Time Must Fly When You're Outraged By The Death Of An Icon, Because It's Already Been Five Years Since GM Ignominiously Euthanized The Camaro. That Makes The Last Of The LT1-Powered F-Bodies 10 Years Old, And As Such, Prices For Early Fourth-Gen Camaros have plummeted to what was third-gen territory not long ago. Thanks to its increasing affordability, the LT1 platform is experiencing an aftermarket second wind, with the recent launch of parts no one bothered developing in the past.
Out of the box, '93-97 Camaros typically run low 14s, and simply opening up the intake and exhaust tracts can shave a full second off of quarter-mile e.t.'s. Throw in some shorter gears and sticky meats and you've got a solid 12-second car. Furthermore, while fourth-gens aren't blessed with the most forgiving chassis, given smooth steering and throttle inputs, they clip corners with an agility that belies their 3,400-plus pounds of heft. Consequently, fourth-gens dominate any SCCA class in which they compete.
Although the LS1 casts a big shadow over its predecessor, '98-and-later Camaros command prices that are often twice as much as their the earlier counterparts, keeping them out of the reach of many enthusiasts. On the other hand, as long as you can forego having the latest and greatest small-block GM has to offer, the LT1 practically owns a used-car price class consisting of turbo Mitsus, VTEC Hondas, and both Fox and SN95 Mustangs. And, unlike when you buy an LS1 Camaro, you won't have to take out a bank loan. To help you get started with your search, we've compiled a buyer's guide covering where to find your car, common LT1 problem areas, and a brief rundown of what to expect out of popular aftermarket upgrades.
Quick NotesWhat It IsEverything you need to know when buying an LT1-packing CamaroThe Bottom LineKnow what to expect before ever spending a dime.Cost (APPROX)$3,900-$5,000
Charting The Changes'93Rated at 275 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, the first year of the LT1 Camaro had several mechanical differences from later models. In addition to multiport fuel injection, '93 was the only model year with speed-density air metering, a removable EPROM chip, and a shorter, 2.97:1 First gear in cars equipped with six-speed transmissions. This was also the only model year with yellow lettering on the gauges and dash.
'94GM dropped batch-fire injection in favor of sequential-port EFI and switched from speed-density to MAF air metering. While T56-equipped cars got a taller, 2.66:1 First gear, the ring-and-pinion was changed from the '93's 3.23:1 to 3.42:1. The EPROM chip was no longer removable, and white lettering on the gauges and dash replaced the yellow. The 4L60 automatic transmission was now electronically controlled (4L60E).
'95The biggest mechanical improvement was the built-in ventilation system for the Opti-Spark ignition. It drew in air from the intake elbow to prevent moisture buildup in the Opti-Spark, significantly reducing its rate of failure. Although it wasn't advertised, automatic trans vehicles equipped with the California emissions package received a second catalytic converter on the driver-side downpipe worth approximately 10 extra horsepower. Six-speeds with California emissions, however, retained the single-cat setup.
'96The dual-cat exhaust arrangement GM started phasing in the prior year became standard on all models, boosting the horsepower rating to 285 across the board. A new OBD-II computer system featured a total of four O2 sensors, making the stock PCM calibrations less friendly to aftermarket performance enhancements.
'97There were no major mechanical changes this year. All Camaros received a completely revised instrument panel, dash, and center cluster. New five-spoke wheels replaced the old "salad-shooters," and the taillights were also redesigned.