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The venerable Chevrolet Camaro will come to an end after six generations of on-and-off rivalry with the Ford Mustang. Still, even with the insurmountable task of out-selling Ford’s pony car, the Bow Tie’s model evolved from a handsome cruiser in 1967 to a track-day cruise missile at the highest trims like the Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE. So, how did General Motors’ (GMs’) lovable sports car make its mark on the auto industry? 

Is the Camaro older than the Mustang?

Chevrolet designed the Camaro as a direct competitor for Ford’s Mustang, and sales started in 1966 for its first model year, 1967. As a result, the Camaro is about two years younger than the comparable Blue Oval pony car, which hit the road as a “1964 ½” model. 

A red 1967 Chevy Camaro shows off its RS/SS hideaway headlights.
1967 Chevy Camaro | General Motors

Still, that’s a rapid response for the automotive industry. The first Chevy Camaro, the 1967 model year, sold for around $2,466 for the base model with a 230-cubic inch inline six-cylinder engine. At the top of the lineup, a 375-horsepower L78 big-block 396 V8 could scorch the Chevy’s tires. 

Design changes were minimal from 1967 to 1968, but the venerable 1969 Chevy Camaro lowered and widened the muscle car, although its architecture was similar to the previous two model years. Shrewd collectors can find the holy grail models from this period: the COPO, Z/28s, and ZL-1 cars.   

What years are second-gen Camaros?

The second-generation Chevy Camaros took over in 1970 and ran through 1981. The new second-gen cars ditched the first-gen models’ angular styling and convertible tops. Instead, they worked in European-inspired lines. Specifically, GM looked to iconic cars like the Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Lusso for a muse, according to Classic Industries.

A second-generation 1970 Chevrolet Camaro displays its lines.
A custom 1970 Chevrolet Camaro | General Motors

Unfortunately for the muscle car model, the Malaise era loomed, and horsepower figures fell to a paltry 145 in models with a 5.7L V8. Those were dark days for horsepower-happy fans.  

Are third-gen Camaros good cars?

The third-gen Chevy Camaros ended the second-gen models’ 11-year tenure with a 1982 release. The familiar angular fascia is about as 1980s as the engineers could manage, and the engines continued to be horsepower-starved. However, some good cars snuck in, like the IROC-Z.

For instance, the 1985 IROC-Z produced 215 ponies from its 5.0L V8 with Tuned Port Injection (TPI), per Car and Driver.  

What years of Camaro are in the fourth generation? 

The fourth generation of Chevy Camaro started in the 1993 model year until GM discontinued it in 2002. Fans lovingly refer to the turn-of-the-century model as the “Catfish Camaro,” citing its pointed face and open maw. 

All joking aside, the fourth-gen Chevrolet models were properly quick. “Any 3,452-pound car that clears the quarter-mile in 14.0 seconds at 100 mph and circles the skidpad at 0.92 g is a tremendous performer,” said Car and Driver’s Patrick Bedard of the 1993 Z28. Moreover, later model SS trims packed the rightfully ubiquitous LS1 V8, which pushed horsepower figures up to 320. 

What Chevy Camaros are fifth gen?

After a seven-year hiatus, Chevrolet brought the Camaro back for its fifth generation in 2010. The retro-throwback model ran from its 2010 release until 2015. Gone was the fishy styling of the fourth-gen car. Instead, GM worked in obvious styling cues from the first-gen cars.

The resurrection of the Chevrolet muscle car for its fifth generation was a performance enthusiast’s delight. For instance, the underpinnings of the then-new Camaro were courtesy of the Australian Holden Commodore’s Zeta platform, which meant independent rear suspension. Additionally, the first 6.2L V8-powered SS models produced 426 horsepower, and tire-vaporizing Camaro ZL1 1LE and Z/28 models weren’t far behind. 

When did the sixth generation of Chevy Camaro start?

The sixth-generation model is the latest and final Camaro, barring some electrified or hybridized reboot. Riding on the newer Alpha platform, it took over from the fifth-gen car in the 2016 model year. Since then, Chevrolet has produced light, tight sports coupes and convertibles, culminating in the Camaro ZL1 1LE. The 650-horsepower 1LE, complete with a complement of track-ready components, is still one of the fastest American cars ever to take on the Nürburgring.

A Collector's Edition Camaro ZL1 1LE on display in front of text reading 'Thanks, Six.'
Chevy is celebrating six generations of Camaro | General Motors

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