13 October 2015

Curtain Call For Camaro’s Generation 5

Last chances are heaped upon us. There’s that last chance to save 50 cents a pound on bananas and the last chance to reserve tickets for the hockey season – neither of which ever seems to be truly final.

But when Chevrolet says this is your last chance to purchase a fifth-generation Camaro, it’s a fact. The automaker recently said that the 2015 Camaro 1LE, ZL1 and Z/28 are “effectively out of production.” Chevy stopped accepting new orders for V-8 Camaros in August, and production of the fifth-generation cars is scheduled to end on Nov. 20. With the sixth generation making its debut later this fall, it’s truly the end of the line for the current design.

While drivers are eager to try out the 2016 models, those with an eye toward future values might be wondering about the legacy of these 2015 performance models. The Gen-five Camaro, which premiered in 2010, pleased enthusiasts with its retro reference to the first series of 1967-69, and coming on the heels of a seven-year hiatus that saw no Camaros, it was a milestone for the brand.

Will it be a milestone for collectors? That’s a tough call, but some of the Gen-five cars may have potential. For example, the 2015 Camaro SS with the 1LE performance package has a lot going for it. This 426-horsepower hugger was judged by Car and Driver to be a “track-ready performer on the order of the Porsche 911 GT3.” High praise, indeed.

The 2015 build numbers aren’t final, but Monte Doran of Chevrolet said he expected a total of about 2,600 1LEs to have been produced for the model year, so one measure of desirability – low production numbers – is met. Its potential as a car you will enjoy is excellent, and its price is reasonable: Starting at $37,035, including destination charges, it sells for approximately half what you would pay for a 2015 Camaro Z/28.

The 2015 ZL1 is the King Kong Camaro, with 580 horsepower on tap; 11-second quarter-mile times are achievable. Rick Hendrick, the NASCAR team owner (and Chevy dealer), bought the first Gen-five ZL1 in 2012. There are likely to be equally potent Gen-six Camaros coming out of Chevrolet engineering, but the 2015 ZL1 revived the Camaro’s reputation for supercar performance – and its run is over. Doran said that approximately 1,200 copies of the 2015 model were built.

While the ZL1 is brutally powerful, the slightly less potent and considerably more expensive 505-horsepower Z/28 is better in the twisty bits, as evidenced by a 7:37.47 Nürburgring lap. That’s four seconds faster than the ZL1 and quicker than published times for the 911 Porsche Carrera S and Lamborghini Murciélago LP640. Will the last of the Gen-five Z/28s, which also numbered around 1,200 for the model year, be one that collectors chase in years to come? Chances are good, even if the $72,305 price on the window sticker seems breathtaking now.

“Want” should be the key word here, not “invest.” It’s true that many cars, including numerous Camaros, have experienced impressive increases in value over the years, but it’s also likely true that quite a few millionaire car collectors were once billionaires. But a car you truly enjoy is always a good buy, even if its value doesn’t appreciate.

10 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Kevin Idaho October 13, 2015 at 23:32
    All 3 of those V8 Camaros are winners. But that Z car. Ooooh, that Z....
  • 2
    John S. Harvey Sandy, UT 84070 October 14, 2015 at 16:14
    ". . . but it’s also likely true that quite a few millionaire car collectors were once billionaires."
  • 3
    Alex Austin Tx October 14, 2015 at 18:05
    I purchased a convertible SS commemorative edition, how can I find out how many of these were made?
  • 4
    Old Ted Ontario, Canada October 14, 2015 at 19:10
    I heard yesterday that Oshawa was going to continue building the Camaro a while longer. Doesn't sound reasonable as there is a model change coming and you wouldn't think that they would spend all that money on a model change then shut the line down a little while later. The low Canadian dollar would be the only thing that might carry any weight as to where the Camaro is built.
  • 5
    Joe Central VA October 14, 2015 at 21:03
    With the latest Mustang redesign, I've started looking at Camaros more fondly. The 05-09 Mustangs were my favorites. I sure hope Chevy stays with American muscular styling. I love European sports cars, but can't we have that level of handling and the brawny looks of older muscle and pony cars? As someone who dislikes the current Corvette, I'm not so sure...
  • 6
    Henry Frapp North Idaho October 14, 2015 at 21:18
    No great loss. The Hellcats and Mustangs are twice the car than those Camaros ever dreamed of being. I won't even notice that they're gone.
  • 7
    Rick Florida October 15, 2015 at 06:23
    You could apply the same logic to the 1967-69 Camaros. There were only 602 Z/28's built in 1967 and 7,199 built in 1968, so rarity will always make the first two years of production extremely desirable. By 1969, Z/28 production increased to 20,302, but today the '69 models remain in high demand among collectors. I believe the same thing will happen with Gen 5 Camaros. Yes, earlier production numbers for 1LE, ZL1 and Z/28 Camaros will create desirability and collectibility, but it appears that even greater things are to come in 2016 and beyond as the body style changes slightly -- just like back in 1969.
  • 8
    Jeff Canada October 15, 2015 at 07:17
    Production volume for a first year -2012- ZL1 was 1,975. Total. I'm trying to keep mine good. But it's so damn fun to drive.
  • 9
    JV Florida February 20, 2016 at 17:43
    They only built 6000 or so 1LE's during the 5th gen. 2400 in 2014 of which mine is one of 139 in bright yellow. Being a 1SS mine is even more rare. Better than those ugly Mustangs that sound and look awful. Hellcats are nice for land yachts as long as you never try a take a turn at speed.
  • 10
    christopher benjamin Connecticut May 23, 2016 at 22:34
    I have one of the last ZL-1 2015 Camaros in Red Rock Metallic with every available option. Just hit a thousand miles and cant stop loving every mile more i put on it. Mustangs and Hellcats dont even come close to the purity of an American muscle car like the Camaro!

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