The Evolution Of The Chevy Camaro

People were first introduced to the Chevrolet Camaro in September 1966 when the vehicle was built to rival the extremely successful Ford Mustang. More than 50 years later, thousands of drivers continue to buy Camaros each year, with 67,940 being sold in 2017.

Over the years, the Camaro has evolved into a powerful car, albeit with some struggles along the way. This is the evolution of the Chevy Camaro.

The Camaro’s Code Name Was the Panther and It Cost Just $2,466

Steven Kelly/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images
Steven Kelly/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images

When Chevrolet started designing the Camaro, it was known by the codename “Panther.” Executives considered over 2,000 names before settling on “Camaro.” The aim was to develop a car that would rival the Ford Mustang. Chevrolet took its inspiration for the Camaro from the Chevy 11 Nova.

Chevrolet started selling the Camaro in 1966 and its base price was $2,466 (which would be around $19,250 today). During the first year, Chevrolet sold 220,000 Camaros versus Ford, which sold 480,000 Mustangs. The Camaro had a 3.8-liter, straight six engine with 140 horsepower. Consumers had several options to choose from, including the preferred 375-horsepower, 396-cubic-inch (6.5-liter) L78 big-block.