We couldn’t let the Z/28 go without one last hurrah, and boy, did it get one. A month shy of its return date, we finally got our hands on its new archrival, the Ford Shelby GT350R. I can think of no better send-off than that comparison test.
Performing such a test meant driving the car like it was meant to be driven, not just commuting in it. It meant a full day of hard driving on our absolute favorite canyon roads. It meant two full days at a race track and a trip to the dragstrip. It meant treating this car like the blunt instrument of speed it is and reveling in how good it is.
Because that’s the beautiful thing about the Z/28. It’s a hammer, and corners are nails. For as sophisticated as its shocks and engine and tires and brakes are, it’s built for abuse. The harder you hit, the harder it hits you back. It’s like the car has this primordial rage in it clawing at the walls. Hit the bumps and holes, and the Z/28 punches its tires back into the pavement. Bang it off of ramped curbs like you’re fighting for the V-8 Supercars championship Down Under. You might get a wheel or two off the ground, but it’ll still grip, and it’ll grip even harder when they come down. And the car will love it. There’s something satisfying about that at a very base level.
Of course, hard driving has a price. In this case, the price is $2,200 for yet another set of Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires. (It’s our fourth set, including the tires that came with the car, but who’s counting?) Tearing up canyons, lapping race tracks, and doing lurid drifts for the camera kill tires. Who knew?
I also made one last trip to the dealer for a sudden and intermittent power steering problem. Shortly after the tire change, the dash suddenly lit up with a warning and a message: Service Power Steering, Drive With Care. A second message: Service Stabilitrak. Warning lights included traction control, stability control, and ABS, among others. The steering got heavier, the power assist apparently gone. Then, a few miles later, it fixed itself. It would repeat this several times over the next few days before I got it to the dealer.
The diagnosis: a loose connection at the wheel speed sensor on the left front wheel. How did it get loose? No one knows, but the most plausible explanation is that it somehow happened during the recent tire change. The sensor itself and all related components checked out, so the dealer tightened it up free of charge and sent us on our way.
More on our long-term Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 here:
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