When Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964 there was no immediate reaction from General Motors, but by August of '64, just four months after the Mustang's introduction, GM realized the appeal of a four seat sports car. Ironically, the Mustang was created in response to the Chevrolet Corvair Monza!
GM had actually begun preliminary work on such a car as early as 1958, according to Pontiac Designer Bob Porter. "I remember a four-passenger, sporty type car of the general size and weight class of the Mustang being worked on in an advanced studio. In the early '60s, similar cars were developed from time to time. Everyone wanted to do one, but at the time there was really no corporate interest."
When the Mustang sold 100,000 units in the first six months, and almost half a million the first year, GM took an interest. The responsibility for GM's Mustang fighter was given to the GM Design Center's Chevrolet Studio under the direction of Henry C. Haga. Interior design was directed by George Angersbach, who had been heavily involved in the design of the Corvette, Corvair, and the Chevy II, which became the Nova in 1968. It has long been a misconception that the '67 Camaro was designed from Chevy II components when actually it was the other way around. The Chevy II was to be all new for '68 and it shared many parts with the '67 Camaro, but this did lead to compromises in the design, most notably the cowl height and hood length.
One unique feature was the decision to use a front subframe isolated with rubber 'biscuits" in combination with the unit body construction of the rest of the car, a technique that had been used on several European cars, including many Mercedes-Benz models. This combined the best of both worlds-a larger interior and more luggage space than was possible with a traditional frame and at the same time a quieter, smoother ride than a full uni-body car delivered. The designers did mock-ups of many different models, including a two-seat roadster, a fastback, and a station wagon. GM was trying to keep the cost as low as possible, however, to compete with the Mustang, and decided to stick with just two models, a coupe and a convertible. The Camaro was to be offered with a wide variety of powerplants, ranging from a 230 cubic inch six cylinder to a 327 V8. In addition, a new engine displacement was created just for the Camaro, a 350 cubic inch V8 rated at 295 horsepower.
As the launch date neared, the car still had no name. It had been called various names by GM and the press, including Nova, Panther, Chaparral, and Wildcat (later used by Buick.) It is rumored that Chevy also considered using the letters "GM" in the name, and came up with G-Mini, which evolved into GeMini, and finally Gemini. General Motors Headquarters supposedly killed that name, because they didn't want the letters "GM" used in case the car was a failure.
Finally, the car was introduced to the press as the Camaro, considered to be a good name because nobody knew what it meant. Chevrolet produced an old French dictionary showing that the word meant "friend" or "comrade", but Ford found an alternate meaning in an old Spanish dictionary-"a small, shrimp-like creature."The automotive press had a good laugh over that, and an even bigger one when one journalist found yet another meaning-"loose bowels." It didn't take long for the laughter to stop after the introduction of the stunning 1967 Camaro!
The first Camaro rolled of the assembly line in September 24th 1966 as the new 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Unlike the Mustang, the Camaro utilized a front subframe attached to a unibody. This was to isolate road noise and to improve ride quality. From the first year all Rally Sport, Super Sport, Z28 and convertible options were available.
One of the most noticable additions was side marker lights to comply with the new motor vehicle law requirement.
- 140-hp Turbo-Thrift 230 Six.Smooth, effortless performance along with a decidedly modest appetite for regular-grade fuel. Single-barrel carburetor, hydraulic valve lifters and single exhaust system. Seven-main-bearing crankshaft.
- 210-hp Turbo-Fire 327 V8. A perky V8 that will please you with its economy. Its 327-cubic-inch displacement and two-barrel carburetion give it the stamina for all kinds of duty. Compression ratio, 8.75:1, general performance camshaft and hydraulic lifters. A 61-ampere-hour battery and single exhuast. Uses regular-grade fuel.
- 155-hp Turbo-Thrift 250 Six. Here's a bigger 6-cylinder engine that's excellent for runabout service. Cubic-inch displacement: 250. Single-barrel carburetor, hydraulic valve lifters and single exhaust. Fully counterbalanced seven-main-bearing crankshaft. Uses regular-grade fuel.
- 275-hp Turbo-Fire 327 V8. Ideally suited to higher performance requirements. Four-barrel carburetor, 327 cubes and a 10.0:1 compression ratio. Single exhaust standard.
- 295-hp Turbo-Fire 350 V8. One of two Camaro SS engines available. You can judge its credentials by the fact that it powers the SS. A 350-cubic-inch V8, it checks in with a compression ratio of 10.25:1, 4-barrel carburetor, hydraulic valve lifters, dual exhausts and resonators.
- 325-hp Turbo-Jet 396 V8. Tops in the Camaro stable. Unique feature: "porcupine" cylinder heads that improve engine breathing and combustion. Four-barrel carburetor, 10.25:1 compression ratio, general performance camshaft, hydraulic valve lifters and dual exhausts with resonators.
- 3-Speed fully synchronized. Standard with all engines except 325-hp V8 (see below). Fully synchronized in all forward gears. Shift lever is column mounted unless floor-mount shift is specified.
- Special 3-Speed fully synchronized. (Camaro SS only). Floor mounted in a snug rubber boot for real shifting fun. Must be specified with 325-hp Turbo-Jet 396 V8 if you order a 3-Speed manual transmission. Offers closer ratios to take advantage of bigger V8 output. (Available with console).
- 4-Speed fully synchronized. Floor-mounted and available with all Camaro engines. Available also with console. Tailor-made for the real car buff. Shift pattern is debossed on the control knob. Ratios matched to engine.
- Powerglide Automatic. Available with all engines except 325-hp V8. Consists of a three-element torque converter and geared drive for a magnificent blend of smoothness and responsiveness. Steering column mounted unless floor-mount is specified, with or without console.
- Clutch. Single dry disc diaphragm spring type. Conventional roof and linkage connects suspended pedal to actuating fork. Size and capacity matched to engine choice.
- Propeller shaft and rear axle. One-piece balanced propeller shaft, attached at transmission and differential through universal joints. Rear axle ratio matched to power teams.
With a sheetmetal makeover the Camaro sported a new longer wider look. It received the nickname "Hugger" and the name was used for a new "Hugger Orange" color option. 69 Central Office Production Orders (COPO) Camaros were built with an aluminum 427 c.i. V8 offering 425 hp becoming one of the most valuable collectible Camaros today.
The second generation Camaro arrives. The Camaro was completely redesigned, but still utilized its subframe/unibody construction. Racing rules allowed larger engines and the Z28 was now powered by a 360 hp 350 c.i. V8. The Super Sport (SS) was available 375 hp 396 c.i. big block option.
1970 saw the introduction of the all new Second Generation Camaro. The 1st generation Camaro (1967 - 1969) was seen as a hasty response to the Ford Mustang. It was considered a compromise by some critics. There would be no compromises with this car. Due to production delays the 1970 Camaro was introduced in February 1970, half way into the production year. Because of this, some people will call the 1970 Camaro a 1970 1/2, but officially the car is a 1970 model year Camaro. Good things come to those who wait, and this car was met with rave reviews from nearly everyone. Chevrolet had a winner that would run for 12 years.
The 1970 Camaro was all new. It was longer (2.0"), lower (1.1") and wider (0.4") than the previous Camaro but still had a 108" wheelbase. It had a wider track (1.7" front, 0.5" rear). It's doors were longer (by 8") and the roof was moved back giving the car a sleek long hood, short rear deck which typifyed the pony-car. The convertible body style was no longer available. The windshield was swept back increasing visibility by 10% along with hiding the radio antenna within it (depending on radio choice). The rear view mirror was bonded to the windshield, no longer hung off the roof trim. The front subframe was redesigned to improve the structural integrity of the car. Efforts were made to eliminate road noise by strategically insulating various points on the car. The interior of the car was completely redesigned with a new dashboard, console & other interior trim.
The Camaro was also available with a distinctive appearance package called the Rally Sport (RPO Z22) option. Unlike the previous years hidden headlights, the RS package included a distinctive nose & bumper treatment, round front parking lights, hidden wipers and other trim. The Rally Sport package could be added to any model Camaro and when combined with the SS option became a RS/SS or when combined with the Z28 it became a RS/Z28.
The "Super Sport" (RPO Z27) package was continued. This model offered stylish performance, and was the only way to obtain the 396 Big Block Chevy engine (actually displaced 402 cubic inches).
The "Z28 Special Performance Package" (RPO Z28) was not only positioned as the top Camaro performer, but it put its money where its mouth was. Designed to race in the SCCA Trans Am Series, the 1970 rules changes allowing for the 5.7L engine meant the Camaro was able to now use the 350 engine. The previous Z28's were limited to 302 cubic inches and were known to be tempermental on the street. The bigger engine also allowed an automatic transmission to be used in the Z28 for the 1st time. Due to the solid lifter, high revving cam, Air Conditioning was still not available on the Z28.
- Last year for 9+ compression engines
- Only year 12 bolt rearend installed in performance 2nd gens
- Variable ratio steering debut
- Front disc brakes standard
- COPO 9796 3 piece rear spoiler available
- Only year a low-back style seat & headrest offered
- Sunvisor was longer than other models
- Only year a Chrome "C" used on header panel
- Only year a "Camaro by Chevrolet" emblem used on trunk
While essentially a carry-over from the previous year, the 1971 Camaro had several notable changes including the seats and emblems. In an effort to comply with federal regulations requiring leaded fuel to be phased out, General Motors lowered compression ratios of all engines to a maximum of 9.0:1. Not only did this actually cut horsepower (compared to an 11.0:1 engine), but General Motors also began rating their engines in SAE NET horsepower. In 1971, engines were rated in both SAE NET & Gross HP. Net horsepower is a more accurate indication of actual power production. The "C" on the header panel was changed from chrome to Red, and the "Camaro by Chevrolet" trunk lid emblem was shortened to "Camaro".
- High-back seats from vega replace low-back seats.
- Side marker lights now flash with turn signal lenses
- No 12 bolt rearend, all cars got the 10 bolt 8.5" corporate rear.
- New 3 piece rear spoiler, which was the 1970 COPO 9796 design.
- D80 spoiler option included ABS Plastic front spoiler
- Some new colors and hubcaps offered.
- International symbols used on dash knobs as opposed to words
- Van Nuys production stoppeded at end of the year
Chevy continued to refine the Camaro but due to a 174 day strike beginning on April 7, no cars left Norwood Ohio, which was the only plant producing the F-body. When the strike ended, 1100 partially completed cars were scrapped or donated to vocational schools since it would be too expensive to modify them to conform to stricker '73 bumper & emission regulations. The SS was discontinued
- Coarser grille mesh.
- Z21 NOT INCLUDED with Z22 (notice price drop on Z22 option)
- 3 point shoulder harness debuted in mid year.
- Door panels restyled, include map pockets & change holder.
- Speedometer reads 130 max, down from 150
- Hurst Shifter no longer used
- Last year for SS Model
- Last year for Big Block engine
- First year engine type is coded on VIN
1973 appeared bright for the Camaro despite the previous years problems and continued turmoil. Sales picked up slightly. While the industry was installing battering ram style bumpers on cars in response to the federal 2.5 MPH regulation, Chevy was able to engineer the Camaros bumper, including the Rally Sport so that it would pass.
The SS model was dropped, but it was replaced with the Stylish Type LT model. The Type LT could be ordered with RPO Z28, and if the Rally Sport option was also ordered, you could have a Type LT/RS/Z28 Camaro.
The Z28 was still weak on power but air conditioning was available for the 1st time on the Z28.
- RPO Z27 (SS) dropped, replaced with Type LT.
- Formerly optional steering wheel (NK4) became standard.
- New impact absorbing bumpers... RS kept bumperettes, but they were stiffened up.
- Single stick ratchetting shifter replaced stirup model.
- Z28 could get air conditioning (due to non-mechanical lifters).
- New wheel selections....
- Z87 Custom interior dropped
- Perforated headliner replaces Cut & Sew style in mid-year
- Space-saver tire debut
- Redesigned console
- Power windows debute
- full foam rear seats with one piece backrest.
- Powerglide 2 speed automatic trans dropped
- EGR for all engines & coolant-recovery
- Warning buzzer/fasten seat belts debut
- Tail-light housing switched from black to white plastic
1974 saw the Camaro finally bow to federal bumper guidelines. This required a major facelift on the Camaro. Rather than place an I-beam ram on the front of the car, Chevy was able to tactfully craft a bumper which met the requirments and still looked relatively stylish - to some people. In addition to this, a new, now fiberglass front end nose was required. In the back, a matching aluminum bumper was used, along with wrap around teardrop style tail lights. This change required a redesign of the rear quarter panel and trunk as well.
You might notice a lot of the changes being implemented are due to federal regulations, some of which were met with severe disgust by the car buying population. One of these was the ignition interlock system requiring your seatbelt to be fastened before the car would start. Others were the increasingly restrictive emissions requirments which caused engine power to be strangled. In an effort to pass fuel milage requirements, gear ratios were raised which killed the acceleration potential of the car which was getting heavier & slower each year.
This is in addition to safety requirments/high Insurance rates, the cost of gas in an uncertain economy... These are some of the reasons why some people believe the "real" camaro ended in 1973 (or 1971 depending on how you look at things), and for many people this era Camaro is often over-looked or forgotten.
The SS was gone, the pretty RS model had been cancelled at the end of 1973, and rather than continue to neuter the legendary Z28, chevrolet gracefully dropped it at the end of 1974. But as General Douglas McArther said - "I shall return". In the meantime, the 1974 Camaro saw the following additional changes....
- New extruded aluminum face bars supported on flat leaf springs.
- Front end, grill & head lights redesigned.
- New rear bumper
- Cut-in, wrap-around wedge-shaped tail lamps, eliminated the need for rear side markers.
- Interior detail changes, including retractible inertia style shoulder belt
- optional AM/FM sterio radio debuts
- Only year seat belt interlock used (killed in mid year actually)
- Power steering standard on all V8's.
- Bumper jack changed to a tab-in-slot type (due to bumper construction).
- Gas tank increased from 18 to 21 gallons.
- Z28 got HEI in mid-season.
- Borg-Warner 4 speed replaces Muncie in January 74
- Baby moon cap gave way to aluminum cap shared with Nova and fullsize
- Optional radial tires debute
- 307 V8 dropped and replaced with 350 2 barrel
- New wear indicators on front disc brakes and ball joints
- Rally Sport option dropped
- Meridian Walnut applique on LT Instrument cluster
Hey, have you seen my Leisure suit? 1975 saw a couple major changes to the Camaro, some visible, some not. One fault of the Camaro was it's poor rear visibility. To remedy this, the rear window was redesigned to be a "wrap around" design. With the elimination of leaded gas and in an effort to further reduce emissions, the Catalytic Converter debuted. This required a modification to the passenger side floor.
The Rally Sport option reappeared, this time as a paint & trim package.
Note: The Z28 was not available in 1975. There is no such thing as a 1975 Z28, even if you've seen or bought one on e-bay. Of the one built, it was supposed to have been destroyed before it left GM.
- power plant selection limited to 250 6 cylinder, or 2 versions of the 350
- Rally Sport option returns as RPO Z85 in midseason.
- RPO Z28 is dropped but a production figure of one (1) unit is shown.
- Introduction of the "wrap around" rear window.
- Central (power) locks debut
- Sports Decor (Z08) introduced, then withdrawn mid season.
- Finned rear brake drums
- All cars got Catalytic converters (yippee), and raised passenger floor to make it fit.
- Big LT change was using birdseye maple woodgrain instead of meridian walnut.
- Twin exhaust tail pipes for all V8's
- HEI standard on all engines.
- Deep pile carpet added
- New radios offered
- A/C now available with 6-cylinder.
- Cruise control becomes available.
The Z28 was not available in 1976. There is no such thing as a 1976 Z28, even if you've seen or bought one on e-bay.
- 305 debutes
- Power brakes standard, bigger brake wheel cylinders and better lining materials.
- LT got brushed aluminum panel trunk panel.
- voltmeter replaced ampmeter or idiot light.
- Revised interior treatments & appointments.
- New seat design for Type LT debutes
- Simulated tan leather Instrument cluster (Type LT)
- Landau roof debut
Besides the Camaro outselling the Ford Mustang (198,755 to 161,654) for the 1st time, the biggest news in the Automotive industry in 1977 was the return of the Z28 Camaro. No longer just an engine RPO, the Z28 was a specific model, with emphasis on the suspension and appearance. The Z28's 350 V8 engine made 185 hp, exhaling through dual exhaust resonators and it came mated to the close ratio M21. Suspension included: front & rear swaybars, special springs, special shocks and faster steering. In the appearance department the Z got blacked out grills, rear panel and rocker panel, dual sport mirros, front & rear spoilers, body colored 15" 5 spoke wheels, and body colored bumpers. In addition to this, the car got bold accenting graphics, decals and emblems.
- The Z28 returns in mid-year.
- 1st year Camaro outsells the Mustang
- intermittent windshield wipers debut
- hidden wipers standard
- 4 speed transmissions not available in California
- Reverse gear on 4 speeds relocated from far-left-up to far-left-down
After 4 years of the extruded aluminum bumpers, an all new body color urethane front & rear fascia was finally added to the car. Intended to debut in 1976, production delays held up the restyle until this year. Now hidden behind the sleek new nose was the impact absorbing crash structure able to withstand greater than 5MPH impacts. The rear tail lights were redesigned as well, now incorparating 3-color lenses on either side of the fuel door in the center. The license plate was relocated to a molded in section of the rear bumper.
The Camaro wasn't just continuing to blow the competition away on the street, but it paste'ed the rival Mustang in the showroom again, outselling the Ford 247,437 to 179,039. There was no competition.
Removable smoke glass t-tops (CC1) were now available. The Type LT and Rally Sport were back, with the RS a separate model as opposed to a RPO. Z28 sales were going up, up & away... The only things slowing down were the cars themselves with the higher gear ratios (except in the Z28). This was in the effort to improve fuel economy. Other things that were improved in 1978 included....
- Rally Sport offered as a Camaro Model, not RPO.
- 305 gets a 4 speed manual as standard
- non-corroding nylon brake pressure switch replaces steel switch
- lower control arm bracing to improve chassis stiffness.
- redesigned rear spring shackles improve stability
- brake line charcoal filter
- Z28 gets decorative hood scoop and functional fender vents
- Manual transmissions not available in California.
- Fenders redesigned to mate with new fascia
- Removable glass tops (CC1) debut, also known as T-tops
- New color-Keyed Aluminum Wheels (YJ8)
1979 looked to be a fantastic year but teetered on the dumper with the gas crisis and problems with a certain peanut farmer. Despite the uncertaintly the 1979 Camaro set a sales record with 282,582 Camaros produced, including a record 84,877 Z28's.
Inside the car, the dashboard was redesigned, from the wrap around style used since 1970 to a square style dash. The A/C vents (if equipped) were now part of the instrument cluster bezel. Some neat electronic gizmos were added, including Cassette tapes & CB radios and the required antennas.
The Z28 got a new 3 piece front spoiler that wrapped around the front of the car along with restyled graphics. The Type LT was dropped and replaced with the Berlinetta. Despite all the external problems, the 1979 Camaro featured....
- Redesigned Dashboard & instrument cluster face plate
- Rally Sport offered as a specific model.
- Type LT dropped, replaced with Berlinetta model.
- Record setting sales year, 282,582 units produced
- Electric grid rear window defrost, replaces forced air unit
The Z28 had a new hood with a rear facing scoop with a solenoid controlled intake port. A V6 engine was available, the first time in a Camaro. A radio with an integrated Citizen's Band (CB) radio was a new option.
EPA fuel economy was a big theme in 1980. In an effort to save weight the venerable but porky 250 was axed in favor of the V6. 49 states got the Chevy (odd-fire) 229 CID, while Californians got the Buick (even-fire) 231 CID. Both were 90 degree V6s, the chevy was a "3/4 V8".
Styling changes made the Z28 car seriously sinister. It had some extra poke under the hood too. The Berlinetta got wire wheel covers which replaced the polycast wheels and the paint scheme for the RS model was modified.
- 267 CID V8 debut
- 250 CID L6 eliminated, replaced with V6
- new tight mesh grille
- To save gas - Speedo reads to 85MPH Max, down from 130.
- Vinyl roof cover eliminated.
It's the end of the road boys. After a 12 year run, the Second Generation Camaro was heading for automotive history.
While the exterior of the 1981 Camaro was a carry over from the previous year, there were some significant changes under the hood. Most notably the CCC (Computer Command Control) emission system. This meant the 1981 Camaro was the only 2nd gen to have a "computer", which controlled the carburetor mixture, along with a "check engine" light and ALDL connector. The transmission now had a lock up torque converter, also controlled by the CCC.
Alas, many people took a "wait & see" attitude and held out for the all new 1982 Camaro. Those who didn't got (or didn't get, in the case of the Rally Sport)....
- Rally Sport model dropped.
- VIN number significantly different (17 characters vs. 13) than previous years.
- Power brakes now standard
- Space saver tire now standard
- Halogen headlights debut
- CCC emissions system
- Lockup torque converter
- "Check Engine" light
The third generation Camaro arrives. The Camaro was completely redeigned with a futuristic appearance. The trunk was ditched in favor of a new fastback hatch design. There was a sport coupe model with a 4 cylinder engine for fuel economy. The Z28 selected as the Indy 500 pace car. Five engines were available with the Camaro. The LQ8 2bbl 4 cylinder, the LQ9 TBI 4 cylinder, the LC1 2bbl V-6, the LG4 4bblbl V-8, and the twin TBI LU5 V-8. Transmissions were a 4 speed manual and a 3 speed automatic. All Camaros came with front disc brakes.
The 1982 Chevrolet Camaro marked the arrival of the long-awaited third generation, boasting a three-door hatchback body style to replace the former two-door coupe.
As a sign of the times, it went on a strict diet: Average curb weights dropped by over 450 pounds as a result of losing seven inches of wheelbase, nearly 10 inches in length, and almost three inches in width. But contrary to contemporary trends, it remained rear-wheel drive and continued to offer V-8 power.
Like Camaros of old, there was precious little interior space considering the external dimensions -- which, though smaller, would easily classify it as a mid-size car. But Camaro's mission had always put form above function, and the new design upheld that tradition.
Lines were more angular than before, with a chiseled nose and chopped-off tail, but the Camaro maintained its long hood/short deck proportions.
Not all the changes were visual. Leaf springs gave way to coils in the rear, and MacPherson struts replaced the previous A-arm arrangement in front. Powertrain offerings were also altered, the reduction in curb weight allowing the availability of a four-cylinder engine in the Camaro for the first time.
This was Pontiac's 2.5-liter (151-cubic-inch) "Iron Duke" with throttle-body fuel injection, which was becoming a corporate mainstay.
Next up was the carbureted 2.8-liter (173-cubic-inch) V-6 that was likewise used in numerous GM cars, here producing 102 horsepower, 12 more than the four.
Two 5.0-liter (305-cubic-inch) V-8s were offered, one with four-barrel carburetion and 150 horsepower, the other with 165 horsepower courtesy of "Cross-Fire" injection, which consisted of two throttle-body injection units sitting across from one another.
Prices were predictably up, with the base model starting at $7,631 (+$851) and the top-line Z28 setting a buyer back at least $9,700 (+$1,437). But sales went up as well, from 126,000 to 182,000, though that paled in comparison to figures generated just three years earlier.
The 1983 Chevrolet Camaro, coming on the heels of a complete makeover in '82, offered two new transmissions and more power for some engines but saw only minor changes otherwise.
In an effort to increase performance and fuel economy, a five-speed manual transmission was added to the options list for the base Sport Coupe with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and made standard with the 2.8-liter V-6 and carbureted 5.0-liter V-8.
Standard with the Cross-Fire Injected 5.0-liter V-8 was a new four-speed automatic with lockup torque converter -- the only transmission offered with that engine.
The four-speed automatic was optional with all other engines, and a three-speed automatic was optional with the four or the V-6.
Like other U.S. manufacturers, Chevrolet was finally learning to cope with the government's emissions regulations. Horsepower went up by two on the 2.5-liter four to 92, 10 on the 2.8-liter V-6, now 112, and 15 on the top 5.0-liter Cross-Fire Injected V-8 (optional only on the Z28), now a rousing 180.
The base carbureted 5.0 V-8 stayed the same at 150. At midyear, a High Output (H.O.) version of the carbureted 5.0-liter V-8 was introduced, raising the ante to 190 horsepower -- 10 more than the Cross-Fire Injected engine, which it would later replace.
The 1984 Chevrolet Camaro's most newsworthy change came in the form of a new dashboard for the Berlinetta model that boasted more "gee-whiz" electronic gadgetry than a fighter jet.
It had digital readouts for vehicle and engine speeds, plus a bar graph tachometer, warning lights for fluid levels, and needle gauges for fuel, temperature, oil pressure, and voltage.
Dual adjustable control pods flanked the main instrument cluster, and their positioning could be adjusted to suit the driver's reach. Cruise control buttons were mounted on the steering wheel, and an overhead console contained map lights and a storage pouch.
In mid-1983, a High-Output (H.O.) 190-horsepower carbureted 5.0-liter V-8 was added to the Z28's options list, offering 10 more horsepower than the Cross-Fire Injected version. The latter was dropped altogether for '84.
Whereas the Cross-Fire engine came only with a four-speed automatic transmission, the H.O. could be paired with a five-speed manual, further increasing the Z28's performance potential.
Prices didn't go up much but sales did, rising nearly 70 percent to an impressive 261,000. Oddly enough, base coupes and the Z28 sported the biggest gains, while the Berlinetta -- with its flashy new dash -- showed only a modest increase.
The International Race of Champions allowed the introduction of the IROC model. The top model offered a 215 hp 305c.i. V8 with tuned port fuel injection.
In addition to a stiffer suspension and special wheels and tires, the IROC had exclusive use of the L69 190-horsepower carbureted 5.0-liter V-8 that came only with a five-speed manual transmission.
Optional on the IROC was a 215-horsepower Tuned Port Injected 5.0-liter V-8, which came only with a four-speed automatic. The latter was optional on the Z28, which came standard with a 165-horsepower version of the 5.0-liter V-8 that was optional on lesser Camaros.
Other engines included a 135-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6 (standard in the Berlinetta) and the base 2.5-liter four with 88 horsepower.
The Berlinetta's "video game" dash still drew some barbs, but overall, the Camaro -- at least in hotter Z28 or IROC-Z form -- was applauded as a bargain among high-performance sports coupes
The 1986 Chevrolet Camaro got a few sportier touches on the base model, which proved, once again, to be the most popular. Added were a sport suspension, wider 14-inch tires on styled steel wheels, and sport exhaust system.
It still came standard with the 88-horsepower 2.5-liter four, but few Camaro buyers settled for the base engine. Those ordering either the 135-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6 or 155-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 automatically got 15-inch wheels and a firmer suspension.
Traditionally the slowest-selling Camaro, the ritzy Berlinetta got only new interior trim -- which predictably failed to spark sales. Conversely, the performance-oriented Z28 and its brawnier IROC-Z stablemate were enjoying near-record popularity.
They were the only two models to offer the H.O. 5.0-liter V-8 with 190 horsepower (coupled only to a four-speed manual transmission) and the port-fuel-injected 5.0 with 215 horsepower (offered only with four-speed automatic).
With performance making a comeback from the dark days of yore, Camaro sales continued strong. Despite a design that had changed little since '82, Chevy's rear-drive sports coupe racked up better than 192,000 orders, an impressive showing for such a specialized automobile.
The convertible option returned after an 18 year absence. The IROC-Z had an optional 350 c.i. engine based on the Corvette engine of the same year offering 225 hp.
The 1987 Chevrolet Camaro didn't look much different than before, but it received some significant mechanical changes and at midyear welcomed an old friend back to the line.
Gone from the powertrain lineup was the unpopular 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine previously offered as standard equipment on the base model; now the standard engine was the 135-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6. It also powered the new LT, which replaced the Berlinetta.
Returning as standard in the Z28 and optional on base and LT was a 165-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8. The Z28's optional high-output 190-horsepower carbureted 5.0-liter that previously came only with a manual transmission was replaced by the port-fuel-injected 215-horsepower 5.0 -- which this year came not only with the four-speed automatic but also with the five-speed manual.
Topping the engine list and available only in the IROC-Z was the Corvette's 5.7-liter V-8 pumping out 225 horsepower and offered only with automatic.
But the big news came with the reincarnation of the Camaro convertible at midyear, absent since the second-generation design debuted for 1970. The ragtop exacted a stiff cost penalty, about $4,500, but the 1,007 lucky folks who got one didn't seem to mind
The 1988 Chevrolet Camaro lineup included only two entries: the base sport coupe and the IROC-Z. Previously an option package on the Z28, the IROC-Z became a model in its own right for 1988; also gone were the LT options packages for the base car, so buyers were faced with fewer choices.
But several of the Z28's styling features were transferred to the base Camaro, making it much racier looking; lower-body side panels, rear spoiler, body-colored mirrors, and aluminum wheels all became standard.
It still came with a 135-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6, but buyers could put some dash behind the flash by ordering the optional 5.0-liter throttle-body-injected V-8 that packed 170 horsepower, five more than the previous year's carbureted version. Both engines could be mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
The same 170-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 was standard in the IROC-Z, but two brawnier V-8s were optional. First up was a port-injected version boasting 220 horsepower when paired with the standard five-speed manual, or 195 with the optional four-speed automatic. Top fire-breather was the Corvette's 230-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8, but it came only with the automatic.
The 1989 Chevrolet Camaro base model was renamed RS, giving it a sportier moniker if not a sportier demeanor. And because Camaros had become popular with thieves, topping the charts in some years, the Corvette's Pass-Key theft-deterrent system became standard for 1989.
Powertrain offerings stayed the same as in '88. Standard on the RS coupe was the good ol' 2.8-liter V-6 still belting out 135 horsepower. Standard on the RS convertible and optional on the coupe was again a 170-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8.
That same engine was standard on the IROC-Z as well, but the IROC also offered two optional V-8s: a port-fuel-injected 5.0-liter with 220 horsepower and a 5.7-liter with 230 horsepower. All could be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic except the last, which came only with the automatic.
Though little had changed, the cost of a Camaro went up by $500-$930, meaning that the price of entry now stood at $11,495. Surprisingly, that didn't hurt sales, which grew from 1988's disappointing 96,275 to a slightly less depressing 110,739.
Though the 1990 Chevrolet Camaro looked little different outside, there were some notable changes to the interior. Foremost among them was the addition of a driver-side air bag, but the new leather seating option was also newsworthy.
Somewhat less exciting was a switch to yellow instrument-panel graphics and the application of Scotchgard-brand fabric protector. The same two models were again offered, base RS and performance-oriented IROC-Z, and both continued to be available in either coupe or convertible form.
Replacing the 2.8-liter V-6 as standard power was an enlarged 3.1-liter version. Horsepower grew by only five to 140, but torque increased a useful 20 pound-feet to 180. Otherwise, the engine charts were a rerun.
Standard on the IROC and RS convertible, and optional on the RS coupe, was a 170-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8. Optional on the IROC was a 220-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8, as well as a 230-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8. All but the last could be ordered with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission; the 5.7 came only with the automatic.
Production only reached about a third of the 1989 figure, totaling a mere 34,986. Convertibles were particularly rare, with only 1,294 IROCs and 729 RSs built. But much of this was due to the fact that the '91 Camaros were introduced in the spring of 1990, cutting short the 1990 model year.
The 1991 Chevrolet Camaro resurrected the Z28 moniker for the high-performance version of the Camaro, having dropped its sponsorship of the IROC racing series and thus losing the right to use the acronym on its cars.
Since the race season started in the spring, Chevy brought out the '91 Camaro line early, in March of 1990. Aside from the name change, the Camaro saw few mechanical revisions but did get some cosmetic updates. Both the RS and Z28 got new aero rocker moldings along with revised front and rear fascias. Z28s added restyled 16-inch alloy wheels, nonfunctional hood bulges, and a prominent rear spoiler.
RS coupes again came standard with a 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V-6. Standard on RS convertibles and optional on RS coupes was a 170-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8. Z28s now came standard with a 230-horsepower port-fuel-injected 5.0-liter V-8, while an optional 245-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 was offered on Z28 coupes.
All engines were available with a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic, except for the top 5.7-liter V-8, which came only with the automatic.
Camaro prices skyrocketed during 1991, which might help explain why production barely topped 100,000 for this extra-long model year
The 1992 Chevrolet Camaro, in the final year of the car's third generation, marked its 25th anniversary with a Heritage Appearance option but otherwise continued with few changes.
Available in coupe or convertible form, the commemorative edition options package included a body-colored grille, black headlight pockets, hood and trunklid stripes, and special badging -- all for a mere $175. Cars with the Heritage Appearance package were available only in red, white, or black.
RS and Z28 models were again offered in both coupe and convertible form. Standard on RS Camaros was a 3.1-liter V-6 with port fuel injection and 140 horsepower, while a 5.0-liter V-8 with throttle-body injection and 170 horsepower was optional. Z28s came with a port fuel injected 5.0-liter V-8 that made 230 horsepower.
Optional on Z28 coupes only was a 245-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8, which was available only with a four-speed automatic; all other engines could be mated to either the automatic or a five-speed manual. New Z28 features included 16-inch alloy wheels to replace 15s, faster-ratio power, and a handling suspension.
With a heavily revised Camaro waiting in the wings for 1993, it's no surprise that sales plummeted in '92. Total production amounted to just over 70,000 units, the third-generation Camaro's worst full-year showing.
The forth generation Camaro appears. A new 3.4 liter V6 rises 20 hp to 160 hp. The Z28 receives an LT1 V8 rated at 275hp. Camaro makes its fourth appearance as a pace car. The pace cars were painted with black over white separated at the belt line with 633 replicas produced.
The previous generation's sharp body creases were smoothed out, but many of the styling elements of the rear-drive sports coupe were carried over; there was no mistaking this new fourth-generation for anything but a Camaro. The base coupe dropped the RS name.
A new short/long-arm coil spring suspension substituted for MacPherson struts, while the rear still had multi-link solid axle and coil springs. Spring rates were decreased for a better ride,
A five-speed manual was standard with the V-6, while a new six-speed manual came with the V-8. A four-speed automatic was optional with both engines.
Base and Z28 trims were available in coupe and convertible models. Convertibles came standard with a power top and glass rear window with defroster. T-tops returned after a one-year hiatis.
Base models got a 160-horsepower 3.4-liter V-6. The V-6 came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic as an option. Z28s had a 275-horsepower 5.7-liter LT1 V-8. Z28s now came standard with the Corvette's CAGS (Computer-Aided Gear Selection) six-speed manual mated to a shorter 3.42:1 axle ratio.
Base models got an optional 3.8 V-6 200 hp with automatic transmission that could be ordered in place of the standard 160-horsepower 3.4 liter with the standard 5speed or optional automatic.
Z28s maintained the 275-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Traction control became an option called Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) system could be turned off by a dashboard switch should tire spin be desired, available on Z28s only.
Z28s and base coupes with T-tops received a black-painted roof, but body-colored roof and mirrors were a no-charge option. Base models offered optional chrome wheel covers.
3.8-liter V-6 200 hp available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. New Performance Handling Package that included a limited-slip differential, four-wheel disc brakes, dual exhaust outlets, and faster steering ratio. A sporty appearance package using the RS model name consisted of lower front and rear fascia extensions, rocker-panel moldings, and a three-piece rear spoiler. New 16-inch chromed aluminum wheels, available on both base models and Z28s.
Z28s 5.7-liter V-8 power increased to 285 horsepower. A new low-coolant-level indicator was added. A six-speed manual transmission was standard, with a four-speed automatic optional.
1997 marked the 30th Anniversary for Camaro. A special edition Anniversary Package included a white car with Hugger Orange racing stripes (reminiscent of the '69 Pace Car), white Houndstooth cloth interior, or optional white leather, and white 5-spoke wheels were included. Seats had "30th Anniversary" embroidered on headrest, leather had embossed logos.
Coupes and convertibles were available in a base, RS or Z28 trim.
Upgraded instrument cluster. New stereos such as a 6-speaker Monsoon sound system with available12-disc CD changer. Daytime Running Lamps are standard, using the bright side of the turn signals in the front.
Z28 gets new style 5-star polished or chrome wheels. Rear tail lights were new 3-color intergrated lights. Z28 offered a 4-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission at no-extra-cost option
Exterior Colors: Polo Green and Dark Purple Metallic dropped. Medium Quasar Blue dropped midyear. Bright Purple Metallic introduced.
Front safety belt guide loop on Convertible models. Houndstooth cloth interior introduced, available in Light Gray, Graphite, Tan or Flame Red. New style leather seats with perforated seatbacks and bottoms, available in Graphite or Tan.
The Camaro gets updated with a new sealed headlight assembly. The Z28 has an optional aluminum LS1 V8 rated at 305 hp. The SS model gets a 320 hp engine, a rear spoiler and an air induction hood scoop.
The Camaro now uses electronic throttle control on its 3.8 liter V6. A Zexel Torsen differential replaces the limited-slip differential. Traction control is available on 3.8 V6 engine. Monsoon sound system is available for convertibles. Fuel tank now 16.8 gallons and changed to a non-metallic tank.
Exterior colors: Sebring Silver, Bright Purple Metallic, Cayenne Red Metallic, and Sport Gold Metalic dropped.
Hugger Orange, Bright Blue Metallic, Light Pewter Metallic, Dark Amethyst Metallic, and Fern Green Metallic added.
A black box to record data up to 5 seconds before an accident was installed for use in analyzing air bag, ABS, and other data during a collision.
The base V6 model comes with wheel covers, and 16" wheels are optional. The Z28 has the 16" wheels standard with either a painted or polished surface. The 17" wheels are not available on the V6 or Z28. The SS gets 17" wheels.
Interior updated with a radio control steering wheel . Cloth available in: Ebony, and Medium Gray. Leather available in Ebony and Neutral.
Monterey Maroon Metallic added; Hugger Orange, LeMans Blue dropped. 3.8L & 5.7L updated to meet L.E.V. standards. Z28 had the low coolant sensor dropped
Fog lights, power mirrors, door locks, windows, keyless entry, and Monsoon premium sound system w/ cassette player now standard equipment on V6 Convertible. Body color side mirrors on Z28.
The engines available were the 3.8 V6 or the 5.7 Liter LS1 V8 and three different transmissions. Models included the base, SS, and Z28. The LS1 V8 engine has 310 hp and 340 lb.-ft. torque in Z28 models. The SS models offered 325 hp and 350 lb.-ft torque
New on the exterior, Sunset Orange Metallic color and new 16-inch chrome wheels.
A 35th aniversary model was offered in either convertible or T-tops and offered a 325 hp LSi V8 engine.
Available in four trim models, including the Coupe, convertible and Z28. The Coupe is equipped with a standard 3.8-liter, V6, 200-horsepower engine that achieves 19-mpg in the city and 31-mpg on the highway. A 5-speed transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 4-speed a transmission with overdrive is optional. The Z28 Convertible is equipped with a standard 5.7-liter, V8, 310 hp engine that achieves 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. 4-speed transmission with overdrive is standard and a optional 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive is available with no added cost.
GM produced the very last Camaro August 27th 2002. The last two cars red convertibles went to GM's Heritage Collection.
The new concept Camaro makes its presence. The production version is slated to be a 2009 year model.
We're waiting for GM to make history again.