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2016 Camaro 2.0 Liter Turbo: The Death Valley Review

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Loosed across the desert floor as a stone loosed from the hand of God himself, skipping across the surface of the otherworldly terrain though we were bright yellow flat-edged stone. The Camaro quietly ZRINGs underneath my right foot as we gently accelerate toward the next gear. We may as well be on a paved Martian road for as desolate the horizon, not another living soul in sight. For the better part of an hour, things remain as such. The world seems stagnant and immobile, stopped, frozen, yet we move rapidly through it. Making haste so as to not be stuck out here in this stuck world. The scenery is beautiful, yes, but I’d rather not become part of it. Clutch-in, select 5th, clutch-out, hammer down.

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First Ride: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The ZL1 features a supercharged LT4 6.2L V-8 Small Block engine, with intake and exhaust systems tailored for Camaro. It is rated at an estimated 640 horsepower (477 kW) and 640 lb-ft of torque (868 Nm), backed by a standard six-speed manual transmission or all-new, available paddle-shift 10-speed automatic. The 10-speed automatic has 7.39 overall ratio for smaller steps between gears. It enables the LT4 engine to remain at optimal rpm levels during acceleration, particularly when exiting corners, for quicker laps and lightning-quick responses on both up- and down-shifts.

Last week Chevrolet invited us to the middle of the desert about an hour outside of Las Vegas to drive the new Camaro Convertible and try out the new four-cylinder turbo Camaro as well. The day we arrived, Chevrolet invited us to dinner. However, we were told to leave our cameras behind. That always means something interesting, but what could it be? We were shuttled to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch and at the front of the room was a clearly Camaro-shaped car under sheet. There was some speculation among those in attendance about what it would be. Is it a new Z28? A new ZL1? A Berlinetta perhaps? Something altogether new? After a brief discussion reminding us that Chevrolet’s performance division exists, the sheet was pulled back and the new ZL1 was unveiled. Within minutes, Chevy executives had us whipping around the track strapped into the passenger’s seat of pre-production swirly painted test mules with helmets and HANS. It’s a serious car, and it has the beans to back up its business. The supercharged rocketship of the Camaro lineup is back, and this time it can actually turn corners, too.

For a video of our on-track action, and more photos of the car, click the jump.

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LeMons Tow Rig Review: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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Before returning the our 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, I had to do my best to get the get the oil, beer, and food spills out of the bed and the wiff-of-homeless-guy out of the interior. Three days of LeMons Support duty will do that to a truck. The Car Blog Commenting Guild™ endlessly laments the increasing niceness of pickup trucks. Trucks like the high-end F150 Kamil reviewed cause wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Whatever happened to cloth interiors? I don’t want a Cadillac, I just want a truck!”.

This is a Truck.

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2002 Corvette Z06 – Plentiful Power Priced Right

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Usually when you meet your heroes you end up highly disappointed. I’ve driven all sorts of Corvettes ranging from a 1969 427 Stingray to a C4 ZR-1 and a C6 ZO6 at Bondurant. Sure I’ve driven C5’s before and yes the automatic is as terrible as everybody says that it is, but the Z06 was a bit of a Corvette unicorn for me. Years ago I got to see brand new C5 ZO6’s on the dealer showroom but I never did get a chance to sample the flavor of the C5 Z06… until now.

Friend of Hooniverse Rick Radcliffe went out and bought one. And his very clean driver example finally had me behind the wheel of a car that I’d lusted after for quite some time. The C5 Z06 has one of the highest levels of performance capability you can find on the affordable used market at the moment. If you want cheap speed with high levels of handling in a lightweight package, you really can’t do wrong with a Z06.

Does this level of performance bargain awesomeness have the best bang for the buck on the used market? Watch the video to find out.

[Many thanks to Rick Radcliffe for supplying his Corvette and allowing me to perform the ceremonial transformation of six year old Bridgestones… into smoke]

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Bang for the buck… redefined

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Remember when the rest of the world used to make fun of the Corvette? It wasn’t completely warranted, yet there were some criticisms that both stuck and stung. Those days were officially pushed into the past when the new C7 Corvette arrived.

The 2015 Corvette Z06, however, takes those old notions, douses them in high-octane fuel, and sets them ablaze. That’s because it just might be the best bang for the buck performance machine on the planet.

Hell it might be one of the best performance machines on the planet *period*

[DisclaimerChevrolet threw us the keys to the Z06 and let us borrow it for a weekend. Fuel was used to generate noise, tire smoke, and a burning desire to own a new Z06.]

Review: 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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I triple-checked the parking brake and glanced ahead through the narrow windshield—almost more of a viewing port—at the “ZL1” affixed to the hood scoop’s side. I heard Jeff Glucker, Hooniverse’s executive editor, in my head.

Don’t f— it up.

Well, he hadn’t said those words, but he’d typed them in an email to let me know what I’d be driving for my short weekend visit to California to serve as a member of the austere and somber 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court. Nevertheless, I heard his voice when I first read those words and I heard it again as my thumb pinched the ignition key against my index finger.

Don’t f— it up.

My foot floored the stiff clutch pedal and I rolled my wrist forward. The Chevrolet Camaro’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 sprang to burbling life and the whole chassis oscillated with the cam’s lope, a mighty American bear awakened. Ready to pounce.

I chanced a grin before those words popped up again in a buttery smooth podcast voice.

Don’t f— it up.

I furrowed my brow. This brand-new Camaro was about to see the easiest 330 journalist miles of its service life.

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Review: 2014 Chevrolet SS
A last dash for Aussie gold

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We look upon the Australian automotive offerings with jealous delight. There are coupes, wagons, and sedans that we’d love to put in our own garages. Don’t even get me started on Utes…

It’s not often that a bit of Oz awesomeness makes it Stateside though, and that’s because the idea of a rear-wheel-drive V8-powered bruiser only appeals to a limited bit of the market. We love that bit of the market, and that means we should love the 2014 Chevrolet SS. It’s a rebadged Holden Commodore VF, which means it has a 6.2-liter LS3 motor up front and the driven wheels planted out back.

Sounds like a recipe for Hooniversal success… but is it? Hop on down to find out.

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Video Review: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
‘Murica’s sports car… goes global

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It’s been a long time coming…

The idea of a true American sports car has been laughed at by the rest of the planet. Even Latvia chuckles when we say that we can make a car go around corners well. The Germans give us a gentle chuckle and a pat on the back. Japan reminds us that a sports car is supposed to go in multiple directions. Even the United Kingdom, which has relegated its sports cars to luxury duty (built in India) smiles and gives us a sarcastic thumbs up, when we say that we can build a real-deal sports car.

You know what?

F*$k ’em all… the C7 Corvette is ready to set the world on fire.

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Video Review: 2014 Chevrolet Impala

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For fans of the Chevrolet brand, the name Impala can conjure up some strong emotional ties and feelings. It should too, seeing as this is a name that was first applied to a vehicle in 1958. It then carried on for decades until it died a malaise-tastic death. The Impala was revived for the wonderful SS models in the mid 1990’s before going away again for a bit. After that we were “treated” to the 9th generation Impala… so, yeah?

Eventually, however, Chevrolet went back to the proverbial and actual drawing board to bring us the latest Impala. It’s an important car for General Motors, and I think it’s a sign that Chevy could be back on track from one end of its model lineup all the way to the other.

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First Ride: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 [w/Video]
A finely honed track weapon

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I don’t really care for the Chevrolet Camaro.

If you’re a regular reader of Hooniverse, you’ve heard me say that before. Sure, the older ones are definitely cool, but I have no love for the modern version. The Camaro ZL1 is certainly a blast thanks to its delightful amount of horsepower and noise. Folks who have driven the 1LE rave about its handling prowess. But other than those two (and one aftermarket tuned example), I’ve never enjoyed my time with the Camaro.

I’m telling you this so you fully understand just how impressed I am by the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. General Motors flew a handful of folks to Michigan so we could get a closer look at the latest machine to wear a very important badge. No, I didn’t get to drive the car, but I ride shotgun…

…and it was enough to blow me away.

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