Review: 2010 RCR Series 3 Chevy Camaro

Jerry Heasley

Stomping on the Series 3's gas pedal unleashes acceleration and a thunderclap from the exhaust that seem roughly on the level of a Corvette Z06. If you're a goon with the 1-2 upshift, the rear tires will spin, and through the first two gears you're keenly aware that you're on the edge of available traction. The Tremec six-speed transmission requires a definite shove from gear to gear, but you get the sense that you can shift as fast as you like without beating the synchros.

Phillips is a former racer, so he understands the importance of setup, and this classic-looking Camaro exhibits a very contemporary ride-and-handling balance. The steering is quick, and body motions feel buttoned-down, but there's an element of compliance in the suspension that means you don't wince at every approaching expansion joint. The new Challenger feels quite nautical by comparison.

The Series 3 provides a unique driving experience, because it's neither a car of this time nor of the past, but an amalgamation of both. Your eyes tell you it's old, but the seat of your pants and the lack of vintage-car groans and rattles tell you it's new.

One aspect of the Series 3 that's definitely not of this time is the price, which is more in step with the bygone days of 2007, when the average Goldman Sachs bonus was $600,000. The base car starts at $179,900, and the midlevel version costs $199,900. Springing for the NASCAR engine will cost you another $25,000. So although the RCR Series 3 (titled as a '69 and thus exempt from today's safety and emissions laws) is significantly pricier than the 2010 Camaro, it's significantly cheaper than the top '69 Camaros sold at the 2009 Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction, which went for $319,000 and $297,000, respectively.

With those kinds of prices for an original Camaro, potential Series 3 customers should seriously consider the race engine, despite the premium over the 427. If you've got the money for a $200,000 carbon-fiber Camaro, you may as well invest a little bit more to give it the one thing that can't be fabricated in a speed shop: history.

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