The Camaro saw its biggest transformation to date in 1982. It was smaller, yet had more room. The all-new MacPherson strut suspension and balanced weight distribution made the Camaro handle like nothing else out there (OK, it did handle like the Firebird). This new platform paved the way for some real excitement in the Camaro lineup.
A big piece of that excitement came in 1985 with the introduction of the IROC package on the Z28 (now sans “/”). Named after the popular International Race of Champions racing series, IROC Camaros were available with a Tuned Port Injected, 350-c.i. small block producing 215-hp. So popular was this engine that it became the go-to setup in many-a-hot rod in this era. IROCs also were equipped with 16” wheels. This kind of exotica was unheard of on a car in this price range.
Camaro celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1992, and it also marked the last year for this generation of Camaro. To mark the occasion, some were fitted with the Heritage Stripe Package, which marked the one and only time that dual stripes were offered from the factory down the center of this generation Camaro.
The 1993 Camaro was a sensation. Virtually new from the ground-up, this car was a major leap in refinement and quality.
This Camaro also brought in the free-breathing LT1 engine. It is hard to imagine today how amazing this 350-c.i. V8 was at the time. Taken straight from the Corvette’s parts bin, the LT1 was good for a copious (at the time) 275-hp in the Camaro, and it provided more low-end torque than most people had experienced in a new car in 20-years. Plus, it managed all this while getting gas mileage in the mid-20s.
The convertible returned to the lineup in 1994, the 3800 V6 enhanced the base car in ’95, and the SS (produced for Chevrolet by SLP Engineering) came back in 1996. Chevrolet continued to improve and refine the popular Ponycar.
The last big change to the Camaro came in 1998. A new nose treatment with composite headlights concealed a new 346-c.i., aluminum LS1 V8. The lightweight LS1 was good for 305 high-winding horsepower.
The Camaro forged ahead until 2002, after which Chevrolet decided to pull the plug. Slow sales and limited funds marked the end of Chevrolet’s Ponycar efforts. Affordable performance seemed bleak at the General, but Camaro enthusiasts could not be silenced.
A new Camaro concept appeared at the North American International Auto Show in 2006, and people went wild over the bulging 1969-inspired muscle car. It took a few years of development, but it finally hit the streets in 2009 as a ’10 model. The 2010 Camaro basically skipped the fastback design influence of every Camaro from 1970 on up to 2002. It looks more like the Camaro updated the 1969 notchback design during all those years.
Since then, it has been offered in various V6 and V8 configurations in both coupe and convertible form. Right now, the ZL1 is the Big Kahuna in the lineup, but a new Z28 for 2014 looks to take over the crown. Look for some styling changes front and rear when the latest Camaro hits showrooms.
OK, so this isn’t as good as getting an actual car. But at least I didn’t forget her birthday! I’m closing this story with albums from the last three Midwest Camaro Fests: 2010, 2011, and 2012. If you think this looks like a good event, the 2013 Midwest Camaro Fest is coming up on August 24. Check back right here for more details!
2010 Midwest Camaro Fest
2011 Midwest Camaro Fest
2012 Midwest Camaro Fest
One last note--this is the 600th story posted on Hover Motor Company.
How about that!