Earlier this week, MC&T shed light on the fact that General Motors will be axing the track-focused 1LE package for the turbo-four and V6-powered Chevrolet Camaro models for the 2022 model year. And while these V8-less muscle cars offered genuinely impressive handling performance for the price, GM’s reasoning behind the decision was simple: not enough people were buying them to justify their existence. Interestingly enough however, another Camaro model is shining with demand. According to a statement released by GM, the Chevrolet Camaro LT1 is currently accounting for nearly a quarter of the total sales of the muscle car. As a result, Chevrolet has opted to focus on building what’s in demand, and to discard what is not.
The Chevrolet Camaro LT1 debuted for the 2020 model year, and provided buyers with a cheaper V8-powered alternative to the SS model. This move was almost a necessity, as both the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger undercut the price of the Camaro SS significantly when optioned with their respective V8 engines.
However, the 455 hp Chevrolet Camaro LT1 starts at just $34,995 including destination fees. And at the moment, it’s the most horsepower for the money, as it even undercuts the 5.7L Hemi-powered 2021 Dodge Challenger R/T in price, while delivering more power. Power for the dollar is all muscle car customers wanted, after all.
The Chevrolet Camaro LT1 is also $3,500 cheaper than the most basic Camaro SS model, which sits above the V8-powered Mustang GT and Challenger R/T muscle cars. The magic about the Camaro LT1 is that it pulls down the 6.2L V8 engine from the SS with the same output, cuts out some of the handling hardware from the SS, and gives the customer a no-nonsense grand tourer in either coupe or convertible form.
While the budget-friendly muscle car doesn’t include features like MagnaRide suspension, leather seats, or sticky summer tires, it doesn’t entirely skimp on performance hardware. A limited-slip differential out back is still standard, as are six-piston Brembo brakes. A six-speed manual gearbox is also standard.
For muscle car buyers who simply want to have a V8 under the hood, the Chevrolet Camaro LT1 is an enticing offering. Sure it doesn’t have the same style or performance as the SS model, but $3,500 can go a long way in the world of the aftermarket. That said, the lower base price of the LT1 hasn’t helped the Camaro outsell the Mustang. In fact, sales data shows that the Mustang outsold the Camaro nearly 2:1 in 2020. Either way, the Camaro LT1 is obviously popular among the Chevrolet Performance crowd, especially compared to the short-lived turbo 1LE and V6 1LE models. And in all honesty, who can blame a buyer for wanting the proper muscle car engine under the hood?