5 collectible fourth-gen Camaros for the F-body fanatic
With their sleek, aerodynamic styling, road-hugging chassis, and solid powertrains, fourth-gen Camaros were popular cars among enthusiasts seeking fun on the autocross, road course, or drag strip. These are cars that were well-liked and well-received when new and offered a potent V-8 powerplant—especially the 1998–2002 models equipped with the LS1.
We’ve noted for several years now that while the average SS and Z28 offer a lot of fun per dollar, they still seem to be off the collector car buyer’s radar. As a result, their values have yet to climb like many other sporty coupes of the era. There are a few highly desirable models that may change that, however. Here are five fourth-gen Camaros available at Mecum’s upcoming 2021 Indy sale this month that are worth keeping an eye on.
Chevrolet had a lot planned for the 1998 Camaro. It served up a new fascia and the V-8 models received a version of the all-aluminum LS1 that had debuted with the C5 Corvette, giving the Camaro its first Gen III small-block. To give the last of the Gen II V-8 Camaros a proper sendoff, Chevrolet, with help from SLP, built a limited run with the high-output LT4 V-8, an engine that would normally be found in the Grand Sport Corvette. At 330 hp, it was a serious machine.
This 30th Anniversary model offered by Mecum at Indy, one of just 100 equipped with the LT4, has just 35 miles on the odometer. It’s loaded with just about every option a Camarophile could ask for, including a six-speed manual transmission, houndstooth seats, and Hugger Orange stripes.
2001 Camaro SS Intimidator
Dale Earnhardt was one of NASCAR’s most beloved drivers because of, not in spite of, his hard-nosed driving style and sometimes-bristly personality. His signature black GM Goodwrench race car was not a welcome sight in most drivers’ mirror. To distill some of that attitude into a something that would sell on the dealership floor, Dale Earnhardt’s Chevrolet dealership worked with high-performance tuner GMMG to create the Intimidator special edition Camaro with the looks and performance fitting the Intimidator name.
This example has just 62 miles on the odometer and features a tuned LS1 V-8 that churns out 381 hp thought a six-speed transmission equipped with a Dale Earnhardt short-throw shifter. A lowered suspension drops the body over a set of 17-inch American Racing wheels finished in silver to match the stinger strip on the hood. The car comes complete with Intimidator SS car cover, dash plaque, and documentation.
2002 Camaro ZL1 Phase 3
2002 marked the end of the F-body. With no clear return in sight, lots of effort was made to ensure Camaro went out with a bang. One such sendoff was GMMG’s ZL1. GMMG is like a Yenko or Baldwin-Motion of the modern era and offered tuned Camaros that were available straight from the dealership.
Just 69 ZL1s were built by GMMG in 2002 with a 427-cubic-inch LS as an homage to the original ZL1 Camaro in 1969. Of those 69, only 37 were equipped with the 600-hp Phase 3 package based on the C5R engine, and only one was painted in Dusk Blue, an original 1969 color. The Corvette part-sharing didn’t’ stop at the engine though, as this car also uses Z06 calipers and rotors front and rear along with chrome Z06 wheels.
With a screaming engine–complete with headers and cutouts–and a track-gripping suspension, this Camaro is an all-around performance car that would have been one of the wildest cars on the street in 2002. We’re sure it’s still a ton of fun.
2002 Camaro Brickyard Pace Car
For the fourth-generation F-body collector looking for a low-volume, high-power, fully optioned car, it doesn’t get much better than this. Pace car editions are fairly unique as it is, but this 35th Anniversary Camaro SS also features a host of additional modifications by GMMG that take it to another level of performance while also making it a one-of-one rarity.
The Phase 2 engine, like the one in this Pace Car, used ported heads, a custom cam, and a high-flow exhaust to produce 475 hp. Like some of the legendary Camaros of yore, some of the speed parts from GMMG were a bit extreme. As such, the headers, with their 1.75-inch primary tubes, were delivered in the trunk, to be installed by the owner.
2002 Camaro GMMG Dick Harrell Edition
While 475 hp and even 600 hp was quite a lot for a Camaro, especially in 2002, GMMG wasn’t done adding horsepower to the fourth-gen platform. With 427 cubic inches of LS V-8 to work with, the Dick “Mr. Chevrolet” Harrell version of the GMMG Camaro packed 630 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque into the cramped engine bay. Dick Harrell is a legendary drag racer, so these Camaros featured a sturdy clutch and a Strange 12-bolt rear axle to handle the launches, and a six-point roll bar for added safety and rigidity. Just 33 of these widebody editions were built, making them one of the wildest Camaros you could ever buy from a dealership.
These five cars are among the rarest and most powerful of all fourth-gen Camaros. If they do well at auction and bring top dollar, there are still loads of garden-variety SS and Z28 models that can be snapped up at a relative bargain and turned into absolute track beasts. If these rarities are out of budget, they can still serve as inspiration for whatever kind of Camaro you’d like to cook up on your own.