The Chevrolet Camaro is a popular pony car made in North America by the
Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. It was introduced on 29 September 1966 — the start of the 1967 model
year — as a competitor of the Ford Mustang. The car shared the platform and major components with the Pontiac Firebird,
also introduced in 1967. Four distinct generations of the car were produced before production ended in 2002. A new Camaro is
expected to roll off assembly lines in 2009.
The Camaro was initially advertised on Top 40 AM radio stations of the day in an attempt to woo the young adult market.
Although it was technically a compact car (by the standards of the time), Camaro may also be classified as an intermediate
touring car, a sports car, or a muscle car.
Though the car's name was contrived with no meaning, GM researchers reportedly found the word in a French dictionary as
a slang term for "friend" or "companion." In some automotive periodicals before official release, it was code-named "Panther,"
however, the project designation for the Camaro was XP-836 and some early GM photos show the final Camaro body labeled "Chaparral".
Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers "What is a Camaro?", and were told it was "a small, vicious animal that eats
Mustangs". The name conveniently fit Chevrolet's "C" naming structure that included Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette.
First generation Camaro
- The first-generation Chevrolet Camaro debuted for the 1967 model year on an all brand new
rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform and would be available as a 2-doors, 2+2 seating, coupe or convertible with a choice of
inline-6 and V8 powerplants. The first-generation Camaro would last up through the 1969 model year. The body helped inspire
the new 2009 Camaro; as it is said to be created in its image.
Second generation Camaro
- Introduced to market in February of 1970, the second-generation Chevrolet Camaro would be in
production for a total of 12 years. The car grew somewhat larger and wider with the new styling; this resulted in a heavier
car as well. Still based on the F-body platform, the new Camaro was engineered
much like its predecessor in that it still used a unibody structure with a front subframe, leaf springs in the back and A-arms up
front for suspension. The car would see major changes in both styling and performance as time progressed from the introduction
through the end of second-generation production in 1981.
Third generation Camaro
- The third-generation Chevrolet Camaro was introduced for the 1982 model year. It continued to use General Motors' F-body platform and would produce a "20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition" for 1987 and "25th Anniversary Heritage Edition" for 1992. These were also the first Camaros with factory fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmissions, five-speed manual transmissions, four-cylinder engines, 16-inch wheels, and hatchback bodies. It was during the third generation that the famous IROC Camaro was available.
The third-gen Camaros would continue through the 1992 model year.
Fourth generation Camaro
- The fourth-generation Chevrolet Camaro debuted for the 1993 model year on an updated F-body platform.
It would retain the same characteristic since the first-generation's introduction back in 1967; 2-doors, 2+2 seating, available as a
coupe or convertible although later introduced in 1994, rear-wheel drive, and a choice of V6 and V8 powerplants. It featured the
5.7 L (350 cid) LT1 V8 engine that had been introduced in the Corvette one year earlier, as well as an optional six-speed
manual transmission. The 1998 model year was refreshed and revised with both exterior and engine changes. Replacing the LT1 was GM's
all-new 5.7 L (346 cid) LS1 which had been introduced with the Corvette C5.
The fourth-gen Camaro would last up through the 2002 model year, at which point production of the F-Body platform was stopped
due to low sales.
Fifth generation Camaro
- On 9 January, 2006, the first official word regarding a fifth-generation Camaro from General
Motors came at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, where the 2006 Camaro Concept was released. The concept is
powered by the 400 hp LS2 V8 and equipped with the T-56 six-speed manual transmission. GM also showed the 2007 Camaro
Convertible Concept on 6 January, 2007 at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Other than the convertible
top, Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat paint job, and a pair of dark gray racing stripes, the convertible concept appears the
same as the coupe concept.
On 10 August 2006, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced that GM will build an all-new version of the
Chevrolet Camaro muscle car based on the award-winning concept that debuted at the Detroit auto show. The all-new
Camaro will begin with early production versions at the end of 2008 and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2009.
The Camaro Convertible is expected to go into production about a year later. The Camaro will be rear wheel drive, have
an independent rear suspension, be offered with both V6 and V8 engines, and have available automatic and manual transmissions.
Pricing has not been officially announced yet, however, GM has stated that it will be competitive with the Ford Mustang.
Appearances in pop culture
- A 1979 Camaro is owned by Jefferson in Fast Times At Ridgemont High which Spicoli takes on a joyride with Jefferson's little brother, but in the process the car loses control and crashes.
- The 1985 Dead Milkmen song "Bitchin' Camaro" playfully discusses the car as a metaphor for freedom from responsibility, in which the driver does "donuts on your lawn" and has "no insurance to match".
- In the movie At Close Range a 1969 Camaro is one of the cars that Brad Whitewood, Sr. Christopher Walken drives.
- In the movie A Walk to Remember Landon Carter, played by Shane West, drives a 1967 SS, in which he runs from the cops in the beginning of the movie, wrecking it. But he perodically fixes it through the rest of the movie.
- The Camaro is featured in the music video of the song "Shoulder Lean" by Young Dro.
- The Camaro is confirmed to be the vehicle mode of the character Bumblebee in the 2007 film, Transformers.
- A '67 Camaro was used for Metallica's "I Disappear" video.
- Both Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer drive 1993 Chevrolet Camaro in the movie Heat when their characters are going to flee.
- The Camaro features in the opening scene of the very first episode of The OC, in which Trey and Ryan are trying to steal.
- A fourth generation Camaro SS was driven by John Cena in the movie The Marine. Although it was an SS edition, Chevrolet did produce police interceptor camaros, also known as B4Cs.
- A 1968 Camaro convertible appears in the movie Pretty Woman cruising along side of the Lotus
- In the Wheatus song "Teenage Dirtbag", at the middle of the second verse, the song quotes and he drives an IROC referring to the IROC-Z.
- Five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champions from September 1997-November 2002 could choose a pair of Camaros as their prize.
- In a 1998 episode of Star Trek:Voyager (Vis à Vis), Tom Paris repairs a 1969 Camaro which is referred to by his 24th century girlfriend as a "com-Ah-row".
- Joey Donner drives a red Camaro in the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You.
On the 11th February 2007 episode of BBC's Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson drives a 1989 Camaro RS from Miami, Florida, to New Orleans, Louisiana.
- In a Rashomon-esque episode of King Of The Hill where the principal characters become volunteer firemen, a rare instance of Boomhauer speaking clearly occurs when he asks the rest to be quiet to better allow him to read an article about vintage Camaros.
- The song Wish List by Pearl Jam mentions the Camaro in the line: "I wish I was the full moon shining off your camaro's hood"
- Top Gear's American fly-drive special featured a third generation Camaro, bought by presenter Jeremy Clarkson for $800 US in Miami. During the filming, Clarkson became rather attached to the car, at one point stating that "I'd rather be in this now than an Enzo"
- The Boston area rock band Bang Camaro was formed in 2005.
- Featured on 2/21/07 on an episode on ABC's Lost is a Camaro that the character Hurley and his father are trying to reconstruct.
- In the movie The Stoned Age, they all drive to the party in a 1967 Camaro.
- In the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, players can drive a car called a "Buffalo", equivalent to a 1990 Z28 Camaro with hood scoop.
- Hurley, a character in the ABC show LOST, repairs a Camaro with his father in the episode 'Trisha Tanaka is Dead'
- In Need for Speed: Carbon, you can start out with a '67 Camaro, or if you buy the Collectors Edition, you can try out the 09 Camaro
- The 1980's punk rock band Ramones has a song called "Go li'l Camaro go"
- in 2003 a Yenko Camaro is won and driven by Brian Paul Walker in a streetrace in 2 Fast 2 Furious.
- The Kings of Leon album, Because of the Times, has a track titled "Camaro".