A glance again on the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang’s nemesis

The Chevrolet Camaro will quickly be driving off into the sundown.

Come January 2024, manufacturing of the Camaro will stop, and it gained’t get replaced within the brief time period, that means the nameplate will go on hiatus for the second time in its historical past.

There are experiences GM is planning to make use of the revive the Camaro earlier than the last decade is out on a pair of sporty electrical crossovers, in addition to presumably a coupe primarily based on the following electrical Corvette.

1966-1969: First technology

Size: 4691mm; Width: 1842mm; Top: 1306mm; Wheelbase: 2743mm

We might argue about who created the horse automotive phase — sporty coupes and convertibles primarily based on a humble household sedan chassis — but it surely’s the Ford Mustang that was purchased within the thousands and thousands, and remembered because the definitive automotive within the phase.

Whereas the Chevrolet Corvair Monza was fairly sporty, its rear-engine format prevented it from borrowing the corporate’s V8 engines, and competing head-to-head with the later Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda.

So, GM shortly whipped up a real pony automotive with many elements taken from the “compact” Chevy II/Nova.

Like the common-or-garden household sedan, the Camaro had a unibody construction married with a entrance sub-frame, but it surely featured significantly extra expressive styling.

As was frequent on the time, every mannequin 12 months had styling adjustments, with the 1969 mannequin gaining a very new exterior, however retaining the identical underpinnings.

With a purpose to give the automotive blanket protection of the phase, the Camaro was obtainable with a dizzying array of engines, with as much as 12 obtainable within the closing 12 months. There have been additionally a large number of factory- and dealer-installed choices, together with stripes and hidden headlights.

At launch the Camaro vary kicked off with a 3.8-litre straight-six making 104kW, however most individuals opted for one of many many small- and big-block V8s.

Amongst these was the 216kW 4.9-litre high-compression V8 discovered within the Z/28, an unadvertised choice pack designed for racing. The Penske workforce’s Z/28 dominated the 1968 Trans-Am racing sequence, and the Camaro additionally proved to be successful within the drag racing scene.

This technology, like all the next ones till the mannequin’s first retirement in 2002, shared its structure and far of its styling with the Pontiac Firebird, though Pontiac did characteristic its personal engines.

1970-1981: Second technology

Size: 4775mm; Width: 1890mm; Top: 1273mm; Wheelbase: 2743mm

Whereas the first-generation Camaro was a comparatively short-lived affair, the second-generation mannequin had a for much longer lifespan. Nevertheless, its introduction was delayed by nearly a 12 months due to manufacturing points.

In contrast to all different Camaros earlier than and since, this technology was solely obtainable as a two-door coupe, with no convertible variant formally provided.

When it comes to engines and efficiency, the second-generation Camaro picked up the place the primary iteration left off.

Because the 70s wore on, although, efficiency and outputs declined. Preliminary energy declines existed solely on paper as GM, and different producers, switched from quoting gross horsepower to internet horsepower.

Due to the amendments to the Clear Air Act signed into legislation by President Richard Nixon in 1970, automakers needed to lower output of varied pollution, together with carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen, by 90 per cent by 1975.

With out the expertise to concurrently keep energy and meet the brand new laws, American automakers started winding again compression ratios, and becoming emission management gear, which all lowered the toxicity of the gases their automobiles have been pimping out, however to the detriment of efficiency.

Throughout this “malaise period”, GM additionally started dropping among the stronger engines and trim strains from the vary, beginning with the big-block V8s in 1973.

As an example the decline, let’s check out the Z/28. On the second-generation’s launch in 1970, the Z/28 switched to a bigger 5.7-litre V8 making 268kW, however by 1974 it was cranking out a mere 183kW.

In 1975 the Z/28 was axed fully, and the Camaro’s base six-cylinder engine managed simply 78kW, whereas the 5.7-litre V8 made 108kW in twin-barrel carburettor guise, or 116kW when fitted with a four-barrel unit.

When the Z28 returned in 1977, it misplaced a slash, and misplaced a farmyard filled with horses, with the 5.7-litre now making simply 138kW.

To fulfill new federal security laws, the Camaro gained weight by way of new gear, which additional blunted efficiency.

To make it compliant with new guidelines to cut back eradicate of restore prices for collisions underneath 5mph, the 1974 Camaro was additionally fitted with giant bumpers, and a restyled entrance and rear. Contemplating among the bumper abominations that have been affixed to different automobiles to make them compliant, the Camaro’s new aluminium models really regarded fairly good.

On high of this, the OPEC-led oil crises which started in 1973 noticed the price of petrol enhance dramatically. Key opponents just like the AMC Javelin, Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda have been all axed after 1974, however the Camaro was spared the guillotine.

Regardless of all these challenges, Camaro gross sales saved hitting new highs, with the mannequin having its best-ever 12 months in 1979 when a shade over 280,000 have been bought.

Whereas the second-generation Mustang, launched in 1973, embraced the period of downsizing by driving on the smaller and extra environment friendly Pinto platform, the Camaro by no means adopted swimsuit.

1981-1992: Third technology

Size: 4877mm; Width: 1850mm; Top: 1275mm; Wheelbase: 2565mm

Whereas the third-generation Camaro caught to the tried-and-true front-engine, rear-wheel drive format, the brand new automotive regarded fairly in contrast to its rounded forebears with its very 80s sharp strains and crisp angles.

The Camaro additionally dropped the basic notchback coupe search for a extra versatile three-door liftback design.

Whereas the Camaro’s new edgy design regarded enterprise, its engines weren’t capable of stroll the stroll.

For the primary time within the Camaro’s historical past, it was provided with a four-cylinder, the two.5-litre Iron Duke engine which wheezed out 67kW. Predictably, it wasn’t significantly well-loved, and was shuffled out the door in 1987.

Even the range-topping Z28’s 5.0-litre V8 had a fairly anemic 108kW with carburettors and a four-speed handbook, or 123kW with a three-speed auto and Cross-Fireplace injection.

Issues didn’t actually enhance till 1985 with the introduction of the IROC-Z, named after the Worldwide Race of Champions racing sequence, which added tuned port injection to bump output from the V8 to 160kW.

1985 additionally noticed the Berlinetta mannequin achieve that almost all 80s of options, a digital dashboard.

From 1987, a convertible rejoined the Camaro household, though design and manufacturing was outsourced to American Specialty Automobiles (ASC), which additionally did conversions of the Toyota Celica, Mitsubishi 3000GT, and others.

1992-2002: Fourth technology

Size: 4915mm; Width: 1882mm; Top: 1303mm; Wheelbase: 2568mm

Though GM thought-about switching the Camaro and Firebird to a front-wheel drive platform, it ended up utilizing an up to date model of the earlier automotive’s chassis.

The fourth-generation Camaro boasted an all-new physique that re-embraced the world of curves, and was obtainable as a liftback (with obtainable t-tops) and a convertible.

The contemporary look additionally included doorways, hatchback, and roof comprised of a brand new fibreglass/polyester resin materials.

Different enhancements embody the adoption of rack-and-pinion steering, and the choice of a six-speed handbook on some fashions. Regardless of this, the Camaro retained a reside rear axle.

Efficiency was additionally returning the Camaro vary, with the 5.7-litre V8 making 205kW at launch, and rising steadily by way of the years, all the best way as much as 239kW within the 1999 SS.

2009-2015: Fifth technology

Size: 4840mm; Width: 1920mm; Top: 1380mm; Wheelbase: 2852mm

The rear-wheel drive Zeta platform developed by Holden within the early noughties for the VE Commodore was initially deliberate to reside beneath a complete military of “full-size” autos for GM’s plethora of US manufacturers.

When the sub-prime mortgage disaster triggered a worldwide monetary meltdown, GM was pushed into Chapter 11 chapter. Beneath the watchful eye of the US authorities, GM was rushed by way of proceedings, and produced a plan to return to profitability that included shutting down some manufacturers, and prioritising fuel-sipping fashions.

Holden’s goals of being masters of GM’s rear-wheel drive area crumbled into the wind, however the Australian arm did get to design and engineer one mannequin exterior its core Commodore and Caprice line: the Chevy Camaro.

With its pointy nostril, headlights that circulation seamlessly into the grille, and quad tail-lights the Aussie-penned Camaro had loads of nods to the previous built-in into a contemporary tackle the horse automotive coupe physique.

Regardless of being designed Down Beneath, the fifth-generation Camaro was in-built Canada solely in left-hand drive, and was by no means bought within the land of its origin.

The Aussie Camaro additionally starred within the Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers live-action film as Bumblebee. Whereas the Camaro Bumblebee was positively sooner than the Volkswagen Beetle-based mannequin from the carton sequence, it arguably lacked its character.

The times of miserly energy outputs have been over. The bottom 3.6-litre V6 made a wholesome 227kW, whereas the 6.2-litre V8 had 318kW to its identify.

This was adopted by a 433kW supercharged 6.2-litre within the ZL1, after which the Z/28 with a 377kW naturally-aspirated 7.0-litre V8.

2015-2024: Sixth technology

Size: 4783mm; Width: 1897mm; Top: 1321mm; Wheelbase: 2812mm

Whereas stylistically the sixth-generation Camaro was an evolution of the earlier automotive, underneath the pores and skin it rode on a very completely different platform.

Through the use of a model of Alpha structure that underpinned the Cadillac ATS and CTS, and later CT4 and CT5, the Camaro was capable of shed round 90kg in comparison with its predecessor.

After a hiatus of round 28 years, the Camaro was as soon as once more obtainable with a four-cylinder engine, though, just like the Mustang, efficiency was boosted by a turbocharger, which helps the two.0-litre mill make a decent 205kW.

The present vary additionally features a 250kW 3.6-litre V6 and a 339kW 6.2-litre V8, in addition to a ZL1 with a 485kW/881Nm 6.2-litre supercharged V8.

A fairly unlucky facelift unveiled in 2018 for the SS visually merged the higher grille with the decrease air consumption by blacking out the centre part of the bumper.

In response to vociferous on-line criticism, Chevrolet unveiled a “idea” at SEMA 2018, which entered manufacturing quickly after, with a colour-coded the centre part and moved the bow tie emblem again to the higher grille.

Whereas the Aussie-designed Camaro was by no means bought regionally, Holden Particular Automobiles transformed a bunch of sixth-generation fashions between 2018 and 2020.

The Camaro was formally bought in Australia between 2018 and 2020, with conversion work carried out by Holden Particular Automobiles. This significantly inflated prices, with the V8 computerized beginning at $86,000 earlier than on-road prices, or roughly $20,000 greater than a equally specced manufacturing facility right-hand drive Ford Mustang. Gross sales have been predictably poor.

Within the States, gross sales haven’t cracked 30,000 models because the flip of the last decade, with simply 24,652 bought in 2022. That’s far behind each the Ford Mustang (44,332) and Dodge Challenger (55,245).