For muscle car enthusiasts, the current economic situation is especially distressing. With automakers trying to produce vehicles that will appeal to drivers on a restricted budget, a lot of powerful, but expensive, cars are dropping down the priorities list. Case in point is the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. The Z/28 has been an on again off again part of the Chevy lineup since December of 1966, and a new version based off of the revived Camaro is waiting in the wings, but may never be released. The Z/28 has always been a high performance vehicle, and the 2010 model is no exception. While the car hasn’t hit assembly lines yet, the design is pretty much finalized, and Chevrolet says the Z/28 will be powered by the LSA V8 engine. This engine is currently in use in the Cadillace CTS-V sedan, but a supercharged version of the 6.2-liter behemoth is planned for the Z/28 that will produce 556 horsepower. Considering that the CTS-V can go from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds, a Z/28 with the same powerplant and weighing a few hundred pounds less should have no problem making it in under 4 seconds. Also, as you can see from the pictures, the Z/28 is a pretty slick looking car.
So what’s holding it back? First and most obvious is the current economic climate, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. After all, many luxury car companies are still selling expensive vehicles. One of the major concerns for Chevrolet is CAFE regulations. CAFE regulations are the government imposed standards for brand-wide fuel economy ratings. Currently, CAFE states that American manufacturers must meet a fleet-average of 35 mpg by 2020. In the past, adherence to the regulations hasn’t been fiercely enforced, but as a condition of the U.S. government’s loan to GM, the automaker agreed to hit that number. Introducing a special edition muscle car that will get, at best, around 15 mpg, would hurt the company’s average, making it hard to meet the standard.
There is some good news, though. While the Z/28 may not make an appearance this year, or even in the next, it will probably be released during this generation of Camaro. The Zeta platform which is the base of the current Camaro, as well as the aforementioned Cadillac CTS, is scheduled to remain in the GM lineup until 2016. If the economy turns around in the that time and GM finds vehicles to boost their mpg average, the Z/28 will probably be hitting showrooms across the country.