Fortunately, plenty – and it’s all good.

Get one – before the word gets out.

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  1. You might not know this but here in Sweden american vintage cars are very popular. A lot of people rebuild them and drive to meets. I’ve seen amazing specimens restored to the point they look like they’ve just rolled of the assembly line.

    It might be because a Camaro to an american is lika a Volvo to a swede but no one here would buy an american car without a V8. To non americans the V8 is the whole point of the car. This had carried over to new models. If someone here gets a new Camaro it’ll be a V8.

    • I’ve seen that car in person. It’s an accomplishment stuffing that much engine in a Nova but otherwise it’s just an old beat up Nova with all one expects from an old beat up Nova. My idea of a sleeper would go to the point that the entire car was mechanically up to date and wonderful but just looked like a beat up Nova.

      • This Guy Didn’t Like a C10 at a Car Show, Check out his Response. By this point in life, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are different strokes for different folks.

        While you might not particularly like one style or another, there’s a reason that the style isn’t yours! Generally, things go smoothly if we just leave it at that and get on our way, but when this car show participant decided that he didn’t like a bagged Chevrolet C10, he let the driver know.

        We watch as this pickup truck is exiting a car show and blows his train horn to show off what he’s built when all of a sudden, out of nowhere comes a man who can’t seem to stand it! Check out the video below to get both sides of the argument and tell us which of these people you think is right. Why can’t we all just be friends and enjoy some nice rides?

        Arguing with a hater while Dragging my c10

        Their is always one jackass like this at a car show that’s on his high horse and thinks his shit don’t stink. Most people smile or laugh when they see my truck or hear the air horns. Not the worst I’ve been bitched at, either for dragging or blowing my horn, but just kind of happy i got it on camera. To you old-timers that are stuck in your ways, remember, kids like me are the next generation and the only reason your hot rod is still worth something. Have some respect- we all like cars!

        Lake Wobegon Days Will Never Begone

        Bodydropped 1981 Chevy C10 Custom

        – If some of us like loud horns, booming speakers blaring the worst rap songs imaginable, all while tooling down the left side of the road.

        – Well that’s unfortunate, but it’s how you carry your self, and how you calm your tits when others poorly conduct themselves, that’s going to make the difference.

        – – –
        Book of Mattchoo-Gesundheit 26

        Chromeus Anointed at Bethany

        6 While Chromeus was in Bethany chillin in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

        8 When his crew peeped this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

        10 Aware of this, Chromeus blazed up a blunt, and then said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

        12 When shorty poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. 14 Always, from now on, will you picture me rolling, me and shorty twerking with the long hair and popping Alize and the perfume jar.”

  2. The 2010 Lexus GX 460 does 0-60 mph in 6.8 sec. and a quarter mile in 15.2 seconds.

    This is a heavy body-on-frame SUV intended for family outings, not a performance car. And thanks to advances in tire technology, it probably out-corners the late 70’s muscle, too.

    Just crazy.

  3. Amazing. I assume the Camaro 4 is turbocharged? I still prefer old school pushrod torque monsters but this new stuff is remarkable.

    Fortunately, big bro has saved me from the only new car I’ve really wanted since the Grand Nationals- a Passat TDI.


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