Chevrolet Camaro: the old and the new one

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The Old Camaro

The Chevrolet Camaro is a “pony car” made in North America by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. It was introduced on 26 September 1966 as a 1967 model year and was designed as a competing model to the Ford Mustang. The car shared the platform and major components with the Pontiac Firebird, also introduced in 1967. Four distinct generations of the car were produced before production ended in 2002. A new Camaro is expected to roll off assembly lines in January 2009.

chevrolet camaro

Though the car’s name was contrived with no meaning, Chevrolet researchers reportedly found the word in a French dictionary as variation of informal speech (slang) for “friend”, “chum”, or “companion.” In some automotive periodicals before official release, it was code-named “Panther”, however, the project designation for the Camaro was XP-836 and some early GM photos show the final Camaro body labeled “Chaparral”.

chevrolet camaro

Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers “What is a Camaro?”, and they were told it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs”. The name conveniently fit Chevrolet’s “C” naming structure that included Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette.

The Camaro was initially advertised on contemporary hit radio (Top 40) AM stations of the day in an attempt to woo the young adult market. Technically a compact (by the standards of the time) pony car, the Camaro could also be classified as a sporty muscle car or an economical grand tourer, depending on the selected optional equipment.

chevrolet camaro

 The New Camaro

Let’s start at the beginning and go to the place where Concept Camaro was born and the production Camaro is being finalized.

Here, at the Design Center at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, we sat down with Global Rear-Wheel Drive and Performance Car Design Director Tom Peters and his design team.

Among his many responsibilities, Tom heads up the Corvette and Camaro design teams. Working with Tom are Sangyup Lee, Camaro design manager and Concept Camaro designers Steve Kim and Vlad Kapitonov.

These sketches of the Concept Camaro, some of them never before seen outside of the Design Center, reflect the direction Tom Peters gave his team: “Come up with the meanest street-fighting dog you can sketch.” Says Vlad Kapitonov, “The car is not a trip back in time. It will have to survive as a beautiful, exciting car on its own merits. If you’ve never seen a Camaro before, if you have no history with this car, you’ll still want it. You’ll want to get in and drive it.”

Of course, these are just sketches. The actual production version will vary.

chevrolet camaro

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