June 18, 2014
I've never been a big fan of the 5th generation Chevy Camaro. I don't really love its cartoonish looks, arrow-slit front window, gimmicky interior or its truck-like powertrain in the SS version. (The V6 version isn't worth discussing. It's all Mustang all day there.)
But then I drove a ZL1. Turns out, all the Camaro needed was a supercharged V8 that would fry the rear tires if you looked at the gas pedal funny.
The ZL1 was fast, controllable, comfortable, made cool noises, and generally made me want to go for long drives where the tires came back all melty and feathered. That car was fun. That car made me happy. Our long-term 2014 SLP Panther is all that and then some.
June 10, 2014
I love hearing our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro's exhaust note, especially when it bounces off the walls of a tunnel or freeway underpass. I wanted to know just how loud the exhaust on the SLP Panther was so last weekend I downloaded a few cheap Decibel-meter apps for my iPhone and headed for the hills.
May 30, 2014
During the last six months, we've driven our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro over 10,000 miles.
May 28, 2014
With its broad-shouldered dimensions and meaty rubber, our 2014 SLP-tuned Chevrolet Camaro certainly has an impressive stance. As you can see here, this muscle car looks like it's been going pretty heavy on the delt workouts. Indeed, when I compared its width to the new Corvette Stingray and the full-size Cadillac XTS, both fairly wide cars, the Camaro was still wider by about 1.5- and 2.5-inches, respectively.
May 21, 2014
Two weeks ago we put new rear tires on our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro. In response to that update, many of you asked how the Camaro's front tires were holding up.
May 12, 2014
Since day one, there's been this one piece on our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro that's bugged me. So in a fit of DIY-ness, I went ahead and removed it.
Take your best guess and follow me through.
April 28, 2014
Although modern automated clutch manual transmissions with their paddle shifters are pretty slick (see Porsche PDK), I'm still a three-pedal man. I'll gladly give up a few tenths in the quarter for the more satisfying, more engaging experience that grabbing gears in a true manual tranny brings.
April 10, 2014
You can't miss it. Right there on our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro's hood are one inch-tall letters smacking your ocular nerves with what lurks beneath: "600HP Supercharged". For good measure, it's printed on both sides of the hood bulge.
Challenge accepted. We rolled on down to MD Automotive's Dynojet chassis dyno to see if the bulge delivers on its promise.
April 2, 2014
Sometimes, when a car is as cool-looking as our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro, you don't need words. Just photos.
So here's the black beast resting under a tree. Enjoy.
March 27, 2014
High-power tuner Camaros like our long-term SLP Panther are nothing new. In fact, the concept has been around as long as the Camaro itself, which Chevy introduced to the market back in 1967.
Back then there were a handful of now famous and infamous performance oriented Chevy dealers that turned into Camaro tuners, including Yenko Chevrolet in Pennsylvania, Dana Chevrolet in Los Angeles, Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago, Berger Chevrolet in Detroit and Baldwin-Motion out on Long Island just outside New York City.
Basically, these folks realized that Chevy's 427 big-block, which was only offered in the Corvette and Impala, fit in the Camaro. And they immediately began selling turn-key swaps complete with financing and a warranty.
March 24, 2014
Our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro is not car-wash friendly. As some clothing is labeled "dry clean only" this 600-hp muscle car should be labeled "hand wash only".
As we've learned over the last few months, the Camaro's huge rear tires are just too wide for the track that pulls the car through the automated wash cycle and its aggressive front air dam is too low for the same mechanisms. So potential owners of special Camaros, SLP Panthers or otherwise, should enter that ownership anticipating the additional time and cost of hand washes, which can be significant.
March 19, 2014
Imagine a scruffy football coach on the sideline of a midwinter playoff game. He's a large man, at least 6-foot-8 and in his playing days he ate a steady diet of pizza and double-decker cheeseburgers. His team wins the season-extending game by the slimmest of possible margins, and in celebration they splash him with the ice-filled bucket of Gatorade.
The field is frozen tundra, and now he's soaked in an orange, sugary beverage. Like a dog getting out of the bath, the coach vigorously shakes off the bitter cold amidst a series of grumbles, mumbles, grunts and growls. That guttural sound is what the exhaust on the 2014 SLP Panther sounds like.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
December 30, 2013
When Street Legal Performance got a hold of this Camaro, the New Jersey-based tuner lowered it and installed a new front fascia. Part of that addition is the front splitter, ostensibly for cosmetic benefits and some additional downforce. We'd have to get our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro in a wind tunnel for scientific results (for now I'm giving SLP the benefit of the doubt), but one thing the splitter does is change the everyday functionality of the car.
December 26, 2013
This car makes me happy.
Those who know me know I have an affinity for black Camaros, like the 1969 SS427 my father and I just put together. Those that know me know I also have an affinity for black and gold cars, like the 1976 Pontiac Trans Am I've owned for about 15 years.
December 20, 2013
Unless you've got supervillain-style plans to turn the world backward on its rotational access, 600 horsepower isn't extremely practical. If you've got a heavy right foot, worn out rear tires will stack up quickly and your wallet won't thank you for it later. It's entertaining to be able to light up the tires at nearly any speed, but it isn't entirely pragmatic. The cupholder in our long-term 2014 SLP Panther Camaro is a different story.
December 19, 2013
If you spend enough time hanging out at the top of Mulholland Highway (a.k.a The Snake), you're bound to come across talk show host, Jay Leno. Whether he's driving his McLaren F1, cruising in his 1937 Bugatti Type C or riding on his turbine-powered-250-mph motorcycle, Jay is always motoring in something interesting.
Recently, I took our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro on a Sunday cruise, and just as I arrived at the Mulholland Lookout, Jay pulled up. He was in a large-displacement, forced-induction-powered automobile, too.
The Tank Car Jay pulled up in is powered by an 800-horsepower twin-turbo AV-1790-5B engine that originally lived in an M-47 Patton Tank. Sure, he's got more power, but the wheelbase on that thing probably kills the cornering ability.
December 10, 2013
You tell me. Does our 2014 SLP Panther Camaro sound better live, or through the car's speakers? I didn't realize my phone was still paired to the Panther when I tried to play back a video. Take the jump for Bluetooth streaming audio of the exhaust and engine sounds.
December 09, 2013
This is what our 2014 SLP Panther 600 sounds like. Take the jump for two videos. The first is from the rear of the car and the second from underneath the hood.
It sounds great.