Sadly, all 2024 Camaro Z/28 rumors are just that
An article on The Drive yesterday optimistically suggested that news of Chevrolet ending the 1LE package on the ZL1 suggests that a Z/28 could be coming to fill the void. A kind of send-off to the Camaro as we know it. It’s a pipe dream, despite the fact that many of us on the Hagerty staff too, not to mention, presumably, Special Agent Fox Mulder, want to believe. Not just because we love Camaros, and especially Z/28s, but like the article’s author we didn’t quite imagine the sixth-gen finale going out with a Panther emblem package and a watch.
Indeed, deep is the parts bin from which Chevrolet could have scrounged to properly honor this Camaro. Two scenarios that we’d hoped for included an SS 396 package that used an all-aluminum version of the 6.6-liter truck engine. This option would have been among the easiest, and the resulting engine could have been shared with Corvette. The recipe is simple: drop the 3.86-inch stroke from 6.6 into an aluminum LT1/LT2 block, give it a set of pistons to match the new compression height, add the LT2‘s top end, and give it a camshaft with a bit more duration to help feed the extra cubes. Like the later 396 big-block, this V-8 would have more than 400 cubic inches of displacement. We’re OK with history repeating itself, that’s the whole point. This powerplant could have easily produced 500-525 hp and given the Camaro a nice, old-school pushrod grunt along with some nostalgic emblems that would have carried a bit more weight.
The other less likely (and yet far more interesting and speculated-on) option was a sixth-gen Z/28 with the C8 Z06‘s high-revving, DOHC LT6 V-8. The nostalgia lover in me would wish for a smaller-displacement version of the 670-hp powerplant to differentiate it from the Corvette Z06, and because a 302 would have a nice ring to it. Of course, with no sanctioning body demanding a displacement limit, there’s no reason to make the 5.5-liter LT6 any smaller. With the Camaro’s packaging, we would expect the power to be down a bit, as those beautiful tri-Y headers certainly wouldn’t fit. Nonetheless, it would be hard to argue with a 600+ hp NA V-8 under the Camaro’s hood. It was also never a viable option, as Chevrolet had pulled the plug on the Z/28 long before the LT6 ever hit showrooms.
Depressing at it seems, the easy answer for the Camaro ZL1 1LE ending production is either the vehicle’s low demand or its parts supply drying up. We’d love to be wrong, but, unfortunately, as we’ve noted in previous articles on Camaro’s future, there doesn’t appear to be anyone left on the Camaro’s development team. The talented and passionate engineers who honed the Alpha chassis to be such a responsive and communicative driver’s car got assigned to other projects years ago. There have been no spy photos of Camaros sporting a new fascia, unique exhaust, or an exotic-sounding engine.
As much as we wish it weren’t the case, it looks like the Panther is not going out with a roar. It’s slinking off into an uncertain future.