The Chevrolet Camaro was a compact car introduced in North America by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors at the start of the 1967 model year as competition for the Ford Mustang.
Although it was technically a compact (by the standards of the time), the Camaro, like the entire class of Mustang competitiors, was soon known as a pony car.
Though the car’s name was contrived with no meaning, General Motors researchers found the word in a French dictionary as a slang term for “friend” or “companion.” Ford Motor Company researchers discovered other definitions, including “a shrimp-like creature” and an arcane term for “loose bowels”! In some automotive periodicals before official release, it was code-named “Panther”.
Four distinct generations of the car were produced.
Sharing mechanicals with the upcoming 1968 Chevrolet Nova, the Camaro featured unibody structure. Chevrolet offered the car in only two body styles, a coupe and convertible. Almost 80 factory and 40 dealer options including three main packages were avaible.
* RS Package included many cosmetic changes such as RS badging, hidden headlights, blacked out grill, revised taillights and interior trims.
* SS Package included modified 5.7 L (350 in³) V8 engine (first 350 in³ engine ever offered by Chevrolet), also L35 396 in³ “big block” was avaible. SS featured non-functional air inlets on the hood, special striping and blacked out grill. It was possible to order both – RS and SS packages to receive RS/SS Camaro. In 1967 Camaro RS/SS Convertible Camaro with 396 in³ engine paced the Indianapolis 500 race.
* Z28 option code was introduced in 1966. This option package wasn’t mentioned in any sales literature so was unknown by most of the buyers. The only way to order Z28 package was to order base Camaro with Z28 option, front disc brakes, power steering and Muncie 4-speed transmission.
Z28 package featured unique 302 in³ “small block” engine, designed specifically to compete in the Club of America Trans Am racing series (which required engines smaller than 305 in³ and public availability of the car).
Advertised power of this engine was listed at 290 hp (216 kW) while actual dyno readings rated it at 360 to 400 hp (269 to 298 kW). Z28 also came with upgraded suspension and racing stripes on the hood. It was possible to combine Z28 package with RS package. Only 602 Z28’s were sold.