This 1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is compelling evidence (if any were needed) of the many and varied treasures you can unearth while looking through Autotrader listings. And it could be of special interest to a collector, since it’s not like other Camaro coupes.
The Uncertainty Principle
As any major Camaro fanboy will know, the 1997 model year falls into the fourth generation some 30 years after this famous name first came to be. The other notable badge, Z/28, has also been around for almost as long and is a lighter, more powerful version that’s aimed at track use. Here’s where the ad gets a little odd: In the photos and the description, it says the car is actually an SS model, which is different from the Z/28 in the title.
The Corvette Paradigm
What makes this particular car distinct is that it has an engine from the 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. The Z/28 and SS Camaros usually had General Motors’ LT1 engine, a 5.7-liter small-block V8. A fourth-gen SS would enjoy 305 horsepower, but the Corvette Grand Sport had a high-performance version of this engine, called the LT4, which develops 330 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque.
After making a limited run of the Corvette Grand Sport, General Motors had a batch of LT4 engines with no cars to go into. A bright person at SLP (of Troy, Michigan) had the genius idea of popping them into the 30th Anniversary ’97 Camaro SS, resulting in the most powerful Camaro to date. There were 100 made for the United States, six for Canada and a couple of prototypes. The Autotrader listing goes into the extensive work that SLP did on each engine before and after installation. Some of the other goodies are a Bilstein suspension and a Torsen limited-slip differential. The differences between an SS and a Z/28 are that the former is a little more comfortable, has a better exhaust system and sports a bigger wheel/tire combination.
The Performance Equation
Sprinting an LT4 Camaro from standstill to 60 miles per hour should be accomplished in under 5 seconds, which is pretty quick for a ’97 pony car. There’s no real point in mentioning the perils and pitfalls of Camaro ownership because this car has only done 60 miles — so it’s more or less new. One thing to look for is that there should be an SLP build number somewhere on the car. You could then check this against the online registry.
The Rareness Rationale
The asking price for this 1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (or 30th Anniversary SS, if the photos are correct) is $45,000. But it is a piece of manual 6-speed automotive history. You should just hope that it makes a big bang in the desired way.