Looking Back at 50 Years of the Camaro

In honor of the recently announced 2017 50th Anniversary Edition, here's an in-depth look at how we got to the slick-and-styled sixth generation of the Camaro:

First Generation (1967-1969)

The day was September 29th, 1966, and the car was the Chevy Camaro. Engineered as a sporty answer to Ford’s Mustang, the original 1967 Camaro officially went on sale with two models—the Sport Coupe and the Convertible, each with a slew of options including a 396 hp V8 engine. The original Camaro’s long hood, 2x2 seating, and short deck became an anthem for affordable American sports cars. The first Z28—which was originally the sales code for the “Special Performance Package”—which was created so GM could certify the Camaro as a stock car for racing. Only 600 of the original Z28s were produced, making them rare collectibles today.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe

1967 Camaro sport coupe

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car

67 Camaro pace car

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

68 Camaro Z28

Second Generation (1970-1981)

Now that engineers had something to build on and time to do it, the second generation Camaro featured an all-new body style. Though the 2x2 seating was kept, the convertible option was no longer offered. A major exterior change was the addition of full-width chrome bumpers. Power standards were also cut back because of new pollution laws, which meant Z28 V8s could only be offered up to 245 hp. 1975 saw the famous wrap-around rear window, but only three engines were available: a 250 straight-six and a 2 or 4 barrel carb'd 350 V8. GM focused mostly on interior comfort during this time, offering air conditioning, power door locks, and half-vinyl roof covering. Camaro sales peaked at 282,571 in 1979 before sharply declining in 1981.

1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

70 Camaro Z28

1974 Camaro Berlinetta "Star Wars' Interior

74 Camaro Star Wars

1974 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

74 Camaro Coupe

1974 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe

74 Camaro Sport Coupe

1979 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta

79 Camaro Berlinetta

79 Camaro

1979 Camaro RS

79 Camaro Rally Sport

1981 Camaro Berlinetta

81 Camaro Berlinetta

Third Generation (1982-1992)

GM once again recreated the body style for the third generation of Camaros and incorporated some of the designs from the previous generation. Initially, just three models were available: The Sport Coupe, the Berlinetta, and the Z28. Although 261,591 Camaros were sold in 1984, the Berlinetta—along with its “Star Wars” style dash and radio panel—were gone by 1986. Though the convertible model was back in 1987, the Z28 was dropped in 1988 before a resurgence in 1991. This generation also saw the introduction of the IROC.

1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Sport Coupe

82 Camaro Z28

82 Chevy Camaro sports coupe

1982 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car

82 Camaro Z28 Pace Car

1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

85 Camaro Iroc Z

1989 Chevrolet Camaro IROC 1LE

89 Camaro Iroc 1LE

Fourth Generation (1993-2002)

When the new Camaro was introduced in 1993, the Z28 was chosen as the pace car for that year’s Indy 500. 1994 saw a 6-speed manual and all-new convertible model, along with traction control and a 3.8 liter V6 for the Coupe. And in 1996, GM brought back the popular SS “Super Sport” model. In 1998, slight redesigns to the hood and front end made room for the “LS1” V8 engine in the Z28 (along with 300hp), making it one of the fastest cars in its class. However, slacking sales (GM sold less than 50,000 units each year since 1997) led GM to drop the Camaro model at the end of 2002.

1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

93 Camaro Z28

1993 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car

93 Camaro pace car

1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

97 Camaro Z28

1999 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe


2002 Chevrolet Camaro 35th Anniversary

02 Anniversary Camaro

Fifth Generation (2010-2015)

Armed with a new design and a new platform, the fifth generation Camaro debuted in the spring of 2009 as a 2010 model. Based on the looks of the 1969 model but with a new rear wheel drive chassis, options included a 323hp V6 and a 400hp V8 engine, manual and automatic transmissions, and a convertible. GM even added a ZL1 model with a 580hp supercharged V8, making it the fastest Camaro ever.

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

10 Camaro SS

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

12 Camaro ZL1

Sixth Generation (2016-Present)

The latest generation of the Camaro went on sale in 2015 and was offered in LT and SS models.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

16 Camaro SS