Owner: GM Performance
Car: 1999 Camaro
Issue: April 2011
Photographer: Nick Licata

Generally, we like to keep the “Big Kids” on the opposite end of the award spectrum, but it’s hard to resist the lure of an LS9-powered fourth-gen. Now, this car has been around for a while and at one time even featured an LS7 under the hood. That combo was “grenaded” at Milan Dragway a few years back, but the GM Performance Parts (GMPP) “mule” has since returned with ZR1 Blue pigment, and more importantly, the aforementioned LS9 worth 638 hp. It all comes thanks to a few die-hard hot rodders at GMPP who did what many said couldn’t be done: fit that engine under that hood. It wasn’t easy, but a little ingenuity and a big-ass shoehorn made it happen. We here at Camaro Performers are confident that some day soon the car once destined for the recycle bin will return to the quarter-mile to unleash all the pent-up aggression. And if we’re really lucky, maybe those GM fellas will let one of us hacks behind the wheel when it does.

Owner: Centerforce Clutches
Car: 2010 Camaro
Issue: May 2011
Photographer: Robert McGaffin

Another killer car scooped up from the “Company Car” road brigade for our Best of list is this bad boy ’10 SS from Centerforce. They added it to their stable of test mules to put their clutches under the most extreme conditions imaginable. We can attest to the fact that they beat on it as hard, or harder, than any new Camaro owner ever would. We’ve seen the car compete on a road course, autocross, and at a number of dragstrips. So far, the late-model hot rod has been able to handle all the mischief the Centerforce gang has thrown its way. And since it recently received a rearend upgrade, the plan is to crank it up to 1,000 hp and take it to the next level. But its brawn isn’t the sole bit of attraction; the custom paint scheme sets the car off, while Boze wheels and Baer 6S binders make it an absolute showstopper.

Owner: Rich Taylor
Car: 1972 Camaro
Issue: June 2011
Photographer: Robert McGaffin

A custom mix of Black Cherry Pearl on top and a blend of Torch Red and Hugger Orange on the bottom with tangerine flames and pinstripes are just the beginning of what makes Rich Taylor’s ’72 SS special. To most, that would be quite enough, but to Rich it’s just a start, as under the hood he assembled a glamified small-block stroker sporting a polished Vortech huffer atop a 100-shot NOS plate contributing to the approximately 753 ponies and 713 lb-ft of grunt. Slammed on Firestone bags, this stellar second-gen rolls on Foose Nitrous II wheels. The car has been through plenty of incarnations throughout Rich’s longtime ownership, and he’s currently building a 383 with a one-off twin Vortech supercharger. Due to the car’s stellar fit and finish, Rich’s garage mantle is loaded with a plethora of show-winning trophies, but the real award was being able to bring his two newborn daughters home from the hospital in the same car.

Owner: Chris Jacobs
Car: 1968 Camaro
Issue: September 2011
Photographer: Robert McGaffin

Chris Jacobs had his eye on this ’68 a few years before taking ownership. Luckily, persistence paid off and he was finally able to make a deal that got it in his garage. This gorgeous one-time restoration has that day-two look, which has lately become quite popular. Chris bolted on a few upgrades to make it handle and drive like a modern muscle car should, and with the Tremec TKO 600 overdrive transmission, long drives are now a breeze. Baer’s SS4 brakes up front give Chris better-than-stock stopping ability and more overall driving confidence.

You’re looking at the same paint that was sprayed on the car almost 30 years ago. And what makes this vintage F-body really special is the original interior. It looks just as amazing as it did when the car was new.

Although Chris has had menacing thoughts of turning this classic piece into a Pro Touring street machine, he immediately comes to his senses and realizes this car needs to be preserved just the way it is.