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Chevy Camaro Is Performance Muscle Car Comeback Kid

By O Wolff

In September of 1966, with a listed base-price of almost $2,500, the 1967 Camaro was born, as was its sister on the “F-Body” platform, Pontiac’s Firebird. Although the standards of the time dictated it was a compact car, it was also classified as a sports car. The Camaro’s primary design mission though, regardless of how you label it, was to be the yin to the Ford Mustang’s yang – two classic muscle cars flexing in the same pony car division.

In 2002 after four generations of the Camaro helping to define the look and sound of the ensuing decades, production abruptly ended. Then, in March of 2009, the nameplate was revived on a concept car that evolved into the fifth generation Camaro. In 2010, the Camaro returned with its full Transformers Bumblebee induced glory. Under the hood the 2011 Camaro models continued this excitement as they are similar to the beefy 2010 models.

The SS model for example is powered with a LS3 6.2-liter V8 engine and it has a six-speed manual transmission which produces a factory touted 426 horsepower. The automatic transmission equipped Camaro SS has the L99 V8 engine which produces 400 horsepower. To counter the engine’s “get up and go” Chevrolet opted to outfit the SS with four-piston Brembo brakes, along with StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with Traction Control. Unquestionably, this is a car designed with the sports car aficionado in mind.

The V6 model features a direct-injected, DOHC engine that pushes an impressive 304 ponies and also comes with a choice of 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. How far has the fifth generation technology come? The new V6 Camaro can clearly out-gun many older V8 models, both at the drag strip and at your local road course. As depicted in the two hit movies, these Camaros are monsters – good monsters as it were though.

With that much power coming straight from the factory, the challenge to create an air intake design that would beat the OEM specs wasn’t easy, yet AEM’s engineering department managed to get it done. After months of testing a total of nine different designs with 24 variables, using Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis, in-vehicle fuel-trim tests, under hood thermal analysis, and over 180 dyno pulls on six different vehicles – they finally designed a winning design with impressive mid-to-high range power increase.

There are in fact three new AEM Cold Air Intake Systems available for the 2010 and 2011 Camaro. For the V6 model there is the gunmetal gray finish intake (21-8028DC) and another available with a polished finish (21-8028DP). Specially engineered for the SS 6.2 liter V8 model there is also a gunmetal gray finish intake (21-8029C).

All three AEM Cold Air Intake Systems for the Camaro use an oil-free DryFlow air filter technology which is extremely durable and easy to clean. To further augment the filtration properties of the DryFlow performance air filter, AEM also offers DryFlow Pre-Filters, designed to prevent splashes of water and/or mud from saturating the DryFlow air filter. AEM’s Pre-Filters are manufactured from durable micro-screen materials that are pretreated with a proprietary hydrophobic process.

The more important development though is that all three intake systems provide an estimated 16 horsepower of added peak power. In testing the factory form Camaro V8 generated a peak of 318.67 horsepower at the rear wheels. With the AEM cold intake system in place the peak power output jumped up to 325.98 horsepower – an estimated gain of 16.53 horsepower at 4,200 RPM.

Testing of AEM intakes for the V6 engine revealed an estimated power gain of 16.39 horsepower at 5350 RPM and 17.57 ft-lbs of torque at 2600RPM at the rear wheels. Any way you slice it that’s a lot of pop for a relatively simple bolt-on installation.

Generations of car enthusiasts, hot-rodders and motor-heads began jonesing almost immediately when Chevrolet announced it was discontinuing Camaro production. Rejoice and jones no more, the Camaro is back, and it’s badder than ever. Add an AEM Cold Air Intake System and your fifth generation 2010 and 2011 Camaro will deliver an irrepressible tear of joy.

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