After Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964, Chevrolet realized they needed to do something to compete with the very successful newcomer. The answer was the proposed 1968 Chevy II with unibody construction and lots of room for a big-block engine. This new care was code named "Panther." The name Camaro comes from a French word meaning "Companion."
--- 1967-69 ---
The first generation arrived in 1967. Chevrolet entered the market "pony car" market with an all new, the Camaro. Available in two body styles, a convertible and a 2-door sports coupe. The 1968 Camaro changed little in appearance while the 302 Z28 increased in popularity and production. The designation Z/28 was initially a code name inside GM which became an option package. Like the SS and RS, Z/28 was initially just an option to the standard coup and the cars did not sport any emblems initially. Only 602 Camaros with the Z/28 package were built in the 1967 model year. 1969 model showed minor styling changes.
--- 1970-81 ---
Due to a complete restyling, the second generation 1970 Camaro didn't appear in the showrooms until February of that year. This generation lasted until 1981 though it went through many changes during that time. The convertible was killed by lagging public demand and high insurance rates and did not return until 1987. As the muscle car field diminished, it was felt that the Camaro would either have to change radically or vanish altogether from the field. It did neither; instead gradually losing the fire-breathing, street racer image and V8s larger than 5.7L to become a sporty grand touring car. While the engines gradually lessened in size and performance, the rest of the Camaro has been upgraded to form a respective handling car. This was also the end of the RS and SS models.
--- 1982 ---
The 1982 and later Camaro is a completely redesigned body style. It has shed a few hundred excess pounds thereby becoming more fuel efficient than previous models. This new body style has greatly enhanced Camaro's appeal to buyers of all ages. The all new car was named the Indy Pace Car for 1982 and the horsepower lost during the 70's was showing a comeback.
--- 1985-90 ---
Fuel injection was implemented in the 1985 model year with Tuned Port Injection. The IROC-Z also arrived on the scene which evolved from the International Race of Champions race series. The RS returned as a separate model in 1989 for a few years before it was dropped again. The IROC lasted until the limited 1990 model year then was ended since Chevy did not renew the IROC contract for 1991. The 1990 model had a redesigned interior with new instrument panel and driver's side air bag.
--- 1991 ---
Z28 name returns, IROC-Z dropped. All lower valances redesigned. Side valances had scoops in front of each wheel (like Mustang GT). Z28 got big Ferrari F40 style rear wing. On the Z28, `CAMARO' on the front license plate panel was replaced with the bow-tie emblem. The hood louvers on the previous year's IROC were replaced by hood 'power blisters' on the Z28. Engine designations were removed from side valance badging and only appeared on rear bumper.
The standard wheel for the Z28 was a newly styled 16 inch wheel. Standard tires for the Z28 were P235/55R-16 tires; P245/50ZR-16 tires were optional on the Z28, and standard on 350 Z28 and Z28 convertible.
The RS was available with 16 inch wheels as an option. Tires for the 16 inch wheels on the RS were P235/55R-16. RS also got grid taillights to match Z28. The CHMSL was moved from the spoiler to the inside leading edge of the hatchback glass. The slightly smaller non-CHMSL spoiler from 1982-1986 replaced the CHMSL spoiler on the RS.
G92 packages with air conditioning (C60) and without air conditioning (C41/1LE) still available on Z28. All 350 Z28's were required to have one of the G92 packages in 1991. G92 was not available on the Z28 convertible (as was the case with the previous year's IROC-Z convertible).
289 1991 1LE LB9 (305 TPI) Z28's were built. 175 1991 1LE B2L (350 TPI) Z28's were built.
B4C 'special service' police package became available to law enforcement agencies only. Cars were RS coupes with Z28 5.0 TPI or 5.7 TPI drive trains and Z28 suspensions. These cars came equipped with the 16 inch wheels and P245/50-ZR16 tires, engine oil cooler, rear disc brakes, and limited slip axle. Midyear, the 1LE 11.86 inch front brakes and HD calipers became optional for the B4C. This package was the only way to get air conditioning and the HD front brakes. There were 592 1991 B4C Camaros built.
--- 1992 ---
25th anniversary of Camaro and last year for the 3rd generation Camaro. 1992 also marked the end of Camaros produced at the Van Nuys plant (the only Camaro producing plant since the Norwood plant closed at the end of the 1987 model year). All Camaros had 25th anniversary badge on dash.
'Heritage Edition' package available on all Camaros. Package included first generation Camaro style hood and rear deck stripes, body colored grille, black headlamp pockets, and a 25th anniversary badge on rear spoiler (RS) or hatchback rear edge (Z28). Initially Heritage package only available as white car with red stripes; black car with red stripes; or red car with black stripes. Mid-year, additional Heritage Edition colors available: polo green car with gold stripes (this combination also got gold badges and gold accent wheels); and purple haze car with silver stripes.
Special 25th anniversary 'Collector's Edition' Camaro was planned, but then dropped. There were to be 602 (same as the number of '67 Z28's) produced. Only two prototypes were completed however. The Collector's Edition Camaro started as a white Heritage Edition RS Camaro (with black stripes). Then the B4C police package was added, and then it was equipped with the Corvette L98 5.7 aluminum head motor, fitted with siamesed intake runners and tubular headers. This brought the horsepower rating up to 270. The car was also equipped with a ZF 6-speed and GTA black 'lace' 16x8 wheels. Dash badge on the RS now read 'RS' rather than 'CAMARO'.
'Tuned Port Injection' disappeared from the TPI throttle body cover. Mid-year, valve covers on TPI motors changed from silver to black (like LO3 V8). Also, at some point near the end of the production year, the traditional smooth-appearance Camaro TPI runners were replaced with rough, cast-appearance TPI runners (like on the Corvette L98). These runners were possibly old Corvette stock being used up on the Z28s since the Corvette's L98 was replaced by the LT1 in 1992. Z28 convertible came only with P235/55R-16 tires for 1992. There were 705 1992 ILE Camaros built. HD calipers and 11.86 front brakes became standard on the B4C special service package. There were 589 1992 B4C Camaros built.
--- 1993-97 ---
In 1993 a wild new fourth generation Camaro arrived with only two models. The Z28 with a 5.7L LT1 power plant and an ordinary Camaro with a 3.1L V6. The LT1 of course was the engine used in the Corvette at the time. In a Corvette it was rated at 300 bhp but in the Z28 it lost 25 bhp do to air intake and other restrictions. The 93' offered a six speed manual transmission which had a 2nd gear lockout feature to improve gas mileage. You could engage 2nd gear with fast acceleration.
--- 1998 ---
In 1998 the Z28 was given a new nose and the new LS1 power plant from the newly redesigned Corvette.
--- 2002 ---
Sadly, the final production year of the Camaro.