The Perfect 4th Gen Catfish Camaro SS You’ll Want to Drive

The Perfect 4th Gen Catfish Camaro SS You’ll Want to Drive

Rolling off the production line in the mid to late ’90s and early 2000s, the 4th Gen Chevrolet Camaro staked its claim in the annals of American muscle car history, casting a sleek shadow with its distinctive ‘catfish’ facelift. Some said it was a hit, others a miss, but there’s no denying the ripple it sent through the performance car and modified muscle car scene. Today, it stands as a beautiful anachronism, straddling the line between old-school muscle and modern performance, embodying the transition era of automotive engineering.

Being a 4th Gen Camaro is a testament to the fearless approach Chevy took in reinventing its classic brand. The aerodynamic exterior, the rounded edges, and the low-slung body were radical departures from the more angular designs of the ’70s and ’80s. The ‘Catfish Camaro,’ as it was affectionately nicknamed, was an audacious rebel, boldly swimming against the tide of traditional muscle car designs.

Black Chevy Camaro SS Catfish with rear spoiler and 18×11 +43 315/30/18 rear tirs
And now, despite the overwhelming tide of advanced tech in modern muscle cars, the Catfish Camaro continues to turn heads, primarily because of its distinctiveness. This is a driver’s car—its appeal rooted in the primal connection between man and machine, where every vibration, every roar, every twist and turn is felt in your core.

As the 4th Gen Camaros age, their distinct character only matures. They’re a stand-out beacon in a sea of contemporary uniformity. One day, not far from now, these rebellious beasts will secure their status as true classics.

“As the 4th Gen Camaros age, their distinct character only matures”.

Black Catfish Camaro F-Body 4th gen with ram air hood

About the Model

The 4th Generation Chevy Camaro, running from 1993 to 2002, is the series’ last chapter before a long eight-year hiatus. This generation represented a total redesign of the Camaro, taking it from its roots and launching it into a future it couldn’t possibly have foreseen.

The LS1 Engine

Starting from 1998, the ‘Catfish’ Camaro was powered by the legendary LS1 engine, a 5.7-liter V8 that churned out around 305-325 horsepower and 335-350 lb-ft of torque. This engine elevated the 4th Gen Camaro’s performance to rival that of the Corvettes of the time. The LS1 engine, known for its reliability and ease of modification, turned the ‘Catfish’ into a beast, waiting to be unleashed by those brave enough to take the reins.

“The LS1 engine, known for its reliability and ease of modification, turned the ‘Catfish’ into a beast”.

Blacked out 1999 Chevy Camaro 4th Gen

A Tribute to the F-Body Legacy

The Camaro, along with its Pontiac Firebird sibling, form the “F-body” class of GM vehicles, a lineage of performance-oriented cars dating back to 1967. As a proud member of this family, the 4th Gen Camaro, despite its ‘Catfish’ moniker, carried forward the performance DNA that made these F-body cars so beloved.

Open-Air Freedom: The Targa Tops

4th Gen Chevy Camaro SS Catfish with T Top Targa Top
One of the distinguishing features of the 4th Gen Camaro is the availability of Targa Tops or T-Tops. This feature allowed drivers to feel the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces, further connecting them with the driving experience, an element that has become rare in the modern age of automotive design.

The SS

The SS (Super Sport) V8-powered model of the 4th Gen Camaro, introduced in 1996, took things up a notch. With power boosts, suspension upgrades, and distinct styling cues, it offered an even more aggressive and performance-oriented package that appealed to drivers looking for that extra edge.

The Build: A Custom 4th Gen Camaro SS

Now that we’ve dived into the history and heritage, let’s take a closer look at a black 1999 Chevrolet Camaro SS that encapsulates the best of what a modified 4th Gen Camaro can be. This super-clean car belongs to David Sevilla, a die-hard gearhead from Palmdale, CA. His Instagram handle, Suprslow99, belies the work he’s put into making this a performance beast.

4th Gen Camaro with 18×11 rear wheels +43offset and 315/30/18 tires
18×11 rear wheels with +43offset and 315/30/18 tires.

Performance

With performance upgrades like an SLP loudmouth I bullet resonator, a Granatelli Motorsports valve cover, performance plug wires, and an SLP intake, this modded 4th Gen Camaro churns out raw power, causing the heart to race and the adrenaline to pump.

Wheels & Suspension

4th Gen Chevy Camaro on Weld Wheels RTS S71, running 295/30/18 front and 315/30/18 rear tires
The QA1 double adjustable coilovers on both ends, the UMI Strut Brace, and the adjustable Panhard Bar offer a tightened suspension setup that guarantees this Camaro eats corners for breakfast. Combined with the Weld Wheels RTS S71, running 295/30/18 front and 315/30/18 rear tires, the grip and handling of this ‘Catfish’ is nothing short of perfect.

Lights & Exterior

David has added unique touches to the exterior, too, with Whistler headlights, Candy Corn tail lights with a red lens instead of orange, an Ikon Motorsports front lip, and ScreamingChicken Morimoto fog lights. The result is a modded F-body that carries a unique blend of classic and contemporary aesthetics.
Stepping inside, you’ll find a cockpit crafted for pure driving pleasure. With every drive, David feels that unique connection that only a 4th Gen Camaro can offer.

4th Gen Chevy Camaro Catfish Rear view taillights and spoiler

Candy Corn tail lights with painted red lens instead of orange.
Candy Corn tail lights with painted red lens instead of orange.

Questions & Answers

How did you get into the muscle car scene?
– Growing up my 3 brothers all had American muscle. From an 88 GTA Trans Am to a 97 Camaro z28 30th anniversary, 97 Trans Am 98,00,02 Trans Am. Even til this day 2 of my brothers have American Muscle. There’s just something about the rumble of a v8 engine that speaks to me.

Why did you choose this particular model for your project?
– This is currently my 3rd Camaro. Starting with the 96 Camaro SS with the LT1. I knew I wanted more power and a more aggressive looking Camaro. I’ve always loved the ls1 Catfish Camaro.

Blacked out Camaro 4th gen with Ikon Motorsports front lipScreamingChicken Morimoto fog lights
Ikon Motorsports front lip and ScreamingChicken Morimoto fog lights.

What inspired you to choose this modification style?
– The Catfish Camaro. It’s honestly one of a kind muscle car. Not very popular with today’s crowd. But for me there’s a special place in my heart for them. They just don’t make them like they used to. When properly modded these are amazing to look at and drive. 6spd, black and T-Top, you’ll know it’ll turn people’s heads. And it sure does. I like to stand out from the rest of the crowd. And I feel like I’ve done a great job so far.

What challenges did you face while putting it together?
– With it being 24yrs old, a lot of parts are bound to start going bad. I decided to go with a car with high mileage because I don’t want a garage queen. So with that a lot of parts have been needing replacing. I’ve only been left stranded once due to the fuel pump going bad. Paint is currently on its way out in some small spots, but she’ll get repainted very soon.

Lowered Chevy Camaro 4th Gen on QA1 Double adjustable Coilovers front and rear

What do you love about your Camaro?
– I love that it stands out from everyone else nowadays. Now it’s all about modern American muscle and all the new technologies. This car is all about the driver. You get to feel like you’re one with the car. You feel everything going on. From the way the suspension feels to the way the steering feels when going through turns. One day they’ll be considered a true classic down the road. And the journey of owning one is surely special.

Is it your daily or a weekend ride?
Both. I drive it as much as I can. I don’t like to let it sit for more than a few days. I’ve taken it as far as San Francisco, and to Las Vegas (3 times). I’ve taken it Camping. Yes, camping. I’ve put everything in the trunk and back seats and it’s amazing.

Do you take it to local car shows or a race track?
– I do try to attend as many shows as I can in SoCal. Whether it’s just down the street or as far as a 90 minute drive from home. Hopefully I get to attend some track events, but that’s down the road.

Weld Wheels RTS S71 rims sized 18×10 with +41 offset wrapped in 295/30/18 tires.
Weld Wheels RTS S71 rims sized 18×10 with +41 offset wrapped in 295/30/18 tires.

1999 Chevy Camaro SS Catfish Mods & Upgrades

Performance

See Also
6th Gen Chevy Camaro LT1 with Weld s904 Ventura Beadlock rear drag wheels with 305/45/17 Mickey Thompson ET SS tires.

  • SLP loudmouth I bullet (resonator)
  • Granatelli Motorsports valve cover and performance plug wires. (Sponsor)
  • SLP Intake

Suspension

  • QA1 Double adjustable Coilovers front and rear. (Sponsor)
  • UMI Strut Brace
  • UMI adjustable Panhard Bar

Wheels

  • Weld Wheels RTS S71
  • 18×10 +41 295/30/18 front
  • 18×11 +43 315/30/18 rear

Exterior

  • Whistler headlights
  • Candy Corn tail lights painted red lens instead of orange
  • Ikon Motorsports front lip
  • ScreamingChicken Morimoto fog lights

ModifiedChevy Camaro 4th Gen with black Whistler headlights

What are your future plans about this car?
– Street/Autocross vehicle. I’ve always been more of a fan with the twist and turns of circuit racing and autocross.

Anything else you would like to share about your car or about modifying cars in general?
– It’s a very fun process. But at the same time can get very stressful. But the journey is always worth it in the end. It’s a passion that can never be let go once it has been started.

Technical Specifications

 

Model Engine Horsepower Torque Transmission
4th Gen Chevy Camaro (1993-2002) LS1 5.7L V8 (1998-2002) 305-325 hp 335-350 lb-ft 4-speed auto / 5-speed manual / 6-speed manual

 

In conclusion, the 4th Gen Camaro, the ‘Catfish,’ is a tribute to a time when American muscle was reinventing itself, shedding its old skin, and stepping into a future of unknowns. It is a testament to the spirit of innovation and the courage to be different. With individuals like David, who nurture and celebrate these rides, the legacy of these vehicles is in safe hands. A 4th Gen Camaro isn’t just a car; it’s a statement of who you are, and that’s why we at MuscleCarDNA.com celebrate them.

Factory Options

Feature Description
Engine 325-horsepower LS1 V8 with forced-air induction and 350 lb.-ft. of torque
Transmission Four-speed automatic transmission (six-speed manual optional at no cost)
Suspension and Tires High Performance Ride and Handling Suspension, P275/40ZR-17 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires
Wheels Lightweight 17-inch aluminum wheels
Brakes Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Steering Power steering cooler
Differential Zexel Torsen differential with limited-slip performance rear axle
Exhaust Low-restriction exhaust with dual outlets
Exterior Features High-level rear spoiler
Standard Features Standard Bosch four-wheel ABS, all-speed traction control

Data based on the original 2002 Camaro Brochure: https://www.auto-brochures.com/makes/Chevrolet/Camaro/Chevrolet_US%20Camaro_2002.pdf

Catfish Camaro Production Years

  • 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002;

Clean lowered Chevy Camaro SS Catfish

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