When Chevrolet came out with their new Camaro, it only made sense that the car should be updated with some of the technology that had been developed on the supercharged Challenger models. This is what resulted.
The well-versed in GM lore know that RPO stood for Regular Production Option back in the day (the most famous of which were probably Z28, which became an actual Camaro model designation and 188, for the Co1vette’s race engine from ’67-69) There are tons of others from JL8 to M22 to ZL1, but for these cars Mr. Norm’s Garage pulled a few beauties from the archives. There’s L78 for the 650-horse variant, L72 for the 825hp cars, and L88 for the 1.000- ponies machine.
But just what do you get with this alpha-numeric mumbo jumbo over the standard Camaro? All the RPO cars come with custom Mr. Norm’s wheels, see-through carbon fiber hood (a’la ZR1 Corvette), plus special graphics and interior trimmings.
The red car you see was the 650-horse model. It had a T56 manual gearbox and a Centerforce clutch, standard on the RPO cars. The rear wheels measure 20×10 with 315/35R20 Nitto NT05 drag radials. While these wheels are a $3,599 option on the RPO cars (we recommend them), the tires that come with them are the stock Pirelli PZeros. The factory summer rubber was deemed more than capable for the street or road course. By doing this, it eliminates passing on the cost of expensive aftermarket tires to the customer. The Nittos were strictly for drag testing purposes.
The aggressive appearance blew us away, and the red interior with custom 172 stitching is not for the bashful. (When this prototype was built, this 650hp model was going to be called 172.) You are still stuck with the factory steering wheel and gauges, which win no awards for style or function, but there was a shift light especially for older dragsters.
Boost in this version is 9 psi and comes from the 2.8-liter Liquid Cooled Kenne Bell blower with a 6-rib pulley. By keeping the boost modest, the stock bottom end will live a long, healthy life, so long as you feed it a consistent diet of 91-octane fuel. There is a 93-octane tune available that gives you 6 more degrees of timing advance.