Depreciation Station: 2010-'15 Camaro SS


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After several years away from the market and with much fanfare, the Camaro returned to showrooms in the spring of 2009 as a 2010 model. Like its contemporaries from Ford and Dodge, this new Camaro brought classic styling up into modern times. A tie-in with the “Transformers” movie only widened its fan base. Chevy had a bonafide blockbuster on its hands.

This all-new Camaro wasn’t just a looker. The popular SS package centered around GM’s 6.2-liter, 426-horsepower LS3 V8 engine backed by a six-speed transmission. The automatic-equipped Camaro SS made do with an even 400 horsepower, but the direct-injected V6 in the base Camaro was no weakling, either, offering more than 300 horsepower.

More good things to love about the new Camaro: independent rear suspension and, on the SS models, front and rear Brembo brakes. The SS also received fairly giant wheels, 20×8-inch fronts paired with 20×9-inch rears.

Performance recalled the model’s glory days, with an off-the-shelf Camaro SS good for a ’60s-worthy 13.0-second quarter mile. Like many of its peers, the car had its top speed electronically limited to 155 mph.

The price for all of this performance delivered in a classic wrap? About $31,000. To buy a 2010 or so Camaro SS today, cut that figure in half, more or less. The optional convertibles don’t seem to carry much of a premium.

A few concessions must be made, though. Headroom can best be described as limited, and those doors are large. The interior recalls the ’60s, but isn’t luxurious or opulent; remember, we’re still talking about a Camaro, a value-priced performer for half a century.

For those seeking even more performance, Chevy was happy to deliver. Higher-output Z/28, ZL1 and 1LE packages were eventually added to the lineup, while factory-supported Camaro race cars could be found in the Continental Tire Challenge endurance series. Chevy even offered a COPO-spec Camaro for drag racing. These track-ready, limited-edition models aren’t going to be found selling in the mid-teens, though; for the budget tire-scorcher, find a clean SS and enjoy.

CARE & FEEDING

As their name implies, Detroit Speed specializes in this country’s fastest machines. Gary Bohanick shared some 2010–’15 Camaro shopping tips.

Common failure points: Stock rear toe links are the first weak point of the rear suspension. Spend the money and purchase aftermarket toe links to fix this problem.

Next problem area: the rear cradle bushings, which allow excessive body movement. Same solution here: Buy aftermarket bushings to reduce compliance and eliminate the squirm under hard acceleration.

After that, consider upgrading the rear differential. The stock SS unit will not take the punishment of extended track use.

Must-do upgrades: coil-over setup, front and rear; front and rear anti-roll bars (the car typically needs more rear spring rate and roll rate); front upper camber plates to achieve more camber.

Ideal track wheels: ZL1 or Z/28 wheel and tire sizes. For the ZL1, that’s 20×10-inch front wheels with 285/35ZR20 tires and 20×11-inch rear wheels with 305/35ZR20 tires. The Z28 came with 305/30ZR19 tires all around mounted on 19×11-inch front wheels and 19×11.5-inch rears. 315/35ZR20 rear tires can be used with minimal modifications.

Spend your money on the basic needs mentioned above. Then go spend money on fuel and tires to get seat time rather than on glowing halo headlights.

This article is from a past issue of the magazine. Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it's published, and get access to our full digital archive, by subscribing to Classic Motorsports. Subscribe now.

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