When the 5th-gen Camaro Z/28 hit the market, enthusiasts were floored with the idea of a $75,000 Camaro. Initially we were too, but once we took them around a track, and understood the sum of the components that went into the car, it became clear why.
Still, purists were still confused by the 427 ci, powerplant, and the reasoning for not using something much smaller. However, during a recent interview with Automotive News, General Motors Product Chief, Mark Reuss, has hinted that a possible 302 ci. Z/28 may be in the works. As he put it, they are “looking at the original formulas of the Trans Am homologation of the Z/28.”
Adding, “Why was the 302 engine so special?,” Reuss asked.“So, the formula may change a little, but it still needs to be a wicked fast track car more capable maybe than the comfort- and driver-oriented models.”
For you youngsters out there who may not know or remember, the first-gen Z/28 Camaros of 1967-69 were powered by a 302 ci. Chevy small-block. It was a formula that was created for the 305 ci. cap attached to the SCCA Trans-Am Series circuit at the time.
Using a 283 crankshaft and a 327 block, it provided the displacement needed to enter the series (and that’s now often associated with Ford), along a high-revving powerplant that was perfect for the road courses of the world. Although underrated at 290 (gross) horsepower at the time, it has been said the engine was producing closer to 350 hp – and even more so – when optioned with the Cross-Ram setup that brought in an additional 4-bbl. carburetor. The Cross-Ram package was only available in 1969, however.
Fast-forward 45 years or so, and we could potentially see a 302 ci., GEN-V SBC based mill going under the hood of a new Z/28. What kind of power it will make is certainly unknown at this point. However, Reuss never did say whether or not the engine will be supercharged. Stay tuned…
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.