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The 1LE Is Back! The 1LE Is Back?

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On: Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 5:05PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The 1LE Is Back! The 1LE Is Back?

For those of us who grew up in the 1980's, there were plenty of fond memories.  TV shows that actually had actors and actresses, music that was memorable if nothing else, some of the best movies around, and fashion that was ... okay, well forget the fashion. Sadly, the 1980s were a time in which car manufacturers were still recovering from the gas crisis. As a result, the cars they produced were less engaging than, say, your average episode of Thundercats.

There were a few bright spots along the way -- presuming you were grading on a curve of course. One such example came along in 1989 when Chevy took their (then) venerable IROC Camaro and offered up an option package called 1LE. This RPO code provided a version of the Camaro that could compete in the SCCA Showroom Stock racing events. In 1989-1992 form, the 1LE package included upgraded brakes, shocks, suspension, driveshaft, fuel tank, as well as some weight reduction making Camaros with this package much more agile than your garden variety IROC-Z.

Fast forward more than two decades later -- GM has resurrected the 1LE option package once again to the benefit of Camaro lovers everywhere. Much like the ZR1 has done for the ZO6, the 1LE will benefit from a trickle-down effect from the top-dog ZL1. The 1LE package will take an SS model and upgrade it significantly. A strut-tower brace, monotube rear dampers, front anti-roll bar mounts, as well as a set of 285/35ZR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires almost complete the package. But the most fun (if not the most noticeable) change is a rear-gear change from the normal 3.45:1 to a shorter (and more acceleration friendly) 3.91:1 gear. An electric power steering unit also serves to increase steering feel and driver feedback.

The 1LE package helps curtail what many new Camaro owners have had issue with since the cars reappearance -- a predisposition to heavy understeer thanks to its near-two ton heft. The 1LE upgrades help the car turn-in much quicker, and scrubs away almost all of its understeer to the point of almost feeling neutral around the track or on the street.

Thankfully the 1LE sports the same thumping LS3 small-block V8 making the same 426-horsepower and 420-pound-feet of torque, and even gets an optional dual-mode exhaust (same as the ZR1/ZL1) that makes on-ramps even more exciting than ever before. The 1LE will run to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, 100 mph in 10.5 seconds, and through the quarter-mile in 13.0 seconds flat. The price tag does jump up a bit (about 10 percent) to a base price of $37,035, which is $855 short of being exactly double what the original 1989 1LE would have cost you new. Though, considering the 2013 version produces almost double the horsepower of the original, double the price might just get you almost double the car. Now, that we have the 1LE back, maybe there's still hope for getting Thundercats back after all.

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