Chevrolet Camaro's are undoubly an American Muscle Car icon as well as a staple in the General Motors family. But there are many things that Camaro enthusiast may not know about these cars when they first came out in the 1960's. So we're going to travel back in time when the Camaro first started production and talk about some unusual facts that you probably didn't know.
How does Chevrolet Panther Z/28 sound?
GM originally was going to call the Camaro, the "Panther" and 1965 concepts even had that name along with emblems made for the car. Right up to just a few weeks before the car debuted this was still the name of what would become one of the most iconic American Muscle Cars. Originally it was leaked out to the press the new pony car would be called the Panther. Chevy PR had the first-ever coast-to-coast teleconference informing the auto industry and media that the official name of the car would "Camaro" instead. -Read More Here about the 1965 Chevy Panther Concept-
What's the story behind the Camaro name?
Many people might ask, What exactly is a Camaro? Well it was a made up word Chevrolet came up with, in it's 1960's naming scheme; the Caprice, Chevelle, Corvette, etc. An enterprising Chevrolet PR claimed later that they found the word in an old French dictionary as a slang work for friend (as in camaraderie), and that it appeared to be an "after the fact" back story. But any enthusiast who as owned a Camaro can probably call it a "friend" as it's likely to put a smile on the face of anyone driving it.
Mustang's and Camaro's share a similar secret!
Both the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro both started from very modest roots. Despite the acclaim that was greeted with their introductions in the 1960's which in huge esteem they have both held for over half a century. The Mustang was based heavily on the Ford Falcon economy car and the Camaro was based on a moderately-priced Chevy Nova. Isn't it funny how they quickly evolved has two of the baddest American Muscle Cars every built?
The first production year had 7 different engine options!
Unlike the small handful of engine options available in todays models, the 1967 Camaro was available with an astonishing 7 engine options. The seven engine options started with two inline six cylinder motors. The L26 230 CID producing 140 horsepower and the L22 250 CID that produced 155 horsepower. They both used a single barrel carburetor. Now onto the more exciting options; four barrel carburetor small block v8's. The first, L30 327 CID producing 275 horsepower, L48 350 CID producing 295 horsepower and the Z28 302 CID producing 290 horsepower which was made for SCCA Trans-Am competition. Now onto the four barred carburetor big block's, the L35 396 CID producing 325 horsepower and the L78 396 CID making the most of them all which produced 375 horsepower. The L35, L78 and Z28 are the rarest engine options found having only been accounted for less than 3% combined of all 1967 Camaro's produced. Information sourced from CRG: Camaro Research Group. So you can bet a number's matching 1967 with any of those 3 engines is worth some money in any condition.
Where did Z/28 performance package name come from?
Most would agree Z/28 is an awesome name, but where did it come from? It was simply the next code on Chevrolet's list for Camaro models. For example, the Z27 code was used for ordering the Camaro SS package with the 350 engine. The famous Chevy Small Block 350 first debuted in the 1967 Camaro by the way. And the Z29 code was for the Vega GT package. Now you get the idea.
Unusual Options no one ordered!
First was the A67 Fold-Down rear seat. This allowed the rear seat to fold down flat which would allow access to the trunk for longer items; a common thing found on cars today. But on the 1967 Camaro there was still a solid wall between the seat and trunk which didn't allow for access through the trunk into the cabin compartment of the car. It was more like a luggage shelf. Perhaps this was a production mistake?
The second unusual option was V75 a Liquid Aerosol Tire Chain. This was an option in 1969 that featured a refillable aerosol can located in each of the rear wheel wheels. It was designed to spray special traction enhancing liquid onto the rear tires on demand to help with snow and ice traction. Only 188 Camaro's were ever built with the V75 option.
So there you have it, seven facts about the first generation Camaro most people don't know about. Hopefully you learned something about Chevrolet's beloved pony car.