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GM DESIGN TEASES CHEVROLET CAMARO Z/28 THAT NEVER WAS

The Aggressive Front End And Unique Design Makes Us Think This Might Be The Real Deal

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Z28 GM Design sixth-generation gen 6
Image via GM Design.

GM Design posted a rather peculiar image of a Chevrolet Camaro today, and it’s done more than perk our attention. At first glance, one may assume it’s just a Camaro ZL1 1LE, but that front clip is no ZL1 1LE. Note the fanged openings on each side, which would be perfect for feeding fresh air to the brakes. A more aggressive front splitter and grille pattern also dominate the front end, while a hood cutout works as an air extractor at high speeds. And there’s also the updated headlights, which the Camaro ZL1 1LE does not have. Folks, it feels like we’re looking at a sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 here.

Unfortunately, it’s all a gigantic tease.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Camaro ZL1 1LE. Image via Chevrolet.

Sixth-Generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Canceled

What was going to be the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was canceled in 2018 during GM’s biggest restructuring since its 2009 bankruptcy. The wake left multiple plants mothballed, over ten thousand job cuts, and several vehicle programs either furloughed or downsized. One of those vehicles was a new Camaro Z/28, although there was also a body-on-frame midsize SUV program that would have had GMC taking the fight to the Toyota 4Runner. What would have been the seventh-generation Camaro was also canned.

MC&T was first to report all of these details back in 2019.

Now, the skinny on the stillborn Camaro Z/28 is this: its single mission was to pass the already high performance bar set by the Camaro ZL1 1LE. And it was going to do so with a unique engine: a 6.6L pushrod V8 engine that was part of the Gen V small block family. This motor, which we believe to have been called LT3, would have essentially been the LS7 reincarnate, with a monstrous displacement, a 7,000+ RPM redline, and 500+ horsepower. Based on our network of proven sources, it was not the 5.5L DOHC V8 that’s destined for the C8 Corvette Z06, despite the allegations. That would have been cool, though.

Output of the sixth-gen Camaro Z/28 would have been significantly down from the 650 hp we see in the Camaro ZL1 1LE, which would have meant that engineers would have to once again get extremely creative in making the Z/28 quick in order to improve the power:weight ratio. That would amount to various weight-reducing techniques, such as removing rear seats, thinning glass, pulling out sound insulation, wiring and audio systems, eviscerating the HVAC system, serving-tray-sized brakes, a barely-legal camber setup utilizing thinly spoked wheels, and finding the most adhesive tires imaginable to wrap around them.

Would it have really been able to beat the Camaro ZL1 1LE’s 7:16.04 lap time around the ‘Ring? Unfortunately, we’ll never truly know.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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