Top 10 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28s

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee
2014 and 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

We’ve all heard the jokes before. Muscle cars only drive in a straight line; they’re petrified of corners.

For many ground pounding monsters that may be true, but for a group of cars that are continuously mislabeled as “muscle cars,” that isn’t really the case. The cars I am referring to are “Pony Cars.” Pony cars sought to combine the power of a muscle car with the handling of a proper sports car in a compact, affordable package. Cars like the Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda and Chevrolet Camaro, came to define this class in the late 1960s.

Being that these cars were meant to be more than drag-strip terrors, an emphasis was put on chassis development, and racetrack specials like the Shelby Mustang G.T. 350, Pontiac Trans Am, Plymouth ‘Cuda AAR and of course, the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 all came to be.

First arriving in 1967 as a homologation package for the competitive Trans Am racing series, the Z/28, sometimes spelt Z28 depending on the year, has been an on-again off-again Camaro designation ever since. The last time we saw a Z/28 was for the 2015 model year, and with the Camaro's days numbered, we may not see one again. To celebrate this great line of cars, we present the top 10 Camaro Z/28s of all time.

10. 2002 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

For 12 years, this was the last Camaro Z28 ever produced and we weren’t sure we would see another one in our lifetime. Being the longest hiatus the Z28 moniker ever took, the 2002 Camaro did have the performance to back up the historic name. A 305 hp 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed manual transmission handled straight line speed while big brakes and 245/50ZR16 tires all around made sure the Zee could tackle a corner.

9. 1983 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

In 1982 the third generation Camaro came to be. This Camaro would soon become synonymous with certain hairstyles, but that doesn’t mean the car itself was an embarrassment. After nearly a decade of lackluster Z28s the Camaro was once again a proper performance machine; at least by 1983 standards. 190 hp from a 5.0 liter V8 may not sound like much, but in 1983 that was decent power and a big increase from the sad 165 hp offered in 1982. This year, the power finally matched the handling for the third generation Camaro.

8. 1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. (W77CH-HV07)

1977 may be one of the saddest years for the Z28 from a performance stand point. Style wise the Camaro looked great this year, but with a mere 185 hp and a lot of weight, the Z28 was not a great performer. So why is it on the list then? Well, 1977 marked the return of the Z28 nameplate after a two year hiatus. Who knows, if it didn’t come back this year, maybe it would have never come back at all.

7. 1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

In 1993 the Camaro entered its fourth generation with radical new styling and a serious shot of horsepower for the Z28. The LT1 5.7 liter V8 added an extra 30 hp this year to make 275 hp total, obliterating the 1993 Mustang Cobra’s output of just 235 hp. More than just an engine, the Z28 also featured a six-speed manual transmission and sticky 245 mm width tires all around that enabled cornering grip to the tune of 0.87 g.

6. 1985 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 IROC-Z

What hasn’t been said about the IROC-Z? A car that is as infamous as it is famous, 1985 was the first year the IROC-Z package was available on the Camaro Z28. So successful and popular was this option package that in subsequent years it became standard on all Z28 Camaros. Available with a 215 hp V8 and unidirectional tires, even if it has since become the butt of many jokes, the IROC was a serious machine in 1985.

5. 1998 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

1998 Chevrolet Camaro Z28.

The high output LT1 V8 Camaro was beating up on Mustangs pretty good in the mid-1990s, but that wasn’t enough for Chevrolet. The brand decided to up the Z28’s game by adding the all-new LS1 5.7 liter V8 in 1998, raising horsepower to an awesome-for-the-time 305 hp. That was the same power the 1997 Camaro SS made and minor revisions to the suspension and brakes ensured the Z28 was a true terror at both the drag strip and the road course.

4. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Sport Coupe

Some say this is the best Z/28 ever made. With the incredible first generation styling, the legendary “290 hp” 302 cid V8 and road racing legacy, it is hard to argue. Adding the optional RS package to a 1969 Z/28 made this car look as bad-ass as it was on the racetrack.

3. 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

One of the best looking Camaros of all time, the 1970 Z/28 could have made this list on style alone. But this was the year that the Z/28 first received a 350 cid V8; an engine that would define the model over the next few decades. Producing 360 hp gross, the V8 was sourced from the Corvette and could be included in the Z/28 since “Trans Am” now allowed larger engines to be shrunk down to 305 cid for the racing series. Of course tire and suspension set-ups had this Z/28 handle very well for its day.

2. 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

For the 2014 model year, the Camaro Z/28 returned along with the slash designation between the Z and 28. This car had been built from the ground up for serious performance. It boasted a 505 hp 7.0-liter V8, downforce producing aerodynamics, and insane 305/30ZR19 tires at all four corners. At the time, on a racetrack, this was the fastest Z/28 of all time.

1. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

How could we not put the car that started it all in the number one spot? It's rare for a company to get something so right from the start, but Chevrolet did that in 1967. The all-new Camaro came on the scene with amazing looks, light weight and serious performance with the Z/28 package. Designed to compete in the Trans Am road racing serious, the 302 cid V8 was rated at 290 hp, but believed to make much more. Although the car didn’t secure the manufacturers championship in 1967, it would win it in 1968 and 1969; cementing the first generation Camaro as a true legend.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Discuss this story on our Chevrolet Forum


January 15, 2024: updated the introduction, reformatted the layout, added subtitles. Updated 1983 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 text. Updated 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 text

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

More by Mike Schlee

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Me262_schwalbe Me262_schwalbe on Dec 30, 2014

    A black on red '77 Z/28 is, in my humble opinion, THE most beautiful car ever to come out of Detroit. The late '70's Zeds are derided by most, but they have to be taken within the context of the time. With the exception of some Trans Am models and maybe the L82 (but not the L48), they were hot rides.

  • David David on Jan 15, 2024

    The '69 Z28 has been my favorite Chevy since it came out. That 302 was a thing of beauty and teamed up with the M22 trans, it was terrific. Red with black stripes. Just good stuff!!