10 Things You Should Know About The First Generation Chevy Camaro

The famous scene in “Ford vs. Ferrari” testifies that the young people of the 1960s were against the boring cars their parents drove in the 50s. It’s time for speed, luxury, and sex appeal, but on a budget. Chevrolet’s strategy to corner the needs of this market is seen in the Chevelle, Nova, and Impala. However, Ford gave up their successful Mustang and started what became known as the horse car war. Then, Chevrolet needed to build a car to beat the Mustang.

Every gearhead is obsessed with the classic Chevy Camaro. They have been around for more than five decades and represent some of America’s most legendary and beloved muscle cars. Here are ten facts about the first-generation Camaro that every gearhead should know.

10 Almost Got a Cat Name

GM initially assigned the code name XP-836 to the Camaro prototype, but later, designers wanted to name it the “Chevrolet Panther.” The designers even experimented with emblems featuring a cat jumping to symbolize a panther. Eventually, GM would abandon the name, claiming that it was too aggressive.

Related: Check Out The Amazing Collection of GM Barn Find Muscle Cars

Chevrolet also considered naming it the “Chaparral”, before the general manager decided to call it the Camaro.

9 Camaro’s name may be made up

While the name “Camaro” is cool and catchy, it may be a made-up name. Historically, Chevy named their cars starting with the letter “C” to identify with Chevrolet; for example Cavalier, Corvette, Chevelle, Cheyenne, and so on. Maybe that’s why they dropped the name “Panther so quickly.”

The general manager tried to dispel journalists’ curiosity about the origin of the name by claiming that it was French for “friend.” However, once reporters didn’t define the word as such, Chevrolet said it meant “a ferocious beast that eats a Mustang.”

8 Derived from the ‘Super Nova’ concept car

The Super Nova “Shark” was a 1964 concept by Chevrolet to represent their view of what the future of compact sports would look like. Many motorheads had never heard of this concept because, at the same time, Ford introduced the Fabulous Mustang, which caught all the attention. The shark finally sank while the Mustang took off in glory. Now it’s not hard to see why the Camaro would want to devour the Mustang.


The Camaro later adopted various stylistic cues developed for the 1964 Nova. These features include a roofline, windshield rake, rear display panel, rear windshield, trunk shape, and rear fender protrusions.

Related: This 1963 Chevrolet Nova Receives A Stunning Makeover

7 Other Models Considered But Abandoned

During the design phase of the Camaro, various options were available for Chevrolet to consider. Chevy chose coupes and convertibles to go into production. However, other models, including the “fastback” model were abandoned.

Other options left out include a 2+2 meant to compete with the Mustang and a pickup version with a small tailgate. There is also the option of a sporty two-door wagon.

6 Mechanical Twin With Nova

1972 Chevy Nova For Sale By Volo Auto Museum

The Nova may fail compared to the legendary Camaro classic. However, when the Camaro went into production, Chevrolet figured they could cut costs by borrowing parts from the former. As a result, both cars share the same semi-uni body design and front subframe.

For the reasons mentioned above, the Chevy Nova might be a very rare car to find nowadays. Fortunately, he lent his best features to the legends, and thus he would live on.

Related: 1968-1974 Chevrolet Nova: Cost, Facts And Figures

5 Convert and Hardtop Version

Throughout its production, the Camaro has remained consistent in terms of configuration; 2+2 layout, and 2 door pony car. All are available as hardtop coupes or convertible soft-tops.

Regardless of whether it’s a specific sports model, these two body styles have always been the standard. By maintaining this body style, the Camaro was able to build its appeal and reputation.

4 Z28 Is Performance Version

Chevy instituted the Z28 from 1967 to 1969 as the Camaro’s heavy-duty performance model. This design complies with Trans Am Series SCCA regulations. It was an interesting outfit with a 4.9L V8 producing 290 hp and a 4-speed manual transmission.

It relies on power disc brakes to stop faster compared to the base Camaro. You can see the Z/28 from afar if it has a “double skunk line” that runs from the rear trunk to the hood.

3 Icon Design

For various reasons, the first generation Camaro is said to be the most handsome Camaro. His style and proportions speak one word: aggressive. He even looks like he’s hugging the road in classic American Muscle style, so people call him “The hugger.”

The traditional styling is so iconic that Chevy decided to revive the Camaro after a hiatus, only modernizing it to suit today’s market. Many Camaro fans are pleased with this silhouette compared to the long, rounded design of the fourth generation.

Related: 10 Amazing Special Edition Camaros Every Gearhead Should Drive

2 Production Outside the US

Several first-generation Camaro models were manufactured outside of GM’s US plants in Ohio, Norwood, and Van Nuys, which made up the majority of the 1967 Camaros produced. The remainder is produced in the destination country.

For example, Belgium, the Philippines, Venezuela, Peru, and Switzerland require that certain vehicles used on their respective lands be produced locally.

1 Lots of Machine Options

As discussed earlier, there are several styling options for the first-generation Camaro. Moreover, there are various engine choices that Chevy decision makers can attach to the Camaro. They ended up offering the Camaro in a variety of engines depending on the owner’s preferences.

By offering a variety of Camaros, Chevrolet can attract and serve a wide range of buyers. The top picks are the RS, SS, and Z/28, but these aren’t all. Chevy offers the Camaro in 12 different engine configurations, starting at 230 cu. in a straight six that makes 140 hp to a massive 430 hp V8 block.

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