The Camaro car came form GM’s Chevrolet division as was classified as a pony car together with Ford Mustang, Plymouth Barracuda, AMC’s Javelin and AMX, Plymouth Road Runner and GTX. Originally, Camaro was designed to compete the Ford Mustang in 1967. John Delorean was Camaro’s designer. Firstly, he wanted to built a sports car familiar to Corvette, but after GM made a request to design a pony car, a code-named project “Panther” was born. A bit later Panther become what is is now – the Camaro. The car was mostly Pontiac Firebird that was also introduced in 1967, the debut Camaro also had some mechanicals with 68 Chevy II Nova, but had its own fans. After 4th generation, Camaro model was stopped in 2002, but soon it came back with a proper buzz and huge PR campaign.
“A small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs”
That was the description given by Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes after journalist asked what does the Camaro name mean. That was also the start of the 1st Camaro generation. Even though 1967 model was introduced in 1966, officially, 1st generation lasts up to 1969. The rear wheel drive F-body platform was fitted with 2+2 seat 2-door coupe and convertible bodies. Engine bay was equipped with quite a few units: 250 cubic inline-6 [140 HP], 302/307/327/350 and 396 cubic [350 HP] V8s. There were 3-speed Saginaw manual, 3-speed Muncie manual and 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmissions available in 1967-1968, and “Turbo Hydra-Matic 350” 3-speed in 1969.
The appearance in 1967 did not change much, but it got sportier and more aggressive looks: “V”-design cant and deep-inserted headlights, lower ride, wider body.
There were 3 optional packages available: RS – appearance [hidden headlights, RS badges, ecterior trim], SS – performance [350 or 396 cubic V8s, non-functional hood scoops, stripes, SS badges, front fenders, etc], RS/SS [both mixed] and Z/28 with Muncie 4-speed manual transmission, power front disc brakes, 302 cubic small block V8 with wider crankshaft and bore, aluminum intake, 4-barrel carburetor, upgraded suspension, special stripes.
Even though GM had a request not to install larger than 400 cubic engines, dealers like Yenko equipped Camaros with 427 cubic engines [425 HP]. Don Yenko ordered 201 units and made his Yenko Camaro – these are legendary at present [aka COPO 9561 option]. There was also a special drag racing option – COPO 9560 – which had 430 HP [actually, it made ±550 HP]. Only 69 of them were built.
With a myth that some 1969 Camaros were sold as the 2nd generation in 1970, the 1st generation officially ended in 1969.