Chevrolet Camaro

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Chevrolet Camaro
1968ChevroletCamaroZ28.png
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Overview
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Production 1966–2002
2009–present
Model years 1967–2002
2010–present
Assembly Oshawa Car Assembly
Body and chassis
Class Pony car
Muscle car
Sports car
Body style 2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform F-body (1967–2002)
Zeta platform (2010–present)

The Chevrolet Camaro is an automobile manufactured by General Motors under the Chevrolet brand, classified as a pony car[1][2] and some versions also as a muscle car.[3][4] It went on sale on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year and was designed as a competing model to the Ford Mustang. The car shared its platform and major components with the Pontiac Firebird, also introduced for 1967.

Four distinct generations of the Camaro were developed before production ended in 2002. The nameplate was revived on a concept car that evolved into the fifth-generation Camaro; production started on March 16, 2009.[5]

Background[edit]

Before any official announcement, reports began running during April 1965 within the automotive press that Chevrolet was preparing a competitor to the Ford Mustang, code-named Panther.[6] On June 21, 1966, around 200 automotive journalists received a telegram from General Motors stating, "...Please save noon of June 28 for important SEPAW meeting. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. Details will follow...(signed) John L. Cutter – Chevrolet Public Relations – SEPAW Secretary." The following day, the same journalists received another General Motors telegram stating, "Society for the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World will hold first and last meeting on June 28...(signed) John L. Cutter – Chevrolet Public Relations SEPAW Secretary." These telegrams puzzled the automotive journalists.

On June 28, 1966, General Motors held a live press conference in Detroit’s Statler-Hilton Hotel. It would be the first time in history that 14 cities were hooked up in real time for a press conference via telephone lines. Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes started the news conference stating that all attendees of the conference were charter members of the Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World and that this would be the first and last meeting of SEPAW. Estes then announced a new car line, project designation XP-836, with a name that Chevrolet chose in keeping with other car names beginning with the letter C such as the Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette. He claimed the name, "suggests the comradeship of good friends as a personal car should be to its owner" and that "to us, the name means just what we think the car will do... Go!" The new Camaro name was then unveiled. Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers, "What is a Camaro?" and were told it was "a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs."[7]

According to the book The Complete Book of Camaro: Every Model Since 1967, the name Camaro was conceived by Chevrolet Merchandising Manager Bob Lund and General Motors Vice President Ed Rollett, while they were reading a book Heath's French and English Dictionary by James Boïelle and by de V. Payen-Payne printed in 1936. In the book The Complete Book of Camaro, it states that Mr. Lund and Mr. Rollett found the word "camaro" in the French-English dictionary to mean "friend, pal, or comrade". The article further stated Mr. Estes statement of what the word camaro was meant to imply, that the car's name "suggests the comradeship of good friends, as a personal car should be to its owner".[8]

The Camaro was first shown at a press preview in Detroit, Michigan, on September 12, 1966, and then later in Los Angeles, California, on September 19, 1966. Public introduction of the new model was on September 26, 1966.[9] The Camaro officially went on sale in dealerships on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year.[10]

First generation: 1967–1969[edit]

First-generation Camaro debuted in September 1966, for the 1967 model year, up to 1969 on a new rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform and was available as a 2-door coupé or convertible with 2+2 seating, and a choice of 230 cu in (3.8 L), 250 cu in (4.1 L) inline-6 or 302 cu in (4.9 L), 307 cu in (5.0 L), 327 cu in (5.4 L), 350 cu in (5.7 L), 396 cu in (6.5 L) 427 cu in (7.0 L) V8 powerplants. Concerned with the runaway success of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet executives realized that their compact sporty car, the Corvair, would not be able to generate the sales volume of the Mustang due to its rear-engine design, as well as declining sales, partly due to the negative publicity from Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Therefore, the Camaro was touted as having the same conventional rear-drive, front-engine configuration as Mustang and Chevy II Nova. In addition, the Camaro was designed to fit a variety of power plants in the engine bay. The first-generation Camaro would last until the 1969 model year and would eventually inspire the design of the new retro fifth-generation Camaro.

Second generation: 1970–1981[edit]

Introduced in February 1970, the second-generation Camaro was produced through the 1981 model year, with cosmetic changes made in 1974 and 1978 model years. The car was heavily restyled and became somewhat larger and wider with the new styling. Still based on the F-body platform, the new Camaro was similar to its predecessor, with a unibody structure, front subframe, an A-arm front suspension, and leaf springs to control the solid rear axle. Road & Track picked the 1971 SS350 as one of the 10 best cars in the world in August 1971. RS (shown to the right), SS, and Z28 performance packages gradually disappeared.

The Z28 package was reintroduced in mid-year 1977, largely in response to enthusiast demand, first-time dominance over the Ford Mustang, as well as the success of its corporate stablemate, the Pontiac Trans Am.

The 1980 and 1981 Z28 models included an air induction hood scoop with an intake door that opened under full throttle.

Third generation: 1982–1992[edit]

The third-generation Camaro was produced from 1982 to 1992. These were the first Camaros to offer modern fuel injection, Turbo-Hydramatic 700R4 four-speed automatic transmissions, five speed manual transmissions, 15 or 16 inch wheels, a standard OHV 4-cylinder engine,[11] and hatchback bodies. The cars were nearly 500 pounds (227 kg) lighter than the second generation model.

The IROC-Z (the IROC stands for International Race of Champions) was introduced in 1985 and continued through 1990. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Regulations required a CHMSL (Center High Mounted Stop Lamp) starting with the 1986 model year. For 1986, the new brake light was located on the exterior of the upper center area of the back hatch glass. Additionally, the 2.5L Iron Duke pushrod 4 cylinder Engine was dropped, and all base models now came with the 2.8L V6 (OHV). For 1987 and later, the CHMSL was either mounted inside the upper hatch glass, or integrated into a rear spoiler (if equipped). In 1985, the 305 small block V8 was available with TPI (tuned port injection). In 1987 the L98 5.7L 350cu in V8 engine became a regular option on the IROC-Z, paired with an automatic transmission only. The "20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition" was offered in 1987, as well as a "25th Anniversary Heritage Package" in 1992 that included a 305 cu in (5.0 L) High Output engine. Beginning in 1988, the 1LE performance package was introduced, optional on street models and for showroom stock racing in the U.S. and Canada. The B4C or "police" package was made available beginning in 1991. This basically created a Z28 in more subtle RS styling.

Fourth generation: 1993–2002[edit]

The fourth-generation Camaro debuted in 1993 on an updated F-body platform. It retained the same characteristics since its introduction in 1967: a coupé body style with 2+2 seating (with an optional T-top roof) or convertible (introduced in 1994), rear-wheel drive, pushrod 6-cylinder and V8 engines. The standard powerplant from 1993-1995 was a 3.4 liter V6. A 3.8 liter V6 was introduced in 1995. A 350 MPFI (LT1) Small Block V-8 engine, which was introduced in the Corvette in 1992, was standard in the Z28. Optional equipment included all-speed traction control and a new six-speed T-56 manual transmission; the 4L60E 4-speed automatic transmission was standard on the Z28, yet optional on the V6 models which came with 5-speed manual as standard. Anti-lock brakes were standard equipment on all Camaros. A limited quantity of the SS version (1996-1997) came with the 330 HP LT4 small block engine, most were equipped with the LT1. The 1997 model year included a revised interior, and the 1998 models included exterior styling changes, and a switch to GM's aluminium block LS1 used in the Corvette C5. The 5.7-liter LS1 was the first all-aluminum engine offered in a Camaro since the ’69 ZL-1 and carried a 305-horsepower rating.[12] The SS versions (1998-2002) received slightly improved exhaust and intake systems, bigger wheels and tires, a slightly revised suspension for improved handling and grip while retaining ride comfort, and an arc-shaped rear wing for downforce, over the Z28 models. The Camaro remained in production through the 2002 model year, marking 35 years of continuous production. Chevy also offered a 35th anniversary edition for the 2002 model year. Production of the F-Body platform was stopped due to slowing sales, a deteriorating market for sports coupés, plant overcapacity, and stiff competition for sales from Ford's Mustang.[13][14]

Fifth generation: 2010–present[edit]

The Camaro received a complete redesign, and new platform for the 2010 model year/fifth generation. Based on the 2006 Camaro Concept[15] and 2007 Camaro Convertible Concept, production of the fifth-generation Camaro was approved on August 10, 2006. The Oshawa Car Assembly plant in the city of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada began producing the new Camaro[16] which went on sale in spring of 2009 as a 2010 model year vehicle.[17][18]

Following the development of the Zeta architecture and because of its position as the GM global center of RWD development, GM Holden in Australia led the final design, engineering, and development of the Camaro. Production of the coupé began on March 16, 2009, in LS, LT, and SS trim levels.[19][20] LS and LT models are powered by a 3.6 L (220 cu in) V6 producing 312 hp for the 2010 & 2011 model mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic with manual shift. The SS is powered by the 6.2 L (376 cu in) LS3 V8 producing 426 hp (318 kW) and is paired with a 6-speed manual. The automatic SS gets the L99 V8 with 400 hp (300 kW). The RS appearance package is available on both the LT and SS and features 20-inch wheels with a darker gray tone, halo rings around xenon headlamps, a unique spoiler, and red RS or SS badges.

On April 1, 2010, the Camaro was named the World Car Design of the Year at the World Car of the Year Awards.[21]

In late January 2011, the production of 2011 Camaro Convertibles started. The first going to Rick Hendrick via Barret-Jackson Car Auction. Convertibles had the same options as the coupé (engines, RS, SS, etc.). The Camaro Convertible features an aluminium brace over the engine assembly, and under the transmission. Due to the 2011 Fukushima earthquake, certain pigment colors were not available to make certain colors for both the coupé and convertible.

On November 2011, the export version (excluding Japanese version) of the Camaro was introduced after a two-year delay. The delay was due to the unexpected high demand and strained production capacity. The export version included different tail lamps with integrated reverse and amber turn signal lamps, larger external rear view mirrors with integrated side turn signal repeaters, "cleaner" rear bumper appearance (without reverse light inserts), and other changes as to comply with ECE regulations.[22]

The 2012 model year marked the 45th anniversary of the Camaro and commemorated with a model available only in "Carbon Flash Metallic" paint. The 45th anniversary edition Camaro also included a unique stripe package, red white and blue interior stitching and 45th edition exclusive 20" wheels. The V6 was updated to a 3.6 L "LFX" engine producing 323 hp (241 kW). The SS model received an upgrade to the suspension system. All models received the RS spoiler and taillight details, wheel-mounted volume and radio controls, and Bluetooth connectivity controls as standard. The 2012 ZL1 Camaro included a 6.2 L LSA supercharged V8 producing 580 hp (430 kW). The LSA motor is the same used in the Cadillac CTS-V and makes it the fastest production Camaro ever produced. Other features included 2-stage exhaust, the addition of suede seats, steering wheel, and shift knob, as well as ZL1-exclusive 20" aluminum wheels. In 2012 Chevrolet unveiled the production of the 2013 Camaro ZL1 Convertible.

On December 19, 2012 GM announced that the Camaro would return to being made in America, as production of the Camaro would be shifted to the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Michigan, citing "lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies" as "key factors" in the move.[23] This move is expected to start in late 2015 or early 2016.[24]

At the 2013 New York Auto Show, Chevrolet unveiled a line-up of 2014 Camaros with a refreshed body style and the highly anticipated return of the Z/28 Camaro.[25] The 2014 Camaro received many upgrades, most notably to the exterior front and rear of the vehicle. The front end of the new Camaro received a slimmer, more refined grille along with a larger lower fascia and new fog lights. The rear end showed new taillights that took styling cues from the original first generation Camaro. The RS appearance package now incorporates LED's into both the headlights and taillights. The Z/28 returns paying homage to the original first generation iterations of the Z/28 that were a real force at the track. The Z/28 model features a high-performance 7.0 liter LS7 V8 engine that produces 505 hp,[26] the same engine used in the Z06 Corvette. The new Z/28 features numerous upgrades intended to improve lap times, and true to the original Z/28, air conditioning is an option. The Z/28 model retains only one speaker for the seat belt chime, the rear quarter glass has been thinned, rear seats have been thinned, and most of the sound deadening has been removed in an effort to reduce weight inside of the vehicle.

Racing[edit]

Camaros racing in the 1976 Camaro Cup at Ring Knutstorp in Sweden
Vintage Trans-Am racing of today.

The Camaro was one of the vehicles in the SCCA-sanctioned Trans-Am Series. Chevrolet worked with Roger Penske to operate their unofficially factory-backed Trans Am team, winning the title in 1968 and 1969 with Mark Donohue. Jim Hall's Chaparral team replaced Penske for the 1970 season. Warren Agor of Rochester, NY, was the series' leading Camaro privateer, his orange #13's o, 1993, 1994, and 1998.

There was also another SCCA Trans-Am Series Camaro that was not popular because of racing but because of its body modifications. This Camaro, number 13, had been built and driven by Henry “Smokey” Yunick. Smokey Yunick was a car builder who worked to reduce the weight of his cars by acid-dipping body parts and installing thinner safety glass.

The Penske/Donohue Camaros also had the front sheet metal dropped, all four fenders widened, windshield laid back, front sub-frame “Z’d” to lower the car, the floor pan moved up and even the drip-rails were moved closer to the body. This Camaro had always kept its stock look and had a 302 engine that was able to produce 482 horsepower.. One part that had come out of his testing was the Edelbrock Cross-Manifold. To this day the Smokey Yunick 1968 Camaro is owned by Vic Edelbrock Jr.

Camaro Cup race car

Bob Jane won both the 1971 and 1972 Australian Touring Car Championships at the wheel of a Camaro.[27]

The Camaro was the official car of and used in the International Race of Champions starting in 1975 and lasting for 12 years until 1989. It was the first American car of the series succeeding the Porsche Carrera RSR.

Today, Camaros are raced in many forms of auto racing throughout the world. They are a favorite in drag racing, have won many championships, and can be currently found in several series from the National Hot Rod Association, International Hot Rod Association, and United States Hot Rod Association. Road racing Camaros can currently be found in the Sports Car Club of America's American Sedan series. They have also been the vehicle used in the Swedish Camaro Cup series since 1975.

The Camaro was the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car in 1967, 1969, 1982, 1993, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014. The Camaro also paced races at Daytona, Watkins Glen, Mosport in Canada, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Camaro was also a regular in the IMSA GT Series.

The fifth-generation Camaro is expected to take to the tracks in 2010 in the GT class of the Grand Am Road Racing Championship. Stevenson Motorsports has announced it is seeking to run a two-car team of Pratt & Miller built cars, based on the same spaceframe as the Pontiac GXP-R.[28] The team also competes with Camaros in the Grand Sports class of the Grand-Am's Continental Tire Challenge.[29]

In 2013, the Camaro was the car used for almost all the Chevy teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

In popular culture[edit]

Bumblebee depicted as a 1977 Z28 and a 5th-gen Camaro

General Motors has made product placement, or embedded marketing, deals for the Chevrolet Camaro in numerous media.[30][31]

The vehicle mode of the fictional character Bumblebee in the 2007 film, Transformers, is first depicted as a 1977 Camaro[32] and later a fifth-generation concept variant. A modified fifth-generation Camaro reprises the role of Bumblebee in the sequels, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon[33] and Transformers: Age of Extinction.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holder, William G.; Kunz, Phillip (1995). Camaro. MotorBooks/MBI. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7603-0092-3 – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ "Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang in Pony-Car Showdown". AutoWeek. 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ Siler, Wes (June 24, 2009). "Muscle Car Wars: Camaro vs. Challenger vs. Mustang". Jalopnik. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  4. ^ Stone, Matt; Mead, Scott (March 2009). "Comparison: 2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS vs 2001 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra". Motor Trend. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Auto Buyers Have Spoken: GM Will Build An All-New Chevrolet Camaro" (Press release). GM Media Online. August 10, 2006. Archived from the original on February 25, 2007. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  6. ^ Settlemire, Scott. "The Day the Panther Died". GMnext. General Motors. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  7. ^ Biggs, Henry (February 3, 2006). "Top 10: Muscle cars". MSN Cars UK. Retrieved December 27, 2006. "When asked, Chevrolet sales executives claimed a Camaro was a: 'a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs'." 
  8. ^ Newhardt, David (2013). The Complete Book of Camaro: Every Model Since 1967. Motorbooks. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-7603-3961-9. 
  9. ^ Antonick, Mike (2003). The Camaro White Book, 1967-2002. Motorbooks International. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7603-1879-9 – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ Antonick, Mike (2003). The Camaro White Book, 1967-2002. Motorbooks International. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7603-1879-9 – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ Antonick, Michael (2003). The Camaro White Book, 1967-2002. MotorBooks International. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7603-1879-9 – via Google Books. 
  12. ^ "Chevy Camaro 1993 to 2002". Chevrolet History. Classicchevrolets.com. May 26, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Camaro, Firebird lines to End with 2002 Model Year". Oklahoma City Journal Record. Associated Press. September 26, 2001. Retrieved June 1, 2007. 
  14. ^ McCoy, Guy. "Rising from the Ashes". Popular Hot Rodding. Retrieved August 4, 2007. "Publicly, GM blamed slow sales, a deteriorated sports coupé market, and plant overcapacity." 
  15. ^ General Motors (January 9, 2006). "Chevrolet Camaro Concept: Capturing the Timeless Spirit of Camaro Besides the 3rd Gen Camaros" (Press release). GM Media Online. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2006. 
  16. ^ Keenan, Greg (August 18, 2006). "Canada to Build Camaro". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  17. ^ Mateja, Jim (March 10, 2008). "Chevy to Launch New Camaro Coupé, Convertible as '10 Models". Ward's Dealer Business. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  18. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (March 12, 2008). "Chevy Camaro to Be a 2010 Model, Not 2009". Autoblog. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  19. ^ Neff, John (July 21, 2008). "2010 Chevy Camaro: Official Details and Images". Autoblog. Retrieved July 21, 2008. 
  20. ^ "2010 Chevrolet Camaro Review". JB Car Pages. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Chevrolet Camaro: World Car Design of the Year 2010". AUSmotive.com. April 8, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  22. ^ "2011 Export Camaro Details & Differences". camaroz28.com. June 23, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Next-Generation Chevy Camaro to Be Built in the U.S" (Press release). General Motors. 
  24. ^ "GM to Shift Camaro Production from Oshawa to Michigan Plant". CTV News. December 19, 2012. 
  25. ^ "2014 Chevrolet Camaro, Camaro Z/28 debut at New York Auto Show". MLive (Booth Newspapers). 
  26. ^ "Camaro Z28 Returns in 2014: Shocking Debut in NYC". Chevrolet. 
  27. ^ "Australian Touring Car Championship". Cars and Racing Stuff. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  28. ^ Interview with John Stevenson, Speed TV Grand Am Montreal 200 broadcast, August 29, 2009
  29. ^ "Stevenson Motorsports to Race a Brand New Chevrolet Camaro in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series" (Press release). [dead link]
  30. ^ "Sears Department Store and Chevrolet Camaro Achieve Highest Product Placement Scores for June, Nielsen Reports". Nielsen. August 28, 2007. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  31. ^ Hinds, Julie (March 7, 2007). "GM Hopes Movie Roles Transform Cars into Sellable Stars". USA Today. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  32. ^ Huffman, John Pearley (June 10, 2007). "Driving the Transformers Beater Bumblebee 1977 Camaro". Edmunds. Retrieved November 22, 2007. 
  33. ^ Langfitt, Frank (July 21, 2009). "In The Camaro, a Glimmer of Hope for GM". NPR. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 

External links[edit]