Friday, January 1, 2016
True 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary (LT-4) SLP Edition
Anniversary Editions are always fun. Special stripes, badges and performance up-grades find their way on to a limited number of stock versions of a vehicle to celebrate the special year. Although Anniversary Editions usually see minor changes, that wasn't the case when it came to the 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition. All of the 30th Anniversary Camaros (RS, Z-28 and SS) seen an eye-popping color scheme and 30th Anniversary badges placed throughout the interior, but a few SS Camaos (US 100 – Canada 6 – Prototype 2) got much more than just a few minor up-grades and a cool looking color scheme.
What This Special Camaro SS Was All About
The color scheme was a throwback to the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car. Just like that pace car an Arctic White paint job was accompanied by a set of Hugger Orange racing stripes that graced the hood, roof and the deck-lid of all of the 1997 Anniversary Editions. But don't let that fool you, they all may have looked the same and had the same embroider badges on the seats and the floor mats, but only a select few got to wear the all important 330-hp badge indicating an LT-4 under the hood.
Almost all of the Anniversary Editions came with stock engines that matched their trim package, but a few lucky SS Camaros got to take a trip to SLP Engineering after they rolled off the line for some really tremendous up-grades. SLP Engineering was able to get their hands on extra leftover LT-4 motors that were used in the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport a year earlier. Before SLP bolted these LT-4 motors into the Camaros, they broke each of the engines down and had them balanced and blue-printed. On paper the LT-4 was documented to get 330-hp at 5,800 RPM and reached its max torque at 4,500 RPM. But many car enthusiast and automotive professionals believe this motor that had 10.8:1 compression was definitely under-rated.
So take that Camaro SS with the LT-4 up grade and add a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission, a performance exhaust, a lightweight drive shaft, Bilstein sport suspension (optional level III Bilstein suspension package) and a Torsen limited slip-differential, and you can get from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and get down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. In this day-in-age with the explosion of technology in the auto industry that may not seem so amazing, but back in 1997 that was the fastest American sports car on the market to that date. There were no American sports cars at that time that could be bought from a dealer that went that fast.
Identifying a 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT-4 SLP Edition
So how do you tell if what you're looking at or what you own is one of these rare 30th Anniversary SLP LT4 SS Camaros? Regular SS 30th Anniversary Camoros are commonly mistaken for these very rare SLP Editions, and that's because there easy to pass off as one. All of the SLP LT4 Editions rolled off the line and out of the factory as a LT-1 before being shipped off for the special treatment. With no special SLP badges outside of one 330-hp sticker above the rear-bumper, which can be easily duplicated, there's not much to go on in the means of finding SLP info, even the VIN# alone won't let you know if it's a true SLP LT-4 Edition, it will only tell you that it was a LT-1 at one point.
The first thing you can do to find out the info you want is look at the trim options. If it has t-tops or is a convertible, it's definitely not a true SS LT4, they only came with a hard-top. Next, again, skip the VIN# for now because that won't tell you anything. To get to the bottom of your research, you want to look inside the door for an SLP sticker and or look at the RPO code. The RPO code should indicate if it has been in the hands of the SLP engineers. But if you're still not sure what you are looking at, you can always call SLP Engineering, they are sure to have records of what Camaros they got there hands on.
If you do have a true LT-4 SS 30th Anniversary Camaro in your sights, you're looking at a true collectible. These cars will eventually sell on the Barrett Jackson block like the COPO Camaros do right now. They're good-looking, powerful, rare and fun to drive.