Despite having enough power to bury the speedometer quickly, the Shelby GT feels very refined and composed. You could easily daily drive it or take a road trip in one without going deaf from a loud exhaust drone. The Borla exhaust gives the supercharged 5.0L Coyote an aggressive tone that harks back to the early days of the Shelby Mustangs that just simply can’t be beat.
Never has this much power been available to performance enthusiasts for so little money. The Hellcat is nice, but if we face facts, very few of us can afford the price of entry at $60K (plus dealer markup). The 392 Scat Pack is available for $20 grand less, and is sold at every Dodge dealership, not just the SRT-approved stores. The Scat Pack name itself is a blast from the past, and along with the Super Bee logo and Scat Pack specific styling elements, evokes the famous four-year run of Scat Pack products put out by Dodge beginning in 1967.
That’s all great, but we’re more excited about the Camaro’s new, multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension, which leverages a double-pivot design that makes those Cadillacs so agile. At the rear, a new five-link independent suspension yields outstanding wheel control and reduces “squat” during acceleration. All-new Drive Mode Selector is offered and tailors up to eight driving attributes for four modes: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport, and on SS models Track.
While the drag racing launch can be violent (we’ve all seen racers dump the clutch and blast off the line), street tires require a smooth, controlled application of power to stay hooked. Your best times will come from getting off the line clean. Finesse is key. Believe it or not, we recommend novice drivers launch as if they were driving away from a traffic light, but with more rpm and slightly quicker clutch release. We would say 2,500 is a great place to start. Using this rpm, you’ll probably bog the engine a bit. No problem—add rpm, or get the clutch out quicker.
The Dodge boys tried nibbling at the edges of the performance/value proposition with cars like the GLS, GLHS, Viper, and even V-8 Dakota, but the engineers in Auburn Hills never had all the right goodies in the parts bin to snatch victory from their cross-town rivals in Detroit and Dearborn. They kept trying though, and once the LX platform came on line in 2005 with the 5.7L Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum, a nascent ember of hope grew into a large movement that has ignited Mopar faithful and conquest buyers alike.
The Mustang was a blast at the track. Even famous author Stephen King, who happened to be at the track, came over for a look. He didn’t think it was too scary, so we doubt it will appear in his next book, but you never know. He has written about a car or two in the past.
But more than the history and visual cues, the Scat Pack package is a nod to all the engineering and performance upgrades that must necessarily accompany a powerplant of this magnitude. Improvements over the 5.7L Hemi R/T Challenger include larger four-piston Brembo brakes, wider and taller 20-inch rubber, a larger-diameter 2.75-inch dual stainless-steel exhaust system, Performance Pages, aerodynamically enhanced spoilers, an uprated 3.09:1 limited-slip rear, higher-output 220-amp alternator, and High-Performance suspension. And except for Performance Pages, it’s all needed to safely meet the needs of the Scat Pack’s 177 mph top speed.
With nearly half a century of history behind it, that’s a huge legacy to build upon. Our confidence is high, based on our initial impressions, and we look forward to putting those impressions to the test. We’ll keep you posted.
If you think you’re ready to own what will likely be one of the most off-road capable pickup trucks on in the world, the limited edition Shelby Baja 700 starts at $45,000, not including the base Raptor. Keep in mind that only 50 will be available and each will be numbered and documented with a unique Shelby CSM number and entered into the official Shelby Registry.
We recommend doing only enough of a burnout to clean the tires, as street tires don’t really react like slicks or drag radials. Don’t sit there and smoke ’em too long, or you will draw the oils from within the tire to the surface and that will actually make them slick, not sticky.
Of course, the Camaro SS is powered by the 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. And yes, it also employs variable valve timing, direct injection, and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models). Output is 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, making it the most-powerful standard V-8 ever in a Camaro.
We tend to preload the shifter just a bit, then stab the clutch and rip the shifter. We repositioned our hand from a side grip to a top grip to ram the shifter forward for the Two-to-Three exchange. In the new GT you’re shoving it almost directly forward—aim too much to the right and you’ll find Fifth, which happened to us twice. Then, get ready to pull straight back for Fourth. For Fourth, put your elbow away from your body to prevent yanking the shifter into Second gear.
All of the new Camaro’s powertrains sound enticing in their own ways and we’re very much interested in what tuners will do with the turbocharged four-banger. Moreover, the promise of the sixth-generation car’s stronger yet lighter chassis and a more driver-focused cockpit are attributes that, on paper, should make it the best Camaro ever.