What Muscle Car Does Billy Hargrove Drive in ‘Stranger Things?’

Billy Hargrove is one of the most distinct characters to join the cast of Stranger Things for the TV show’s second season. Hailing from sunny California, the high school heartthrob blasts into little Hawkins Indiana, leaving a trail of enemies and broken hearts in his wake. One distinct aspect of the character is the second-generation Camaro he drives around town. The actual year and trim of Billy’s car is confusing because the crew used at least two cars in filming. One of the Chevy muscle cars featured in Stranger Things may have even appeared on screen before.

What muscle car does Billy Hargrove drive in ‘Stranger Things?’

In the Stranger Things TV show, Billy Hargrove drives a second-generation Chevrolet Camaro. The filmmakers seemed to be depicting a 1979 model with the Z28 package. That said, the actual cars used in filming were much more complex.

Billy Hargrove's Chevrolet Camaro cruising through the Hawkins parking lot during Stranger Things season two.
Chevrolet Camaro | Netflix via Youtube

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Netflix’s Stranger Things was an instant classic. The show combines elements of a supernatural thriller with a strong ensemble of teenagers/pre-teens and a healthy dose of 1980s nostalgia. In the first season, a group of nerdy kids saves their hometown of Hawkins Indiana from supernatural monsters unleashed by a secret government project.

For its second season of Stranger Things, Netflix went even bigger. It explored new villains, new monsters, and expanded the ensemble with new characters including step-siblings Billy Hargrove and Maxine Mayfield. Billy is a mulleted bad boy who shakes up the social scene of Hawkins High School.

Billy is defined by his iconic haircut, denim jackets, and his distinct Camaro. From their first appearance, idling through the parking lot of the high school school, Billy and his Camaro are impossible to ignore. See Billy’s entrance in the video below:

[Spoiler Alert] The car remains an important part of Billy through his character arc. When a monster takes over Billy’s body in season three, it smashes his car’s windshield in the process. The possessed Billy becomes a major villain, driving around Hawkins in his damaged car. He attempts to use his car as a weapon to kill the main characters and destroys the car in the process–moments before the monster kills him.

Billy’s car started life as a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro

Blue second generation Camaro muscle car like the iconic vehicle from Stranger Things.
1978 Chevrolet Camaro LT | BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

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Fans of Stranger Things have had a difficult time identifying the exact year and trim of Billy Hargrove’s Camaro. This is because the filmmakers used at least two cars during the series, both heavily modified–according to the Internet Movie Cars Database.

The clearest giveaway that the crew used multiple Camaros to film Stranger Things is that in some scenes Billy’s car has electric windows while in other scenes it has manual crank-up windows. This could be because the crew used a different Camaro for most interior shots.

The Camaro(s) used in exterior shots are painted blue. They have the hood and chrome trim of the Sports Coupe Camaro trim level. That said, exterior shots of the car all show the vented and badged front fenders of the Z28 Camaro trim level.

Other details of this car point to its beginning life as a 1979 Camaro Sport Coupe. It is possible that some modifiers began with an expensive Camaro Z28, then swapped every piece of trim with the cheaper Sports Coupe trim level. But this is obviously unlikely. It is more likely that at some point, someone swapped the front fenders of a Camaro Sports Coupe with the fenders of a second-generation Camaro Z28.

Why would someone swap the fenders of an old muscle car? Some believe it’s because this same Camaro crashed on screen before.

The ‘Stranger Things’ Camaro may have crashed in ‘The Nice Guys’

Gray second-generation Chevy Camaro parked on the street.
Chevrolet Camaro | Khashayar Rabbanian via Unsplash

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The 2016 film The Nice Guys, takes place in 1977 Los Angeles. At one point Holland March (Ryan Gosling) steels a red Camaro and crashes it into a tree.

A Reddit user who uploaded a picture of the Camaro in Stranger Things claims that they live in Jackson, GA, where the show was filmed. In addition, they claim that the car was originally used in Nice Guys.

There is no official verification of this story, but eagle-eyed fans have noticed patches of red paint inside the bumper of the Stranger Things Camaro. In addition, a crash during a previous film would explain the Camaro’s fender-swap.

Next, read about the car from Ghostbusters or see more Stranger Things cars in the video below:

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