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Old 07-28-2009, 12:01 AM   #1's Avatar
Drives: 5th Gen Rental
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 1,903
Pedders takes delivery of their SS Camaro

Pete asked me to get this posted as he is in a hotel with limited internet access.

What a great place to take delivery of a Camaro -- Berger Chevrolet. Matt Berger and Dick Jacques took great care of me as did the entire staff. They had the car prepped and standing tall in the delivery area when I arrived to start work in the back on Matt's Camaro.

As good as she looked we had work waiting for us in the back. While I was getting my hands dirty, they prepared all the paperwork. It was the fastest closing on record when Dick brought me up front with my rather dirty hands. I signed and initialed and went back to work. We finished up the first round with Mattís car and went up front for a few pictures.

Dick and Pete

Matt and Pete

From Berger I went to see my three daughters at thier tennis night. They were thrilled with the new Camaro. My wife is a special lady. She followed the girls and me in the rental Buick so we could drop it off. She sits in the middle 'seat' in the rear with the girls when we are all together. Because of all this or in spite of all this, she was more excited than I was.

My impressions of the Camaro after over 700 miles of use on the outbound leg of our trip to Pennsylvania are that the Camaro is well built, very well built. I own a GTO and a G8. The GTO is a pretty solid automobile. The G8 is more solid than the GTO. I love my G8 and think is it one of the most dialed in vehicles I have ever driven as she sits full Pedderised and ProCharged. The Camaro is another level up from the G8 in terms of structural integrity. It is one solid vehicle. Run over the biggest bump and the entire vehicle travels the bump as a single unit. I have yet to detect any racking or cowl shake.

The Camaro is very quiet. They paid attention to detail and maybe borrowed an engineer from the Buick area in controlling cabin noise. If there is any wind noise, I can't hear it. There are no squeaks or rattles. The cabin feels as secure and quiet as anything I have ever driven. This is probably related to the structural strength that was designed into the ZETA II chassis.

As for driving, keep in mind I am a very spoiled guy with some great cars in my garage. The G8 and GTO are both ProCharged. They both ride on fulll Xa Track eXtreme suspensions and then some. They both have custom wheel and tire packages. They both have brake upgrades. They are built cars that have been carefully dialed in. The slug in the garage has been the HHR SS with a Stage II GM Turbo and Pedders Xa coilovers and it can pull up the inside rear wheel on a hard turn with GM issue wheels and tires. The OEM Camaro is a super car and one that thousands will be thrilled to own. What follows are my opinions personally and professionally. They do not make me right. They do not make me wrong. They are my opinions.

The brake pads selected by GM may be a great combination pad in terms of useful life, quiet application, etc... but they soften the Brembo brakes. I'll run different pads with the OEM rotors and calipers with far better performance, but they will squeal at a level most would not accept. Replacing the hydraulically damped OEM radius rod bushes will help too.

The wheels and tires are too big. I don't understand why GM used a set of tires and wheels better suited to an SUV. Actually I do understand. Most people love the looks of them. They love these big wheels and tires so much they want BIGGER wheels and tires. My experience with the package is that the Camaro will be a much better car with smaller diameter wheels and tires. It will get out of the hole better. It will stop better.

The suspension delivers a great balance of comfort and stick. The Camaro leans more than I like, but it sticks. I did notice a jitter in the steering over ridges in the pavement. You can feel it in the steering wheel. Once again, a radius rod bush upgrade will help here, but I also feel it has something to do with the 20 wheels. There is a noticeable rear end step up in turns while applying power and dealing with bumps. Sub-frame bush inserts will correct this.

The Camaro tracks very well and after hours of driving I felt fresh and ready for more, however I kept going back in my mind to how my G8 drives and the Camaro suffered by comparison. Not a comparison to a stock G8, but to my built G8. While the comparison is not fair, it is what I am used to. The Pedders USA, LLC G8 rides well and handles like ñ I struggle to find an appropriate comparison. GMís ZETA chassis is so good stock and so GREAT Pedderised it blew by a BMW M5 at the New jersey Motorsports Park. The professional drivers said there was no comparison because the Pedders G8 was so superior. A stock Camaro doesnít feel that way. It can and will, but just doesnít stock and stock is VERY GOOD. My Camaro and I suspect many of your Camaros will need to be as dialed in as my G8 and I don't want to wait 18 months to get it there as I did with the G8. We will complete the Camaro in two months.

We are working with Bridgestone and Forgeline to come up with a balanced front and rear wheel and tire combination. If we can make it work we will run 305/30/19 ZR XL tires front and rear. Whatever adjustments are required in damping and coil rate will be available with our Xa coilovers. Bushes and bars will complement the Xa coilovers, wheels and tires. Working with Nickey and Hennessey we are refining our alignment specifications for multiple tire and wheel packages. Corner weighting is already under way and we have found the Camaro to set up beautifully. The Camaros we have tracked performed amazingly well. That is not good enough. They will be perfect.

The power train is excellent. The shift pattern is so much better than the GTO it is hard to believe. The clutch pedal is light, maybe too light. The driveline is quiet. There is no slap, no chatter, nothing but power and smooth application of power. With the car loaded to the max with passengers and luggage we have averaged 21.8 MPG. It is new and tight so I expect better, as it would if someone would take the brick off my right foot.

Speaking of feet, you need size 16s to heel and toe this beast...

Our plans for the Pedders USA, LLC Camaro are:

600 RWHP
Cobalt Friction State-of-the-art-of-Racing pads
Forgeline Wheels
Bridgestone Tires
Pedders Suspension
Pedders Custom Exhaust
Pedders by TommyZ Custom Body Work

The goal is a reliable, comfortable Camaro that is almost ready to join the Riley Tech built GS Camaro on the Grand Am Challenge, but with Air and multiple DVD screens for my kids. We will exceed 1G on the skid pad and with street tires get down the strip in the 11s. In the past, Pedders USA, LLC flagship vehicles have wanted to be Corvette like in performance. While we may not reach the standard set by the ZR1, we will meet and exceed the performance of a stock C6 Z06 while running with four people safely seated in the car. Stay tuned to see if we can meet our goals.

Pete s quite talented on handling issues. Having him buy a Camaro and drive it every day, will drive him nuts until he is happy with it. This is the best handling update you will ever get for the Camaro. Getting the Camaro to equal the handling of his G8, that is the best handling G8 in the USA offers some challengers that we already know what to do.


Last edited by; 07-28-2009 at 03:17 AM. is offline   Reply With Quote