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7 Secrets of the Original Chevrolet Camaro

The Chevy Camaro is truly an icon of American motoring. Let’s travel back to the first years of production to pick-up some unusual facts about the Camaro.

Chevrolet-Camaro-SS-350-1967-2

 

The name Panther Z/28 doesn’t have the same ring to it

The Camaro was originally going to be called the “Panther”. Right up until the car’s debut this was the name of one of America’s finest cars. Word had been leaked to the press that their new sports car would be named Panther. Chevrolet even had the molds made for the emblems. The Chevy PR in the first-ever coast-to-coast teleconference informed the automotive media that the car would be named “Camaro” instead.

UFO-18

 

What exactly is a Camaro?

It’s a made up word to fit the Chevrolet naming scheme of the time (Corvette, Caprice, Chevelle, etc.). Some enterprising Chevy PR type claims to have found the word (after the fact) in an old French dictionary as a slang word for friend (as in camaraderie), but it appear that’s an after-the-fact back story.

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The Camaro and Mustang Shared a Similar Secret

Both the Mustang and the Camaro, despite the acclaim which greeted their introduction, and the high esteem in which both have been held over the last 50 years, both have very modest roots. In the case of the Mustang, its underpinning were based heavily on the falcon economy car. Likewise the Camaro was based on the moderately-priced Nova.

assembly-raise

 

There were 7 different engine options in the first year

The 1967 Camaro was available with an astonishing seven different engines available to purchase.* Those ranged from two inline six-cylinder motors, the  L26 230 CID engine that produced140 hp, and the L22 250 CID that produced 155HP, both using single barrel carburetors. From there it got a little more exciting with the following V8 engines all on four-barrel carbs: L30 327 CID 275 hp, the L48 350 CID 295 hp, the L35 396 CID, 325 hp, and the L78 396 CID 375 hp, as well as the Z28 302 CID 290 hp developed for SCCA Trans-Am competition.

Percent of each engine installed in the 1967 Camaro:

67eng

*Thanks to the Camaro Research Group for their excellent data

 

Z/28 is such an awesome name for a performance package, where did it come from?

Z28 was simply the next code on the list. For example, the Z27 code was used for ordering the Camaro with the SS package and a 350 CID engine (the first appearance for that classic motor, BTW). The Z29 was the code for the Vega GT package.

 

Unusual option number one that no one ordered

A67 Fold-Down Rear Seat – The image you have today of a fold-down rear seat is on that fold flat and provides access to the trunk so long items (say, skis, for example) can be carried inside the car. On the Camaro, the seat folded down but there was still a solid wall between the interior and the trunk. All it really gave you is a flatter shelf for luggage.

folddownrearseat69camaro

 

Unusual option number two that no one ordered

V75 Liquid Aerosol Tire Chain – An option on ’69 Camaros that featured a refillable aerosol dispenser located in each of the rear wheel wells that would spray a special traction-enhancing liquid on the rear tires on demand to help traction on snow and ice. Only 188 cars were ordered with the V75 option.

liquidtirechain

 

 

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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