Chevrolet Camaro

In April of 1965 puzzling reports began showing up within the automotive press from Chevrolet public relations office concerning a mysterious Panther project. A intriguing telegram stated "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."

And indeed on the mentioned date in 1966, General Motors held the first live press conference transmitted via telephone lines in 14 major American cities.

Chevrolet General Manager at the time was Pete Estes, who announced a new car line, project designation XP-836 maintained the tradition of keeping model names beginning with the letter C then presented the new Camaro.

When asked what does the name stand for, Chevrolet product managers answered it was a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs. The Chevrolet Camaro officially became available in auto dealerships on September 29, 1966.

First-generation Camaro made an impact in 1967 and was available as a 2-door, 2+2 seating, coupé or convertible with a choice of 250 cu in (4.1 L) inline-6 and 302 cu in (4.9 L), 307 cu in (5.0 L), 327 cu in (5.4 L), 350 cu in (5.7 L), or 396 cu in (6.5 L) V8 power plants. In addition, the Camaro was designed to fit a variety of power plants in the engine bay. The first-generation lasted until the 1969 and later inspired the design of the retro fifth-generation Camaro.

Chevrolet Camaro had unibody structure, combined with a sub-frame supporting the front end. Only two body styles were offered to the public, a coupe and convertible, however nearly 80 factory and 40 dealer options including three main packages were available along with the basic model. The most popular version included a 3.8 L I6 engine rated at 140 hp and backed by a Saginaw three-speed manual transmission.

The two-speed "Powerglide" automatic transmission was a popular option in 1967-68 which was subsequently replaced with three-speed "Turbo Hydra-Matic 350" in 1969. The 290 hp, 5.7 L V8 engine inspired the 1967 Camaro model as a market standard and almost every engine in the Chevrolet lineup was offered as optional.

First significant changes occurred in 1968 when Astro Ventilation, a fresh-air-inlet system together with side marker lights, pointy front grill, and divided rear taillights were presented. Multi-leaf rear springs replaced single-leaf units, and shock absorbers were staggered. The Chevrolet designers couldn't be more satisfied when over 7000 units were sold on the market.

The 1969 brought significantly sportier look with iconic redesigned grille and deeply inset headlights. New door skins, rear quarter panels, and rear valence panel also gave the car a much lower, wider, more aggressive look. Modern collectors and antique car lovers often debate preferences regarding rounded lines 1967 and 1968 model versus the aggressive sporty appearance of the 1969 model.

The base price of '67 Camaro was at the time $2,466 with available individual options and trim packages. Rally Sport package included deluxe interior trim and hidden headlights with it, while the high-performance Super Sport package had a domed hood with simulated vents, "bumble bee" stripes encircling the nose and the iconic SS badges), a heavy-duty suspension and larger D70-series tires on 14-inch wheels.

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