The argument between camaro enthusiasts about which of the camaro’s is the top dog between the 1969 Z/28 camaro, and the 1969 SS camaro seems to be a never ending one, but the real truth is that these cars were built for different purposes, so they are both the top camaro in their particular forte.
The Z/28 camaro was built to run the SCCA racing circuit, and it was a top contender, winning a lot of the races, the SCCA had a engine size limit of no more the 305 cubic inches, hence the birth of the 302 Chevrolet small block in 1967, this engine started out as a two bolt main in 1967, and by late 1969 was converted to a four bolt main.
The 302 had it’s share of accolades as a winning engine, and still has it’s reputation to this day, a 1969 Z/28 with a 302 still in it will command a lot higher sales price then a unit with a 350 transplant, this car was never built as a 1/4 mile beast, it was a high reeving engine designed to keep the front end of the car light, thereby giving it better handling characteristics.
It would however do fairly good on the 1/4 mile track also, pulling high 14’s, and low 145s with the right driver, making the Z/28 the top dog in it’s forte, it also had a lot of very coll options offered from the factory, like the crossram setup that sported two four barrel carbs sitting across from each other.
This was a rare option, and I have seen the crossram and carb setups sell for as much as $14,000 these days, no body can argue that the 1969 Z/28 was one of the top performing cars on the SCCA circuit in 1969, its a true to life fact.
The 1969 SS camaro was designed to be a 1/4 mile beast, which it was, the 1969 SS camaro had a lot of cool options also, but the main one was a Chevy 396 CID big block engine, which obviously made a huge difference in it’s 1/4 mile times, by adding more torque and horsepower.
The SS 396 came in three different configurations, you had the 325,and 350 HP versions, and the L78 375 HP which at the time would cost a massive $316.00 to add to your car, and for only $711.00 you could add the L89 option which would get aluminum heads added to your camaro, and remove about 100 pounds.
The SS would weigh in at about 3790 pounds, and came with a Holly four barrel carb, and 11:1 compression pistons, and this combination would net you 375 HP @ 5600 rpm, and 415 FTLB of torque @ 4600 rpm, a great combination for the drag strip, the car would run a 14.7 second 1/4 mile @ 98.7 mph, with a 0-60 of 6.8
As you can see these two cars were designed for completely different uses, and they were both the top dog for their designed uses, so the everlasting argument really has no basis because the Z/28 would hammer the SS on an SCCA race track, and the SS would hammer the Z/28 in the ¼ mile, so there you go.