The 2019 lineup of Camaro models offers packages to suit every taste, from the powerful base LS model to the track-ready ZL1. In addition, each Camaro includes customizable paint colors and striping options, even shockingly bright colors, as well as a wide selection of wheels, emblems, floor mats, and other accessories to make the Camaro stand out from all others. Custom car covers are recommended to preserve the paint and keep the Camaro looking pristine. How did the Camaro become the beloved American race car icon? Periods of surging popularity and sales regressions and six generations of evolution forged Camaro’s charisma.
Cool, classy, and all muscle—that’s the Chevrolet Camaro. Whether running around town or flying down the open road, the Camaro commands instant respect. Getting behind the wheel of pure muscle like the Chevrolet Camaro transforms a person forever. One test drive is all it takes to be hooked. Each sexy line inside and out contributes to precision performance and unmatched prowess of this American icon. Every feature, from the optimized cockpit to the flat-bottom steering wheel and exceptional shifting ergonomics, was designed to enrich a driver’s connection with the road.
The 2019 lineup of Camaro models offers packages to suit every taste, from the powerful base LS model to the track-ready ZL1. In addition, each Camaro includes customizable paint colors and striping options, even shockingly bright colors, as well as a wide selection of wheels, emblems, floor mats, and other accessories to make the Camaro stand out from all others. Custom car covers are recommended to preserve the paint and keep the Camaro looking pristine.
Introducing the Camaro lineup, the nimble power of the LS features a standard 2.0L engine, 275hp, standard six-speed manual or eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. The LT model with the RS Appearance Package ups the ante with a super-sporty, chiseled style.
The Camaro Convertible features a fully automatic soft top that automatically seamlessly folds down and disappears beneath a hard cover with the push of a single button, even at speeds up to 30 mph. With the same underbody bracing and performance package, the Convertible offers the same precision handling as the Coupe.
The SS model is the next legend in the Camaro line. Available in both the Coupe and Convertible body styles, the SS boasts a more aggressive-appearing grille and hood with a large, functional air extractor. Enhanced aerodynamics create a drive as impressive as its looks. For the ultimate driving adventure, the ZL1 with its supercharged 6.2L LT4 V8 engine, 650hp, and 10-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission is built to go head-to-head with the most advanced sports cars in the world.
How did the Camaro become the beloved American race car icon? Periods of surging popularity and sales regressions and six generations of evolution forged Camaro’s charisma.
First Generation (1966-1969). Chevrolet unveiled the Camaro in September 1966 with two alluring models—the Convertible and the Sport Coupe. Each model offered 60 different factory options to choose, four of which were engine choices. Engine sizes ranged from the standard 250 cubic-inch straight-six up to the ultrapowerful 396 V8 option. The Camaro’s body style featured an elongated hood, seating for four in a shortened deck, and a redesigned trunk space. The Camaro brought the thrill of sports cars to the average driver.
To differentiate the actual stock cars from those offered to the general public, General Motors assigned a three-digit alpha-numeric code to each package. The iconic Z/28 model virtually synonymous with Camaro was actually a GM sales code for a special performance package. The option Z/28 included a special 302 cubic-inch, V8 model made especially for stock cars. The package also included a heavy-duty radiator, dual exhaust, upgraded suspension, 15”x6” wheels, power front disc brakes, and 3.75:1 Positraciton rear axle. With these enhancements, the Z/28 Camaro model, of which only 600 were ever sold, was chosen as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 races in 1967 and again in 1969.
Second Generation (1970-1981). Camaro designers launched second-generation models in 1970 with an all-new body style. The Camaro still sported 2+2 seating and the unibody construction developed for the earlier models, the 1970s version mirrored sleek lines seen in the 1962-1964 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. Though GM discontinued the convertible, eight engine choices were offered for the remaining models, the SS package sporting a whopping 375hp V8 engine.
Despite the redesigned body and multiple options, Camaro sales tanked in the early 1970s largely due to a six-month worker’s strike at the assembly plant, in Norwood, Ohio. Even after the strike ended, GM had to scrap nearly 3,000 partially completed Camaros as they failed to meet the new safety and emission standards for 1973.
Full-width chrome bumpers and eventually aluminum bars were added to the 1974-77 models. Imposition of strict pollution standards and unleaded gas requirements resulted in power output cutbacks. The V8 option for the Z/28 produced only 245hp. High-energy ignition became standard from 1974 on which allowed for a more complete fuel burn and less exhaust pollution. The power windows, and smaller spare tire appeared, the seat belt warning buzzers were also introduced in 1974. Unfortunately, due to rising insurance costs and increased tightening of pollution standards, the coveted Z/28 option was discontinued that same year.
Though the body underwent minor changes in 1974, the 1975 models got a whole new face-lift when they added the famous wrap-around rear window. During the mid-1970s, GM improved interior comfort features and exterior elements that made the Camaro larger and heavier. In addition to a half-vinyl roof covering, power door locks, and a base six-cylinder engine- air conditioning was available for the first time.
Responding to popular demand, the Z/28 was brought back in 1977 as a separate model with better handling and a snappy striped appearance. However, 180hp, 350 cubic-inch V8 engine fell far below the power of the previous Z/28 models.
The next redesign in 1978 incorporated a urethane body cover that included painted bumper covers. Sales soared with the new T-top design which gave the feeling of a convertible, reaching a record high in the history of the Camaro at 287,571 sales. Feeding future sales, the 1979 Camaro lineup included four models, the Sport Coupe, Rally Sport, the iconic Z/28, and the Berlinetta. The Berlinetta with its sleek and sexy body style, bright chrome trim, special wheels, acoustic interior insulation, and softer ride was especially marketed to the female buyers. By 1981, the Berlinetta, again named for the revered Ferrari, also sported wire wheel covers. In 1980 and 1981, the Z/28 engine boasted 190hp.
Third Generation (1982-1992). Despite desperate attempts to boost its reputation, the Camaro lost its appeal as a sports car geared for the average driver, and sales dropped sharply. So, just as they pulled off in 1970, GM redesigned the Camaro. The new, eye-catching designs for the 1982 and 1983 models proved so appealing, they were continued into the new millennium models of 2002. Retaining the combined body/front subframe chassis, the body brandished 2+2 seating with a hatchback. This aerodynamic hatchback styling and 500-pound overall weight reduction lowered the drag coefficient to 0.368, the lowest ever in GM’s long history.
Three models survived the major 1982 redesign— the Berlinetta, the Z/28, and the Sport Coupe. A new crossfire injection was introduced in the Z/28’s 305 cubic-inch V8 engine. Just like in the Corvette, the intake system featured dual air cleaners in the same housing. These models also debuted four-speed automatic transmissions as well as five-speed manual transmissions. The Sport Coupe’s base engine was an amazing 2.5L, four cylinders, and boasted 90hp, the same power as competing subcompact cars of the era.
In 1985, the Camaro was popular in stock car racing. It was actually designated the car of the International Race of Champions (IROC). That year GM introduced the IROC-Z, which was basically a Z/28 with updated graphical paint design. The gutless four-cylinder engine was discontinued in 1986 and replaced with a more powerful V6. Popular demand reinstated the convertible to the Camaro lineup. Improvements in the 1987 Z/28 engine brought the V8 engine up to 225hp, and a special leather map pocket was included to commemorate the car’s 20th anniversary.
By 1988, the IROC-Z usurped the role of high-performance Camaro, and the Z/28 was dropped from the lineup. However, when IROC chose a different car in 1991, Chevrolet dropped the IROC-Z and resurrected the Z/28. In 1990 a driver’s side air bag appeared. In honor of its 25th anniversary, Chevrolet offered a special Camaro heritage package which included unique stripes and a spoiler plaque. Also beginning in 1988, Chevrolet introduced the 1LE performance package, optional for street and showroom model stock racing cars. By 1991, the BC4 or “police” package offered a Z/28 in more subtle styling.
Fourth Generation (1993-2002). In 1993, the Z/28 was again selected as pace car for the Indianapolis 500. Along with radical changes to the cars, production moved from the plant in Van Nuys, California, to Ste Therese, Quebec, which is just outside of Montreal, Canada. The Sport Coupe’s engine grew to a 3.4L V6, and the Z/28 now housed a 275hp LT1 V8, which is the same engine as the powerful Corvette.
The biggest changes were made to the body, now composed of all-over plastic except for the rear quarter panels and the hood. Originally slated to debut in the midyear launch, design work for convertible was not finished and was pushed back to the 1984 model launch. The Z/28 gained a six-speed manual transmission in 1994 along with traction control. The Coupe’s 1995 model boasted a larger and even more powerful 3.8L V6 engine. GM also brought back the Super Sport (SS) model. The SS boasted 25 more horse power than the mighty Z/28 along with major performance improvements. To accommodate the bigger engine, the hood and front end were designed in 1998. This new LS1 V8 engine was now found in the Corvette and the Camaro and put out well over 300hp.
Despite the Camaro being the fastest car in its class, low sales (less than 50,000 each year) forced GM to discontinue all the Camaro and Firebird models by the end of 2002. A few units with special trim to commemorate Camaro’s 35th anniversary, were offered though there were no real changes in interior or exterior over the 2000 or 2001 models.
Fifth Generation (2010-2015). January 2006 brought GM’s announcement of the beloved Camaro’s return. They revamped the models and began production in 2009. They officially debuted them as the Camaro for the model year 2010. The retro design resembled the original 1969 styling but with a completely redesigned real wheel drive chassis. New fifth-generation models also included super high-performance 21-inch wheels and V6 engines that put out 323hp. By 2012 the V8 engines exceeded 400hp with manual and automatic transmissions and improved fuel consumption. The convertible model was also brought back due to popular demand and with numerous function improvements. The 2012 Camaro was the fastest Camaro ever built. It was a special ZL1 model which included a 580hp supercharged V8. New grille and tail lamps refreshed the 2014 design. In 2014 the Z/28 also featured a 500hp V8 engine, the same engine found in the Z06 Corvette.
Sixth Generation (2016-Present). All Camaros from previous generations were built around GM’s full-size rear wheel drive platform. This platform was designed by the subsidiary in Australia, GM’s Holden. New models from 2016 forward are based on the GM-designed Alpha platform. The only other cars to use the redesigned chassis are the Cadillac ATS and CTS. The Alpha platform reduces the Camaro’s weight by 200 pounds and is about 2 inches shorter in length and height. Over 70 percent of the components in the sixth-generation Camaro are unique to the car. Aside from the chassis, of course- so that means they are not currently shared on any other current GM vehicles.
With the launch of the sixth-generation vehicles, production moved from Canada to the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan. Reasons for this move include lower production costs and improvements in production efficiency.
Stylistically speaking, the sixth-generation Camaros have not changed significantly from the 2015 models. GM discontinued the ever-popular Z/28 model, leaving the LS, LE, SS, and the fastest of them all, the 1LE which offers improved handling and track performance. The 2017 ZL1 edition is one of the most unique Camaros thus far. It is one of the first cars to ever come equipped with a 10-speed manual transmission and also boasts a top speed of 205 mph.
The 2018 ZL1 1LE Camaro ups the game even more. It tested three seconds faster on the track thanks to improved aerodynamics, improved performance package, racing-inspired adjustable suspension, and special lightweight Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires forged specifically for the ZL1 1LE model. These redesigned elements decrease the car’s overall weight by 60 pounds while retaining its supercharged 650hp LT4 engine. The recently released 2019 models are built around the same powerful platform with a more aggressive appearance and added/updated technology.
Best Camaros Ever Built. Over the last 53 years of the muscle car’s lifespan, the Camaro evolved over six generations and dozens of variations and redesigns, yet its great American icon status endures. The 2016 Camaro was named Motor Trend car of the year. But which models stand out as the best?
After researching and contemplating differing opinions, here is our list of the best Camaros ever built.
- 2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE. This car brings all the extraordinary features of the SS model and bad-boy ZL1 but with a smaller engine to entice more buyers. The Turbo 1LE features the FE3 suspension with larger stabilizer bars, stiffer bushings, and upgraded dampers. Four-piston Brembo front brakes, heavy-duty transmission, engine oil, and differential cooling are also included in this package. This model is the closest thing to a stock car made for the road.
- 2012 Camaro ZL1. Created to celebrate the Camaro’s 45th anniversary in style, it was dubbed the most powerful Camaro ever, the ZL1 featured a supercharged 580hp V8 engine and body style specially modified to improve aerodynamics. The ZL1 is still to this day one of the most performance-oriented and powerful cars Chevrolet has ever built.
- 2016 Camaro RS. Paramount to the sixth-generation Camaros was the new platform. Previous models with anything less than a V8 engine provided a less-than-impressive driving experience. The 2016 Camaro obliterated the line between muscle car and sports car, with even it’s most basic trim options. The 2.0L turbocharged engine further added to the Camaro’s agile performance.
- 1970.5 Camaro Z/28. Though only marginally more powerful than the SS, the Z/28 included one of the most important changes—the LT1 V8 engine. Combined with a new rear stabilizer bar and improved disc brakes, the Z/28 proved to be a super performer.
- 2018 Camaro ZL1 sports 650 hp and 650 pound-feet of torque thanks to the 6.2L supercharged V8. The ZL1 is the most powerful Camaro the company ever put on the road. With added performance options like active rev matching, magnetic ride control system, electronic limited slip differential, and optional 1LE package, it is the most advanced Camaro ever built.
- 1985 Camaro IROC-Z. The performance package was a mere $659. It was named after the International Race of Champions and could be added to the Z/28. The IROC-Z was lowered and given better suspension. Chevy added the “wonder bar” to stiffen the chassis and incorporated the Corvette’s tuned port injection system. Corvette’s racing tires were also added to improve handling.
- 1968 Camaro Z/28. After the Camaro’s debut, Chevrolet quickly realized that the Camaro lineup needed a model with more guts. The Z/28 was created as a “virtual race-ready” vehicle which included better suspension, 15-inch rally wheels, and racing stripes.
- 2017 Camaro SS 1LE. The ZL1 lacks the over all appeal of the SS 1LE, even though it’s the most powerful Camaro. The same 6.2L V8 found in the ZL1, minus the supercharging, powers the SS 1LE. It also features the same performance upgrades and still pumps out 455hp.
- 2014 Camaro Z/28. Touted as an instant classic even without standing the test of time, the revival of the Z/28 offered a stripped-down track car for less money.
- 1969 Camaro. Though only a few minor adjustments were planned after two successful years, 1967 and 1968, the aggressive fascia and sloped rear transformed the Camaro from a sporty little coupe to a bad-boy muscle car and helped distinguish the Camaro as a serious contender on and off the track.