This Muscular Pony Car Is a Great Example of Good Ol’ American Ingenuity

While I'm no die-hard Camaro guy, my God do I respect the chassis.

I’m always slightly conflicted about the sixth-gen Camaro, especially the SS.

Car: 2020 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS
Location: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
Camera: Canon 6D + EF 50mm 1.8II AF

What I mean by that, is it’s often driven by, well, the British have a great term for it: yobbos. Wikipedia calls this a “loutish, uncultured person.” You know, people who drive like dickheads and ruin car culture for the rest of us. Also, people who cut you off to race up to a red light, can’t stay in the center of the far left lane, and so on.

But on the other side of the coin, they’re driven by people who want a ton of performance for the money. The Camaro fits the bill perfectly in this scenario, as it can truly embarrass more expensive European hardware on track, either in a straight line or through a succession of corners, for a much lower cost of entry. Especially when it’s a sixth-gen with the track-centric 1LE Package. Not a whole lot stacks up to this option’s potency for the price.

This is a strong point of pride for me, and what I think of when I think of good ol’ American ingenuity.

Its 6.2-liter LT1 V8 power plant is so good -this angry pushrod beast makes 455 naturally aspirated horsepower at the minimum, with one of the best power curves you can experience in a modern performance car. Again, a nice example of American ingenuity.

This Muscular Pony Car Is a Great Example of Good Ol’ American Ingenuity
Image: Peter Nelson

The sixth-gen Camaro also reminds me of my Uncle Tim, who passed away in 2019. He was a Chevy guy his entire life, and owned more than a few first-gens throughout the run of it, even when they were new. He was also one of the strongest influences in my love of cars growing up. We didn’t see eye to eye on some things, but when it came to anything automotive, we had brilliant conversations. Oh, and any discussion about what the Sox were doing (White Sox, that is).

Some of my earliest car debates — I’m talking weighing BMW vs. GM, 911 vs. Corvette at Le Mans — were with him. From these fun discussions, I learned quite quickly that good ol’ American ingenuity was quite a thing. You ever seen footage of LS-powered C5 ‘Vettes bullying their high-strung European rivals at Le Mans? The ‘Vettes are barely turning 5,000 RPM, but they’re absolutely sailing through that track. It’s a glorious friggin’ sight, and something we Americans should be proud of. What about Camaros racing in BTCC back in the late-60s, or stateside in Trans Am? Again, all the pride.

Here’s to good ol’ American ingenuity, the legend of the Chevy Camaro, and to the people who helped us become the people we are today. I wish I could call my Uncle Tim and chat about the cool stuff I’ve had the opportunity to drive throughout my automotive writing tenure. Including the time I scared the hell out of my girlfriend when I launched the pictured Camaro 2SS on a backroad in Orange County. He’d get a kick out of that for sure.

This Muscular Pony Car Is a Great Example of Good Ol’ American Ingenuity
Image: Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson

Peter Nelson has been wrenching on and playing with cars since he started driving them quickly between the cones at Chicagoland autocross events in his late teens. Nowadays, he can be found wringing out his Mazda2 at tracks all over California. His writing background includes Winding Road, Donut Media, and Autolist.com. He's also an avid cyclist and '80s/'90s action film connoisseur. Contact the author here.