The mid 1960's were an exciting in the world of American automotive production. The emergence of the muscle car was in full swing. With the introduction of the Ford Mustang in late 1964 the country was ripe for the muscle and Chevy was right there hitting the mark with the brand new Camaro. There are few cars from this period in history that have as much wide spread recognition and fame as the 1967 Camaro. From casual observers to hard core gear heads on to professional car collectors the first generation Camaro instantly captured the hearts and minds of the American public.
Like many automotive model launches of the day Chevrolet really poured on the media and marketing. Perhaps taking a tip from it's biggest competitor the 1967 Camaro was the official pace car for the 1967 Indianapolis 500, very much like the Mustang was just a few years earlier. The Indy 500 promotion was a big one including dozens of special "Pace" cars specially made for race officials and celebrities to drive to promotions and events in the months leading up to the race. There was also a "Pacesetter" package that Chevy dealerships were able to create if they chose to.
Another big moment in the promotion of the 1967 Camaro turned out to be a first for the news media as well. For the first time ever, in the final days of June, 1966, a news conference was held live in 14 cites. This feat was accomplished by hooking up these cities together by telephone lines and had never been done before. Looking back this seems like child's play from today's standards but back in the 60's this was quite a marvel! In addition to this there was a six minute television promotion, on top of newspaper and radio ads, that let the American public know they were in for something special.
The name Camaro was figured to be a good choice by the folks at Chevy because nobody had any idea what the heck it meant! When the press asked some of the project managers what the name stood for they replied, "It's a small, vicious animal that east Mustangs." It was statements like that that really helped fuel the Mustang vs. Camaro rivalry which, arguably, worked out to more sales for both Ford and Chevy.
Like most brand new car models the 1967 Camaro has several features and quirks that are only seen on the first model year. These tell tale signs often quickly disappear as they are replaced with better or upgraded items in the second year of production. These are the tips that car enthusiasts and collectors live for. The first day the 1967 model was up for sale to the general public was September 29th, 1966.
Here are just a three things to remember at your next car auction or show that were unique to the 1967 Camaro�
- The 1967 model had both rear shocks mounted in front of the rear axle. This was changed to the more familiar staged set up (one in front and one behind) in 1968.
- Side vent windows only appeared on the '67 model.
- The VIN plate on the first year model was located on the door pillar and was later moved to the more standard dashboard location in '68.
It's at least arguable that the Camaro has seen more unofficial promotion than many of its competitors. There have been dozens of popular songs written about this car, not the least of which is everyone's' favorite "Bitchin Camaro" by the Dead Milkmen. Various years and models of the car have appeared in movies for decades although the most memorable is the 1967 Camaro featured in the 1985 John Cusack movie "Better Off Dead" which introduced a whole new generation to the fascination of the early years of this iconic car.
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