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True American Muscle:1968 Camaro Z28

Updated December 16, 2014

The Camaro was the first offering by the General Motors in the Pony-Car segment. Envied by the success of the Ford’s Mustang, which was launched two years earlier, GM decided to go ahead with a Mustang Killer. Codenamed as “Panther” in the preproduction phase that was later changed, the 1st generation Camaro enjoyed success and received numerous accolades. The Camaro was built on the GM’s F-platform. The base model was powered by a 3.7 liter engine that churned out 140 horsepower. Performance version such as the SS (Super Sport) or the RS (Rally Sport) were subsequently released.  A further upscale performance package, the Z28, was planned as a trans-am racing contender that called for sports sedan racing competition with a minimum requirement of 1000 production units for the model year.

It was Chevrolet’s Vincent W. Piggins who came up with the Z28 concept. Before the company’s management, he received the green signal for a performance version of the Camaro. This is how the Camaro Z28 was born.  The mandatory rules for the newly established trans am racing restricted the engine size below 305 cubic inches.. GM decided to put in a 302ci small block V8; it churned out 290 bhp and 290 foot pounds of torque at wheels. The engine was mated to a four speed manual transmission. A quick ratio steering was also added to improve handling response. The F41 optional suspension was made standard on the Z28 models. The F41 featured heavy duty coils in the front and multi-leaf spring for the rear suspension.  The Z28 rode on 15X6 wheels. To improve the air intake, the hood was redesigned to allow for larger air intake that the other models.  The Camaro Z28 featured bigger tires and powered disc brakes. All these upgrades made the Z28 a faster iteration than the SS model, however the SS achieved 0-60mph faster than the former.

The production for the Z28 started in the year 1966 with delivers from January 1967 and continued till 1969. Total production was capped at 28,503 units. Although the production volume for the first year capped at 1006 units only, but it grew over the next two until its final rollout in 1969; the production then switched to the newer Z28 model from 1970 and onwards.  This was because of the remarkable success the Camaro Z28 had enjoyed during Trans-Am sedan racing in the year 1968 and 1969.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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