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The History of the Chevrolet Camaro – The 20 Best Bow Tie Pony Cars

Vukasin HerbezJuly 31, 2018

  1. 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

The legendary Z/28 version returned for the 2014 model year in an interesting, extremely capable package. The 2014 Z/28 was a track day car, road racing-oriented Camaro with brakes, suspension and steering dedicated to precision and driving dynamics. Under the hood was a 7.0-liter V8 from the Corvette Z06 delivering 505 HP.

Although it provided more than enough power and grunt, they engineered the rest of the car for precision. Stiffer shocks, thicker anti-roll bars, special wheels and brakes and a 300-pound lighter body helped the Z/28 achieve impressive numbers at the race track. With its supercharged engine, the Camaro ZL-1 was faster in the straight line. But the Z/28 was the better all-around performer and a perfect track day vehicle.

  1. 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

The base Camaro SS is one of the best muscle cars around with its 6.2-liter, 450 HP V8 engine. It provides loads of torque and a perfectly-balanced chassis, and the 1LE is even better. The engine is the same as in a Corvette, which means it produces 460 HP. The suspension is more focused and slightly revised to give the driver a better driving feel and sharper response.

Imagine driving this perfectly-tuned machine on a long road trip with every mile bringing you more driving pleasure. Also, they improved the aero package, so the 1LE is an all-around sports machine. It is a capable road car that is comfortable enough for everyday use, as well as for long drives.

But the Camaro SS 1LE is still sharp enough to be a track car for tons of fun on the race track. And for $10,000 less, you can get the V6 1LE. It is less powerful and slower but still is a decent sports car for the price.

  1. Yenko Camaro 427

The Yenko family started a Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in 1949. And in the late ’50s, Don Yenko started managing the business. He slowly turned the company to the performance car market. He started with a series of race-ready Corvettes that Don raced himself. Soon, they were doing full conversion jobs they based on various Chevrolet models.

So, when they introduced the Camaro in 1967, Yenko started converting them to 427 V8 power, selling them as Yenko Super Cars. In addition to more power, wild graphics and a long list of optional extras, Yenko even offered a factory warranty. He also heavily promoted his models. And that is why Yenko Camaros were the most popular choice if you wanted a custom 427 V8 conversion on your regular SS.

  1. 1968 Penske Camaro Trans AM

Chevrolet wanted to promote the Camaro on the race tracks but the company was under a racing ban. So, they supplied various racing teams, such as Penske with factory-tuned Trans Am eligible Camaros.

For 1968, Penske entered two signature blue examples that were unbeatable due to some clever engineering and rule bending. However, the record set in 1968 of winning 10 out of 13 races is still unbroken, so the blue Camaro deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.

  1. Baldwin Motion Camaro

If you think that Yenko was the only classic Camaro tuner, think again. In fact, there were several well-known names in the business. However, the most extreme was Baldwin Motion. Their 427 conversions for the early ’70s models were simply the best.

Baldwin Motion installed numerous special performance parts and dyno tuned their cars. Also, they delivered them with a written warranty saying the car could achieve 10 second quarter mile times and produce 500 HP. Today, Baldwin Motion Camaros are highly desirable, valuable pieces of muscle car history.

  1. 1974 Camaro Z28

The 1974 model year was the last year for the classic chrome bumper Camaro. The option would later return, but this model year marked the end of an era. Although they produced it in the dark ages of the muscle car culture, the 1974 Z28 still had some muscle.

This was thanks to its 350 V8 that produced 245 HP. That may not sound like much, but it was a respectable number for the mid-70s. In fact, this engine gave the Camaro some much-needed performance numbers.

  1. 2012 COPO Camaro

You may know about the legendary COPO Camaro ZL1 cars of the late ’60s and their incredible drag strip performance. For the 2012 model year, Chevrolet introduced a special edition COPO Camaro which they made for the NHRA Stock Eliminator Championship.

Under the hood was a naturally aspirated 427 V8 engine delivering over 600 HP. Also, they gave it the latest racing technology to be the fastest car on the drag strip. Chevrolet wanted to pay homage to the original COPO Camaros, so they only produced 69 cars for 2012.

  1. Camaro Bumblebee

The Chevrolet Camaro as one of the most popular American muscle cars ever has appeared in numerous movies in the last 51 years. However, the most popular of all movie Camaros is the Bumblebee – the yellow and black Camaro from the Transformers movies. As such, it deserves a place on this list, both in classic and modern interpretation.

Did you choose a favorite from this history of the Chevrolet Camaro? These are the best bow tie pony cars to roll out of Chevy dealerships in America. Some are rare while others are plentiful, but there is a Camaro to appeal to every driver.

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