The Camaro

First Generation Camaro

The first-generation Camaro debuted in September 1966 (designated as the 1967 Camaro) in response to the hugely successful Ford Mustang (the Mustang had been developed in response to the Corvair.)

 

The executives at Chevrolet realized that the Corvair was not going to compete with the sales of the Mustang partly due to its rear-engine design and Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe at Any Speed, which called the Corvair "The One-Car Accident".


Reports started running in April 1965 in the automotive press, before any official announcements were made, that Chevrolet was preparing a competitor to the Ford Mustang, code-named Panther.  June 21 1966, 200 automotive journalist 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 journalist received a second telegram the following day saying “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.”  On June 28 General Motors held a press conference and made history with the first ever real-time press conference containing 14 cities hooked up via telephone lines.  The new Camaro line was then unveiled and when Chevrolet managers were asked what a Camaro was,the replied with  ““a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”   The word Camaro, according to Chevrolet,  was Old French for “friend”.

second generation Camaro

1972 Camaro-second generation Camaro

The Camaro officially went on sale in dealerships on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year.  The first generation Camaro includes the year models 1967, 1968 and 1969.  The look of the 1969 Camaro was changed to a more angular look, the wheel wells were squared off, the dashboard was updated with square gauges and the tachometer was optional.  This was the last of the first generation Camaro and Chevrolet offered a ton of engine choices, everything from straight line six cylinder engine to an incredible 427 cubic inch monster that was part of the special order ZL-1. Most buyers picked the small block V-8.  The Camaro was a built as  a family car with its 2 by 2 seating and is considered to be Chevrolet’s Pony car while the Chevelle SS is considered the muscle car.

Model 0-60 mph Quarter Mile Time Engine Source
1969 Camaro ZL1 5.2 sec 12.8 sec @ 107.0 mph 427ci/425hp MCR 1987
1969 Camaro ZL1 5.3 sec 10.4 sec @ 128.1 mph 427ci/425hp Super Stock Mag 2/69
1969 Camaro Yeko 5.4 sec 11.9 sec @ 114.5 mph 427ci/430hp Yeko
1969 Camaro Z28 7.4 sec 15.1 sec @ 94.8 mph 302ci/290hp Car Life
1969 Camaro Z28 7.4 sec 15.1 sec @ 95.0 mph 302ci/290hp Road & Track 12/91
1969 Camaro SS Pace Car 8.0 sec 16.0 sec @ 88.0 mph 350ci/300hp Motor Trend7/96
1969 Camaro SS n/a 14.8 sec @ 98.7 mph 396ci/375hp Car & Driver 5/70
1969 Camaro Z/28 n/a 14.7 sec @ 95.9 mph 302ci/290hp PopularHot Rod
1969 Camaro SS396 n/a 14.5 sec @ 100.6 mph 396ci/375hp PopularHot Rod
1969 Camaro SS 396 n/a 14.2 sec @ 97.3 mph 396ci/375hp MCR 12/97
1969 Camaro SS n/a 14.2 sec @ 103.8 mph 396ci/375hp MCR Feb/Mar 1996
1969 Camaro ZL-1 n/a 13.2 sec @ 100.2 mph 427ci/425hp Hi PerfCars 8/69
1969 Camaro SS n/a 13.0 sec @ 108.6 mph 396ci/375hp Supercar Annual 1969

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