Last week, our junkyard quiz generic spoiler seemed to stump a good number of you, but a few managed to guess that it was from—spoiler alert, but no pun intended—a B15-chassis Nissan Sentra SE-R. Good job, sport-compact fans! This week, here’s a collection of boxes that, we’re going to hazard a guess, many of our readers have seen before. Do you know what car features this arrangement somewhere on it?
Did you say fourth-generation Chevy Camaro? I’m sure many of you did because plenty of our readers have tinkered and tuned F-Bodies to know what a ’93 to ’95 Camaro looks like without a bumper.
This formerly red Camaro featured an interesting smattering of options. T-tops was a nice choice, very cool.
While the odometer showed an astounding 252,000 miles on the clock, the interior looked in decent shape. Throwing around the shifter, we found this to be a five-speed manual, too, instead of the six-speed that came with V8 cars.
Paired to that five-speed was a 3.4-liter General Motors V6. This was the largest 60-degree V6 used in the F-Body, which also helps pin its year from ’93 to ’95. In 1996, the completely different, Buick 3.8-liter V6 became the base engine. Oddly enough, these 3.4-liter engines and the accompanying five-speed T5 transmissions are somewhat desirable. We’ll get to that in a moment.
The early years of fourth-generation Camaro had the LT1 V8 (different from the modern LT1, obviously) as the top option with a six-speed manual. Chevy introduced the now-famed LS1 V8 for 1998 Camaros. As it was, this “L32” 3.4 gave around 160 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque, which wasn’t terrible for a base engine.
Chevy introduced the fourth-generation redesign—still on the F-Body platform—a year before Ford unveiled their own SN-95 Mustang. The new Camaro was by this time making real horsepower again after the dismal late 1970s and early 1980s; GM accompanied that regained power with a stunning aerodynamic redesign for the F-Body twins, the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird.
The new Camaro got a position of honor with General Motors; a new Camaro Z28 served as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car in 1993.
Naturally, the new Camaro went racing on its own. Greenwood prepared one winged fourth-gen Camaro for competition in the IMSA Supercar series in 1994. The Camaro found little success with driver R.K. Smith driving it, but we kinda dig the trim and wing on the car.
In road racing, the Camaro did find some road-racing success, however, in the Trans-Am Series of the 1990s. While he was unable to wrestle the title away from Tommy Kendall, Ron Fellows won four Trans-Am races each in 1995 and 1996 aboard the angular Sunoco-sponsored Z28. Fellows would solidify his legacy a couple years later as the most consistently dominating on Corvette Racing’s first several years.
While much talk recently has concentrated on the newest Camaro ZL1, Chevy investigated the concept of a ZL1 in 2000 with a one-off build that featured an all-aluminum V8 that said “572” on it but was probably even bigger. We don’t always link to our media competitors for stories, but this is a pretty good one. Chevy obviously never built a fourth-generation ZL1, but this special prototype sold for nearly $160,000 at auction a few years ago.
Of course, the Camaro’s 30th anniversary came during this time period, so Chevy trotted out a handsome 1997 Camaro 30th Anniversary edition. Arctic White white with double Hugger Orange racing stripes and color-matched wheels still look great on the aerodynamic shape; convertibles got a matching white top. A few lucky Camaro owners were able to score one of 100 30th Anniversary Camaros powered by the 330-horsepower LT4 V8 from the ’96 Corvette Grand Sport. Otherwise, the Z28 editions came with the standard 285-horsepower LT1.
Back to the junkyard car, here’s a funny thing: The 3.4-liter V6 and five-speed manual are common drivetrain donors for MGBs. Yes, the little British sports cars. The narrow 60-degree “V” of the engine allow it to slot nicely into the engine bay and because British Leyland used a huge cast-iron lump of a 1.8-lier four-cylinder engine, the iron-block 3.4-liter V6 only weighs a couple pounds more. For that slight weight penalty, power jumps up usually at least 50 horsepower and the 200 lb.-ft. of torque is massive for the little roadster. The swap—which an use smaller and less-powerful versions of the 60-degree V6—is common enough that companies like BMC Autos offer full swap kits. There you go, you learned something new and weird today.
This V6-powered fourth-generation Camaro, however, looks likely to be crushed along with its V6. It was pretty rusty for race car duties, so it seems unlikely and unfair that this harbinger of aerodynamics will meet its fate soon enough. Farewell, quarter-million-mile Camaro.