600 Horsepower Challenge

Peak Era vs. Modern Muscle

1969 Chevrolet Camaro SSClassic Camaros are quick, but were they only fast for their time? Today’s muscle cars have outstanding power and equally outstanding performance.

So, in this heads-up battle between a 1969 SS and 2011 SS, which is easier, and cheaper, to get to 600 horsepower? Keep in mind we like to drive our cars, so nitrous will not be an acceptable means to reliable, streetable horsepower.

Baseline stats:

’69 Camaro SS ’11 Camaro SS
Horsepower 375 hp @ 5600 rpm (SAE Gross) 426 hp @ 5900 (SAE Net)
Torque 415 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm 420 lb-ft @ 4600
Curb Weight 3550 3891
Performance 14.8 sec @ 98.7 mph Car Life 12.9 sec @ 110.8 mph Motor Trend
Price $24,850 (Inflation adjusted) $37,740

Upon speaking to local classic car technicians, and our very own Camaro expert, Jerry MacNeish, we have come to the conclusion that an engine swap would be required of the older Camaro. One could purchase a 383 “stroker” and build, build, build, but with the compression needed to make that power race fuel would be required. Therefore, the best bet for streetable, reliable 600 horsepower in a ’69 would be to drop a crate 572ci V8 in the engine bay. These crate engines go for around $18,000 and offer up to 650 horsepower.

2011 Chevrolet Camaro SSAnother option would be to buy a crate 2012 Zl-1 engine (supercharged SS motor) and drop it in. This engine runs $11,500 and produces 580 horsepower. It even has A/C!

That conveniently leads us to the other car, the 2011 SS. Throwing on a Procharger Supercharger, or the like, and bolting up headers and bigger, better-flowing exhaust will easily obtain the 600 horsepower mark. These kits run around $6,500 and you could get a full exhaust for less that $2,000.

As you can see, much less is required to get the new car to 600 horsepower. It takes swapping to a much larger motor, or excessively building a smaller one, to make the horsepower goal in the older car.

Jerry MacNeish

Read what Jerry MacNeish recommended to achieve that kind of power in our Experts Panel →

Sound off on our facebook page and tell us what you would do to achieve 600 reliable horsepower in these Camaros.

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This entry was posted in Behind The Scenes, Flashback Friday, Muscle Car, Product Updates, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 600 Horsepower Challenge

  1. Wayne Mull says:

    I still would rather have the older car any day. The new camaros are ugly. And, where are you going to drive that fast on the street anyway? You’ll either get killed, kill someone, and/or get your license revoked. I’d rather have the looks and sound of the older car. Forget about 600 hp. The older car was not designed for those speeds. You would have to completely upgrade the suspension, steering, etc etc. Just no point in that. A new camaro won’t turn heads. The older car will.

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