The dream car of every 1970s teenage boy is making a comeback.
Chevrolet is reviving the Z/28 Camaro as a lighter, high-performance version of the muscle car. The Z/28, which debuted in 1967 and was last sold in 2002, has been reengineered for 2014 at 3,800 pounds, about 100 pounds lighter than a standard Camaro. It's designed so that it can hit the racetrack, with the Corvette's powerful V-8 engine and bigger brakes. To shed weight, it forgoes some standard comforts, coming with a one-speaker radio, stiffer seats and manual transmission only.
"We really wanted to try to get rid of some of the mass and make it a real enthusiasts' car to be able to use for spirited driving on the street and open track days," said Mark Stielow, performance engineering manager for the Z/28.
Air conditioning is optional and there's less sound insulation. Brake rotors are made of carbon and ceramics instead of heavier steel. It's more aerodynamic than a standard Camaro, and the suspension is even stiffer than the ZL1, another high-performance version.
"The whole car has been just kind of tauted up. It's kind of a more performance style car," Stielow said.
Even with the changes, he says the car still handles bumpy roads well, though not as well as a standard Camaro.
Engineers also freshened up the Camaro's profile for 2014, reshaping the front and rear to make it more modern and athletic looking.
Alan Batey, General Motors' U.S. sales chief, said the company doesn't expect to sell a lot of Z/28s, but the car does bring back some of the brand's heritage from days when it dominated U.S. roads.
"You don't do this because of how many you're going to sell. You do this because of the statement it can make and the way it can build the brand," he said.
Here are some highlights of the 2014 Z/28:
UNDER THE HOOD: 7-liter (427-cubic-inch) V-8 from the Corvette that puts out more than 500 horsepower. GM wouldn't reveal a zero to 60 mph time. Six-speed manual transmission with close gear range.
OUTSIDE: Fender flares over the wheels to reduce wind drag. Extended panels at the bottom of the doors and a rear spoiler also improve aerodynamics.
INSIDE: New matte-metallic finish on the trim. Flat-bottomed steering wheel, standard Recaro seats that are more supportive for the race track. Front seats don't have power adjustments in order to save weight. Rear seats also were modified to cut pounds.
FUEL ECONOMY: Not disclosed. Likely to be less than the current Camaro with a manual transmission and 6.2-liter V-8, which gets 14 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway.
PRICE: Also not released. Available late in 2013. Current Camaro SS with a V-8 starts at $31,635.
CHEERS: Harkens back to the glory days of Chevrolet. Will be fast and fun to drive.
JEERS: Ride likely will be harsher and noisier than the standard Camaro.