Classic Cars

Chevrolet Camaro 1st gen. (1967-1970)

May 19, 2010

Chevrolet Camaro 1969Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in september 1966 for the 1967 model year. Camaro used GM F-body platform and was available as a 2-door, 2+2 seating, coupe or convertible model. Double A-arms made up the independent front suspension while the solid rear axle was suspended by semi-elliptical leaf springs. Braking came via four drums, the steering was manual, and Chevy’s rugged 230-cubic-inch straight six (rated at 140 horsepower) feed power through a three-speed manual transmission. The base $2,466 ’67 Camaro sport coupe was lean and aggressive, as was the convertible. Drivers did have the option of picking or combining individual options or trim packages called RS and SS.

Buyers could opt for a larger 250-inch version of the six making 155 horsepower, a 210-horsepower 327-cubic-inch small-block V8 fed by a two-barrel carb, that same V8 with a four-barrel carb and a higher compression ratio was rated at 275 horsepower, or two versions of the 396-cubic-inch big-block V8 making either 325 or 375 horsepower. Those engines could be lashed to a series of wide- or short-ratio three- or four-speed manual transmissions, or one of two automatics: the slushy two-speed Powerglide or outstanding three-speed Turbobydramatic.

The Rally Sport (RS) appearance package brought deluxe interior trim and hidden headlights with it, and the high-performance Super Sport (SS) package had its own distinct decoration (including a domed hood with simulated vents, “bumble bee” stripes at the nose and SS badges), a heavy-duty suspension and larger D70-series tires on 14-inch wheels.

The SS-350 model also offered a new 350-cubic-inch small-block V8 rated at 295 horsepower (Chevy’s first 350). The Rally Sport and Super Sport packages could be ordered together to create the fully decked out RS/SS. The RS/SS convertible powered by a 396 paced the 1967 Indianapolis 500. The final Camaro package, introduced in December 1966, was the Z/28 which was powered by a special high-compression 302-cubic-inch and rated at 290 horsepower.

While the 1969 Camaro’s structure and mechanical elements were virtually unchanged from the ’68 model, new fenders, door skins, rear quarter-panels, grille and taillights gave the car a wider, lower appearance. A redesigned dash and more comfortable seats made it more livable, too. But it was the wealth of performance equipment that marked 1969 as the greatest model year for Camaros. A new low-performance 200-horsepower 307-cubic-inch small-block (a 327 crank in a 283 block) supplemented the low-performance 327 and a new 255-horsepower 350 replaced the better-performing 327.

Chevy produced its second Camaro Indianapolis 500 pace car and offered replicas of the white RS/SS convertible with orange stripes and orange houndstooth upholstery to the public (the actual pace car was powered by a 396, but most of the replicas had 350s). In addition, two radical Camaros were produced in extremely limited numbers under special Central Office Production Orders (COPO) 9560 and 9561.

The COPO 9561 was a basic Camaro sport coupe stuffed with 427 cubic inches of all-iron big-block making 425 horsepower. Most of the 1,015 COPO 9561s were delivered to Pennsylvania’s Yenko Chevrolet for conversion into that dealership’s signature Camaro. Even rarer was the COPO 9560 featuring the legendary all-aluminum ZL-1 427 also rated at 425 horsepower. Only 69 of the ZL-1s were built, and because of their rarity, tremendous output and relatively low weight, they are today considered the quickest and most valuable Camaros ever built. Sales of the 1969 models extended into the winter of 1969 and early 1970; some of these lingering ’69s may have been titled as 1970 models.

Production numbers by model year: (1967) 220 906, (1968) 235 147 and (1969) 243 085.