Featured image for "When Was the First Camaro Made?" blog post. Chevy Camaro.

When Was the First Camaro Made?

General Motors* engineers were diligently burning the midnight oil to deliver a car to compete with Ford’s Mustang*. So, when was the first Camaro* made? General Motors* launched the Camaro* two years after Ford* launched its pony car, which was in 1967. That period was well spent since the 1967 Camaro* was an instant success upon its unveiling.

Ordering a hardtop coupe or a convertible in the customer’s desired color and trim allowed them to meet their own needs. Eighty manufacturer options and an additional forty dealer options were on the table for this model. A total of four different powertrains and three different base trim levels were available to select from. The process of reading the manual was significantly more time-consuming than assembling the car.

The V8s were significantly more exciting than the straight sixes, which were just 230 cubic inches and produced 140 horsepower as standard. A 327 had 295 or 275 horsepower, a 350 had 325 horsepower, and a 396 had 375 horsepower. Bumblebee stripes, blacked-out grille, and hood air intakes were included as standard equipment on the SS.

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The RS package improved the appearance of your Camaro* by including concealed headlamps, modified taillights, and a greater amount of interior detail. With an RS/SS, you get both speed and style in one package. Camaro* was the pace car for the 1967 Indianapolis 500, contributing to its prestige.

It wasn’t long before another choice became available: the Z28. There were no ads or brochures for the car, which would shortly become associated as a high-performance muscle car.

The Z-28 was a one-of-a-kind homologation special created to allow the Camaro* to compete in the Trans Am Series racing series. Despite the fact that its 302 cubic inch motor was officially rated at 290 horsepower, the reality was that this powerplant produced more than 400 horsepower.

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There was no disguising the fact that this vehicle was bred for racing when it was married to a four-speed manual Muncie gearbox and equipped with power disc front brakes and a competitive suspension set up. A pair of racing stripes, on the other hand, might be added if you really wanted to drive the idea home.

The Z-28, which had a peak speed of 140mph, was a sensational opportunity to commemorate the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968.

The Camaro* had modest stylistic modifications in 1968, as well as an upgrade to multi-leaf springs in the rear suspension, however, 1969 would be a watershed year for the car. The automobile was reworked to have a broader and lower profile, and new seats and dashboards were added.

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The most significant alterations, on the other hand, took place beneath the hood. Two ram air systems were available to SS owners: which was a muscular new hood with an air outlet looking rearward, and the alternative to the power bulge on the hood was a dealer-installed plenum kit.

It was possible to purchase a new 307 V8 engine with a moderate 200 horsepower. Chevrolet* supplied a powerful 427 cubic inch engine for those looking for maximum performance. Dealer-installed engines with up to 450 horsepower were available.

Chevrolet’s* Central Office Production Order System (COPO) allowed well-known dealers, such as Yenko* Sports Cars of Pennsylvania, to install these parts for customers. For the supreme Camaro*, Yenko* fitted rally wheels and enhanced suspension.

These Yenko-tuned vehicles, though, were dwarfed by the Chevrolet* ZL1. The 430bhp rating on this aluminum-block engine was actually nearer to 500bhp. Due to the very high cost of the powerplant alone, just a few of these cars were sold for NHRA Super Stock drag racing.

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In 1970, the second generation was conceived. In comparison to the original Camaro*, it featured a curved European shape and was notably more refined in its design. The 396 was increased to 402 cubic inches whereas the Z-28 received a 350 LT1 engine that delivered 360 horsepower.

The Camaro’s* horsepower was cut in 1971 due to pollution laws, making it a disappointing period for GM* muscle cars. There was also less power in the Z-28. It was during this time period that the Camaro’s* exterior design, which had new Federal bumpers, was altered, and its performance slowly fell.

After two years in production, a California-spec Z-28 had just 165 horsepower at the conclusion of the model’s second year. The third and last iteration of the Camaro* debuted in 1982. The features included a more geometric look as well as a completely redesigned chassis with improved suspension. It was a bit of a letdown under the hood.

The base engine was a 2.5-liter, 153-cubic-inch, four-cylinder unit that produced a pitiful 90 horsepower. Then there was a 2.8-liter, 171-cid V6 with 112bhp that was available. Even the most powerful five-liter (305 cid) V8 produced only 165 horsepower.

In terms of production history, it was the lowest period for the Camaro*. Power did, however, progressively increase over time. The IROC-Z, which had a more respectable 215 horsepower, was introduced in 1985. In 1992, power had been increased to 245 horsepower, restoring some respectability to the Camaro* name.

Even more legitimacy was restored to the 1993 Camaro* with the arrival of the fourth generation. For the first time since the 1970s, the Camaro’s* performance levels matched those of the 1970s, making it the most capable model ever. There were two engine options available: the 160bhp V6, and the 348ci V8 in the Z-28.

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In 1996, the SS model returned with a vengeance, with 305bhp and a convertible option. In 1997, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Camaro*, it got the LS1 engine from the Corvette*, earning it the most potent version in more than 20 years, with 330 horsepower. There are still some fifth and sixth generation Camaros* to cover at a later date.

It is undeniable that the Camaro* had its ups and downs in terms of power throughout the years. Modern-day Camaros* are gradually becoming more powerful, and a return to the car’s muscle car heritage seems to be back in fashion once again.

We hope you liked reading When Was The First Camaro* Made? We thank you for your time. Keep an eye out for future blogs on Camaros* and other high-performance automobiles.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.

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