ZL1 Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser hits the Panic Button, fires off letter to Camaro fans


If this is not hitting the Panic Button, I don’t know what is.  In a move that seems childish to say the least, ZL1 Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser fires off a letter to Camaro fans reassuring them the new 2013 Shelby GT500 with its 650 horsepower is no match for the 580 horsepower ZL1 Camaro.

Read the letter below and after you stop laughing let me know what you think in the comments.

******Letter From ZL1 and Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser*******

Camaro Nation:

As you know, the blogs lit up with the announcement of the new 650-horsepower Mustang GT500, and I wanted to give you my perspective on the latest challenge from Dearborn.

The Mustang has been playing catch up since the moment the fifth-gen Camaro arrived in 2009. Since then, Camaro has been the best-selling sports car in America, indicating that consumers know which car offers the best performance, style and safety.

It is no coincidence that Mustang has introduced three 100-horsepower increases to keep pace with Camaro: First their V-6 was bumped to 305; then their V-8 went to 412, and now the GT500.

Even with the 100-hp increase, the 2013 GT500 will still not match the technology and sophistication of the 2012 Camaro ZL1.

The days of “no replacement for displacement,” are over, and it’s not enough to be fast in a straight line. With the Camaro ZL1, we set out to deliver integrated performance, and be equally good at acceleration, braking, grip, and turning. As you will soon see, that’s why the Camaro ZL1 will set the performance benchmark for the segment.

Our approach was to make every Camaro ZL1 fully track-capable, from the factory. As we announced today, the ZL1 Coupe will start at $54,995 with standard Magnetic Ride Control, standard Performance Traction Management, and standard track-capable equipment such as a rear-differential cooler, brake cooling ducts, and an engine and transmission cooler.

None of our customers will have to buy extra options – or modify their ZL1 – for track-day usage. That is not the case for the current GT500, or their new car.

For Mustang fans, you’re welcome. Clearly the Camaro has encouraged Ford to throw everything they can at us.

For Camaro fans, trust me, we are always listening to your feedback, and working hard to keep the Camaro in the lead.

Al O.

Source: Camaro5

  1. HAHAHAHAHA… Does this guy remember when the Mustang was the reason for GM’s decision to cancel the Camaro and the Firebird?

  2. Yeah, “panic” button, you didnt read how calmly he stated that the mustang has been playing catch up and that we arent worried one bit?

    Camaro will answer back, with more Hp, but in the meantime it has put more hours and money into making it an all around great car that can actually put its power to the ground and make use out of it.

    The camaro and firebird were cancelled becuase of sales, not specifically the stang.

    The current camao has beaten ford year after year in sales, saftey ratings, and resale vale!

    1. You need to stop suckin up paint fumes boy the new camaro has never been able to hang with the mustang on the strip or track I’m not sure where you get this dreamed up stuff but all the TV shows and Mag’s and on the street always have the Stang 5.0 over camaro 6.2 just like most of the time in the old days. Government motors needs to stop these cars and focus on high volume stuff so they can pay my money back ALL OF IT.

  3. The simple fact that he feels the need to write a letter says a lot. Can the car not speak for itself on the straight or oval track? Why write a letter if you’re not ‘worried’?

    Long before the death and burial of the Camaro or Firebird, let us not forget who was here first in the 1960s. And let us not forget Mustang has rolled on through the years without a break in production.

    Mustang will always be America’s first and best pony car.

  4. panic button for sure seeing how the new boss 302 could most likely stay with this camaro. i recall a few magazine test where the boss woudld hang with the likes of lotus ferrari and others. thats just the boss. the shelby witout a doubt is the better looking, performing and selling. this new shelby is going to be mental. my friend has a ’09 shelby kr (540hp) its got mind numbing performance

  5. Chevy thew all they had at Ford this time around. Ford is always there with an answer right away. It takes Chevy a few years to catch up every time. Look at how fast Ford responded to the new SS. What did Chevy do to respond to the new 5.0? NOTHING! Chevy comes out with the new Z L1 and Ford responds with a 650 horsepower GT500. What will chevy do with the ZL1? NOTHING! Maybe they will come out with another “special edition” with some paint, stickers and badging and charge an extra ten grand for it. They don’t listen. People have been begging for better paint colors and a Z28 for years and they are told it aint gonna happen. This is coming from a former camaro fan!

  6. ahahahah camaro nation hahahaha what camaro nation hahaha`.the more selling car may be is the cam but the real car is the stang . this is no match for the mustang he is simply the best,

  7. I’m loving this so bad, we’re living 69-70 all over again, epic battles tempers flaring, Ford had announced the 2013 Shelby was going to ” annihilate” the competition, and they sure blew everything up with that 650hp 202mph Stang, long live the Re birth of Muscle Car wars. chevy will probably boost their supercharger to 620-630hp by time it comes out in an attempt to save face and engines will fail under warranty, and with 270Lbs heavier Government motors don’t stand a chance anyway ahahah.

  8. Ok, So Camaro beat out Ford for 2 years….how about the 45 before that??? In no game score does 45-2 declare the 2 as the winner. IJS.

  9. Not good enough to go fast in a straight line? The camaro can’t even do that safely, you can’t see to the right and if you raise the seat so you can see over the hood your head is right up against the headliner. With the new higher hood on the camaro it is going to be worse. Al Oppenheiser has either never sat in a camaro or he is just plain,,,,,,,, let someone else be the judge.

  10. GM has been playing catch-up since 1964! How long does it take Fo to introduce a convertible version of the Mustang verses Chevy? If anyone can recall, it is introduced when the coupe model debuts! It doesn’t take two or three years, as is the case with GM. I would bet my life savings that Chevrolet will intro a drop top version of the ZL1 in the next couple of years, but Ford will have a top down model of the GT500 when sales begin for 2013! Any Camaro fanboys care to take me up on this offer?

  11. Yeah a ‘panic button’ is a good word. He just cost the company money and sales. He should have stopped wasting his time explaining things to the “fans” and got to work on the 2014 model instead of making a ruckus. Defending design decisions and criticizing the competition is not what real winners do. Real winners, in life and at the oval and even the straight line work hard. If we get beat, we go back to the drawing board and try again and again until we get it right. We don’t issue letters or press releases with nagging quips or defend our decisions. Its the equivilant of loosing at the strip and talking trash because you got beat. Winners just go and do.

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