The Chevy Camaro legend was born Sept. 29, 1966 when GM introduced its answer to Ford‘s popular Mustang. GM designed the Camaro (and sister model Pontiac Firebird) to bring the sports car driving experience to the average driver. These cars featured a long hood, short deck, seating for four, and a unitized body construction with a separate front subframe. There were only 2 Camaro models, the Sport Coupe and the Convertible, and the buyer could order them with no less than 60 factory options, 4 of which were just the engines. Engine choices ranged from the 250 cubic inch straight-six to the 396 V8.
Interestingly, the name “Z28” that is now and forever associated with the Chevy Camaro started out as a sales code for a “Special Performance Package”. GM codes all its options and accessories with a 3-digit alpha-numeric code. GM offered option Z28 only so that it could certify these cars for stock racing. It included a special 302 cu. in V8 made only for this application, a heavy duty radiator, special suspension, dual exhaust, 15″x6″ wheels, 3.73:1 Positraction rear axle, special stripes, and power front disc brakes. Only 600 models were sold with option Z28 in 1967, making them extremely rare collectibles today. The Indy 500 race chose the Camaro as the Pace Car for the races in both 1967 and 1969.
Camaro continued with minor changes for 1968 and 1969 while designers were hard at work on the 2nd generation models.