An H.O. Camaro is a Z28 Camaro with a factory-installed, high-output (H.O.), small block V-8 engine. The H.O. option was introduced late in the 1983 model year and is not mentioned in most of the 1983 Z28 promotional material. The H.O. V-8 option was dropped after the 1986 model year. It was resurrected briefly in 1992, when the engine was included in the Camaro's 25th Anniversary Heritage Package.
The Camaro H.O. V-8 was a 16-valve, 5.0-liter, 305-cubic-inch engine capable of producing 190 horsepower at 4,800 rpm. The bore and stroke for this engine were 3.74 inches and 3.48 inches, respectively, and it had a compression ratio of 9.5:1. The engine could produce up to 249 foot-pounds of torque at 3,200 rpm.
A five-speed manual was the only transmission available with the H.O. V-8. The H.O. carburetor was a four-barrel Rochester. An aluminum intake manifold came standard, and the accessory drive was dual-belt. A snorkel air cleaner with inlets in the headlight opening was also featured.
In addition to the H.O. 305 V-8, Z28 Camaros were available with two other 305 V-8 engines; a 145-horsepower 305 V-8 and a 165-horsepower Cross Fire Injection 305 V-8. The price for the H.O. was the same as the Cross Fire Injection 305's price. The easiest way to tell which engine is in a Z28 with a 305 is by checking out the carburetor. If it's not a four-barrel, the engine is the 145-horsepower engine. If it is a four-barrel, it's an H.O. If there is no carburetor, it's a Cross Fire Injection 305.
The H.O. 305 V-8 was never able to overcome the reputation of the non-H.O. small block 305 V-8, which was considered too small by serious muscle-car enthusiasts. However, the fact that many Chevy big-block 350 V-8 parts are interchangeable with the H.O. 305 has kept H.O. Camaros running long enough for a re-evaluation of the engine to occur. In 2011, the H.O. is highly prized, partly due to the fact that the H.O.'s Rochester four-barrel carburetor is much simpler and more reliable than the Cross Fire fuel-injection system that came with the 165-horsepower 305.
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