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Friday, October 23, 2015

“Black Betty” is One Seriously Mean Project Camaro



The fourth-generation Camaro didn’t have the easiest of times. The pony car launched in 1993, couldn’t match the sales of its Mustang rival, GM killed it off in 2002, and it wouldn’t return until eight years later. Not the greatest run, however that’s not to say it wasn’t a star in its own right. 
These ponies could move…this one in particular. If you were a fan of the Camaro Performers Magazine, you’ll recognize this immediately as “Black Betty,” the publication’s fourth-gen Camaro Z28 project car. The mag’s print edition has unfortunately been phased out, but Black Betty still lives on and it’s now prowling eBay. And “prowling” is the right word.


Black Betty looks pretty darn mean. When new, this 2001 Camaro Z28 came from the factory stuffed with an LS1 V8, a gift from the C5 Corvette. But as they wrote in their multitude of build write-ups, Camaro Perfomers didn’t think building up that LS1 was the right way to go. Instead, the 5.7-liter was yanked in favor of an Gen IV LS3 V8 crate motor—an engine that GM says makes around 430 horsepower and 424 lb.-ft. of torque, stock.
Now, the V8 has been stroked and receives Mahle PowerPak pistons, a Lunati crankshaft, valves, high lift camshaft, forged rods, Doug’s exhaust headers, and a new Holley throttle body. The end result is said to be 500 horsepower to the wheels, which is not what you’d call a paltry figure. Thankfully, there’s plenty of stopping power too, provided by Wilwood six-piston brakes in the front, four-piston in the back, and five-spoke Weld Racing alloys.


Under the body, a Global West suspension kit and Viking Performance coil-over shocks have been employed to transmit the Camaro’s grunt to the ground. Power now flows through a Moser 12-bolt rear end with 3.73 gears, which mates to T56 manual.

Inside the cabin, a pearl white cue ball shifter guides that six-speed gearbox, and complements a tastefully unmodified interior, apart from an A-pillar gauge cluster and Corbeau CR1 racing seats.

All told, it’s a very clean build, and befitting its magazine origins, a popular one too. The market for fourth-gens might not be anywhere near that of the first, but if they all looked like Black Betty…well, that might be a different story.