With all the reviews of the new Camaro coming from every corner of the world, we started to get curious as to what reviewers had to say about the venerable 4th Gen when it was new over a decade ago. We just dug up this old Motor Week video on YouTube, with auto journalist John H. Davis giving his thoughts on the then new 10th Anniversary Firehawk and Camaro SS from 2001. From a straight-line performance standpoint, the cars in the video performed slower than what they typically did when they were new. The Camaro for example, ran a 13.8 at 107MPH in the quarter-mile. The trap speed is right on the money, but we would have to fault traction and quite possibly, the skill of the driver for not producing a quicker time.
Despite the optional SLP suspension upgrade, Davis goes on to describe the handling of the Firehawk as “not for beginners” and that the brakes could have used some improvement citing fade as their downfall. We won’t go as far as deny these allegations, since just about every domestic car built back then had less than impressive brakes, but anybody with any kind of driving skill shouldn’t have had any difficulty handling an F-car around a corner.
We did find a few other faults within his review. First, he claims that the LS1 in the Firehawk is backed by a 5-speed, which as we all know, is not the truth. Secondly, he says that the Camaro SS received a new hood for 2001, when in reality, it was the same piece that dated back to 1998.
He did go on to praise the cars overall however, saying that they offered surprisingly civilized drivability and comfort. He ends the review with a mention of the SLP Firebird GT and Camaro RS, essentially cosmetically upgraded entry-level V6 cars with a 5HP increase thanks to a change to the standard V8 exhaust systems.
Its always interesting to take a look at things with a fresh set of eyes…