Image credits: © Chevrolet. GM Corp

1969 Chevrolet Camaro news, pictures, specifications, and information
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Engine Designed for the Trans Am Racing Series
Chevrolet introduced the Camaro in the fall of 1966 as a competitor to the Mustang, which had a 2.5-year head start. Previously, Chevrolet felt the Corvair would be the little runabout that would satisfy the need for a Mustang competitor, but they were proven wrong. The Camaro, like the Mustang, could be all things to all people.

The 1967 Camaro with the optional 302 engine (RPO Z28) was built to certify the engine for Trans Am racing. Visually, it could be identified by the two band-aid stripes along the top of the car. In its first year, only 602 people ordered this subtle package, but by 1968, over 7,000 people ordered one. In mid-year 1968, Chevrolet started to replace the 302 badges with Z/28 badges, proof that 'Z/28 performance package' had a certain ring to enthusiasts.

For 1969, Chevrolet sold over 20,000 Z/28's. It is also the most popular version of the car today. The Z/28 shown, owned by the same owner since 1985, is the desirable LeMans Blue with white stripes. It is equipped with the Rally Sport package, which most notably included hidden headlights. It also has the standard black interior, but it is optioned out with AM/FM radio, cowl induction hood, and rosewood steering wheel. It stickered for $4,146.60 when new.
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N608879
Sold for $451,000 at 2012 Barrett-Jackson.
In 1968 Fred Gibb Chevrolet of LaHarpe, Illinois, persuaded General Motors to produce the Camaro with the all-aluminum LZ-1 engine. The engine had been designed for the CanAm racing series. General Motors agreed as long as Gibb was able to order at  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379L508806
Sold for $77,000 at 2008 RM Auctions.
The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS L78 396 Turbo Jet Coupe finished in Fantom Green with a white interior was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island. It was expected to sell between $110,000-$130,000. It has under  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N607652
Sold for $82,500 at 2007 RM Auctions.
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Coupe was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. It was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $80,000 - $100,000. It is powered by a 302 cubic-inch V8 engine capable   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007
Hardtop Sport Coupe
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro was purchased with the Rally Sport Z28 option in Coupe configuration. It is finished in yellow paint with black racing stripes.   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2007
Hardtop Sport Coupe
The Z/28 Camaro was designed to race from the beginning, and delivered in limited numbers to the public with a Special High Performance 302 cubic-inch engine. The Z/28 package in conjunction with suspension improvements fit within the context of SCC  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N594557
Sold for $85,250 at 2007 RM Auctions.
Sold for $121,000 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
High bid of $74,000 at 2011 Gooding & Company. (did not sell)
This 1969 Chevrolet Z-28 Camaro 'FIA' Racing Car is fitted with a 305 cubic-inch V8 engine that produces just over 400 horsepower. There is a four-speed manual gearbox, Moser 12-bolt rear end, and four-wheel disc brakes.   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Hardtop Sport Coupe
This vehicle is a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Sunoco Penske Trans-Am Race Car that is fitted with a 500M Donovan aluminum block V8 engine capable of producing 700 horsepower. There is a Jerico four-speed transmission, an independent competition suspension  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Of the 201 Yenko Camaros produced in 1969, there were only 37 painted Hugger Orange. Of that 37, only nine had the combination of a four-speed transmission with a black vinyl top. This car is fully documented and listed on the official VIN list mai  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N554308
Engine Num: T2219MN
Sold for $80,000 at 2007 Bonhams.
Sold for $32,450 at 2011 Russo & Steele.
Chevrolet's COPO system allowed performance enthusiasts to create some of the most exciting, fast, and outrageous cars in Chevy history. Only a few were built which has brought about much demand in modern times, and what has been termed 'tributes',   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N657861
Engine Num: T0513MN
Sold for $175,000 at 2007 Bonhams.
Sold for $159,500 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
The first owner of this Norwood, Ohio built Camaro was Mr. Willard Clements in Toronto, Ontario. GM of the US did not keep records of the COPO (Central Office Production Order) cars so finding and proving a Camaro to be an original is very difficult,  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010
Convertible
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car has been treated to a complete 'frame off' restoration near the close of the 1990s. It is equipped with a 350 V8 engine that produces 300 horsepower, an automatic gearbox, and air conditioning. It has an AM-FM ra  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
Convertible
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport Convertible has been treated to a complete 'frame off' restoration near the close of the 1990s. It is equipped with a 350 V8 engine that produces 300 horsepower, a turbo 350 automatic gearbox, and power disc br  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
Hardtop Sport Coupe
2 Fast 2 Furious  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
Convertible
The Chevrolet Camaro was used to pace the Memorial Day Classic on May 30th 1969. This was the second time in 3 years that Indianapolis Motor Speedway chose the Camaro to pace the race. It was the first and only time a single model has had such an h  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
When the Camaro was introduced in 1967, the Super Sport version was available only with an exclusive-to-the-Camaro 350 V8. Chevrolet soon offered its larger 396 in the Camaro to do battle with the new 390 Mustang.  [Read More...]
Convertible
The Camaro reset the standard for the entire 'pony car' genre, when it debuted in 1967. From the very beginning, customers could literally custom built their car from their dealer's pages of options and upgrade packages. This example of a Super Spo  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N698336
Sold for $76,861 at 2008 RM Auctions.
The Regular Production Option (RPO) Z28 package transformed the Camaro into a competition road-racing car. When first introduced, the Z28 was intended for professional racing teams, and for drivers such as Mark Donohue. The car quickly proved to be  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2009
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N644001
Engine Num: KM V4201DZ
Sold for $115,500 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $156,750 at 2014 Gooding & Company.
The Z/28 Camaro was introduced by Chevrolet in 1967. It was a production car that went on to win that years SCCA Trans-Am Championship. The package included a small block, quick ratio steering, wider wheels, a close-ratio four-speed gearbox, and a   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Hardtop Sport Coupe
The Camaro was introduced in 1967 and brought with it the RS (characterized by hidden headlights), a muscular SS, and the high revving 302 cid Z/28. Chevrolet was at a disadvantage against its competitors across town inasmuch as GM prohibited Camaro   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011
Hardtop Sport Coupe
This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS was purchased in September of 1969 at Queen City Chevrolet. It is an all numbers matching vehicle that has had some body restoration and a repaint in 1994 since new.  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009
Hardtop Sport Coupe
According to Camaro historian Scott Settlemire, first generation Camaros in iconic colors such as Hugger Orange, shown here on a 1969 Camaro Sport Coupe, are some of the most sought-after and collectable Camaros.

Source - Chevrolet
Hardtop Sport Coupe
This car was campaigned by Penske Racing for the entire 1969 SCCA Trans-Am season and earned Chevrolet the manufacturer's championship title beating every other factory effort. The Penske Camaro was driven by Mark Donohue, Ronnie Bucknum and Ed Lesli  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chevrolet unveiled the Camaro to the press at Detroit's Statler-Hilton hotel in September of 1966. It was intended to compete directly with the wildly popular Mustang when a reporter asked the GM product managers, 'What's a Camaro?' The GM spokesman   [Read More...]

1969 Camaro Named Best Chevy of All Time

Nearly 125,000 Chevrolet fans have spoken, naming the 1969 Camaro the 'Best Chevy of All Time.'

As part of Chevrolet's Centennial celebration, fans were asked to vote for their favorite vehicle from Chevrolet's 100-year history. During the four-round, elimination bracket, the 1969 Camaro garnered 25,058 of the 124,368 votes cast, edging out the 1970 Chevelle SS in the final round.

Tom Peters, Chevrolet Design director, believes the '69 Camaro is not only one of the best vehicles in Chevrolet's history but one of the best vehicles ever. He is a little biased, however, having owned the same 1969 Camaro for nearly 20 years.

'I can vividly remember seeing one for the first time as a kid,' Peters §äid. 'The intent of the Camaro was instantly understood, even to a 14-year old like me, because it possessed a very powerful personality and an elegant, simple design. The Camaro was so cool because it offered this great style, high performance, and yet was attainable for someone just getting out of school.

'Today, the '69 Camaro has become one of the best examples of timeless design in the ,' Peters §äid. 'Like the very best designs, the Camaro is much more than just a machine because it evokes powerful emotions in people of all ages. That's why we looked to the '69 for inspiration when designing the fifth-generation Camaro, and why the '69 Camaro is an example of the timeless vehicles Chevrolet will strive to deliver for the next 100 years.'

Source - Chevrolet
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Don Yenko Chevrolet, a Canonsburg, Pennsylvania Chevrolet dealer, made a deal with General Motors' Chevrolet Motor Division to have the factory install the 427 cubic-inch, 450 horsepower V-8 under the C.O.P.O. (Central Office Production Order) progra  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
The first generation Camaro production ran from September 29, 1966, ending in 1969. GM offered their new rear-wheel drive F-body platform (shared with the Pontiac Firebird) as both a 2-door coupe and convertible, both with 2+2 seating. Like Ford's Mu  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379N566465
Sold for $51,700 at 2011 Barrett-Jackson.
Sold for $55,000 at 2011 Russo & Steele.
Sold for $46,200 at 2012 Russo & Steele.
Sold for $60,500 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
The Chevrolet Camaro Special-Performance package was offered from 1967 through 1969. Giving the Z/28 its name, the Special- Performance package was designed to make the Camaro eligible for racing in the SCCA Trans Am series. For 1967, production reac  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
Hardtop Sport Coupe
During the 1970 and 1971 SCCA TransAm races, the Big Three budgets allowed them to campaign multi-car teams. But there was also room for those that didn't get the big-ticket factory contracts or the factory cash. If there is a will there is a way and  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: 124379L501175
Sold for $110,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company.
This Camaro is a RS/SS that has been given a premium restoration. It was built in the first week of September of 1968 and is one of the earliest of the 1969 models, which went into production that month. The car has several changeover features from t  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2013
Hardtop Sport Coupe
This Chevy Camaro, painted in Hugger Orange with a black vinyl top, is the 1969th example built. It was ordered as a no-option, strictly-business muscle car. The original owner of this vehicle disregarded the normal creature comforts including radio,  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2014
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Chassis Num: TA-072
Jack Westlund of Everett, Washington purchased a brand new 1968 Camaro Z-28 in the summer of 1968. He drove it on the street for about 500 miles. At that point Jack and his son Ken, began converting the car to A-Sedan specifications.   [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
The first generation Chevrolet Camaro appeared in Chevrolet dealerships in September of 1966 for the 1967 model year on a brand-new rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform and would be available as a 2-door, 2+2 seat, coupe or convertible with a choice o  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
In the world of first generation Camaro's, there are a lot of letters. SS, RS, Z/28 and of course COPO come to mind. When it comes to desirability, it is hard to top a true 427 COPO.  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
Early in October 1968, Don Yenko placed an order for fifty 1969 COPO (Central Office Production Order) Camaros equipped with 427 cubic inch engines developing 425 horsepower. Don started with this initial quantity as it was the minimum order needed t  [Read More...]
Hardtop Sport Coupe
COPO Camaros were specifically built to get around the limitation on performance cars that General Motors had imposed on Chevrolet. Only a limited number were produced . COPO #9561 was fitted with a 427/425 iron block engine, special ducted hood, hea  [Read More...]
The Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in 1967 as a compact car specifically built to provide competition for the highly popular Ford Mustang. This pony car was built atop of the same F-Body platform as the Pontiac Firebird, which had a similar production lifespan of 1967 through 2002.

During the preproduction stages of the Chevrolet Camaro, General Motors codenamed the vehicle 'Panther'. The name 'Camaro' was decided upon before production began. The word 'Camaro' in French is slang for 'friend' but in pony-car slang, the name means 'Mustang killer'.

During its production lifespan, there were four generations produced. The first generation lasted from 1967 through 1969. The second generation lasted from 1972 through 1981. The third generation lasted from 1982 through 1992. The fourth generation lasted from 1993 through 2002. The fifth generation is believed to begin production in 2007; a concept was shown at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show.

When the car was introduced in 1967, it was available in two bodystyles, a coupe and convertible. It shared many mechanics with the Chevrolet Nova and built atop a unibody chassis. The base engine was a 3.7 liter inline-six cylinder capable of producing 140 horsepower. Power was sent to the rear wheels courtesy of a Saginaw three-speed manual gearbox. A Muncie four-speed manual and a two-speed PowerGlide automatic were offered as optional equipment. Near the end of 1967, a Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 became available on the SS396. In 1969 the TH350 was offered on the Camaro as optional equipment, in place of the PowerGlide which was no longer offered. 14 inch wheels were standard.

To compete in the pony-car arena, General Motors offered a 5.7 liter eight-cylinder engine in 1967 that produced nearly 300 horsepower.

The Camaro was highly customizable, with over seventy factory and forty dealer options available. the z28 option was not mentioned in the sales literature so many buyers were unaware of its existence. Due to the lack of press about the Z28 option, only 602 examples were produced. The package included many performance enhancements such as a 4.9 liter small-block engine, front disc brakes, Muncie 4-speed gearbox, suspension improvements, 15 inch Rallye wheels, and power steering. The aesthetics of the vehicle were segregated from the other Camaro's with racing stripes being placed on the hood. The Z28 package was offered by GM specifically to comply with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans Am racing series that required an engine size of five-liters or less. Also, the vehicle must be sold to the general public.

The SS (Super Sport) package included many performance and aesthetic upgrades and was popular with more than 34400 examples created. Under the hood was a 5.7 liter eight-cylinder engine with a 6.5 liter big-block offered as optional equipment in 1968. On the grille, horn button, and gas cap were SS badging. Non-functional air-inlets adorned the front hood.

The RS (Rally Sport) package was basically a cosmetic upgrade. The headlights were hidden, the taillights received minor alterations, and the exterior rocker trim was revised. RS badging could be seen throughout the vehicle. This was the most popular option ordered in 1967 with over 64840 examples produced.

The RS and SS packages could be ordered together, creating the RS/SS Camaro. The combination included both the aesthetics of the RS and the performance of the SS. A Camaro RS/SS convertible with a 6.5 liter engine paced the Indianapolis 500 race in 1967.

With over 220900 examples produced in 1967, the Camaro proved to General Motors that the public was starved for small, performance, pony-cars.

In 1968 the Camaro received minor aesthetic and mechanical improvements. Side market lights were added, the grille became more pointed, and the taillights were now segregated. The side vent windows were removed. Performance was improved slightly by the staggering of the shock absorbers. On some of the models, the single-leafs were replaced by multi-leaf springs.

Buyers became aware of the Z28 package in 1968 and ordered nearly 7200 examples. The RS continued to be the most popular option with 40977 examples produced. The SS accounted for 27884 of the 235147 total Camaro's produced in 1968.

For 1969 the Camaro became safer and faster. General Motors mandated that the Camaro could not come from the factory with engines larger than 6.6 liters. To bypass this rule dealerships such as Yenko Chevrolet, Dana Chevrolet, and Nickey Chevrolet offered the Camaro with the 7 liter, big-block, L-27 corvette engine producing 425 horsepower. These performance options became so popular that in 1969 Chevrolet began offering two Central Office Production Orders (COPO) options, numbers 9560 and 9561. The COPO 9561 option included the L-72 Corvette engine. In total, there were 1015 Camaros equipped with the L-72 Corvette engine.

The COPO 9560 option included a 7-liter, big-block, ZL-1 engine. The engine was constructed of aluminum to help reduce the overall weight. The engine was reported to have produced around 430 gross horsepower but in reality it was closer to 550. With only 69 examples produced it is one of the rarest and fastest of all Chevrolet Camaros.

Most of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro mechanics remained unchanged. The aesthetics was a different story. The grille was redesigned and the headlights now sat farther back adding to the aggressive features of the car. Newly reshaped door, rear quarter panel, and rear valence gave the 1969 Camaro a smooth, low, and wide stance. The production of the 1969 Camaro, which continued into December of 1969, was the final year for the first generation Camaro.

The second generation Camaro began production near the middle of 1970. The body had been redesigned and the suspension was greatly improved. The rest of the mechanics remained mostly unchanged from the prior years. The biggest change was the base engine, which was now a 4.1 liter inline-six capable of producing 155 horsepower. There was no convertible option offered, only a 2+2 coupe configuration.

The big-block eight-cylinder had been bored to 402 cubic-inches but still retained its 396 badging. The Rally Sport, Super Sport, and Z28 packages were still available. The Z28 now featured a 5.7 liter engine that produced 360 horsepower.

1972 was not a good year for the Camaro. For 174 days production ceased at GM's assembly plant in Ohio due to a UAW strike. This resulted in 1100 Camaro's failing to meet 1973 Federal bumper safety standards. In total, only 68,656 examples were production. Less than a thousand were the SS package so General Motors decided to no longer offer the package after 1972. This meant the big-block 396 cubic-inch engine was no longer offered.

The Camaro, much like the rest of the industry, had to adapt to new government and insurance safety and emission regulations. This meant new safety features like larger bumpers needed to be affixed to the car that could protect the vehicle and its occupants at certain speeds. Engines were detuned to comply with safety and emission concerns. The cars became safer but their performance was seriously crippled. This was true for the Camaro in 1973 when its highest producing engine was a 350 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 245 horsepower.

New for 1973 was an LT option which included impact-absorbing bumpers. The Camaro grew in size in 1974 due to a forward sloping grille and new aluminum bumpers. Rectangular bumpers replaced the round taillight designs. Sales of the Z28 package continued to decline so the decision was made to discontinue the option after 1974.

Horsepower was measured in NET rather than gross rating beginning in 1975. This meant that the reported horsepower was much lower than in prior years. The 350 cubic-inch V8 was now rated at about 155 horsepower.

In 1977 the Z28 was re-introduced in an effort to revitalize the muscle-car persona of the Camaro. The base Camaro's were outfitted with air-conditioning and an automatic transmission. A Borg-Warner Super T-10 four-speed manual gearbox could be ordered as optional equipment.

1978 marked the first year for the T-top option on a Camaro. The Camaro was given larger taillights and new bumpers.

As vehicles became safer, they became slower. The public shifted from wanting performance to luxury. Oil embargos and rising fuel costs had made the engines smaller but more fuel efficient. For 1979 the LT package was replaced with a luxurious Berlinetta that included special wheels, paint, emblems, and interior.

1979 was a very strong year for Camaro sales with 282,571 examples being sold.

1980 and 1981 saw very few changes. The hood scope on the Z-28 was revised to help siphon air to the engine.

In 1981 sales were down considerable to just over 126,000. This would be the final year for the second generation Camaro.

In 1982 General Motors introduced the third generation of the Camaro. The vehicle was stylish and versatile, earning the coveted Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year. Both aesthetically and mechanically, the vehicle was improved. The suspension was upgraded making it more capable in the corners and at speed.

This was the first year the Camaro was equipped with a factory fuel-injected engine. A four-speed automatic gearbox replaced the three-speed unit. A five-speed manual gearbox was also available. Due to rising concerns of oil shortage, a four-cylinder engine was offered for part of 1982.

6000 examples of the Z28 Camaro were sold to commemorate the return of the pony-car to the Indianapolis 500. The special-edition vehicles were painted in two-tone silver and blue paint with orange pin-striping.

To honor the International Race of Champions, Chevrolet introduced the IROC-Z in 1985. The package included an improved suspension, decal package, and a 305 cubic-inch L98 Tuned Port Injection system borrowed from the Corvette. The IROC-Z was featured on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best List for 1985.

The L69 small-block engine was offered from 1983 through 1986. The LB9 small-block was introduced in 1985; the L98 small-block was introduced in 1987; the LO3 was introduced in 1988. The LB9, L98, and LO3 stayed in production until 1992.

1992 was the final year for the third generation Camaro. 1993 marked the beginning of the fourth generation which persisted until 2002.

New technology and material made the fourth generation greatly improved over the prior years. Weight was reduced with the use of plastic body panels sitting atop a steel space frame. Performance was increased thanks in part to a better suspension system. In 1993 Chevrolet offered the LT1 eight-cylinder engine, which had been in production for a year on the Corvette, on the Camaro. A six-speed manual gearbox was offered with the LT1 engine.

The Camaro returned to the Indianapolis 500 as the honorary pace car in 1993. To commemorate this historic accomplishment, Chevrolet offered a limited quantity of special edition Camaro's, painted in a black and white color scheme.

The design and mechanics remained mostly unchanged over the next few years. Minor revisions were made to comply with newly introduced emission standards. Mechanical changes were made to correct problems that had been found throughout the years.

In 1996 the RS package and the SS package were re-introduced. The RS was an appearance option for the six-cylinder Camaro's while the SS was both an appearance and performance package for the eight-cylinder cars.

1997 marked the 30th anniversary of the Camaro. A 30th Anniversary Package was offered to honor this accomplishment. The vehicles were painted white with orange stripes. 100 of the Anniversary Camaros were given the LT4 engine with 330 horsepower; a thirty-eight thousand dollar price tag accompanied the vehicle.

The interior of the Camaro was modernized in 1997 and again in 1998, although the 1998 improvements were minor in comparison to what transpired the prior year.

The body design was drastically changed in 1998, mainly in the front. Round headlights replaced the square design. The headlights were flush, inline with the rest of the body. A new grille and bumper were used, both positioned a little differently to mimic the headlight changes. A new powerful, lightweight, all-aluminum LS1 power-plant retired the LT1 unit. The OHV LS1 was borrowed from the Corvette and slightly detuned to produce just over 300 horsepower. To handle this extra power, the disc brakes were enlarged and the suspension was upgraded.

Total production for 1998 was 48490. This was disappointing for General Motors, especially with the newly revised body and powerful options. The lowest production year for the Camaro occurred in 2001 with just over 29000 examples being produced. This was due to low sales and production ceasing early to begin work on the 35th Anniversary 2002 cars.

2002 marked the final year for production of the fifth generation Camaro. The styling and mechanics were unmodified, carrying the same design from 1999.

A special 35th Anniversary Edition was offered and could be ordered on all trim levels and packages. The 35th Anniversary SS Camaro could only be ordered as a convertible or with T-Tops. Around 3000 examples of the 35th Anniversary Edition were created. Total production for the year was just over 42,000.

On August 27th, 2002 production ceased. The Camaro had accomplished its goal, to provide competition for the Ford Mustang and other compact, low-priced, sports cars. Outfitted with large, Corvette engines, matted to effective gearboxes and given great suspension and brakes, the Camaro was truly a performance machine that was capable and fun to drive. It was fairly practical with room for more than two passengers. It was economical with sticker-prices in the range that many could afford. The production of the Camaro has ceased, but its future has not yet been written. Expect to see this legendary vehicle on the roadways in the near future.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011
The Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in 1967 as a compact car specifically built to provide competition for the highly popular Ford Mustang. This pony car was built atop of the same F-Body platform as the Pontiac Firebird, which had a similar production lifespan of 1967 through 2002.

During the preproduction stages of the Chevrolet Camaro, General Motors codenamed the vehicle 'Panther'. The name 'Camaro' was decided upon before production began. The word 'Camaro' in French is slang for 'friend' but in pony-car slang, the name means 'Mustang killer'.

During its production lifespan, there were four generations produced. The first generation lasted from 1967 through 1969. The second generation lasted from 1972 through 1981. The third generation lasted from 1982 through 1992. The fourth generation lasted from 1993 through 2002. The fifth generation is believed to begin production in 2007; a concept was shown at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show.

When the car was introduced in 1967, it was available in two bodystyles, a coupe and convertible. It shared many mechanics with the Chevrolet Nova and built atop a unibody chassis. The base engine was a 3.7 liter inline-six cylinder capable of producing 140 horsepower. Power was sent to the rear wheels courtesy of a Saginaw three-speed manual gearbox. A Muncie four-speed manual and a two-speed PowerGlide automatic were offered as optional equipment. Near the end of 1967, a Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 became available on the SS396. In 1969 the TH350 was offered on the Camaro as optional equipment, in place of the PowerGlide which was no longer offered. 14 inch wheels were standard.

To compete in the pony-car arena, General Motors offered a 5.7 liter eight-cylinder engine in 1967 that produced nearly 300 horsepower.

The Camaro was highly customizable, with over seventy factory and forty dealer options available. the z28 option was not mentioned in the sales literature so many buyers were unaware of its existence. Due to the lack of press about the Z28 option, only 602 examples were produced. The package included many performance enhancements such as a 4.9 liter small-block engine, front disc brakes, Muncie 4-speed gearbox, suspension improvements, 15 inch Rallye wheels, and power steering. The aesthetics of the vehicle were segregated from the other Camaro's with racing stripes being placed on the hood. The Z28 package was offered by GM specifically to comply with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans Am racing series that required an engine size of five-liters or less. Also, the vehicle must be sold to the general public.

The SS (Super Sport) package included many performance and aesthetic upgrades and was popular with more than 34400 examples created. Under the hood was a 5.7 liter eight-cylinder engine with a 6.5 liter big-block offered as optional equipment in 1968. On the grille, horn button, and gas cap were SS badging. Non-functional air-inlets adorned the front hood.

The RS (Rally Sport) package was basically a cosmetic upgrade. The headlights were hidden, the taillights received minor alterations, and the exterior rocker trim was revised. RS badging could be seen throughout the vehicle. This was the most popular option ordered in 1967 with over 64840 examples produced.

The RS and SS packages could be ordered together, creating the RS/SS Camaro. The combination included both the aesthetics of the RS and the performance of the SS. A Camaro RS/SS convertible with a 6.5 liter engine paced the Indianapolis 500 race in 1967.

With over 220900 examples produced in 1967, the Camaro proved to General Motors that the public was starved for small, performance, pony-cars.

In 1968 the Camaro received minor aesthetic and mechanical improvements. Side market lights were added, the grille became more pointed, and the taillights were now segregated. The side vent windows were removed. Performance was improved slightly by the staggering of the shock absorbers. On some of the models, the single-leafs were replaced by multi-leaf springs.

Buyers became aware of the Z28 package in 1968 and ordered nearly 7200 examples. The RS continued to be the most popular option with 40977 examples produced. The SS accounted for 27884 of the 235147 total Camaro's produced in 1968.

For 1969 the Camaro became safer and faster. General Motors mandated that the Camaro could not come from the factory with engines larger than 6.6 liters. To bypass this rule dealerships such as Yenko Chevrolet, Dana Chevrolet, and Nickey Chevrolet offered the Camaro with the 7 liter, big-block, L-27 corvette engine producing 425 horsepower. These performance options became so popular that in 1969 Chevrolet began offering two Central Office Production Orders (COPO) options, numbers 9560 and 9561. The COPO 9561 option included the L-72 Corvette engine. In total, there were 1015 Camaros equipped with the L-72 Corvette engine.

The COPO 9560 option included a 7-liter, big-block, ZL-1 engine. The engine was constructed of aluminum to help reduce the overall weight. The engine was reported to have produced around 430 gross horsepower but in reality it was closer to 550. With only 69 examples produced it is one of the rarest and fastest of all Chevrolet Camaros.

Most of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro mechanics remained unchanged. The aesthetics was a different story. The grille was redesigned and the headlights now sat farther back adding to the aggressive features of the car. Newly reshaped door, rear quarter panel, and rear valence gave the 1969 Camaro a smooth, low, and wide stance. The production of the 1969 Camaro, which continued into December of 1969, was the final year for the first generation Camaro.

The second generation Camaro began production near the middle of 1970. The body had been redesigned and the suspension was greatly improved. The rest of the mechanics remained mostly unchanged from the prior years. The biggest change was the base engine, which was now a 4.1 liter inline-six capable of producing 155 horsepower. There was no convertible option offered, only a 2+2 coupe configuration.

The big-block eight-cylinder had been bored to 402 cubic-inches but still retained its 396 badging. The Rally Sport, Super Sport, and Z28 packages were still available. The Z28 now featured a 5.7 liter engine that produced 360 horsepower.

1972 was not a good year for the Camaro. For 174 days production ceased at GM's assembly plant in Ohio due to a UAW strike. This resulted in 1100 Camaro's failing to meet 1973 Federal bumper safety standards. In total, only 68,656 examples were production. Less than a thousand were the SS package so General Motors decided to no longer offer the package after 1972. This meant the big-block 396 cubic-inch engine was no longer offered.

The Camaro, much like the rest of the industry, had to adapt to new government and insurance safety and emission regulations. This meant new safety features like larger bumpers needed to be affixed to the car that could protect the vehicle and its occupants at certain speeds. Engines were detuned to comply with safety and emission concerns. The cars became safer but their performance was seriously crippled. This was true for the Camaro in 1973 when its highest producing engine was a 350 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 245 horsepower.

New for 1973 was an LT option which included impact-absorbing bumpers. The Camaro grew in size in 1974 due to a forward sloping grille and new aluminum bumpers. Rectangular bumpers replaced the round taillight designs. Sales of the Z28 package continued to decline so the decision was made to discontinue the option after 1974.

Horsepower was measured in NET rather than gross rating beginning in 1975. This meant that the reported horsepower was much lower than in prior years. The 350 cubic-inch V8 was now rated at about 155 horsepower.

In 1977 the Z28 was re-introduced in an effort to revitalize the muscle-car persona of the Camaro. The base Camaro's were outfitted with air-conditioning and an automatic transmission. A Borg-Warner Super T-10 four-speed manual gearbox could be ordered as optional equipment.

1978 marked the first year for the T-top option on a Camaro. The Camaro was given larger taillights and new bumpers.

As vehicles became safer, they became slower. The public shifted from wanting performance to luxury. Oil embargos and rising fuel costs had made the engines smaller but more fuel efficient. For 1979 the LT package was replaced with a luxurious Berlinetta that included special wheels, paint, emblems, and interior.

1979 was a very strong year for Camaro sales with 282,571 examples being sold.

1980 and 1981 saw very few changes. The hood scope on the Z-28 was revised to help siphon air to the engine.

In 1981 sales were down considerable to just over 126,000. This would be the final year for the second generation Camaro.

In 1982 General Motors introduced the third generation of the Camaro. The vehicle was stylish and versatile, earning the coveted Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year. Both aesthetically and mechanically, the vehicle was improved. The suspension was upgraded making it more capable in the corners and at speed.

This was the first year the Camaro was equipped with a factory fuel-injected engine. A four-speed automatic gearbox replaced the three-speed unit. A five-speed manual gearbox was also available. Due to rising concerns of oil shortage, a four-cylinder engine was offered for part of 1982.

6000 examples of the Z28 Camaro were sold to commemorate the return of the pony-car to the Indianapolis 500. The special-edition vehicles were painted in two-tone silver and blue paint with orange pin-striping.

To honor the International Race of Champions, Chevrolet introduced the IROC-Z in 1985. The package included an improved suspension, decal package, and a 305 cubic-inch L98 Tuned Port Injection system borrowed from the Corvette. The IROC-Z was featured on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best List for 1985.

The L69 small-block engine was offered from 1983 through 1986. The LB9 small-block was introduced in 1985; the L98 small-block was introduced in 1987; the LO3 was introduced in 1988. The LB9, L98, and LO3 stayed in production until 1992.

1992 was the final year for the third generation Camaro. 1993 marked the beginning of the fourth generation which persisted until 2002.

New technology and material made the fourth generation greatly improved over the prior years. Weight was reduced with the use of plastic body panels sitting atop a steel space frame. Performance was increased thanks in part to a better suspension system. In 1993 Chevrolet offered the LT1 eight-cylinder engine, which had been in production for a year on the Corvette, on the Camaro. A six-speed manual gearbox was offered with the LT1 engine.

The Camaro returned to the Indianapolis 500 as the honorary pace car in 1993. To commemorate this historic accomplishment, Chevrolet offered a limited quantity of special edition Camaro's, painted in a black and white color scheme.

The design and mechanics remained mostly unchanged over the next few years. Minor revisions were made to comply with newly introduced emission standards. Mechanical changes were made to correct problems that had been found throughout the years.

In 1996 the RS package and the SS package were re-introduced. The RS was an appearance option for the six-cylinder Camaro's while the SS was both an appearance and performance package for the eight-cylinder cars.

1997 marked the 30th anniversary of the Camaro. A 30th Anniversary Package was offered to honor this accomplishment. The vehicles were painted white with orange stripes. 100 of the Anniversary Camaros were given the LT4 engine with 330 horsepower; a thirty-eight thousand dollar price tag accompanied the vehicle.

The interior of the Camaro was modernized in 1997 and again in 1998, although the 1998 improvements were minor in comparison to what transpired the prior year.

The body design was drastically changed in 1998, mainly in the front. Round headlights replaced the square design. The headlights were flush, inline with the rest of the body. A new grille and bumper were used, both positioned a little differently to mimic the headlight changes. A new powerful, lightweight, all-aluminum LS1 power-plant retired the LT1 unit. The OHV LS1 was borrowed from the Corvette and slightly detuned to produce just over 300 horsepower. To handle this extra power, the disc brakes were enlarged and the suspension was upgraded.

Total production for 1998 was 48490. This was disappointing for General Motors, especially with the newly revised body and powerful options. The lowest production year for the Camaro occurred in 2001 with just over 29000 examples being produced. This was due to low sales and production ceasing early to begin work on the 35th Anniversary 2002 cars.

2002 marked the final year for production of the fifth generation Camaro. The styling and mechanics were unmodified, carrying the same design from 1999.

A special 35th Anniversary Edition was offered and could be ordered on all trim levels and packages. The 35th Anniversary SS Camaro could only be ordered as a convertible or with T-Tops. Around 3000 examples of the 35th Anniversary Edition were created. Total production for the year was just over 42,000.

On August 27th, 2002 production ceased. The Camaro had accomplished its goal, to provide competition for the Ford Mustang and other compact, low-priced, sports cars. Outfitted with large, Corvette engines, matted to effective gearboxes and given great suspension and brakes, the Camaro was truly a performance machine that was capable and fun to drive. It was fairly practical with room for more than two passengers. It was economical with sticker-prices in the range that many could afford. The production of the Camaro has ceased, but its future has not yet been written. Expect to see this legendary vehicle on the roadways in the near future.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2011
 
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