Chevy Drops Camaro ZL1 1LE for Final Year, Heating Up Z28 Rumors

The parts just bolt right up, so why did they remove them? It has to be because they’re prepping an LT6-powered track special. It has to be.

byPeter Holderith|
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Yeah, I want this to happen. So what? The fact that General Motors dropped the 1LE package from the Camaro ZL1 configurator seems like more than a simple coincidence, and I have a theory.

In the crude workings of my brain, the 1LE package's performance parts have to simply bolt onto any sixth-gen Camaro. So why take them off the most potent version of the car? It has to be because the General is prepping a new Z28 powered by the Corvette Z06's LT6. We reached out to GM about dropping the ZL1 1LE and got no response, which is basically a ringing endorsement of the whole idea (or their PR people are just busy).

There are several reasons why it makes sense to do a sixth-gen Z28 and this latest tidbit of circumstantial evidence adds fuel to the fire. First of all, there have been rumors swirling around that such a car does indeed exist. I've questioned people involved with the sixth-gen Camaro about it, and their excuses are pretty weak, too. I can't produce any exact quotes or provide any names, but it basically added up to "the engine does fit." Coming from a group of talented automotive engineers, that's hardly a justification to not build what could be the ultimate Camaro.

Sure, there are some roadblocks. The 5.5-liter, 670-horsepower LT6 is mounted to an eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle in the Corvette Z06, which means a new transmission solution would have to be figured out for the decidedly front-engined Camaro. Maybe a torque tube to the existing transaxle—similar to older Corvettes—is possible. I would personally like to see a stick shift, but even I know that's choosing beggar territory. The Camaro is also leaving production very soon, which makes the window for building such a car even narrower.

Think of the possibilities, though. If Ford can build the new Mustang GTD, surely GM can lift a finger to build a final challenger. The sixth-gen Camaro is a great handling car and absolutely deserves a Z28 version. On the eve of electrification, this may be the last opportunity. Also, no offense to anyone who buys one, but the 2024 Collector’s Edition Camaro is a weak sendoff. A sticker package and a watch? Come on now. This is the Camaro we're talking about. Maybe when the Malibu kicks the bucket, give the last couple of buyers a firm handshake and a Malibu-branded kazoo. Not for a car like this.

Listen, I have enough Reynolds Wrap to put a new heat shield on the Space Shuttle. You wanna hear another good one? Evaporative emissions codes were invented by the auto industry to extort the elderly. Oh, your gas cap is open? Go to the dealer. That's another really hot one. You're just not gonna get that kind of completely uninformed speculation anywhere outside the dark web. But in any case, when it comes to rumors out of Detroit, there's generally fire to accompany a bunch of smoke. I want to believe this new Camaro is coming. Join me, won't you?

Got a legit tip about a new Z28 Camaro? Contact me directly: peter@thedrive.com

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