At 580 hp and a starting price of $55,000, the Chevy Camaro ZL1 ranks as the top dog of the Camaro lineup (at least until the Z/28 hits the track.) For Camaro enthusiasts like John Hooper, author of six books on the history of Camaros, it's a dream car — or at least was a dream car, until an employee at a Chevy dealership totaled his ZL1 on an unauthorized joyride. Nearly a month later, Hooper and the dealership have yet to agree on how much that particular top dog was worth.
Something about Camaros seems to bring out the dark side of the dealer service department; recall the man who hid a voice recorder in the door pocket of his Camaro SS and caught mechanics doing burn-outs. According to Hooper's posts on the Camaro5 forum, he had taken his 2012 Camaro ZL1 to First State Chevy in Georgetown, Del., for warranty work on a paint issue. On Dec. 15, a Sunday, one of the dealer's employees took the keys from the closed dealership and went for a spin — that ended when the ZL1 sheared off a telephone pole.