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The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is one of the fastest, most track-ready American muscle cars ever. However, it’s not your only option for a fast, capable car with a tenable price tag. Here are just four of the excellent used Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 alternatives for around $50,000, like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Chevrolet Corvette Z51, or BMW M2 Competition. 

  • Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (S197)
  • Chevrolet Corvette Z51 (C7 generation)
  • Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 (S550) 
  • BMW M2 Competition (F87)

Is the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 the natural rival for the Camaro ZL1? 

No rivalry better bookends the story of the American muscle car than the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. Better yet, both cars evolved into supercharged track-ready weapons, like the Camaro ZL1 and its rival, the Shelby GT500. So, if you want something to take to the track as an alternative for the Camaro ZL1, the S197-generation Shelby GT500 delivers. Better yet, the 662-horsepower 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a performance bargain. 

A Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a great Camaro ZL1 alternative, like the Corvette Z51.
A 2013 Shelby GT500 with a Super Snake package | Luke Sharrett, Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), the 2013 GT500 with less than 50,000 miles averages $45,185, depending on location and mileage. That makes the S197 Shelby GT500 one of the most powerful cars you can get at its used car price point. 

How much is a Chevy Corvette Z51?

The C7-generation Chevrolet Corvette Z51 might seem tame compared to the supercharged fury of the Camaro ZL1 or ZL1 1LE. However, the Z51 package-equipped Corvette packs track-ready suspension and 460 horsepower with the performance exhaust. That’s enough to power the roughly 3,300-lb plastic fantastic to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, according to Chevrolet. Also, with a liftback rear end and removable roof panel, the Corvette is a practical sports car. 

The Chevy Corvette Z51 is a viable Camaro ZL1 alternative for track-day hopefuls.
C7 Chevrolet Corvette | General Motors

Is the Shelby GT350 a good alternative for the Chevy Camaro ZL1?

Like the upcoming C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the S550-generation Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 packs a flat-plane V8. In the GT350’s case, the 526-horsepower 5.2L “Voodoo” flat-plane V8 revs up to over 8,200 rpm. That’s not quite up to the power figures of the ZL1’s 650 ponies, but it’s all about delivery. Moreover, the GT350 manages 0.98 g in roadholding tests. The naturally aspirated Shelby is a track-ready Camaro ZL1 alternative with pedigree and a soundtrack unlike any other modern muscle car.

Better yet, even with the venerable Shelby badge, a 2016 GT350 averages at around $46,310, depending on mileage and location. Also, if you want a newer iteration, the GT350 continued through 2020.

Is the BMW M2 Competition fast?

The BMW M2 carries the M car pedigree into a small, vicious package. The turbocharged inline six-powered 2019 M2 Competition packs 405 horsepower onto a stiff front suspension and M drive-mode capability. The result is a quick 2+2 coupe ready to hit the track like a ZL1. Of course, the Camaro ZL1 1LE’s clawing 1.17 g on the skidpad is a tough act to follow, and the BMW can’t quite match it. 

Still, despite the ZL1’s obscene grip and track performance, all of these alternatives are fast, fun, and track-ready alternatives to the Chevy Camaro ZL1. It boils down to whether you want a muscle coupe, a sports car, or a performance-oriented BMW coupe. 


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