2001 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS Coupe – Affordable Performance
2001 was the penultimate year of the fourth generation Chevrolet Camaro. Though a V6 base model was offered, every gearhead knows that the only true Camaro is a V8 Camaro, and the LS1 V8 powering the Z28 didn’t disappoint.
Originally developed for the C5 Corvette in 1997, Chevy’s LS1 engine has since become legendary. It’s considered the engine of choice for innumerable motor swaps ranging from classic muscle cars of the ’60s and ’70s to import tuner cars from the ’90s. For budget-minded enthusiasts looking to get their hands on a stock LS1-powered ride, Z28 Camaros from 1998 to 2002 are the best bet.
2001 Camaro Z28 Specs
Though the LS1 was offered in the Z28 Camaro since 1998, the 2001 Z28 received a number of upgrades that make it the best choice for performance-minded enthusiasts. Chevy swapped out the LS1’s old intake manifold and replaced it with the free-flowing unit from the Corvette Z06’s LS6 engine. The LS1’s camshaft profile was also revised to compliment the more aggressive intake manifold. This bumped the LS1’s output up to 310 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque.
To hold all that torque, the Z28’s six-speed manual transmission received an upgraded clutch from the LS6 power train along with an upgraded slave cylinder. These improvements allowed the Z28 to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in under 6.5 seconds. Staying on the throttle, the Z28 could run the quarter mile in under 14 seconds with a 105 mph trap speed.
The SS Performance Package
The 2001 Camaro SS pushed the performance envelope even further. The SS package added a ram-air induction system linked to an aggressive hood scoop to bring ambient air into the engine bay. A high-flow exhaust system was also added. These changes bumped the LS1’s output up to 325 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
The most dramatic changes to the SS model weren’t even under the hood. The Camaro SS also received numerous suspension upgrades that made it handle far better than the base Z28 model. These upgrades included 17-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, performance shocks with stiffer springs and bushings, a larger front stabilizer bar, and a unique rear spoiler to increase downforce.
Which Is the Better Buy?
There’s no doubt that the Camaro SS offers a higher level of performance than the base Z28. However, SS Camaros are much rarer than base Z28 models, making the SS harder to find and more expensive. Enthusiasts who strictly care about maximum performance are better off buying the base Z28 and adding aftermarket intake, exhaust and suspension upgrades to exceed the performance of the SS.