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Old 04-16-2013, 01:44 AM   #1
TSSUNAMI
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Had a rare opportunity today!

I was in the fortunate position tonight to drive a 1LE for the first time


This is basically a comparison of two similarly modded camaros, one is a 1SS/RS, the other is a 1LE. Keep in mind here, I'm not a test driver for a fancy auto magazine. I'm just a middle aged guy, who gets his jollies off having a spirited drive every now and then in a badass car.

This 1LE belongs to my good friend SSRS55. This was a perfect situation because He and I essentially have the same engine mods.

Both of us have a JRE 415 tune mated up to Long tube headers, he has a CAI intake, I have a new era. He has TSP headers with HFC's I have Pacesetters with HFC's (Yeah welfare I know. But they work LOL) He has a solo mach xl catback, I have a muffler delete (where were my food stamps again )

He has the 1LE wheels, with stock rubber, I have Forgestar F14's with 275 front 315 rears on nitto invo's. He has the FE4 suspension with the 1LE upgrades, I have a 2011 SS with the FE3 suspension, and PFADT 1.25" drop springs.

All that being said, let's get to the good part, the driving impression!

While we couldn't get too crazy because it was a pretty short drive on a back road with some nice curves, this is what I got out of the experience.

Compared to my car, with my mods, his felt a good bit more responsive. The weight of the steering was much lighter, it felt as though moving the wheel itself took considerably less effort. In fact, his clutch felt a good bit lighter as well. As for steering input, the 1LE was noticeably more responsive. It wasn't a night and day difference, but it was CERTAINLY noticeable. The 1LE felt a bit more planted in corners, I didn't push the car as hard as I would my own but it was very confidence inspiring. Body roll was similar to my SS with the drop springs, very flat. Cornering, like my SS was very predictable.

As for power delivery, it felt very similar. The 1LE that I drove has a much smoother exhaust than my muffler delete, and it certainly attributed to how "smooth" the power delivery felt. The differences in the transmission were subtle, and in the conditions that I drove in I really couldn't discern much of a difference between his car and mine. I think to truly appreciate the difference in gearing, one would need to be on a race track, or perhaps a drag strip.

Aesthetics: oddly enough, and I did NOT expect this at all, but I LOVED the new steering wheel, and shifter in the 1LE! The materials on his steering wheel were much more pleasing to the touch, and the smaller shifter knob on the 1LE was a very welcome change in contrast to the bulky hurst shifter knob on my car. Since I had a 1SS, I am also not used to the HUD. What a cool feature. I would love to add this to my car someday. I also liked how his door locks were on his doors! Not the center stack like in my car. Overall, I like the newer interior, as well as the 1LE steering wheel/shifter knob much more than the older style controls in the 10-11 SS.

In summary, the best way I can compare these two cars is as follows:

After driving the 1LE, my 1SS feels like a "prototype" car... while the 1LE felt like the "finished" product. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with my SS, I don't like it any less, it's just that the 1LE felt more crisp, more refined. Had the 1LE package been available when I ordered my car I would not have hesitated to check that box in the options window.

Would I trade my SS in for a 1LE? Personally, *I* wouldn't. I don't autocross or race. I daily drive mine to and from work in the fair weather months. I drive it for pleasure in my off time. For me to de-mod my car, take a several thousand dollar hit on the trade in wouldn't make sense, but that's my situation! I could definitely understand why others would "trade up" and if doing so wouldn't be a financial disaster for me my answer to the question would likely be different.

What I CAN say is that driving this 1LE made my future performance goals for my SS a lot more clear.

The first thing I need to do is order an exhaust from solo. Man, I tell you SSRS55's car sounds beast... and inside it is much smoother sounding than the muffler delete/long tube combo that I'm sporting. I'm sure the wife will be happy that I'm spending another grand on my car again soon

I think that I would also do well to do an FE4 conversion with ZL1 spec sways from PFADT. I think this would tighten up my steering a bit and make the car feel responsive enough. Perhaps throw in some solid subframe bushings as well.

Thanks to Eric (SSRS55) for letting me drive his VR 1LE. It's a beautiful car man. Well done. (start a freaking build thread btw.)
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:26 AM   #2
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Great Write up man, I think you pretty much nailed it....Although my car may be a big change over a stock SS there probably isn't to much difference from yours to mine that were going to feel, at least in normal driving conditions anyways.
I will say this car feels about twice as fast/stronger then my 2012 SS L99 with same bolt ons, ever was..although the steering in this car is amazingly responsive and I love that (just gotta get more used to it), I will say my 2012 handled almost just as good, honestly I can't tell that much of a difference on regular roads anyways, probably due to both being FE4 suspensions..
Overall I think the 1LE is an awesome package and definitely worth the upgrade though, especially for what I paid for my 2SS 1LE, 36,5XX, Can't beat that (package is worth the ZL1 wheels and 3:91's alone)!
Tssunami Your car is off the hook and looks to match I would never trade that thing in but rather I would keep making it your own, your doing a phenominal job minus the front license plate of course. Thats one thing I have a much harder task to do with my car , 1LE's all look the same (only thing bad about the car)..good thing is I haven't seen one to date around here yet......

P.s. My car is faster!!
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:46 AM   #3
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P.s. My car is faster!!

Mine's lower

LOL Thanks for the compliment my dude! I'm having a blast building mine up and making it my own. As for all 1LE's looking the same, I'm sure there's a thing or two that you can do to set yours off from the pack. I personally wouldn't go nuts on exterior mods because the car looks so smooth out of the box though.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:48 AM   #4
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Nice.Test drive.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:02 AM   #5
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Great write up TSSunami Thanks for sharing your comparison of the two cars. It definitely puts a dent in the wallet when you realize you "need" something for your car. Like a lot of people have said, when are you ever..."done"? But that's part of the beauty of these cars, you develop it as you see fit and it becomes your own. Congrats, and hope you get to enjoy many miles of smiles with your beast.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:33 AM   #6
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Nice write up OP!! Gives a good idea whats the difference between the two. Theres no doubt a stock SS can be made as fast as the 1LE in corners.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:13 AM   #7
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What is happening I think for me is a much greater appreciation for suspension setup. HP is always the star but being able to get the power to the ground is what makes these cars so fun. The 1LE gearing is a disadvantage in the 1/4 mile as it forces a shift into 4th right before the line.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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I am taking my wife's Equinox in for an oil change to a dealer that has a LOT of Corvettes and Camaros. I think I will try to get some test rides in.
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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@Whammo and Bad@ssCamaro: Thanks for reading guys! I really enjoyed driving Eric's 1LE, it's such a nice machine, and his taste for mods is generally similar to mine. I mean how often do you find someone who has a 1LE and the same engine mods as your very own car. (well similar mods anyway) It really lets one see how far they need to go to reach a comparable level of performance.

I think it would be a really helpful post to someone who is on the fence about trading their *modded* SS for a 1LE.

I tried to be as objective and honest as possible. I really did love the way that 1LE felt.

@Brian: You going to WGI this weekend? I'm thinking of going! See my post in the club thread :-D Hope you had a great winter.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:33 AM   #10
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Great write up, thanks for the info!
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:24 PM   #11
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Great write up, thanks for the info!
Thanks! It was definitely a lucky day for me. Thanks to SSRS55 I've driven both a 1LE and a GT500. It's good to have friends with fast cars who trust you with their life (and their 40K+ cars)
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:56 AM   #12
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Just wanted to add this because I thought it was relevant.

I drove my SS on Watkins Glen International raceway this past weekend. While the laps were paced, the pace drivers were pretty liberal with us. This is one thing that I noticed:

Entering some of the corners I was downshifting to second frequently in order to blast out of the corner with more force. I think in the 1LE I would have been able to leave the car in 3rd for most of the track, perhaps shifting to 4th on the longer straights.

As stated before, on the street it's tough to tell the differences in gearing, but on a road course where the 1LE is designed to shine, I think that being able to hold the car in 3rd for a great majority of the race track would be a major benefit.

Keep in mind this is coming from a total track noob, that was my first time out. I don't autox or anything of that nature. Gotta say though driving the car on a closed course is ADDICTING. I may have to start searching for autox events in upstate NY

Eric you've got to bring your 1LE next time. You would have had a blast.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSSUNAMI View Post
Just wanted to add this because I thought it was relevant.

I drove my SS on Watkins Glen International raceway this past weekend. While the laps were paced, the pace drivers were pretty liberal with us. This is one thing that I noticed:

Entering some of the corners I was downshifting to second frequently in order to blast out of the corner with more force. I think in the 1LE I would have been able to leave the car in 3rd for most of the track, perhaps shifting to 4th on the longer straights.

As stated before, on the street it's tough to tell the differences in gearing, but on a road course where the 1LE is designed to shine, I think that being able to hold the car in 3rd for a great majority of the race track would be a major benefit.

Keep in mind this is coming from a total track noob, that was my first time out. I don't autox or anything of that nature. Gotta say though driving the car on a closed course is ADDICTING. I may have to start searching for autox events in upstate NY

Eric you've got to bring your 1LE next time. You would have had a blast.

Yea Mon I'll be going next time for sure! Looked like a blast!!
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