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Muscle Car Wars Heat Up as Chevy Reveals New 2017 Camaro ZL1

Gen-6 model adds another 200 hp to the equation.

by on Mar.16, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 bumps the pony count up to 640 with its LT4 V-8.

If you think the battle for the White House has gotten nasty, just check out the fight for supremacy in the pony car market. Ford and General Motors are lobbing everything but hand grenades at one another, and GM is firing the latest shot with the announcement that it will bring out an all-new version of the Camaro ZL1 next year.

Chevy gave a handful of automotive journalists a look at the new model – and a brief ride — during a sneak preview at the Spring Mountain race track an hour outside Las Vegas. And, if seeing is believing, it only takes a lap inside the 640-horsepower monster to know that the bowtie brand is playing for keeps.

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“We’re delivering world-beating levels of performance, on the track and off,” proclaimed GM President Dan Ammann, before strapping on his element and heading out onto the track.


First Drive: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

Is this the ultimate weapon in the Pony Car Wars?

by on Jun.18, 2012

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 does a 662-hp burnout.

Ever since Chevrolet brought back the Camaro, a few years back, the pony car wars have turned into a real firefight.  Anyone who thought that we’re long past the gold are of the American muscle car just has to spend a little time behind the wheel of one of the latest offerings from Chevy, Chrysler or Ford.

The latter maker pretty much had the class pony car segment all to itself for a number of years, but Mustang has had a tough time since Camaro’s return.  Who says competition isn’t a wonderful thing?  Both makers – and Chrysler, with the Challenger – have made some amazing improvements lately.  As we discovered getting behind the wheel of Ford’s latest spin on the Mustang, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500.

Ford’s ties to Shelby go back nearly half a century, the first Shelby Mustang proving that the little coupe approved by Lee Iacocca and company was more than just a sexy little poseur.  In recent years, we’ve seen the Shelby imprimatur on a series of impressive Mustangs, including one now coming out of the late Carroll Shelby’s own tuner shop near Las Vegas.

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Don’t confuse that customized Mustang with the one Ford is rolling off its own assembly line.  The Shelby American version is a low-volume offering that, for nearly as much as you’d pay for a Ferrari will get you a mind-boggling 950 horsepower – a reported 1,100 in track trim.  By comparison, the Ford Shelby GT500 will “only” churn out 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque.


Mustang Gets World’s Most Powerful Production V-8

More power but more mileage, as well.

by on Apr.27, 2012

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will be the first 200 mph American muscle car.

The supercharged 5.8-liter engine in Ford’s newly-updated Shelby GT500 has officially been certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers as the world’s most powerful series production V-8.

The big powerplant, used in Ford’s top-end Mustang, will make 662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque.  That works out to just over 114 horsepower per liter – and it’s enough to propel the pony car to a top speed of 200 miles per hour, putting it into the rarified atmosphere normally reserved for such European exotics as the Ferrari 458 Italia or Lamborghini Aventador.

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But what’s equally impressive, the maker boasts, is the fact that the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will get 24 mile per gallon on the highway, a 1 mpg boost over the 2012 model, which made “just” 550 horsepower.  The city mileage is up 1 mpg, as well, at 15, with a combined rating of 18 mpg.  That’s enough for Ford to avoid the unwanted gas guzzler premium that often scares potential buyers away.


Chevy Takes Aim at Mustang with New ZL1

Fast, faster, fastest.

by on Sep.12, 2011

Chevy takes aim at the Mustang Shelby GT with the new 580-hp Camaro ZL1.

It’s been a quarter century since Chevrolet last held the lead in the pony car race and it’s ready to up the horsepower count to keep its lead over its perennial rival, the Ford Mustang.

The trick to remaining king-of-the-hill, Chevy planners recognize, is to keep a steady stream of updates to the recently revised Camaro.  So, we’ve already seen the addition of a ragtop and now comes the ZL1.  While Chevy gave us a peek at the high, higher, highest-performance version of the Camaro line-up a few months back, the maker is now giving us some official numbers.  And they aren’t going to make the folks at Ford happy.

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When it hits showrooms sometime in the mid-2012 model-year the Camaro ZL1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 will make a jaw-dropping 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque.  That’s aimed “right between the eyes” of the 550-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT, noted Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser.


First Look: 45th Anniversary Chevy Camaro

2012 to bring special anniversary edition muscle car.

by on Apr.13, 2011

The 2012 Chevy Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition gets unique details -- and 11 more horsepower.

It’s apparently not enough to be king-of-the-hill for the first time in decades.  To celebrate its 45th birthday, Chevrolet wants to give Camaro some more muscle.

The maker is unveiling a special 45th anniversary edition for 2012, featuring an array of distinguishing touches, including unique red stripes, silver-trimmed fog and taillight bezels and special 20-inch wheels.

The special package will boast a jet-black leather interior, with a special 45th anniversary logo framed in patriotic red, white and blue, as well as distinctive white gauges.

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But what should make a real splash is the upgrade in the 45th Anniversary Chevy Camaro’s drivetrain.  The new 3.6-liter V6 engine, a direct injection powerplant dubbed the LFX, is set to be rated at 323 horsepower.  That’s up 11 from the current version – but perhaps more importantly, it’s also 18 hp over the V6 Ford Mustang.  Notably, Chevy promises fuel economy will remain the same for 2012, with a 30 mpg highway rating.

The automotive equivalent of the Hatfields v McCoys feud took an unexpected turn, last year, with Camaro taking down Mustang for the first time since 1985.  That’s all the more impressive when you consider Chevy only had the Camaro Coupe – in various trim – to challenge Ford with.


First Look: 2011 Dodge Charger SRT8

Put some metal behind the pedal.

by on Feb.10, 2011

The new Dodge Charger SRT8 makes its Windy City debut.

When Dodge unveiled the redesigned 2011 Dodge Charger last fall, it was almost a foregone conclusion that an SRT8 high-performance version would be on the way.

Dodge made good on that assumption at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, where the 2011 Dodge Charger SRT8 made its debut.  (As did a reborn Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Chevy’s fastest pony car ever. Click Here for more.)

Sporting an estimated 465-horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque from a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that mates to a 5-speed automatic transmission, the SRT8 Charger is set to launch later this year.

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Observant readers will notice that the Charger SRT8 makes five less horsepower than the Challenger SRT8 392, but that’s no reason to be dissapointed. Dodge says that the difference was necessary to achieve optimal low-end torque.

Those who like to shift for themselves will be happy to note that the Charger SRT8 offers steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, while those who want high performance without sacrificing those miles per gallon will like the cylinder-deactivation system that shuts down four of the cylinders during light cruising.