50 YEARS OF Ca­maro

FIFTY YEARS AGO THE BRAND-NEW CHEVRO­LET CA MAR O WON AMER­ICA’ S HEART, AND IT’S STILL GOT IT. FOL­LOW THE CA MAR O’ SS TORY, FROM 1966 TO NOW…

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature - Words: Con­nal Grace Photos: Adam Croy, NZCC Ar­chive

On Septem­ber 29, 1966, Gen­eral Mo­tors cre­ated a le­gend — well, that’s not en­tirely cor­rect, but it was the date the Chevro­let Ca­maro was first re­leased for sale to the gen­eral pub­lic. To un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of that mo­ment in time, we’ll need to warp back into the black-and­white pages of the ’60s, and get a feel for the era.

Chevro­let re­leased the mid-en­gined Cor­vair in 1960. Although the Cor­vair was firmly planted on the ‘econ­omy’ end of the Chevro­let spec­trum, the sportier and higher-spec Cor­vair Monza stole the show, push­ing the USA’S do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers to­wards more sporty and ap­peal­ing mod­els in a bid to crack a lu­cra­tive seg­ment of the mar­ket. The grad­ual emer­gence of mid­dle Amer­ica’s younger ve­hi­cle buy­ers, with dis­pos­able in­come, saw cars with a more youth­ful, vi­brant, flavour than the staid fam­ily wag­ons and util­i­tar­ian com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles per­me­at­ing the mar­ket.

This slowly sim­mer­ing mix­ture came to a boil in April 1964, when Ford re­leased its all-new Mus­tang, chang­ing the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket for­ever. The in­tel­li­gent de­sign of the Mus­tang, us­ing many parts al­ready in pro­duc­tion for the Fal­con and Fair­lane mod­els, al­lowed Ford to mar­ket the new ‘pony car’ at a very at­trac­tive price point. The 22,000 or­ders re­ceived on the first day were enough to put paid to Ford’s an­tic­i­pa­tion of first-year sales no greater than 100,000 units: it took the Mus­tang only three months to sur­pass 100,000 units. In fact, just 18 months later, the 1,000,000th Mus­tang would roll off the pro­duc­tion line — the pony car mar­ket was in full swing, and things would never be the same.

You can be sure that GM ex­ec­u­tives were keep­ing a close eye on the Mus­tang and its un­prece­dented suc­cess, and they fronted up with a di­rect com­peti­tor on Septem­ber 29, 1966. How­ever, to em­ploy that ter­ri­ble cliché, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and re­ports seem to sug­gest that Chevro­let had been work­ing on a Mus­tang com­peti­tor as early as April 1965 — a se­cret car that, at the time, was nick­named ‘Pan­ther’ by the au­to­mo­tive press.

Imag­ine, then, the con­fu­sion among the 200odd North Amer­i­can au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists who re­ceived the fol­low­ing tele­gram on June 21, 1966: “Please save noon of June 28 for im­por­tant SEPAW meet­ing. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. De­tails will fol­low. [signed] John L. Cut­ter — Chevro­let Pub­lic Re­la­tions — SEPAW Sec­re­tary.” A sec­ond tele­gram fol­lowed the next day. It read:

“So­ci­ety for the Erad­i­ca­tion of Pan­thers from the Au­to­mo­tive World [SEPAW] will hold [its] first and last meet­ing on June 28. (Insert city here) chap­ter will meet at (insert ho­tel name here) and join na­tional 14-city tele­phone hookup with meet­ing in Detroit at which na­tional pres­i­dent E.M Estes will pre­side. Please tele­phone ac­cep­tance to Frank Faraone, (Tele­phone #) Delaware 7-4601. [signed] John L. Cut­ter — Chevro­let Pub­lic Re­la­tions — SEPAW Sec­re­tary.”

All too puz­zling, but the mys­tery be­hind these per­plex­ing tele­grams was un­cov­ered no later than June 28, 1966 — a day of firsts in au­to­mo­tive his­tory. It was the day of the world’s first, and last, SEPAW meet­ing. That meet­ing turned out to be a press con­fer­ence held in real time across 14 cities, all con­nected over tele­phone lines — the first time ever that such an un­der­tak­ing had been per­formed. More than 100 peo­ple were in­volved in con­nect­ing the 14 cities through more than 20,900km of tele­phone ca­bling, over 14,500km of mi­crowave ra­dio, and in ex­cess of 6500km of coax­ial ca­ble — a phe­nom­e­nal task for the era, but well worth it, con­sid­er­ing the grav­ity of the an­nounce­ment that was to take place. Yes, June 28, 1966 was a day of firsts, all of which were build­ing up to the first-ever an­nounce­ment of Chevro­let’s all-new Ca­maro.

The con­fer­ence was headed by Chevro­let’s Gen­eral Man­ager, EM ‘Pete’ Estes, who art­fully dis­pelled the con­fu­sion around the SEPAW acro­nym, layer by layer, to drop the bomb­shell that Chevro­let’s Mus­tang com­peti­tor was a sure thing — a sure thing that would be in­tro­duced on Septem­ber 29, 1966.

In the time be­tween the Mus­tang’s re­lease and the June 28 SEPAW con­fer­ence, the North Amer­i­can au­to­mo­tive press had run ram­pant with ru­mours of a new Chevro­let to fill the un­con­tested pony car mar­ket. Estes’ men­tion of this — “As far back as April 8, 1965, a Detroit news­pa­per had head­lines pro­claim­ing that Chevro­let had a ‘Pan­ther’ car to an­swer the horsey of­fer­ing of a com­peti­tor” — made the in­ten­tion of the SEPAW con­fer­ence clearer. It was, first and fore­most, to show that Chevro­let would re­lease a new car only on its own terms.

“In the two years since then [the re­lease of the Mus­tang], you gen­tle­men of the press, ra­dio,

and tele­vi­sion have lit­er­ally de­signed, built, and mar­keted the Chevro­let ‘Pan­ther’ to the point where we get irate let­ters from cus­tomers, plus phone calls de­mand­ing all spec­i­fi­ca­tions and price, so they can place or­ders!” Estes claimed, be­fore con­firm­ing that Chevro­let would of­fer “What we feel is the last word in personal-sized cars”.

The mean­ing be­hind the So­ci­ety for the Erad­i­ca­tion of Pan­thers from the Au­to­mo­tive World had been made clear — the Pan­ther was no more. No, Chevro­let’s new car would be the Ca­maro — a name cho­sen to rep­re­sent “the com­rade­ship of good friends … as a personal car should be to its owner”.

True to the prom­ise made at that meet­ing, the all-new Chevro­let Ca­maro was re­leased three months later — on the day that had been des­ig­nated, Septem­ber 29, 1966. As pre­dicted by the myr­iad be­hind-the-scenes folk at Chevro­let, it was ex­actly the car that the com­pany line-up needed to cap­i­tal­ize on the bur­geon­ing ‘pony car’ mar­ket. The Mus­tang and Ca­maro have been locked in a tooth-and-nail bat­tle for supremacy ever since, and 50 years af­ter the birth of the orig­i­nal Ca­maro, they’re still at it.

First gen­er­a­tion (1967–1969)

The all-new Ca­maro was a breath of fresh air for a car-buy­ing mar­ket that had only just been awak­ened to the de­lights of a ‘personal car’ — a ma­chine de­signed and bought not for prac­ti­cal rea­sons, like a com­mon ap­pli­ance, but to sat­isfy the de­sire to have a car as an ex­ten­sion of one’s per­son­al­ity. As tacky as that may sound, think of the state of the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket for main­stream Amer­ica at the time — sat­u­rated with fam­ily haulers and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles — and re­al­ize that cars like the Ca­maro and Mus­tang rep­re­sented an idea of au­to­mo­tive free­dom that av­er­age Amer­i­cans had not known they could be a part of.

The first-gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro was built upon GM’S ex­ist­ing F-body plat­form, avail­able as an at­trac­tively de­signed hard­top coupe or con­vert­ible. A number of en­gines and trim pack­ages were avail­able, and this de­gree of per­son­al­iza­tion was un­doubt­edly part of the car’s suc­cess. From a mild base coupe pow­ered by a 3.8-litre (230ci) straight six to a top-of-the-line 6.5-litre (396ci) big block–pow­ered Ca­maro RS con­vert­ible, there was a Ca­maro to suit ev­ery per­son and ev­ery bud­get. First-year pro­duc­tion tapped out at an in­cred­i­ble 220,900 — more than dou­ble the pro­duc­tion fig­ures of Chevro­let’s ex­ist­ing small car, the Chevy II [ Nova].

The first-gen Ca­maro re­mained rel­a­tively un­changed through­out its pro­duc­tion run of 1967 to 1969, aside from dis­tinc­tive aes­thetic re­designs each year. More trim and en­gine op­tions were added over the years, with the Z/28’s 4.9-litre (302ci) small block and the 1969 COPO Ca­maro’s all-al­loy 7.0-litre (427ci) big block ZL1 among the most highly re­garded.

An es­sen­tially race-ready ve­hi­cle, the Z/28 was an op­tion pack­age that in­cluded the highly strung 4.9-litre small block — known as the 302 — a Mun­cie four­speed man­ual gear­box, and power-as­sisted front disc brakes. De­signed specif­i­cally for com­pe­ti­tion in the Trans-am se­ries, which man­dated en­gine dis­place­ment no greater than 5.0 litres, this was es­sen­tially a road­go­ing race en­gine. Power was ad­ver­tised as 290hp (216kw) — though it is be­lieved that this was se­verely un­der­stated, for

both in­sur­ance and rac­ing ho­molo­ga­tion pur­poses, with es­ti­mates as high as 400hp (298kw) when the car was equipped with twin four-bar­rel car­bu­ret­tors, tubu­lar head­ers, and a cowl-in­duc­tion hood.

Fea­tures spe­cific to the 302 in­cluded a range of high-per­for­mance mod­i­fi­ca­tions rarely seen out­side the world of mo­tor sport — a clear in­di­ca­tor of the Z/28’s rac­ing in­ten­tion. The fun­da­men­tal en­gine was based upon a 4.6-litre (283ci) crankshaft, with three-inch stroke, in a 5.3-litre (327ci) en­gine block, with 102mm bore size. When the small block’s jour­nal siz­ing in­creased in 1968, changes were made to the bot­tom end, most no­tably the new forged steel crankshaft. To this were added shot-peened, forged steel rods and forged pis­tons. This is still top-shelf stuff, so imag­ine how in­cred­i­ble it would have been in the late ’60s. On top of this, the en­gine ran the fa­bled ‘Dun­tov’ camshaft — a solid lifter, flat-tap­pet camshaft — as well as up­graded val­ve­train gear, such as hard­ened pushrods, pushrod guide plates, and heavy-duty valve springs. Suf­fice it to say that the 1967 Ca­maro Z/28 per­formed ad­mirably in that year’s Trans-am se­ries, no doubt play­ing a key role in ce­ment­ing the Ca­maro’s name as one of the world’s true sports car greats.

As far as le­gend is con­cerned, the all-al­loy 7.3-litre (450ci) ZL1 big block of 1969 sur­passed it. De­vel­oped for Can-am rac­ing, the ZL1’S en­gine block was an all-al­loy cast­ing based on the ex­ist­ing big-block ar­chi­tec­ture — re­duc­ing weight sig­nif­i­cantly — and topped with unique gear, such as open-cham­ber al­loy heads, an ag­gres­sive camshaft pro­file, and an al­loy in­take man­i­fold spe­cific to this mo­tor.

Internal pol­icy at GM pre­vented Chevro­let from of­fer­ing an en­gine ex­ceed­ing 6.55 litres (400ci) dis­place­ment in a Ca­maro, but the prob­lem was not in­sur­mount­able. Two Cen­tral Of­fice Pro­duc­tion Or­der (COPO) num­bers — 9560 and 9561 — were al­lo­cated to these spe­cial-edi­tion Ca­maros, of which only 69 were man­u­fac­tured, mak­ing this one of the rarest Chevro­lets ever made.

Sec­ond gen­er­a­tion (1970–1981)

The Ca­maro un­der­went a se­ri­ous re­vi­sion for the 1970 man­u­fac­tur­ing year. Hav­ing a less rushed de­vel­op­ment, and a gen­er­ous de­vel­op­ment bud­get due to the suc­cess of the first gen­er­a­tion, the sec­ond-gen Ca­maro looked rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent, be­ing longer, lower, and wider than its pre­de­ces­sor — that said, the con­vert­ible was also dropped from the range. With a sleek new fast­back pro­file, clean rear end, and at­trac­tive front end with a clear Euro­pean flavour, the sec­ond-gen Ca­maro sure looked the goods. It wasn’t just good looks, though — the doors were also wider, to im­prove rear seat ac­cess, and the sus­pen­sion and chas­sis boasted im­prove­ments over the first-gen, yield­ing bet­ter road hold­ing, driv­ing dy­nam­ics, and sound in­su­la­tion.

The Rally Sport pack­age up­graded the fas­cia to the at­trac­tive quad-head­light front with iconic split bumpers, ex­pos­ing the full grille. The base V8 en­gine was the 5.03-litre (307ci) small block, but the Ca­maro was not lack­ing in op­tions, for ei­ther en­gines or ac­ces­sories.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Ca­maro was hit pretty hard dur­ing this part of its life. In 1971, GM set out a com­pany-wide man­date for all en­gines to run on lower-oc­tane gaso­line (low-lead or unleaded petrol), be­gin­ning a steady de­cline in the Ca­maro’s ad­ver­tised power fig­ures. This, plus sub­stan­tial in­creases in in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums for high-per­for­mance ve­hi­cles, marked the be­gin­ning of the end of the USA’S true fac­tory mus­cle cars. On the pro­duc­tion front, strike ac­tion by the United Au­to­mo­bile Work­ers put a dent in pro­duc­tion, and pres­sure to meet the many new emis­sions, safety, and econ­omy reg­u­la­tions put the Ca­maro’s fu­ture in ques­tion.

For­tu­nately, the plug was not pulled, but safety reg­u­la­tions that needed to be met was the next big fac­tor in the re­shap­ing of the sec­ond-gen Ca­maro — it was sub­ject to an­other facelift in 1974, to meet Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion stan­dards. Gone was the at­trac­tive and dis­tinctly Ca­maro front end, re­placed with a ta­pered nose cone and grille, re­cessed head­lights, and a full-width wrap-around front bumper. It was still clearly a Ca­maro, but ar­guably, some of the Ca­maro’s charm

had been lost in the makeover.

In ad­di­tion to the Ca­maro’s new aes­thetic di­rec­tion, the ac­tual pony car mar­ket was hit hard in 1974, with the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Arab Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries oil em­bargo ham­mer­ing fuel-in­ef­fi­cient per­for­mance ve­hi­cles, yet the Ca­maro still thrived — this is most likely at­trib­ut­able to the demise of Chrysler’s com­peti­tors, and the re­moval of any kind of V8 en­gine op­tion from the Ford Mus­tang line-up.

Sadly, things didn’t get any eas­ier in the mar­ket — de­spite ac­tual sales far­ing rather well — and power out­put con­tin­ued to de­cline. The de­sign changes con­tin­ued, al­beit on a mi­nor scale, with the big­gest aes­thetic change for 1975 be­ing the move to a wrap-around rear wind­screen. In an in­ter­est­ing side note, ra­dial tyres also be­came stan­dard equip­ment on all Ca­maros — a re­minder that 1975 was more than just a few years ago.

In 1977, the Ca­maro out­sold the Ford Mus­tang for the first time. The re­main­der of the ’ 70s was a rea­son­ably drama-free time for the Ca­maro, with in­creas­ing con­ces­sions to­wards fuel ef­fi­ciency. This peaked in 1981 — which was the fi­nal man­u­fac­tur­ing year for the sec­ond-gen Ca­maro — with the car­bu­ret­ted 5.7-litre (350ci) small block V8 gain­ing com­put­er­ized emis­sion con­trols through a number of di­ag­nos­tic sen­sors — a sign of things to come.

Third gen­er­a­tion (1982–1992)

The Ca­maro’s evo­lu­tion con­tin­ued into its third gen­er­a­tion. Although these ve­hi­cles were less de­sir­able than those of ear­lier gen­er­a­tions, they were more than ca­pa­ble. The 1982 Ca­maro in­tro­duced a number of firsts to the line-up, in­clud­ing a lift­back rear, 2.5-litre four-cylin­der en­gine, and op­tional ‘Cross Fire In­jec­tion’ throt­tle-body fuel in­jec­tion (TBI) on the 4.9-litre small-block V8.

The fol­low­ing year, the Ca­maro took an­other step for­ward, with an over­driven Borgwarner five-speed man­ual gear­box su­per­sed­ing the old four-speed unit, and an over­driven TH700R4 four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, re­plac­ing the an­ti­quated three-speed.

A mi­nor facelift fol­lowed in 1985, but the big talk­ing point was the in­tro­duc­tion of the IROC-Z — a spe­cial ver­sion that took its name from the In­ter­na­tional Race of Cham­pi­ons (IROC). This was es­sen­tially an op­tional pack­age, which in­cluded an up­graded sus­pen­sion and han­dling pack­age, new wheels and de­cals, and the op­tion for a Tuned Port In­jec­tion (TPI) sys­tem as used on the then-cur­rent C4 Corvette.

As seems to be the case with the Ca­maro, the mid-gen­er­a­tion pe­riod was a bit slow, without much to re­port later on in the 1980s. How­ever, the con­vert­ible op­tion was rein­tro­duced in 1987, for the first time since its dis­con­tin­u­a­tion fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the sec­ond gen. The same year marked the Ca­maro’s 20th an­niver­sary, and the new Ca­maro con­vert­ibles were treated as com­mem­o­ra­tive mod­els.

The fol­low­ing year marked an­other rev­e­la­tion in the Ca­maro line-up, with all en­gines boast­ing elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion. How­ever, that was off­set by the line-up

go­ing through a weight-loss pro­gramme — not in a good way — with the cut­ting of all pack­ages, to leave just the base Ca­maro and the IROC-Z. The de­lin­eation be­tween base and top model meant much of the dis­con­tin­ued Z28’s equip­ment be­came stan­dard fit­ment, or an avail­able op­tion, on the base Ca­maro coupe.

Fol­low­ing Chevro­let’s de­ci­sion not to re­new its con­tract with the IROC, 1990 was the last year for the Ca­maro IROC-Z. In­stead, the Ca­maro Z28 made a re­turn for the 1991 man­u­fac­tur­ing year. The same year, in a bid to re­duce un­wanted noise, GM re­vised its man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques, chang­ing seam seal­ers and assem­bly pro­ce­dures.

Fourth gen­er­a­tion (1993–2002)

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro was re­leased in 1993, with the car once again be­ing sub­jected to a thor­ough over­haul. The de­sign was to­tally new, fresh, and ex­cit­ing — that of a sleek sports car, with curves in all the right places. The Corvette’s fu­elin­jected 5.7-litre LT1 en­gine was stan­dard in Z28 Ca­maros, along with the op­tion of a Borgwarner T56 six-speed man­ual gear­box — this was one of the first pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cles to be equipped with what would be­come one of the world’s most pop­u­lar man­ual gear­boxes in the pas­sen­ger-car mar­ket.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro re­mained rea­son­ably sta­ble through­out its life, with mainly mi­nor changes made be­tween man­u­fac­tur­ing years. The most no­table of these oc­curred in 1998, when the then-new 5.7-litre LS1 en­gine re­placed the LT1 to be­come the stan­dard V8 en­gine in the Ca­maro line-up. This was the first Ca­maro to be pro­duced with an all-al­loy V8 en­gine since the COPO Ca­maros of 1969.

Sales and pro­duc­tion num­bers were in de­cline over this pe­riod, likely at­trib­ut­able to the sat­u­ra­tion of the mar­ket with read­ily avail­able al­ter­na­tives from all over the world — the days of a ‘pony car’ mar­ket dom­i­nated by Mus­tangs, Ca­maros, and E-body Mopars were long gone. Pro­duc­tion fell to an all-time low of 29,009 units in 2001, and the fourth-gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro was dis­con­tin­ued in 2002.

Fifth gen­er­a­tion (2009–2015)

It’s hard to keep a le­gend down, and Chevro­let clearly wasn’t pre­pared just to let the Ca­maro fade into ob­scu­rity. A new-gen­er­a­tion con­cept was re­vealed in 2006, and this would make it to re­al­ity in 2009, based upon GM’S all-new Zeta plat­form pi­o­neered by GM Holden’s de­vel­op­ment of the Ve-se­ries Com­modore.

Un­like its pre­de­ces­sor, the model wasn’t de­signed to look fu­tur­is­tic, in­stead it took its styling cues from the most suc­cess­ful Ca­maros of old — those of the late ’60s. In­cluded in the de­sign was a nod to the ‘Coke bot­tle’ hip line, as well as plenty of retro in­te­rior styling. The Ca­maro was well and truly back — not only did it look like a thor­oughly mod­ern suc­ces­sor to the first-gen orig­i­nal, but it could be had as a bona fide mus­cle car in the spirit of the orig­i­nal. The base six-cylin­der model was still avail­able, but so, too, was a 6.2-litre LS2 V8, good for over 298kw/400hp.

Not only that, but the build qual­ity and driv­ing dy­nam­ics were all at the stan­dard needed for the Ca­maro to be a vi­able choice in an in­creas­ingly tough mar­ket.

In 2011, Chevro­let re­vealed a new Ca­maro ZL1, re­viv­ing the hal­lowed badge from its first gen­er­a­tion. The fifth­gen­er­a­tion Ca­maro ZL1 was pow­ered by a su­per­charged 6.2-litre LSA en­gine, good for 433kw/580hp, mak­ing it the most pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion Ca­maro ever. It wasn’t just a whole lot of en­gine and noth­ing else, though — much of the stan­dard Ca­maro was re-en­gi­neered for the ZL1, with all the el­e­ments con­ducive to all-round per­for­mance given a thor­ough once-over. The Ca­maro ZL1 was able to lap the Nür­bur­gring in 7.41:27, plac­ing its per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­ity firmly in the ter­ri­tory of su­per­cars cost­ing sev­eral times as much.

The fifth-gen Ca­maro was an un­ques­tion­able suc­cess, birthing world­wide ap­peal for such cars in a mar­ket that is ab­so­lutely spoiled for choice. Of course, with the Ford Mus­tang al­ready in pro­duc­tion and the Dodge Chal­lenger’s 2008 re­turn — and in a sim­i­lar style to the beloved first gen­er­a­tion — it was like the glory days of the late ’60s and early ’ 70s all over again. Fea­tur­ing through­out pop­u­lar cul­ture, and on the big screen in Hol­ly­wood, the all-amer­i­can sports car was once again a de­sir­able icon of au­to­mo­tive free­dom — and not just in Amer­ica — it was now up against the world.

Sixth gen­er­a­tion (2015 to pre­sent)

The new Ca­maro was, once again, an all-new un­der­tak­ing, this time based on GM’S new Alpha plat­form. The base model Ca­maro comes with a tur­bocharged, 2.0-litre, four-cylin­der Ecotec en­gine, the first time a four-cylin­der has been of­fered in a Ca­maro since the third-gen­er­a­tion’s 2.5-litre four-cylin­der in 1982. In stark con­trast to that an­ti­quated slug of a mo­tor, the Ecotec is good for 205kw/275hp, and is ru­moured to have been de­tuned to avoid di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with the higher-spec Ca­maro V6.

The 6.2-litre LT1 en­gine — not to be con­fused with the small block–based LT1 of the ’90s — is the stan­dard en­gine op­tion for V8-pow­ered sixth-gen Ca­maros. Good for 339kw/455hp, the all-al­loy en­gines pro­duce am­ple power and torque, good fuel econ­omy, and ex­cel­lent re­li­a­bil­ity.

For Ca­maro buy­ers who need a lit­tle more fire­power un­der the bon­net, Chevro­let is re­leas­ing a Ca­maro ZL1 in 2017. It is set to re­ceive a su­per­charged 6.2-litre LT4 en­gine — the suc­ces­sor to the LS9 — with a power out­put claimed to be 477kw/640hp. The 2017 Ca­maro ZL1 will also re­ceive a 10-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion as an op­tion, or the tried and tested Tre­mec TR6060 six-speed man­ual box.

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