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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.

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