March 7, 2014
Acceleration in our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro is thrilling. The exhaust roars and bellows through the gears while the supercharger whines all the way to redline. Deceleration is plenty exciting, too. It's a popping, burbling, snarling experience that makes the 10-year-old in me laugh with glee.
Unfortunately, due to the less than ideal design of the Camaro's pedal box, heel-and-toe downshifting is almost completely out of the question for me.
February 28, 2014
After 5,000 miles of driving, our supercharged 2014 SLP Panther Camaro began asking for its first oil change. Every time we started the car its information center in the instrument panel read "Change oil soon."
So we did.
February 27, 2014
Since we took delivery of our hot rod 2014 SLP Panther Camaro at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas back in November, we've driven this supercharged beast over 5,000 miles.
February 26, 2014
So, this happened. But what, exactly, is this, and what happened?
February 21, 2014
I love cars. Almost all of them. From Datsuns to Duesenbergs. And if you love cars you love looking at engines. It's one of the reasons older cars are still so appealing to so many people. Whether it's the tri-power carburetion on a '65 389 Pontiac GTO or the black crinkle finish on the valve covers of a sixties V12 Ferrari or the aggressive mechanical nature of Nissan's RB26DETT under the hood of an R34 Skyline GT-R, engines can be beautiful.
New cars, however, rarely have beautiful engines. Most of today's cars, even performance cars, are hideously ugly under their hoods. The time and cost it takes to beautify an engine have been cut from the process and the budgets long ago, replaced with some large plastic cover that's about as emotionally involving as a piece of Tupperware. Even the new Corvette Stingray has fallen victim to this unfortunate trend.
Off the top of my head I can name some new cars with cool looking engines, but the list is short. Most Audis, a 5.0 Mustang GT and the high-buck stuff like Ferraris, Astons and Lambos come to mind, but little else.
Which brings me to our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro.
February 20, 2014
One of my automotive desires when I was a bit younger was to own a replica of the V8 Interceptor (Pursuit Special) from the movies Mad Max and Mad Max: The Road Warrior. (OK, who am I kidding? I still think it would be a blast to own a replica.) Then I drove our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro. Forget Smokey and the Bandit or Transformers with this car. We just need to get a red accessory pull up knob for the shifter and an "MFP" rear license plate.
February 19, 2014
I don't know about you, but it's not every day that I get to drive a 600-horsepower vehicle like our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro. It is a wild beast that has more power than any human would ever need. So, what's the first thing I did when I got behind the wheel? I went to Target.
February 17, 2014
SLP has been in the business of building badass GMs for decades. Just the utterance of the word "Firehawk" leaves some of us grinning for hours. But that car, and previous SLPs, existed in a time when General Motors wasn't exploiting the talents of the Camaro and Firebird to their fullest potential.
Times have changed.
February 13, 2014
The current-generation Camaro has been out since 2010. Chevy sells tens of thousands of them each year (80,567 sold in 2013, in fact) . They're pretty common as muscle cars go, and many have been modified by their owners. So I thought that our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro would largely blend in with all the other Camaros out there. Right? Wrong. Well, I was wrong. I've had more guys comment or come up to me than anything else in recent memory.
I've given our Panther a nickname: The Bro Magnet.
February 11, 2014
The 2014 SLP Panther Camaro isn't afraid to tell you how it's feeling. There are the usual gauges in the gauge cluster, of course, plus the four accessory gauges ahead of the shifter (engine oil pressure, engine oil temperature, transmission oil temperature and volts), the configurable display in the gauge cluster (trip computer plus many other features), and the heads-up display that can be used to show speed, rpm and other vehicle aspects.
From a performance vehicle standpoint, I enjoy having this much information available.
February 10, 2014
Sucky day at work? Life got you down? I've got a solution. Here, take the key to our SLP Panther Camaro. Fire up that 600-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 and listen to the exhaust pipes crackle, bark and scare away small animals and children. Rev it a few times just because you can. Savor the sound. Now slot the chunky gear lever into first. Punch it.
If this car can't make you smile, you must be dead.
February 6, 2014
One of the more impressive qualities about our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro is how well it rides on the freeway. As Scott noted previously, it's more complaint than a lot of other sporting cars. Factor in the moderate amounts of wind, road and exhaust noise and you've got a muscle car that begs to be taken on road trips. In fact, I'm sure some of my coworkers will do just that in the coming months.
But for me, at least, I find the driver position to be rather mediocre in terms of comfort.
February 5, 2014
Along with many of my coworkers, I've been around various "tuner" cars over the years. More often than not, these cars looked great in car magazine features but were far less impressive in real life. Promised gains in performance never materialized, and abusive ride qualities and shoddy aftermarket parts integration were all too common. Sometimes, things just plain broke. Or blew up.
But our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro isn't like that.
February 4, 2014
We logged about 1,500 miles in our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro for January. The whole time we drove it conservatively, hardly ever exceeded 2,500 rpm and had Josh Groban on a perpetual playlist.
For the month, we averaged 35.6 mpg.
Wait, no, wrong car. Sorry. That's the Passat TDI. The SLP Panther Camaro? Need you even ask? Yes, somewhere a Shell executive is smiling.
February 03, 2014
Chalk the following up under "not a huge issue when you're driving a 600-horsepower muscle car," but I don't like the way the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro's climate control knobs work.
While the knobs are nice and large, and have a grippy surface, they also have super-mushy, undefined detents. So it's easy to move the fan speed or temperature knob 1 1/2 or 2 clicks when you're just trying to go one.
January 30, 2014
While I was out hiking with friends last weekend, someone parked their flat-black Dodge Challenger next to our black and gold long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro.
In my opinion this is good black (the Panther) versus bad black, the Challenger.
January 29, 2014
I had just finished the instrumented testing on our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro, and was pulling the Racelogic Vbox's power cord from the car's outlet, and this happened...
January 28, 2014
I don't know on whose watch this occurred, but the passenger-side power seatback adjuster is broken on our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro.
The power operation still works, but the lever's cover has gone missing in action.
January 21, 2014
I'll be the first to admit I had my reservations about our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro. I was tasked with driving it off the SEMA show floor in Las Vegas and back to L.A. In my head, it would have far too much power, too little gearing and a suspension that rivals a shopping cart.
Boy, was I wrong.
January 16, 2014
If I were to purchase a 2014 SLP Panther Camaro, this is precisely the kind of place I would take it. A twist on the popular Cars and Coffee series of meet-ups for hard-core car guys, Tuners and Tea is another local car gathering that met up in a local Southern California parking lot earlier this month.
The event was full of the kind of car owners that the SLP Panther appeals to: people who love modifying their cars, and enthusiasts and historians who pride themselves on knowing every detail of the spec sheets. Most of all, everyone here wants California's car culture to continue to thrive.
January 14, 2013
I get a huge kick out of driving the 2014 SLP Panther Camaro, for sure. But I also love its sinister styling, too.
Blame it on "Smokey and the Bandit," and that black and gold Pontiac Trans Am. Ever since I saw that movie I've been a fan of this color combo, especially when it's done tastefully like it is on this SLP Panther.
January 13, 2014
Shocking news alert of the day: I love driving this SLP Panther Camaro. Not sure how anyone could not get a kick out of driving this 600-horsepower beast, but I guess it's possible.
And I agree with some previous editors who noted this SLP is totally livable as a daily driver.
In truth, I had my doubts.
January 8, 2014
"I like these doors. They feel like they would hold up if we got t-boned."
That was my friend Albert's first observation when we got into the long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro. (I believe his second observation had something to do with how good the supercharged V8 sounds as it roars to life.) Anyway, it turns out Albert is right.
January 7, 2014
Before taking our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro out to stretch its legs recently, I wanted to make sure it was past the break-in period. Typically, owner's manuals stipulate that you should hit a certain mileage threshold before you drive the car at sustained speed or push it hard.
In addition to the engine break-in, the SLP owner's manual also spells out a specific break-in procedure for the brakes. This is a bit unusual, given that most modern production cars (including a typical factory Chevrolet Camaro) require zero break-in for the brakes. Keep in mind, though, that SLP installed a Brembo brake kit on our Panther Camaro and that the car had all of 14 miles on its odometer when Mark Takahashi drove it off the 2013 SEMA Show floor.