47 years ago — in August 1966, the first Chevrolet Camaro rolled off the GM assembly line, which later became one of the legends of American muscle cars.
Together with two other models — Ford Mustang and Pontiac Firebird, it has become one of the most recognizable and popular cars of our time. On the occasion of the car’s birthday, Carlegends reveals 5 little-known facts about it.
Initially, the Chevrolet Camaro was created in response to the Ford Mustang, which over the course of 2 years slowly but surely captured the market for the so-called «pony cars». At GM, they are ready to do anything to capture their competitor’s dominance in their segment. And now the “friend of all motorists” enters the stage — both literally and figuratively.
The word Camaro is actually an interpretation of the French «camarade» which means friend or comrade. Indeed, the model is becoming so popular that almost every car enthusiast wants this car for a friend. However, GM initially gave a different answer to the question about the origin of the name — «It is a small and ferocious animal that feeds on mustangs.» A clear hint of what the Camaro should be doing with its competitor.
From Ford, of course, we will not remain obligated to find another meaning of the word Camaro — “little shrimp”. However, the jokes stopped only a year later, when the Camaro broke into the car market, overtaking the Mustang in sales. In subsequent years, the Mustang was the top seller, but in 2010 the Camaro was in the lead again.
Second — Famous movie hero
The Chevroelt Camaro is one of the most photographed cars in film. He has appeared in more than 20 films and TV series, including The Fast and the Furious, Jack Reacher, The Last Action Hero, and more. The problem, however, is that the car plays a minor role in these films. Only in one — «Transformers» by Michael Bay, the car is at the center of events. There he «plays» the Bumblebee robot fighting evil.
Since its inception, the Camaro has been available with a variety of powerful engines, the most powerful of which is a 5.7-liter V8 with 225 hp. However, this is only the standard version, which does not have many additional options. That is why the SS modification is gaining immense popularity, featuring a large air intake on the hood, a black grille with “hidden” headlights and a forced engine.
However, at the same time, the Z-28 version was released, which few people know about. The reason is that it is not advertised and is not available in the brand’s salons. In fact, this is not even a new version, but an additional sports package in which a potential buyer, even if desired, cannot get an automatic transmission, air conditioning or a removable roof. Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 is completely sporty and therefore very different from its other counterparts.
The modification has special disc brakes on the front wheels, a sports suspension, a Munice 4-speed manual gearbox and an uprated engine. The official power of the bike is 290 hp, but later one of the avid fans of the brand raised the car on the stand and found that there were more than 400 horses. No one knows how this happened. However, the fact remains that the Z-28 is becoming one of the most beloved versions of the model, especially among fans and professionals.
In 2002, Chevrolet loudly announced that on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the model, it would release a limited series of cars. However, this turned out to be a complete failure, as sales had fallen two years earlier, and even the highly publicized anniversary project did not help. In the anniversary year, only 28,000 units of all modifications were sold.
The special edition, which uses the LS1 — V8 engine with 345 hp, does not help to increase sales. It has a ventilated hood, a unique rear spoiler, a 6-speed manual transmission and 17-inch wheels. However, only 4,000 units were sold, which forced General Motors to completely stop production of the Camaro. We will return to it a little later.
Few people know that one of the most successful «improved» versions of the standard Camaro is the Yenko Camaro. This modification was developed by Donald Jenko, an American racer who believes that the versions available on the market are not powerful enough. After the introduction of the model in 1966, GM banned the larger 6.6-liter engines, placing itself in an awkward position compared to rivals the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Baracuda, which do not have such a restriction.
However, Yenko found a way out — he ordered a Camaro SS and installed a 7.0-liter engine from a Chevrolet Corvette. The car has 432 hp, as well as a reinforced rear axle and suspension. Donald’s goal is to build a racing car, but he never succeeds because the car is not certified by Chevrolet. So Jenko ordered a new version — now directly from Chevrolet, called Copo.
In fact, this is the same car that he designed himself, but already manufactured at the GM plant. Yenko-Copo produced 70 units, which are distinguished by the Yenko 427 emblem, front and rear spoilers, and a headlight washer system.