Since 1966, the Chevrolet Camaro has been an American muscle car favorite. It’s been the Mustang’s main rival and has given the country something to debate about. In 2016, the sixth generation was launched and immediately awarded Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award. The current generation offers plenty of variants, but what is the fastest Camaro ever made? Is it the newer line, or were there cars of the past that impressed?
The truth is; there are a lot of Camaro models to sift through to find the answers. Thankfully, we don’t mind doing some digging to find you the truth. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 fastest Camaros of all time. We ranked them by the 0-60 mph time to make things easier. While most are stock versions, we added in a few modified to keep things fun.
But before we get started, let’s learn some cool facts about the original Camaro!
7 Secrets of the Original Chevrolet Camaro
#01. The name Panther Z/28 doesn’t have the same ring to it
The Camaro was originally going to be called the “Panther”. Right up until the car’s debut this was the name of one of America’s finest cars. Word had been leaked to the press that their new sports car would be named Panther. Chevrolet even had the molds made for the emblems. The Chevy PR in the first-ever coast-to-coast teleconference informed the automotive media that the car would be named “Camaro” instead.
#02. What exactly is a Camaro?
It’s a made up word to fit the Chevrolet naming scheme of the time (Corvette, Caprice, Chevelle, etc.). Some enterprising Chevy PR type claims to have found the word (after the fact) in an old French dictionary as a slang word for friend (as in camaraderie), but it appear that’s an after-the-fact back story.
#03. The Camaro and Mustang shared a similar secret
Both the Mustang and the Camaro, despite the acclaim which greeted their introduction, and the high esteem in which both have been held over the last 50 years, both have very modest roots. In the case of the Mustang, its underpinning were based heavily on the falcon economy car. Likewise the Camaro was based on the moderately-priced Nova.
#04. There were 7 different engine options in the first year
The 1967 Camaro was available with an astonishing seven different engines available to purchase.* Those ranged from two inline six-cylinder motors, the L26 230 CID engine that produced140 hp, and the L22 250 CID that produced 155HP, both using single barrel carburetors. From there it got a little more exciting with the following V8 engines all on four-barrel carbs: L30 327 CID 275 hp, the L48 350 CID 295 hp, the L35 396 CID, 325 hp, and the L78 396 CID 375 hp, as well as the Z28 302 CID 290 hp developed for SCCA Trans-Am competition. Here’s a chart that shows the percentage of each engine installed in the 1967 Camaro:
#05. Z/28 is such an awesome name for a performance package, where did it come from?
The Z28 was simply the next code on the list. For example, the Z27 code was used for ordering the Camaro with the SS package and a 350 CID engine (the first appearance for that classic motor, BTW). The Z29 was the code for the Vega GT package.
#06. There was an unusual option that no one ordered
The A67 Fold-Down Rear Seat – The image you have today of a fold-down rear seat is on that fold flat and provides access to the trunk so long items (say, skis, for example) can be carried inside the car. On the Camaro, the seat folded down but there was still a solid wall between the interior and the trunk. All it really gave you is a flatter shelf for luggage.
#07. There was ANOTHER unusual option that no one ordered EITHER
The V75 Liquid Aerosol Tire Chain – An option on ’69 Camaros that featured a refillable aerosol dispenser located in each of the rear wheel wells that would spray a special traction-enhancing liquid on the rear tires on demand to help traction on snow and ice. Only 188 cars were ordered with the V75 option.
Now that you know a bit more about the original Camaro, let’s get on with our list! Whether you prefer a classic Camaro or you like the new, updated models, there will be something on this list for you. Let’s see what the fastest Camaro is when we get to the bottom of the list (stay tuned). So without further ado, let’s look at the fastest and slowest production Camaro models out there!
Ranking The Fastest Chevrolet Camaro Models Ever Made!
10. 2016 Camaro 2.0T
There’s no denying that Chevy has produced some amazing performance Camaros in their history. Ask anyone that knows anything about cars and they’ll quickly rattle off some of the most impressive models like the SS, RS, IROC-Z, and Z28. Surprisingly, in 2016, they were all put to shame by a four-cylinder budget variant.
The 2016 Camaro came with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 275 horsepower. That’s more than the Malaise Era V8s did. This car features a 0 to 60 mph time of just 5.4 seconds, which is also faster than the 80s IROC-Z. This just goes to prove that the automotive innovations continue to grow and change so we can have faster, better vehicles in our future. While this isn’t the fastest stock Camaro, it’s still one to be impressed by. The modern Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE SS Turbo is faster than the current Dodge Demon and the new ZR1 Corvette, with a top speed of 198 mph, pushed up to a 202 mph top speed with the right driver behind the steering wheel.
9. 1969 ZL1 Camaro
There’s no question that the 1969 ZL1 Camaro is a legend, but is it one of the fastest Camaros ever? It’s true that this model kicked street performance up a notch. In fact, it was able to hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. If you think about it for a moment, you might not be overly impressed at the moment. There are plenty of cars that can produce those kinds of time.
Now, stop and remember that this car is from the late 1960s. In that time, those speeds weren’t seen. The ZL1 offered speed and excitement to the average, everyday driver. It’s no wonder that Chevy has had such success with the ZL1 nameplate since then. Chevy Camaro enthusiasts know a good thing when they see it.
8. Camaro Fourth-Generation SS
The fourth-generation SS isn’t just a fan favorite; it’s also considered a contender as the fastest Camaro. It featured a 0-60 mph time of only 5.2 seconds. The SS was also seen as a Pontiac Firebird during these years. Both of them utilized a 5.7-liter LS1 Pushrod V8 engine which produced 325 horsepower plus 340 pound-feet of torque. There was even a 35th anniversary model of this car which was something the fans looked forward to.
The SS models featured an improved exhaust and intake, larger tires and aluminum wheels, plus a revised suspension and Brembo brakes. This helped to improve the car’s grip and handling while offering the riders comfort. In addition, the gearing ratios helped it accelerate faster and Chevy also provided an arc-shaped rear wing to increase downforce. It might not be the fastest Camaro in the world, but it sure won points for popularity.
7. Camaro Fourth-Generation Z28 SS
The first fourth-generation Camaro Z28 entered production for the 1993 model year. It was the beginning of a new era for the car brand and one that wasn’t as popular as many people thought it would be. That doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s still quite fast; with a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds.
Of course, most people never took a second look at this model, and only saw the SS. This generation was also the final redesign that Chevy did before the Camaro received a break during the 2000s. Then, the fifth-generation was born for the 2010 model year.
6. 2016 Camaro RS
This model proved that GM was capable of putting a smaller engine into the car while producing just as much power. In 2016, this 3.6-liter V6 Camaro impressed enthusiasts with their responsive, speedy new variant. This engine pumped out 335 horsepower plus 284 pound-feet of torque.
When paired with the eight-speed automatic transmission, the car easily did 0 to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. While it’s not the fastest stock Camaro, it sure did give many of the other models a run for their money.
5. 2014 COPO Camaro
If you wanted something bad-ass, they didn’t come much better than this COPO Camaro. Because it was fitted per NHRA specs, it never achieved the street-legal status. It didn’t matter to speed lovers; the Central Office Production Order lived up to all of its hype.
It hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and had a top speed of 175 miles per hour. In 2015, they created 69 units and there were a few engine options among them. These included a 5.7-liter or 7.0-liter V8. Of course, the horsepower and torque numbers varied on what engine was inside. It didn’t really matter; no matter what it was equipped with, it was a true beast.
4. 2014 Callaway Chevrolet Camaro SC652
When you want to find the fastest Camaros, it makes sense that you would think of this Callaway Camaro SC652. It’s one of the quickest and can hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The powerful 7.0-liter LS7 V8 engine is boosted by an Eaton TVS supercharger. That’s how this car can run a quarter mile in only 11.5 seconds.
Altogether, this car produces 652 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque. The final SC652 sold for over $100,000. Sadly, we only ever saw ten of these produced, so it is also one of the more exclusive Camaros that was built. It’s the car that Camaro collectors would be proud to store in their garage.
3. 2019 Camaro ZL1
Even back a few years ago the ZL1 was considered to be the fastest stock Camaro. It hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and won its title as the fastest Camaro. The previous years are still highly coveted by enthusiasts, but they got an upgraded model in 2019.
It doesn’t matter what year from the past few, they all come with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. What makes the 2019 different is that it produces 650 horsepower instead of the previous 580. This also upgraded the 0-60 mph time from 3.9 seconds to 3.5 seconds. Speed isn’t all it has going for it either. This car takes corners like a Porsche on a race track. There’s no denying that this takes drivers on one hell of a ride.
2. 2010 Hennessey Chevrolet Camaro HPE700
When you ask most people what the fastest Camaro is, they are likely to answer with this model. While they are close, there’s one faster. However, the 0-60 mph time on the Hennessey Performance Camaro HPE700 puts in a tie with the last option. This car also runs a quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds and gets to 126 mph in that time.
It’s powered by an inter-cooled, supercharged pushrod 16-valve V-8 engine. It puts out 726 horsepower and 741 pound-feet of torque. When it was first produced, it cost almost $120,000, so you can imagine that there weren’t that many sold. The price didn’t stop Camaro lovers from dreaming though.
1. 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SLP ZL1
We’ve done it! We finally reached the fastest Camaro of all time. Not only is it the top of our list, but you’ll also notice that it’s the fastest Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It hits 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds and has a quarter-mile time of 11.0 seconds. It’s powered by a V8 engine that pumps out 750 horsepower and 724 pound-feet of torque.
This car was made with a six-speed manual transmission. It also hit 70 mph in less than 160 feet. If you’ve always dreamed of a Camaro that would hug corners like a race car, this would be your ideal Chevy – all thanks to those exotic dive planes and super cool Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer tires. It holds the road up to 0.9 G’s before you start to notice the back end getting loose. That’s why many people also rate this as one of the most fun Camaros to drive.
What About The Exorcist Chevy Camaro ZL1?
Hennessey Performance built one hell of a monster when they showed off the incredible new Chevrolet Camaro “Exorcist” machine. Boasting 1,000 horsepower and 966 lb-ft of torque, the Exorcist Camaro has been proven to clock a top speed of 212 mph on its performance data recorder. With incredible speeds like that, surely it should be on the list, right? Though it has been thoroughly tested on the drag strip, we’ve trawled all the car news sites and haven’t been able to find a consensus on the 0-60 times. With the right pilot in the driver’s seat, Hennessey are sure that the machine can best other popular models and post a time of under 3 seconds, cementing their dominance of having the world’s fastest Camaro – but since we can’t find the proof yet, it’ll have to be a note stuck on the end for the moment!
5 Slowest (These Aren’t the Fastest Camaro by Any Means)
If we are going to make a list ranking the fastest Camaros, then it only seems right we end by telling you about the five slowest Camaros. No one will ever mistake these cars as the fastest Camaro models on the market. Chances are, you might have even owned one of these at some point.
5. 1977 Camaro Z28
No one could ever confuse this Z28 with on of the fastest Camaros. Its small-block 5.7-liter V8 engine only produced 185 horsepower. This gave it a 0-60 mph time of 8.6 seconds, which is nothing to brag about. This car might not have the speed of our fastest Camaro, but that doesn’t stop it from being a popular car to restore.
Muscle car enthusiasts enjoy restoring the 1977 Z28 because of how simple it is to accomplish. That’s because there’s an overwhelming supply of aftermarket parts available. Reproduction includes many of the exterior body panels, dash trim, bucket seats, and center console. It’s also mechanically sound thanks to the fact that it was a mainstream Chevy. If you desire a better ride, you’ll want to upgrade the suspension system. There are even some performance parts that will increase horsepower slightly, but not enough to make it the fastest Camaro.
4. 1994 Camaro V6
To compete with the base-model Mustang, Chevy offered this V6 variant for the 1994 model year. It was sportier than the Ford and came with a 3.4-liter V6 engine that produced 160 horsepower. With that engine, it took 8.9 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Still, it had a few things going for it. Obviously, the price made it affordable to a wide range of customers. It also had a sporty feel, more so than the Mustang did. This car was even bigger and broader than the Ford which offered a little more space in the cabin. The downside and significant flaw was the loud, coarse engine. It made most people wish they had saved up their money to invest in the V8 instead.
3. 1982 Camaro Z28
Underneath the hood of this Z28, you’ll find a 5.0-liter V8 engine that only pumps out 165 horsepower. That gives it a 0 to 60 mph time of 9.7 seconds. Even still, back in the 1980s when these were new, you would have still paid over $13,000 for one of these.
They all came standard with power-assisted steering, a sporty suspension, and 15-inch tires on seven-inch wide rims. While it wasn’t the fastest Camaro, it did shine while traveling on windy roads. The drive was pleasant and many people enjoyed this over the comparable Mustang for the year.
2. 1985 Camaro Berlinetta
It’s hard to watch Chevy fail as hard as they did with this model. It featured a 2.8-liter V6 engine that produced 135 horsepower. That gave it a 0 to 60 mph time of ten seconds flat. That’s almost the same time as the Astro van from the 1990s. Let that sink in a minute.
That wasn’t the only fail it had; multiple other aspects led to the disappointment. The engine was loud, the digital track was impossible to read, plus the electronics were difficult to operate. All around this was a major upset in the Camaro community.
1. 1975 Camaro
If you want to see the slowest Camaro around, then you’ll want to check out the model from 1975. It came with a 3.8-liter inline-six engine that pumped out a measly 105 horsepower. If you thought the last 0 to 60 mph time was bad, you’re in for a shocker. This one hit 60 mph in 10.6 seconds!
They didn’t produce an SS or Z28 this year either. In all fairness, they did also offer a V8 engine that delivered 145 horsepower instead. Despite the lack of power during this year, Chevy still managed to sell almost 150,000 models. That’s downright shocking to us.
Mission accomplished! Now that you know what the fastest and slowest Camaros are, do you have a favorite? Some muscle car enthusiasts prefer the older models. They like to restore them and head to the local car and auto shows. Other Camaro fans prefer to keep up to date on what’s new and happening. No matter which of these camps you fall into, it’s possible to find the Camaro of your dreams.
Hopefully, some of the newer models will beat these specs and we can update our list in the near future.