2021 Camaro SS and ZL1 ineligible for sale in California and Washington as of January 1
A 2010 California law signed by Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that aims to protect aquatic critters has put a damper on sales of the 2021 Camaro SS and ZL1. Each of those models are equipped with Brembo brakes that use copper in their composition. The 2010 law, known as the California Motor Vehicle Brake Friction Material Law (we’ll go with BFML), prohibits any brake friction material with more than 5 percent copper by weight.
Brake dust, which is produced every time you apply your brakes, ends up on road surfaces and eventually gets washed into streams, lakes, rivers, and the ocean. The substance is toxic to marine animals every step of the way. California’s BFML law went into effect in 2014 and its first provisions limited the amount of cadmium, chromium salts, mercury, lead, and asbestos fibers in brake pads and shoes. The final rollout of the law happens on January 1, 2025, when copper will be restricted to a maximum of 0.5 percent.
For the 2022 model year, Chevrolet plans to offer the SS and ZL1 in California and Washington (the latter followed California’s lead on the law) with a new brake system that complies with the BFML law. If they desire a 2021 model, many Camaro shoppers on the West Coast must choose from current dealer inventory as of January 1, 2021.
Until the 2022 SS and ZL1 become available, however—which we expect to be sometime in 2021—the only V-8 available in the Camaro lineup for most West Coast buyers will be the LT1 trim level, which shares a fascia with the 2.0-liter turbo and V-6 models. It’s equipped with the same 455-hp 6.2-liter V-8 as the SS, but the LT1 uses a different Brembo brake package. We reached out to Chevrolet for comment, but we cannot confirm that the LT1’s brake package is copper-free. If you’re on the fence about one of the best-handling pony cars on the market, you may want to visit your dealer soon.