The History of the Chevy Camaro

February 10th, 2020 by

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When we think of muscle cars, we often think of highly souped-up vehicles that have had a lot of work done to them to make them perform to a car owner’s liking. Often, the interior will have been completely re-done to fit the driver’s taste. Custom paint jobs are usually common on the outsides of muscle cars, as well as modifications to the muffler and engine that make it sound more aggressive when revved.

Really, though, what classifies a muscle car as such is its ability to perform, and it doesn’t always take outside work for a car to perform well. Muscle cars are mid-sized performance cars, which first made a big splash in the mid-sixties to late-seventies as street racing or drag racing cars. Often, these cars were promoted by race car drivers, like the famous Carroll Shelby, and were sought after by those who wanted a little bit of thrill in their lives. What brought these cars ahead in terms of street performance was their rear-wheel drive, which was designed for speed optimization, and their V8 engine, which brought power to the table.

Few muscle cars have lasted the past several decades, as the focus for cars is now more on reliability, dependability, and practicality. Still, some people revel in the power and performance of the remaining muscle cars on the market.

And when it comes to remaining muscle cars, few perform quite like the Chevy Camaro.

Not Just Ford Vs. Ferrari

Chevy has always been known for its performance ability. This makes sense, as Louis Chevrolet, one of the founding fathers of Chevy, was a famous race car driver. However, there has always been an unspoken sort of rivalry (mostly friendly) among American automakers, and Ford and Chevy were not strangers to this competitive vibe.

In the early 1960s, Ford released its famous Mustang muscle car as a way to cater to changes in the consumer market, as was showcased in the recent Hollywood blockbuster Ford Vs. Ferrari. No longer were consumers looking for affordable and reliable cars. Baby Boomers, now entering the consumer group, were looking for ways to show off their hard-earned money – and cars, until that point, were an untapped market potential. But while the Ford Mustang hit the American market as the first of the Boomer-era muscle cars, Chevrolet used their racing history to their advantage.

Shortly after Ford released the Mustang in 1964, Chevrolet released its famous Camaro. On June 28th, 1966, Chevrolet held a press conference in which they unveiled the new car. Famously (and, perhaps, with a little friendly jab toward its competition) when asked what Camaro meant, Chevrolet said the Camaro was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.” This was meant as a joke, but the term Camaro was a stylized version of the French word “Camarade”. Although the word Camaro does not exist in the French language, it is obvious what Chevrolet was going for – it wanted to celebrate the spirit of friendship with the naming of its powerful muscle car.

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Six Generations of Performance (On and Off-Screen)

Since its introduction in 1966, the Camaro has seen six different generations go through the works. Even with its many various iterations, it has still managed to steal the hearts of car lovers across the world. Additionally, the Camaro has been one of the most notable cars on-screen, showcasing itself across genres. Therefore, it might be noted that the Camaro’s performance was not just found in its roadworthiness, but also its screen worthiness.

The first generation was the origin of the classic look that we imagine from older Camaros. One memorable movie role of this generation was from the classic Steven King movie adaptation, Christine. Although the movie was shot in the mid- to late-eighties, the base for the car was the 1967 model. The Camaro was the haunted star of this show, and it’s no wonder why. It had that classic look that so many seventies-era muscle cars have, and its V8 engine made for a powerful, chilling growl. The first edition had three different versions, including the standard, super sport, and rally sport editions.

Though the look of the second generation stayed somewhat similar, however, it did get bigger and had a slight redesign that offered it a curvier design. Generation two was available from 1970-1981, making it one of the most popular generations of the Camaro. This set it aside from the design of many sedans and mid-sized cars that came out of this period. You can get a glimpse of this generation in Transformers (before Bumblebee’s upgrade).

The third generation was undoubtedly eighties in its style, which makes sense since it was manufactured between ’82 and ’92. The once sleek and smooth curves of the Camaro turned boxy, as was the form of the time. The fourth generation, on the other hand, completely smoothed itself out and adopted the sleek, rounded look that was so common throughout the nineties. This generation went through a complete engine re-do and remained popular among buyers. However, many felt that the fourth generation lacked the muscle car feel that the previous versions had.

This likely prompted the fifth generation, which harkened back to the sixties and seventies in terms of looks, though it still managed to maintain its own, distinct style. The redesign won it the World Car of the Year Awards in 2010. This redesign also landed the Camaro back in Hollywood spotlight – making appearances in big-name movies like Transformers and The Fast and the Furious franchise. Today, the sixth generation has won many awards, including the Motor Trends Car of the Year Awards for 2011. It received a front-end re-do which makes it slightly more modern and sleek than its previous generation.

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Zeck Chevy is proud to be part of the fast, exciting, and dynamic history of the Camaro. If you’re looking for a sleek and sporty car to add to your collection, Zeck Chevy in Purcell, Oklahoma, has many different Camaros for sale. We proudly serve Moore, Norman, Purcell, Oklahoma City, and surrounding areas. Click here to browse our collection of Camaros. Or, if you want to stop by and look at our wide variety of sporty cars, come by Zeck Chevy in Purcell, located at 1601 North Green Avenue.

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