We already knew that General Motors planned to introduce a refreshed 2014 Chevrolet Camaro at the New York International Auto show. What we didn't know was that the 2014 lineup would include the return of the iconic Z28 nameplate – on a car intended specifically for track use.
The original Z28, introduced as a mid-year 1967 model, was a homologation special with a small (5-litre), high-performance version of Chevy's already-legendary small-block V-8 engine, to qualify it for Trans Am racing.
To GM's surprise, it became a success in the showroom as well as on the track and is largely responsible for establishing the Camaro's bona fides as a performance car.
The new Z28 will still be powered by a small-block V-8, but it's the latest iteration of the powerplant that was introduced in the new Corvette – in LS7 form with a currently estimated output of 500 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque.
It's even more overtly track oriented than the original Z28 with such standard features as a differential cooler, transmission cooler, brake coolers and carbon-ceramic brakes.
It's also a lot lighter than more mundane Camaro models. Some of the light-weighting techniques GM's engineers applied included ripping out the trunk carpet and insulation, making the rear window glass thinner, taking out all the speakers but one, and even relegating air conditioning to the option list.
As Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, put when announcing the return of the Z28: "If you want a street-legal track car… and I know not everyone does, but if you do, this is the car for you. It's the real deal."