Introduced in the flash media in 1966 for the 1967 model year, the Camaro is one of the most coveted Chevrolet model and one of America’s most iconic muscle cars. It was designed as a counterpoint to the Ford Mustang which debuted with early success in 1964. It’s fair to say American muscle car enthusiasts were smitten by the first-generation Camaro because it sold like hotcakes. In its sixth generation, the Camaro is still a very popular muscle car around the world, and for good reason. Its muscular appearance and powerful engine promise fun at a reasonable cost.
While the Chevy Camaro has been popular since its introduction, some are amazing classic even in higher demand. That’s thanks to their monstrous engine, higher performance, rich history, distinct features that other Camaro lacks, and exclusivity. Beating many boxes in the hearts of most car collectors, here are 10 of the rarest Chevrolet Camaros ever made.
10 1996 Chevrolet Camaro SLP Z28 SS – 2,269 Units
The SS badge was offered as an optional performance package for the Z28 Camaros in 1996 after a 24-year gap. With Chevrolet’s approval, SLP Engineering, a company known for its prodigy with GM’s F-body since the late 1980s, made the conversion. The first Camaro to claim the Z/28 SS double title instantly set a new benchmark in high-performance muscle cars.
Only 2,269 ’96 Z28s were ordered with the SS package, and 264 were convertibles. Unique features include a new rear decklid spoiler, under-hood forced air induction system, and a 6-speed manual transmission. Optional features include a Torsen limited-slip differential, Bilstein Sport Level II suspension, Hurst 6-speed short-throw shifter and a performance exhaust system that increases power by 5hp to 305 horses.
9 1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy Pace Car – 645 Units
The all-new 4th generation Camaro was chosen to take the lead in the 77th edition of the world-famous Indianapolis 500. Three Pace Cars built specifically for track service are based on the high-performance Camaro Z28. Chevrolet celebrated its appearance with 645 limited replicas for the public.
It’s finished in two-tone black and white and features the track car’s multicolored “ribbon” fender decal. Powered by a new 5.7 liter Gen II small block V8 engine dubbed the LT1, they boasted 275 hp, which is the most power in a Camaro V8 since 1971. Unlike the other Camaros on this list, this is more affordable.
8 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 – 602 Units
The first year the Camaro was publicly available, there was already a high-performance Z/28 package on offer. The Z/28 was developed to homologate Chevy’s new muscle car for SCCA’s popular Trans-Am road racing series to compete with the Mustang. Among the upgrades are front disc brakes, rally wheels and upgraded suspension components.
That’s backed up by a unique 302 cubic inch variant of Chevy’s small block V8 that sticks to the 5.0 liter displacement limit implemented in the Trans-Am racing series. Although it’s officially rated at 290 horsepower, it’s said to be significantly more powerful on dyno tests. Only 602 units were made, with the example of Concours valued at $174,000 today (Hagerty).
7 1970 Chevrolet Camaro SS – 600 Units
What made the 1970 Super Sport different was its power. While GM’s corporate racing ban means you can’t get a 427 or 454 cubic inch V8 engine with the 1970 Camaro, the SS option ensures you can get a 396 cubic inch L78 V8 pumping out an impressive 375 hp.
Only 600 cars were ordered with the engine. Powerful engines would disappear the following year and with 1972 marking the last year in decades the Camaro could be powered by a big block V8, the 1970 Camaro SS was destined to become a collector’s item.
6 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro – 200 Units
Don Yenko, a limited-production Chevrolet dealer/automaker, masterminded the much-desired first-generation Camaro model. COPO Yenko’s bespoke-based Camaro comes with a factory-equipped 427-cubic-inch L72 V8 engine that produces 425 horsepower.
This Camaro is given the signature badge and stripes and is finished off with performance trinkets like power disc brakes and heavy-duty suspension components. With the 1969 Yenko Camaro having just 200 units, Hagerty estimated the #1 1969 Yenko Camaro condition value at $335,000.
5 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – 69 Units
Considered a “blue-chip” model among muscle car collectors, the 1969 ZL-1 in #1 condition is currently priced at $1,050,000 (Hagerty). The initial production run included only 50 units, enough to homologate the Camaro into the NHRA Super Stock racing class. 19 more ZL-1s were later added and distributed among Chevrolet dealers bringing the total to 69.
Also ordered through the COPO system, this Camaro is equipped with the ZL1 performance package with a 427-ci aluminum V8 capable of producing up to 550 hp. However, the official output was listed as 430 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft to avoid scrutiny by GM. Car #59 of 69 sold for $1,094,500 in 2020, making it the most expensive Camaro ever sold at auction.
4 2012 Chevrolet COPO Camaro Racing Car – 69 Units
Like the original 1969 big block COPO Camaro ZL1, only 69 units of the 2012-2013 special “COPO” model were made. Built specifically for the drag racing NHRA Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes, they are not road legal and cannot be registered for the road as they are sold without a VIN.
However, buyers did not hesitate to pay Chevrolet’s official starting price of over $100,000. Under the hood, there’s a supercharged 5.3-liter V8 engine, but the collector’s package will swap it for a monstrous 7.0-liter V8. The first instance auctioned (for charity) brought in a good $700,000.
3 1967 Chevrolet Camaro – 49 Units
The first Camaro was a handcrafted “pilot assembly” vehicle built at the Norwood, Ohio plant in mid-1966. Only 49 units made in the original “run” were used for testing before regular production of this iconic model took place.