Yes, Camaro is 31 years old and just gets better with time. Here,
you'll find a recap of some of its accomplishments, from concept car
to the present.
April, 1964. Super Nova.
Super Nova made its initial appearance at the New York Auto Show.
With five nameplates already in production, Chevy officials decided
not to produce the car at that time. When Camaro was in its design
phase, many of the ideas from Super Nova were incorporated, such
as a variation on the console and central instrument panel.
August, 1964. GM initiates the F-Car Program.
GM made the decision to go ahead with an entirely new program to
compete with other automakers in ways that Chevy Corvair could not.
Dubbed the "F-Car" at first, it would later become an automotive
legend called Camaro.
August, 1964. Styling begins.
Chevy engineers and designers worked in conjunction with Fisher
Body Division to see that the performance of Camaro did not take
away from its styling. Computers were used extensively for the first
time, as were other then unorthodox methods. Transparent
quarter-scale bodies let engineers view stresses and part relationships.
February, 1965. "Mule" test drives.
In Camaro prototypes, called "mules," as well as in competitor's cars,
GM officials took test drives at the GM proving grounds at Milford,
Mich. Longer trips went as far east as New England, south to Florida,
and west to the GM Desert Proving Grounds outside Phoenix, as well
as along mountain roads of California.
February, 1965. First wind-tunnel test.
Chevy sent a quarter-scale model of the Coupe, along with a staff
stylist, a clay modeler and a Chevy engineer to an aircraft wind-tunnel
near Dallas. Not much attention had been paid to aerodynamics prior
to this test, but it proved successful. It was because of this 11-day test
that the Z-28 was designed with a chin spoiler and a rear spoiler.
August, 1965. Camaro "face" finalized.
The distinctive wide grille and headlights of the first Camaro went
through several changes before getting the official sign-off. Early
designs borrowed from Super Nova, among others.
Date unknown. Camaro fastback.
Chevy stylists optimistically mocked up this fastback version of
Camaro to compete with Ford Mustang 2 + 2. The car never went
June, 1966. The Camaro name.
Just weeks before production began, the name "Camaro" was
decided on. General Manager, Elliott M. "Pete" Estes, announced the
name publicly, quipping, "I went into a closet, shut the door and came
out with the name." Camaro is French for "comrade, pal, or chum,"
according to an obscure 1935 French-to-English dictionary.
September 21, 1966. Camaro for sale.
The 1967 Camaro hit dealer showrooms and was eagerly accepted
by the public. The basic Sport Coupe had a standard six-cylinder
engine and three-speed manual transmission with a base price of only
$2,466. More than 80 options, including a 327 cu. in. V-8 engine, the
SS-350 Package (with 350 cu. in. V8) and RS Package, among
others, were available, which could bring the price of delivered cars to
more than $3,500.
September, 1966. Camaro: The Movie.
To help launch the new car, Chevy put together an hour-and-a-half
long movie. In color, the movie, The Camaro, was narrated by
cartoonist Milton Caniff and told the story of the F-Car. It was shown
extensively in Detroit theaters and on television, and featured cameo
appearances by GM staffers Dave Holls, Don McPherson, Alex Mair
and Bob Lund.
September, 1966. Camaro: The Play.
An elaborate stage revue called Off Broadway was performed by
four different road companies throughout 25 U.S. and Canadian cities.
Its purpose: To promote awareness of Camaro. It featured a small
orchestra, dancers, a chorus and, as centerpieces, a '67 Coupe and
Convertible. Automotive News called Off Broadway, "... some of
the fanciest, gaudiest and costliest entertainment ever to hit the
September, 1966. Camaro: The Clothing.
Perhaps the most unlikely of Camaro promotions was a line of
women's fashions by a New York designer. Known as the Camaro
Collection, the dresses were available in 450 shops and cost between
$20 and $40. Who knows? This may have set precedent for the
stylish houndstooth trim inserts in the '68 model.
May, 1967. Indy 500 Pace Car.
In just its first production year, Camaro was recognized for its
performance and style when selected as Official Pace Car of the
Indianapolis 500, the first of four times Camaro would be so honored.
In all, 100 or so Camaro pace car convertible replicas were made,
most of them SS-350s with the Powerglide® automatic transmission.
1967. The Penske Era.
After losing races early in the year due to handling problems, Roger
Penske's new Camaro Z-28 won its first Trans-Am race, in
Marlboro, Md. Chevy engineers, along with Penske's team, tackled
the handling problems with computer aides and, finally, through trial
and error. The Z-28 beat out Mustangs, Cougars and Javelins to take
the checkered flag.
October, 1967. The Need for Speed.
In a Smokey Yunick Z-28, three drivers -- including Bunkie
Blackburn -- set world speed records on the salt at Bonneville. The
USAC\FIA-sanctioned event saw the Yunick Camaro crush old
records with speeds upwards of 174 mph.
1968. Minor differences.
Camaro experts can tell you about the many subtle changes made
between '67 and '68 model years. Here are a few: Square sidemarker
lights were added to each fender. "Ventipanes" were deleted on '68s.
The '68 had rectangular parking lamps instead of round, and the grille
mesh was now silver in color, rather than black. An added option was
houndstooth seat trim inserts.
May 1969. Indy 500 Pace Car Part II.
In its second appearance as pace-setter, a 1969 Camaro Convertible,
painted White with Hugger Orange stripes and trim was used. The car
had a 396 Turbo Jet V-8 engine with Turbo Hydra-matic three-speed
automatic transmission and attained the required 120-mph pace lap
speed without breaking a sweat.
1969. Mr. Popular.
The 1969 Camaro won its second straight SCCA Trans-Am
championship, set the pace at Indy and was selected NASCAR
official pace car for its eight major stock-car races. CAR AND
DRIVER's readers' poll named it "the year's best sporty car," and
Chevrolet sold more models than ever.
1970. The Next Generation.
The first major redesign of Camaro was ruled mostly by designers.
And, the unique shape and style of the car made it an instant hit. One
version of the new Camaro that (thankfully) never made it to
production was Camaro Station Wagon. If it were produced,
however, you would have presumably gotten your groceries home in
1970. Big Bad Z-28.
Camaro Z-28, in conjunction with an SCCA rules change, upgraded
the stock V-8 engine from a 302cid to 350; essentially the same LT-1
engine that was in the Corvette that year. It blew the doors off almost
anything on wheels.
By mistake, the Z-28 decals on '74 models were printed with White
as a background color instead of Transparent. As a result, only decals
on White 1974 Z-28 models look as intended.
1974. Farewell to Z.
The Arab oil embargo of 1973, coupled with tighter federal emissions
and noise regulations, made the future of Camaro Z-28 bleak. As
designer Jerry Palmer put it, "Chevrolet took the position that we'd
rather kill the car now before it died a slow, lingering death."
Production ceased after that model year until 1977.
Penske Racing made the switch from Porsche to Camaro models for
the International Race Of Champion series. Incidentally, Camaro won
every IROC race that year. Then again, it couldn't lose.
Due in large part to TV coverage of IROC, the popularity of Camaro
once again soared. Chevy made the decision to bring back the Z-28,
this time with more emphasis on handling, to accurately reflect the
1978. The T-Top.
When people think T-Tops, they think Camaro. The winter of '78 saw
these grey-tinted, lift-out glass panels enter production. They were
1982. Third Generation. Third Indy 500.
For the third time ever and the first time in 12 years, Camaro
underwent a major redesign. The results were a success as Camaro
was selected to pace the Indianapolis 500, also for the third time. The
Z-28 was fully-loaded with a twin-TBI V-8 and available T-Top.
1985. IROC-Z Package.
Minor exterior revisions were made for the model year and a special
Z-28 Package was offered, commemorating the International Race Of
1985. The Music Industry.
Camaro was immortalized in music when the neo-punk group "The
Dead Milkmen" released their college radio surprise hit song, Bitchin'
Even with T-Tops, some people still feel claustrophobic. Never fear,
the Camaro Convertible is here.
1991. If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em.
Camaro made its debut as a law enforcement vehicle, making it quite
easy for the men in blue to track down Ford Mustangs on high speed
1993. Fourth Generation. Fourth Indy 500.
With a totally redesigned body and significant mechanical
improvements, fourth-generation Camaro debuted. Retained were the
Camaro hallmarks -- a long hood, a short deck, beefy tires, a
menacing stance and its reputation as a racer. Camaro was selected
Official Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 a record fourth time.
1997. The Big Three-Oh.
Yes, Camaro was 30 years old, and looking better all the time. The
optional 30th Anniversary Package, available on Z-28 Coupe and
Convertible, features a White exterior with Hugger Orange striping,
white aluminum wheels and black-and-white houndstooth seating
surfaces with available leather accents reminiscent of the 1969
Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car. Camaro was selected to pace the
Brickyard 400® at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in its 30th
1998. New Look, More Muscle & All-American Attitude
Camaro’s new front-end design hints of its predecessors and sets high
standards for aggressive beauty. Put your foot down and the 200 hp,
3800 V6 responds with enthusiasm. The Z28 also grows some muscle
in `98 thanks to the 305 hp LS1 V8 under the sleek hood. And back
for 1998, the ultimate -- Camaro SS, with its LS1 V8 pumped up to
320 hp! Dramatic style, awesome power and all-American attitude --
There’s Just No Catching Camaro !
[See the 1999
Imformation contained on
this page was gathered on the Official Chevrolet Site and is Copyright
by Chevrolet Inc.