On September 26, 1966, the American automobile manufacturer Chevrolet released the 1967 Chevy Camaro. The Camaro was invented to serve as a competitor to the popular Ford Mustang, and the car shared its platform and other components with the Pontiac Firebird. Four series of the Camaro were invented from 1966 to 2002 and development of the fifth generation of the Camaro began on March 16, 2009. Since its release 53 years ago, over 5 million Chevy Camaros have been sold.
The Camaro was not only the company's first muscle car but comes as a 2-door coupe or convertible. Here are ten things you did not know about the Chevy Camaro.
10 The Original Camaro Was Called The Panther
Prior to the announcement of the Camaro on September 26, 1966, in April 1965, the company threw around rumors that Chevrolet was planning on developing a rival to the Ford Mustang, code-named Panther. On June 28, General Motors, Chevy's parent company, held a live press conference in Detroit where they announced a new car line, project designation XP-836, which would serve as a rival to the Mustang and follow the age-old tradition of having a name starting with the letter C. As past Chevy models had begun with the letter, such as the Corvette or the Corvair, it was then announced that the new car would be titled the Camaro.
9 The Second Generation Of The Camaro Was Inspired By Ferrari
The development of the second-generation of the Camaro was hugely influenced by the classic Ferrari. In 1963, Ferrari released the Ferrari Lusso 250 GT, and only produced 350 units of this gorgeous, classic automobile. If compared side-by-side, the Lusso and the Camaro C2 have stark similarities, and it is not too difficult to see the influence the 250 GT had on the Chevrolet Camaro design.
In addition to the compact shape both models share, they both come as a 2-door coupe, have round headlights and have an undivided grille in the front. For these reasons and considering the C2 was the first convertible model of the Camaro, the Camaro C2 was met with much success.
8 The Announcement Of The Camaro Was The Largest Teleconference In The World
While the announcement of the Camaro stirred much attention around the world, the announcement itself was a historical event as well. The announcement of the Chevy Camaro made by top General Motors officials from the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Detroit was the world’s first huge teleconference.
While the announcement was made in Detroit, media and PR officials from Chevrolet had gathered in 14 cities for the announcement, which was made via conference call. At the time, it was the largest teleconference ever attempted. To pull this off, Chevrolet recruited over 100 Bell Company employees to set up and maintain the call, and in the end, the announcement went out without a hitch,
7 The Camaro’s Name Has No Meaning
Even though the Chevrolet Camaro is considered a classic, and one of the most popular cars of all time, nobody really knows what the name itself means. In 1966, word from the company was that Camaro is a French word standing for friendship and camaraderie. There is, in fact, no French term "Camaro." The latter statement was a Mustang eating, vicious animal.
This rumor eventually grew into a funny rumor that it is an illness that kills Mustangs. While the statement is pretty clear, that the Camaro will defeat the Mustang, there really is no real meaning to the word. The Camaro is a term that was simply thought up by a group of executives who wanted a unique name that began with the letter C.
6 The Camaro Was Produced With 7 Motor Choices
When the Camaro first came out, it came with seven different engine choices. Most cars today only offer up to four. One of these special packages was only ordered by some 600 people who had to have the code Z/28. The Z/28 was built for the purpose of being a race legal counterpart to the Mustang and came with a 302 CID V8 engine. The 1979 Z/28 came in a 2-door coupe style with rear-wheel drive.
The Z/28 engine produced 170 hp and helped the Camaro reach a top speed of 105 miles per hour. The Z/28 remains one of the most famous Chevrolet ordering codes to ever exist.
5 The Z/28 Nearly Never Made It To Production
Despite its raging popularity, the Z/28 almost never made it to production. The first Z/28 was released in 1969, but prior to its production, it had to face the wrath of Pete Estes. At the time, Pete Estes was in charge of Chevrolet and the Camaro team needed to get his okay prior to producing the Z/28 edition. The story goes, however, that Estes hated any automobile that was not a convertible, and the Z/28, unfortunately, was not. In order to battle this obstacle, one engineer ordered a Camaro convertible to be equipped with the Z/28 special performance package. Estes loved the car so much that he approved its production, and for two years, a drop-top option was not available for the Camaro Z/28.
4 The Camaro Has Undergone Six Generations Of Body Changes
While the Camaro has undergone six generations of alterations and once came with seven engine options, the Camaro has also undergone six distinct body changes that are worthwhile to note. The first generation of the Camaro was a classically modeled muscle car which leaned towards a European style for its second model in 1970. The second model bore a clear resemblance to the Italian engineering of the Ferrari Lusso 250 GT and followed this style until 2002 when production of the car was halted. With its revival in 2010, the new generation of the Camaro has seen a return to its original muscle car template.
3 The Camaro Is A Racing Legend
In addition to being an incredibly popular consumer model, the Camaro also bears a name for being a racing legend. The Indianapolis 500 has chosen the Camaro a total of eight times since its release in 1966, and in 2002, the Camaro locked up the rights as pace car for the Indy 500 race.
The Camaro has served as the official pace car in '67, '69, '82, '93, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2016. In addition to being a pace car for the Indy 500, the Camaro has also seen success on the racetrack as a competitor in NASCAR races.
2 The Original Camaro Cost $2,572
While the Camaro retails today for tens of thousands of dollars, the first generation of the Camaro retailed for only a couple grand. When it debuted in 1967, the first-generation Camaro retailed for just $2,572. A half-century later, the base price of the original Camaro is not even enough to pay for a Camaro RS appearance package with the Technology package, which retails for $1,950 and $800 respectively. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, buying a '67 Camaro at its average retail value will set you back even further than buying a brand-new model with no options for around $25,000.
1 The Camaro Is More Powerful Than Ever
Finally, the Camaro is more powerful than ever and defies expectations. The highest horsepower exhibited by any Camaro was a recorded 580 hp, which was produced by the 2015 Zl1. Despite this incredible putout, engineers at Chevrolet are competing to invent a newer, faster generation which is capable of outdriving the 2015 ZL1. The 2017 ZL1 is powered by a 6.2 L V8 engine and puts out a whopping 650 hp of power. The Camaro's power output has come a long way, especially when taken into consideration the energy of the past models. The first-generation Camaro produced 250 hp, but this was not the lowest output ever recorded for a Camaro, however. The 1975 Camaro takes the prize for the lowest horsepower recorded at an abysmal 155 hp.