Camaros through the years: coolest
isn't just another performance car; it's an integral part of
American culture. Sean Penn's character Jeff Spicoli drove a Camaro in
"Fast Times at Ridgemont High," Megan Fox captivated a generation of
adolescent boys leaning over one in "Transformers," and John Cusack
eventually got his running in "Better Off Dead." Over the past 46
years, the Camaro has been an astoundingly fast and beautiful V8-powered muscle
car as well as a painfully slow 4-cylinder cruiser with some questionable
styling. Click through for a look at the most significant Camaros of all time.
Did your favorite make the list?
made its debut in September 1966 as a 4-seat coupe or convertible. It was
widely viewed as a reaction to the immensely popular Ford
Mustang of 1964, but
Chevrolet had been toying with the idea of the Camaro since 1962. As it
developed a cult following alongside the Mustang, the Camaro helped spawn the
pony car segment, as it possessed the pony car's key trait of a large engine
stuffed into a small package. The most powerful standard Camaro was the
325-horsepower SS396, but a limited number of special-order SS396 models
cranked out 375 horsepower.
1967 Camaro Z/28
Although it wasn't the most powerful Camaro in that first
year, the Z/28 was the best-handling choice. Developed to qualify the Camaro
for the Sports Car Club of America's new Trans-Am class, the Z/28 featured a
302-cubic-inch V8 engine that spun out 290 horsepower. The firmer F41
suspension improved handling, and exterior changes included dual hood and trunk
stripes and Rally wheels on red-stripe tires. Only 602 Z/28s were built that
first year, making it a desirable collector car today.
Through Chevrolet's Central Office Production Order (COPO)
program, Don Yenko ordered specially outfitted Camaros and sold them through
his Pennsylvania dealership as the Yenko/SC ("Super Camaro"). The
cars featured Chevrolet's L72 iron-block 427-cubic-inch V8 engine, which
officially made 425 horsepower, although Yenko claimed 450. They also had disc
brakes, positraction, a cowl-induction hood and heavy-duty suspension. A total
of 201 1969 Yenko Camaros were sold.
1969 ZL1 Camaro
The most powerful and rarest Camaro of the 1960s was the
legendary ZL1, which was essentially a race-ready factory dragster for the
National Hot Rod Association Super Stock class and was available only through
the COPO program. The heart of the ZL1 was an aluminum-block 427-cubic-inch V8
racing engine that officially produced 430 horsepower, although actual output
was likely more than 500 horses. Only 69 of these monstrously powerful Camaros
were built, making the ZL1 one of the most valuable Camaros today.
1970 1/2 Camaro
The second-generation Camaro made its debut in February 1970, offered only as a coupe. Styling showed cues from Jaguar and Ferrari. The new car was longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model, and that gave it more interior space. It handled better and rode softer, too. All the improvements inspired Road & Track magazine to call it the best American car of the time. The Z/28 received the 360-horsepower LT1 350-cubic-inch V8 engine from the Corvette. Car and Driver staffers piloted a Z/28 to a zero-to-60-mph time of just 5.8 seconds.
Baldwn Motion 1970 1/2 Camaro
Starting in 1967, two Long Island businesses collaborated to
create some of the fastest Corvettes, Novas, Chevelles and Camaros of all time.
Motion Performance modified the cars, and the Chevrolet dealer Baldwin Auto Co.
sold them and offered financing. The cars were built to order and outfitted
with 427-, 454- and even 482-cubic-inch engines, and could develop more than
500 horsepower. SS and more powerful Phase III models were offered, and Motion
Performance guaranteed the Phase III cars could turn in quarter-mile times of
at least 11.5 seconds at 120 mph.
YOU ARE NOT JUST BUYING PARTS – YOU ARE GETTING OUR CAMARO EXPERTISE
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