The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
The debut Camaro shared some mechanicals with the 1968 Chevy II Nova. It featured a unibody structure, combined with a sub-frame supporting the front end. 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 available.
The RS was an appearance package that included hidden headlights, revised taillights, RS badging, and exterior rocker trim. It was available on all models.
The SS included a 350 (5.7L) V8 engine (the 350 was only available in the Camaro in 1967, it became available in other carlines in 1968), and the L35 and L78 396(6.5L) big-block V8's were also available. The SS featured non-functional air inlets on the hood, special striping and SS badging on the grille, gas cap, and horn button. It was possible to order both the SS and RS to receive a Camaro SS/RS. In 1967, a Camaro SS/RSS convertible with a 396(6.5L) engine paced the Indianapolis 500 race.
The 'Z/28' option code was introduced in December 1966 for the 1967 model year. This option package wasn't mentioned in any sales literature, so it was unknown to most buyers. The only way to order the Z/28 was to order a base Camaro with the Z28 option, front disc brakes, power steering and a Muncie 4-speed manual transmission. The Z/28 featured a unique 302(4.9L) small-block V-8 engine, with a uniquely round flange on the crankshaft, an aluminum intake manifold, and a standard 4-barrel vacuum secondary Holly carburetor of 780CFM. The engine was designed specifically to race in the Trans Am series (which required engines smaller than 305(5.0L) and public availability of the car. Advertised power of this engine was listed at 290hp. This has been said to be an under-rated figure because with little effort the smallblock Chevy, and this 302 particularly, were known to provide 1 horsepower/cubic inch, mostly due to the straight-through and unobstructed design of the ports in the cylinder heads and intake manifold. Chevrolet wanted to keep the horsepower rating at less than 1hp per cubic inch, for various reasons. The factory rating of 290hp occurred at 5300 rpm, while actual peak for the high-revving 302 was closer to 360hp (with the single four barrel carb) to 400hp (with optional dual-four barrel carbs) at 6800-7000 rpm. The Z/28 also came with upgraded suspension, racing stripes on the hood, and 'Z/28' emblems for the fenders. In 1969, along with the modified hood, the floor console was also modified. It was also possible to combine the Z/28 package with the RS package.
Only 602 Z/28s were sold in 1967. The 1967 and 1968 Z/28s did not have raised cowl induction hoods as did the 1969 Z/28s. The 1967 Z28 received air from an open element air cleaner or from an optional cowl plenum duct attached to the side of the air cleaner that ran to the firewall and got air from the cowl vents. 15-inch rally wheels, were included with 1967 Z/28s had while all other 1967 Camaros had 14-inch wheels.
The Camaro's standard drivetrain was a 230 (3.8L) straight-6 engine rated at 140hp and backed by a Saginaw three-speed manual transmission. A four-speed manual was also available. The two-speed "Powerglide" automatic transmission was a popular option in 1967 and 1968 until the three-speed "Turbo Hydra-Matic 350" replaced it starting in 1969. The larger Turbo 400 three-speed was an option on L35 SS396 cars.
The 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
- RS: 64,842
- SS: 34,411
- Z28: 602
- Total: 220,906
1968 saw the deletion of the side vent windows and the introduction of Astro Ventilation, a fresh-air-inlet system. Also added were side marker lights, a more pointed front grille, and divided rear taillights. The front running lights (on non-RS models) were also changed from circular to oval. The SS models received chrome hood inserts that imitated velocity stacks. The shock absorber mounting was staggered to resolve wheel hop issues and higher performance models received multi-leaf rear springs instead of single-leaf units. A 396 in³ (6.5 L) 350 hp big block engine was added as an option for the SS, and the Z28 appeared in Camaro brochures. 7,199 Z28s were sold in 1968.
The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
- RS: 40,977
- SS: 27,884
- Z28: 7,199
- Total: 235,147
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Indianapolis 500 Pace CarThe 1969 Camaro carried over the previous year's drivetrain and major mechanical components, but all-new sheetmetal, except the hood and trunklid, gave a car a substantially sportier look. The grille was redesigned with a heavy "V" cant and deeply inset headlights. New door skins, rear quarter panels, and rear valence panel also gave the car a much lower, wider, more aggressive look. This styling would serve for the 1969 model year only. Collectors often debate the merits of smooth, rounded lines of 1967 and 1968 model versus the heavily creased and sportier looks of the 1969.
Several new performance options were available for the 1969 model year.
To increase competitiveness in the SCAA Trans Am racing series, a four wheel disc brake option, RPO JL8, was made available during the year. This system used the 4 piston brake components from the Corvette and made for a major improvement in the braking capability and was a key to winning the Trans Am championship.
A GM corporate edict forbade Chevrolet from installing engines larger than 400 in³ (6.6 L) in the Camaro. But requests from dealers (notably Yenko) who were dealer installing 427's in the Camaro, caused Chevrolet to use an ordering process usually used on fleet and special orders (taxis, trucks, etc) to offer 427 engines in the Camaro. Two Central Office Production Orders (COPO), numbers 9560 and 9561, were offered in the 1969 model year. The COPO 9561 option brought the solid lifter L72 big-block engine, making an underrated 425 hp gross. Dealer Don Yenko ordered 201 of these cars to create the now-legendary Yenko Camaro. Other dealers also became aware of the L72 engine package and ordered it.
Even rarer was the COPO 9560. This option installed an all-aluminum 427 in³ (7.0 L) big-block called the ZL-1 and was designed specifically for drag racing. Just 69 ZL-1 Camaros were produced, probably because the engine alone cost over $4,000 nearly twice that of a base coupe with a V8. Though rated at 430 hp gross, the ZL-1 made closer to 550 hp, making it both the fastest and rarest of all Camaros.
The 1969 model year was exceptionally long, extending into November 1969, due to engineering problems that delayed the introduction of the second generation model planned for 1970. It is a popular myth that late-'69 Camaros were sold as 1970 models (due to GM publicity pictures of the 69 Camaro labled as a 1970), but they were all assigned 1969 VIN codes.
First Generation Engines
- RS: 37,773
- SS: 34,932
- Z28: 20,302
- Total: 243,085
- 1967-1969: L26 230 in³ (3.8 L) 230 I6 140 hp
- 1967-1969: L22 250 in³ (4.0 L) 250 I6 155 hp @ 4200 rpm, 235 ft·lbf @ 1600 rpm
- 1967-1969 Z28: 302 in³ (4.9 L) Small-Block V8 290 hp @ 5800 rpm, 290 ft·lbf @ 4200 rpm
- 1967-1969: LF7 327 in³ (5.4 L) Small-Block V8 210 hp
- 1967-1968: L30 327 in³ (5.4 L) Small-Block V8 275 hp
- 1969: LM1 & L65 350 in³ (5.7 L) Small-Block V8 255 hp and 250 hp
- 1967-1969 L48 SS350: 350 in³ (5.7 L) Small-Block V8 295 hp @ 4800 rpm, 380 ft·lbf @ 3200 rpm
- 1967-1969 L35 SS396: 396 in³ (6.5 L) Big-Block V8 325 hp @ 4800 rpm, 410 ft·lbf @ 3200 rpm
- 1967-1969 L78 SS396: 396 in³ (6.5 L) Big-Block V8 375 hp @ 5600 rpm, 415 ft·lbf @ 3600 rpm
- 1968-1969 L34 SS396: 396 in³ (6.5 L) Big-Block V8 350 hp @ 5200 rpm, 415 ft·lbf @ 3200 rpm
- 1968-1969 - L89 aluminum cylinder head option for the SS396/375 engine - lightened the engine by ~100 lbs.
- 1969 COPO 9561/L72: 427 in³ (7.0 L) Big-Block V8 425 hp @ 5600 rpm, 460 ft·lbf @ 4000 rpm
- 1969 COPO 9560/ZL1: 427 in³ (7.0 L) Big-Block V8 430 hp @ 5200 rpm, 450 ft·lbf @ 4400 rpm