Chevy Camaro SS: Drop top V8 muscle car
The fundamentals are all there for a fun to drive experience ― ridiculously fast in a straight line, the tyre smoking drama deserves its own column in the tabloids, and contrary to what the Twitter fingers and Insta warriors may proudly proclaim, they go around corners with a fair bit of competence. All that while being comfy and fairly well-priced ― that is why enthusiasts in our country yearn for muscle cars even though our roads are clogged with fuel-economy obsessed hatchbacks!
Although the Ford Mustang did make it to India, the other two from the Detroit Big Three didn’t even bother getting their exciting offerings to a country burgeoning with petrolheads and several potential quarter-mile drags! Thankfully though, American muscle cars do have a way of turning up on our shores, and one of them is this beautiful Chevy Camaro SS.
The Camaro has always been a low key muscle car. The Mustang has always ranked high on a petrolhead’s desirability list. The Dodge Challenger on the other hand gained popularity via its hero car status in the Fast and Furious franchise. The Camaro? Well, apart from a few outings as Bumblebee in The Transformers franchise, it has largely been left out of the spotlight. Which is a shame because it has always been the handling benchmark to beat amongst the Big Three’s muscle cars. And it was by sheer chance that Navin and Shiyas came to hear about this particular Camaro SS convertible put up for auction by an embassy in Punjab. Once they had acquired the Camaro however, it was shipped down south and it was only after they had their fair share of fun with it that they decided to turn the action up to eleven on their pony car.
Under the hood (that’s how the Americans say it, don’t they?) of the Camaro lurks a beefy 6.2-litre naturally aspirated LS3 V8 which produces 420bhp and nearly 570Nm of torque in stock guise. Obviously upping the ante on this hot-rod would take some doing and the solution was an easy one ― plonk in a supercharger! With the car at NV7 Performance, the LSA supercharger from the GM Performance Parts stable was installed, along with an uprated throttle body. Fun fact, the supercharger displaces 1.9-litres by itself!
Fuelling is handled by the 1000cc injectors and complementing the supercharger is the Stage 2 ECU remap from Wolf Performance. With the custom remap which features a ‘hybrid map’, the Camaro can be run on 95 octane fuel as well regular octane that is readily available at most pumps without any issues. This tune also improves in-gear acceleration which makes the Camaro an even bigger hoot to drive than before. If you want to talk numbers, the Camaro hasn’t been dyno-ed as of now, but with mods such as the supercharger and the Stage 2 tune, the owners expect a bump of approximately 90 to 120bhp in the total power output, with the torque being bumped up as well.
With the V8 now burbling with more power than before, a 160-degree thermostat was employed to ensure the running temperatures continued to remain in check while Grid7 Customs went about installing a full exhaust system on the Camaro with a Borla race cat. The Stage 2 remap which was done to the Camaro also means that the exhaust system now crackles alive with a soundtrack of pops and bangs as you rev the naturally-aspirated V8, a feeling that is undoubtedly amplified when you drop the top.
And honestly, you want to be seen in a ride as cool as a Camaro. There’s something non- conformist about a muscle car’s design on our roads which are now papped with sportscars far too often, and the Chevy with its muscular and brawny shape does have a distinct way of standing out, even in this subtle silver which makes it look really cool. That’s one of the reasons that there aren’t many changes to the styling, though the headlights that you see here aren’t the factory HIDs but rather aftermarket units. There’s also a body kit which has been installed from the higher-rung Camaro ZL1 and it adds to the aggression of this SS with its sportier bumpers. The interiors of muscle cars were never really their strong suits but this Camaro does claim redemption in the form of red upholstery and an Android head unit with phone connectivity to ensure that it doesn’t feel old school in the infotainment department.
On our roads, you don’t see too many muscle cars and I doubt you’d spot a Camaro far too often, unlike say, a Mustang which was actually sold in India officially. Which makes the Camaro a bit cooler and more special in my book. There’s no pretensions of it being a sophisticated European machine or a ballistic sleeper from the VAG group. This is honest- to-goodness, hairy-chested American muscle with a big ol’ V8. And you cannot help but be fond of it for being a chainsmoker of rear tyres. Maybe it’s just me being all gung-ho USA after watching the Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun: Maverick a few days before penning this piece. But the fact of the matter is that muscle cars are unapologetic and full of character.
You might never really need one for practical reasons, especially as the shift towards EVs doesn’t seem as outlandish as before. But deep within, we all want them. We really do.