The Camaro has a rich history with many twists and turns, but ultimately gave us the muscle car template we know and love today. The car launched in 1966 as Chevy’s call to action in response to Ford’s Mustang pony car. Almost instantly, the Mustang/Camaro rivalry became one of the greatest automotive rivalries in the world before the Camaro was mothballed — albeit temporarily — in 2003 after 35 years of production.
The fifth-generation Camaro finally hit the market in 2010, and ushered in a whole new era in muscle car manufacturing. Keeping pace with Ford and Dodge, the current generation of Camaros has seen a slew of special edition models and variants, making for some of the quickest and best-performing cars Chevy has ever produced. And with the all-new 2016 Camaro hitting dealerships now, it’s time to reshuffle “fastest of all-time” deck once again.
So which Camaros are the fastest, exactly? Well, there are a lot to choose from, but we’ve dug into the details to figure it all out. We’ve compiled a list of the quickest Camaros ever, ranked according to their zero-to-60 time. We’ve excluded modified and racing models, and stuck to strictly to stock.
Read on to see the 8 fastest Camaro models of all time.
8. 2016 Camaro 2.0T
There have been some incredible performance Camaros through the nameplate’s 49-year history. Its greatest hits are household names among gearheads: RS, SS, Z28, and IROC-Z all have their own legends surrounding them. That’s all well and good, but they’ve just been overtaken by a four-cylinder budget model. The all-new 2016 2.0 liter turbocharged base model puts out 275 horsepower – more than most Malaise Era V8s – and scrambles to 60 in 5.4 seconds, faster than the king-of-the-hill IROC-Z of the ’80s. The auto world may be changing, but the Camaro seems to be taking it in stride.
7. 1969 ZL1 Camaro
If one Camaro model can be pointed out as an absolute legend, it’s the 1969 ZL1. This Camaro took street performance to the next level, with the capability to rocket to 60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds. That’s quick by today’s standards, but back in the late 1960s? Those speeds were extremely rare, and the ZL1 brought that kind of capability to the average driver. With the ZL1’s extraordinary performance all those decades ago, it’s no wonder that the Camaro nameplate has become so iconic over the years.
6. Camaro Fourth-Generation SS
According to a Motor Week test trial conducted way back in 2001, the fourth-generation Camaro SS — toward the end of its life cycle — could make the jump to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds. That SS model doubled as the Pontiac Firebird, both of which used a 5.7-Liter LS1 Pushrod V8 that produced 325 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque. These cars also represented the 35th anniversary edition of the Camaro, making it as special as it was quick.
5. Camaro Fourth-Generation Z28 SS
The fourth-gen Z28 hit the market in 1993, ushering in a whole new era for the Camaro, and one that many people would rather forget. The fourth-generation Z28 — the Camaro’s range-topping model — could reach 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds. The Z28 barely gets the nod in the rankings over the SS model, as it was able to produce slightly more torque. This would be the final redesign the Z28 would receive before the Camaro’s hiatus during most of the 2000s, when the fifth-generation would return in 2010.
4. 2016 Camaro RS
Proving once and for all that even GM has found a replacement for displacement, the 2016 3.6 liter V6-powered Camaro is quick enough to make it to number four on our list. While previous six-cylinder Camaros were considered by speed freaks to be consolation prizes, the new six is seriously quick. With 335 horses, and 284 pound-feet of torque, you’ll king of the dragstrip – provided you can find a way to travel back in time a few decades. With the eight-speed automatic, zero to 60 comes in 5.1 seconds, besting many of the greatest Camaros to ever wear the red, white, and blue badge.
3. COPO Camaro
Adding a bit more bad-assness to the mix, the 2014 COPO Camaro was fitted to NHRA specifications, and was not street legal. However, Chevy is readying some production models for 2015. COPO stands for “central office production order,” and if they live up to the hype, should be able to tackle the 60 miles per hour mark in 4.5 seconds, and top out at 175 miles per hour. The 2015 models are limited to 69 units, with a few different engine options ranging from a 5.7- to 7.0-liter V8. Horsepower and torque levels vary, but the COPO Camaro is an absolute monster no matter what the configuration.
2. 2016 SS
Even though it’s on its way out, the current 505 horsepower Z28 is one of the most powerful American cars you can buy today. The next-generation Z28 won’t be here for a while, but that’s okay, because the incoming SS should be more than enough to keep the faithful happy. Power is down, 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque compared to the 505 horse/481 pound-feet of the outgoing car, but thanks to the new Camaro’s diet, zero to 60 times stay stable at a seriously quick 3.9 seconds. With the SS is this quick, we can’t wait to see what Chevy has in store for the next Z28, due in 2017.
1. 2015 Camaro ZL1
Hitting 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 3.9 seconds is a pretty enormous feat, but the current Camaro ZL1 is able to pull it off with ease. Because of this, the ZL1 earns the crown and the title of quickest Camaro of all time. This Camaro pulls it off in all manners of performance, in fact — 580 horsepower, 556 pound-feet of torque, and a top speed of 184 miles per hour — all coming from that famous 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. Not the ZL1 is the sire of the drag strip like its predecessor, but it can take a corner almost as well as Porsche’s best. Like the Z28, we’ll have to wait a year or so before Chevy gives us the next-generation ZL1, but if the upcoming SS is any indicator, we’ll be in for one hell of a ride.
Additional reporting by James Derek Sapienza.
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