Brief History of the Chevy Camaro

1967 chevy camaro ss

The 1967 Camaro was GM’s answer to the Ford Mustang and enjoyed a very aggressive sales campaign. available in several models and package configurations such as the RS (Rally Sport), SS (as both SS350 and SS396) and Z/28. Chevrolet used a 283 V8 engine in the debut version of the Z/28 but soon realized that this lacked power in the 305-limit class so they combined a 327 block with the 283 crankshaft for a 302 V8. They further experimented with other high-performance parts like a giant four-barrel carburetor, aluminum intake manifold and L79 Corvette heads.

The 1968 Camaro was almost idential to the ’67 models and only 602 of the Z/28 Special Performance Packages were sold. In the super-competitive Trans-Am racing series Roger Penske Camaros won at Las Vegas, Marlboro, and Kent, Washington. But Chevy designers worked hard freshening the styling on the 1969 Camaro, resulting in an immediate classic that is an all-time favorite to this day among muscle car lovers.
In ’69, Don Yenko used the COPO system to work around GM’s anti-performance policies and once again was able to offer his Super Yenko Car (SYC) Camaro in 1969 trimmings. The Yenko Camaro was available in six distinct body colors: Fathom Green, Rallye Green, LeMans Blue, Olympic Gold, Hugger Orange, and Daytona Yellow. Some sported a vinyl roof. Although the 427 COPO cars were arguably the hottest sports cars of 1969, the ’69 Camaro RS/SS 396 Indy 500 Sport Convertible Pace Car may be on the of the most collectible Camaros of all time.

When the 1970 Chevy Camaro finally arrived to market very late in the model season, its all-new styling made it look like a European GT sports coupe. The base engine option was a 307 small-block V8. The ’70 Camaro SS option was RPO Z27 with a 350-cid V8, 14-inch white letter tires and 14″ x 7″ wheels and Super Sport “SS” emblems. RPO Z22 was the RS (Rally Sport) model and lastly there was the popular SS396. Less than 9,000 of the Z/28 were produced so despite the superb quality and performance it was now not so common to own a new Z/28 in 1970! But Chevy only rolled out less than 5,000 Camaro Z/28 cars in 1971 and they were virtually identical to the previous year except for changes to the seats.

New government regulations aimed at emmissions-spewing muscle cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s really leveled a hit on performace for the Camaro from this point on. But things picked up with the 1982 Camaro and it was named as the Motor Trend Car of the Year and the 1985 and 1987 Camaro 5.0-liter IROC-Z arrived at just the right time!

The Camaro has become a classic, iconic American muscle car, and for good reason. These vehicles were introduced in the 1960s, and since that time many great models have been introduced on the market, making them popular among car enthusiasts of all ages. Still being manufactured today, they remain popular vehicles among a wide range of people. Today you can find great deals on new and used Camaros, so whether you want one that is restored to pristine condition, or a car that needs some work done to it, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

1960s Camaros
Camaros were first introduced to the American market in 1967 as a response to the popular Ford Mustang. The first ’67 Camaro sport coupe and convertible was a lean and fast car. To add style to the substance of the early Camaros, buyers could opt for individual options or trim packages like the Super Sport (SS) and Rally Sport (RS). Buyers could also opt for bigger engines with higher horsepower to give their car a serious edge. In the following years, a few important changes were made to the Camaro. These included the inclusion of “astro ventilation,” side marker lights and a revised base grille. In 1969 there were also many more performance parts available, making the car that much faster and more aggressive than ever before.

1970s Camaros
The 1970s Camaro was inspired by Ferrari and became bigger, lower and heavier than before. They also became a bit slower as the ‘70s progressed due to tightening emissions regulations and fuel prices. In 1977 the Z/28 model was released as a separate model from the Camaro. This model was designed with a focus on handling and sleek appearance. By 1978, five separate models were available on the market: sport coupe, Rally Sport, Type-LT, Type-LT Rally Sport and Z/28.

1980s Camaros
The third generation of Camaros saw some big changes. In 1982, the company created the Camaro as an all-new, slightly smaller vehicle. While there were changes to the Camaro engines during the ‘80s, it was not until 1987 when big engines returned with a 350 V8 being offered as an option to the IROC-Zs. During this time, the Camaro convertible also made a comeback.

1990s – Today
During the 1990s, Camaros became more electronically based and were offered with new design features and sleeker appearances. Unfortunately, the popularity of Camaros seemed to wane during this time. In 2002 sales were down so far that production of Camaros ended all together. In 2010, Chevy brought back the Camaro, available as a coupe in base LS, mid-level LT and V8-powered SS models.

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