The Camaro just isn’t selling right now, and a Z/28 likely wouldn’t help the situation.
Motor Trend‘s Jonny Lieberman shared some news that’s no doubt going to disappoint if you’re a hardcore enthusiast: Chevy won’t build a new Camaro Z/28, as has been rumored over the past few years. While those rumors were definitely promising — including a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 straight out of the forthcoming Corvette Z06 — GM pulled the plug on the project.
If you’re not steeped in Camaro lore, the “old” Camaro Z/28 emerged back in 2014, packing the 505 horsepower, 7.0-liter LS7 V8 from the sixth-gen Corvette. This new one, based on what we know of the C8 Z06, would likely have managed more than 600 horsepower, not to mention it’d get a 6-speed manual transmission. That’s a feature that certainly won’t make its way to the mid-engined Corvette, thanks to packaging issues and an apocalyptically low take rate for manual sports cars over the past few years.
Sure, there’s still the Camaro ZL1 with its 650 horsepower 6.2-liter V8, but still…the Z/28 is an iconic name and it could breathe some new life into the muscle car. Or maybe not, as there’s been an elephant in the room that’s kept some folks away from GM’s Mustang rival — the way it looks. To their credit, GM did attempt to fix that in fall 2019 with an emergency nip and tuck to the front end:
Other forces likely worked against a new version anyway.
Nevertheless, buyers just aren’t lining up for the Camaro. So far this year — mind you, the market’s way up on 2020 — GM shifted just 9,881 examples. Last year, it moved 13,860 by the end of June, and that was in a year wracked by the pandemic. It’s a shame, because the Camaro in pretty much any guise, from the 2.0-liter turbo to the 6.2-liter SS and, of course, the supercharged ZL1, is great fun to drive.
No doubt a Camaro Z/28 would have been a phenomenon, had GM not canned its development. I doubt it would have stuck around too long anyway, for two reasons. Granted it’s not a massive 7.0-liter engine, but pulling resources away from the brand’s electrification plans to drop a Z06-sourced V8 into a slow-selling car likely didn’t sit well with the powers that be. Second, because sales are so slow, the Camaro’s future as a model is still in question. Rumor has it GM will shelve the name past the current generation, in 2026. Beyond that, the Camaro as we know it could just cease to exist. So, why put money and effort into a Z/28 when the car generally isn’t selling, may die off anyway, and when there’s a solid alternative in the ZL1?
Reality sucks sometimes, but there you have it. While GM is keeping its Camaro plans close to the vest, this sort of story isn’t too surprising.