2014 SLP Panther Camaro: Great Looking Engine
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.
This car has a cool looking engine. The appearance of its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is old school cool and I sometimes just open its heavily ventilated hood to stare at it.
SLP made some effort here. The black finish of the supercharger is right in line with the car's character, as is its in-your-face badging and artistic ribbing carved into the blower case. The cold air box and plumbing are also finished to be more pleasing to the eye. And the coil pack covers not only match the car's black and gold color scheme, but call out 600HP SUPERCHARGED, just in case your Prius-driving brother-in-law didn't feel inferior enough.
Please don't misunderstand. First and foremost, an engine has to run well. And the Panther's all-aluminum LS V8 packs a wonderful linear power delivery. Redlining this Camaro through its gears is truly one of life's great pleasures. Plus, this engine family has become legendary for its durability.
And while some tuners just slap the stuff together I applaud SLP for taking the time for some beautification. After all, opening your hood at the local Cars and Coffee is half the fun of owning such a beast. Well, that and the burnouts.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 4,154 miles