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The Chevy Camaro: The Past & The Future

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Indy 500 Camaro Pace Car


It’s no doubt that the Chevy Camaro was nearly a copycat of the Ford Mustang, a venture General Motors made after seeing how successful the Mustang was in its 1st year, selling over 100,000 cars in the first few weeks of its release. However, just because it was a spinoff idea of the Mustang, doesn’t mean the Camaro isn’t worth it’s weight. Since its inception, the Chevrolet Camaro has celebrated five different generations, all with distinctive variations of the car’s body and engines.

The first generation of the Camaro was released in 1967 and the concepts for the Camaro came from the compact Chevy Nova. The first generation of the car lasted for only 3 years, and the base price was an incredibly affordable $2466 for the Sport Coupe model. Chevy also decided to release a convertible model in the first generation.

The first Camaro had a solid, whole-body structure with a steel subframe. The car sported a solid rear axle, a four drum braking system, manual steering and 230-cubic-inch six cylinder engine that gave 140 horsepower and operated with a three speed manual transmission.

Available in two separate base options, the Sport Coupe or the Convertible, you could customize your Camaro and add on choice options and packages; either the RS (Rally Sport) or the SS (Super Sport), depending on your style. The RS was the “appearance” packages and it included deluxe interior trim, hidden headlights and other exterior modifications you wouldn’t find on the base model. The SS was the performance package, giving you a better suspension system, larger racing tires and a domed hood with vents. You could also opt for the Z/28 package, a choice that has made several reappearances over the many generations of the Camaro. The Z/28 offered a 302-cubic-inch compression V8 engine and an upgraded suspension system.

If you wanted a little more power behind the wheel of a first generation Camaro, you could choose the optional 250-cubic-inch six cylinder that boosted the horsepower to 155, or you could put some real power behind the car and opt for the 327-cubic-inch V8 engine that boosted the engine up to as much as 375 hp. There were also options to choose from for the transmission, and sub-choices for whether you picked a manual or automatic.

The second generation of the Camaro was a larger body style with a highly improved suspension system. It began as a 2+2 Coupe with no convertible option. The engine and many of the other components stayed the same as the first generation except that the base model engine became the 250-cubic-inch that gave 155 horsepower. The highest available engine in any of the 1970 models was the L-78 396 6.5 Liter V8 that offered 375 horsepower. This model also came with the optional RS. SS and Z-28 Super Performance Package. The second generation of Camaros lasted much longer than the first generation and ran all the way from 1970 to 1981.

In 1982, the third generation of the Camaro was released and it was the first model to sport a factory fuel injection system and four-speed automatic transmissions. The 1982 model of the third generation Camaro Z-28 was a pace car for the Indy 500, and special replica series was made in commemoration of that car. Over 6000 of the replicas were sold; they featured the pace car’s two-tone silver and blue paint job with orange pinstriping, 15-inch Z-28 wheels and a silver and blue interior with adjustable seating. Engine options for this car featured the standard Z-28 options or an upgrade to the Cross-Fire fuel injection or 4-barrel carburetor.

The third generation only released one more model, and that was in 1985. The ‘85 model became known as the IROC-Z, named for the International Race of Champions. This car came standard with improved suspension, a decal package and Tuned Port Injection. This model was named on the top ten list for Car and Driver’s “Bests” in 1985. Variations of this model were available until the fourth generation was released in 1993.

The fourth generation lasted through 2002, and the biggest change that was made was the production of the car moved from GM’s plant in Van Nuys, California to the plant in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec. The improvements made on the car for this generation included a lighter body, a steel space frame, and much improved suspension. This model also included the LT1 V8 engine and an optional six-speed manual transmission that coupled with the V8. The Camaro was also honored as a pace car for the Indy 500 this year, and another special edition was manufactured to celebrate the achievement.

The “final” Camaro was produced on August 27th, 2002 when production dipped below 43,000 sales for the year. GM’s plant in Quebec closed down and the decision was made to stop production on the Chevrolet Camaro.

In 2010, Chevy was in a desperate attempt to boost sales and recover from the economic struggles that hit our country in the previous couple of years. To assist that effort, they decided to bring back the Camaro with an all new fifth generation that was available as a coupe with the base model LS or optional models in the LT or V8 SS. The RS packages is also available, but doesn’t upgrade anything under the hood, just exterior and appearance features. The body styling is a throwback to the ever-popular 1969 Camaro with the cross-hatch grill, although the body of the 2010 model is much bulkier than the original.

If you’re looking to purchase a 2014 Chevy Camaro, the base model today will run you $23,455. The current model has 6 available options and packs a lot more power than the original 140 hp six-cylinder engine.

No matter which model Camaro you have, Classic Auto is here to help you protect it. We know how important these cars are to their owners, and we also know how important it is to keep them in top notch condition. Securing the future of these cars and preserving them for future generations to enjoy is only possible when we protect them from inevitable damage and wear and tear. Classic Auto Insurance can help you do just that. We offer affordable classic car insurance options with the best coverage available for your classic Camaro. Give us a call today for a free quote!

About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

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