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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Camaro

By Miguel Caparros
Being completely caught off guard by the introduction and success of the 1964 Ford Mustang, Chevrolet took 3 years to field a competitor. The 1967 Camaro was the right response. Chevrolet went with the platform that would also be shared with the Nova. This platform also had room in the engine compartment for the full inventory of Chevrolet engines, from the inline 6 to the 327 and 396 V8's. The first year out, the Camaro had the Mustang covered on horsepower. It was this great flexibility in power trains and trim packages that helped Chevrolet catch up in sales by 1969.
 The 1969 Camaro went through a body redesign that changed the character of the car substantially. The Camaro was a larger car than the Mustang, the styling for 69 was more of a separate identity than a copy of the Pony car. For what turned out to be a one year body, the designers got it right. The Character lines on the box fenders worked real well with the new larger more distinct grill and the updated tail light panel. The roof was the only panel carried over. But it was out on the streets that the car earned its respect. With the wider stance and the way the tires sat inside the fenders the car looked great from every angle. It was Chevrolet's marketing genius that allowed the order of a six cylinder in the same package as one with a big 427 under the hood. At the other end of the spectrum a bare bones stripped car with drum brakes and no sound insulation or power steering could be had with the 427 engine for street racing and Drag racing.                                                                                                                        
The example in this video is the atypical 1969 Camaro, A Rally Sport Package 350 high performance V8 with a 4 speed. Enough power and looks to please and well behaved enough to be enjoyed in the daily commute. This was a period in time when quality was nowhere near job one. Cars were still routinely traded every 3 years, Rust and lack of proper rust prevention took its toll on these cars too. Lets not forget that the youthful age of the buyers made for a fickle bunch of owners. Somehow they survived to the point you can actually build a new Camaro or Mustang from aftermarket parts.   

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