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Celebrating 53 Years of the Chevy Camaro

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2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Can you believe that it’s been 53 years since the first Camaros hit the road? Here’s a look back at this American icon’s five-decade legacy.

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Birth of an icon

Back in 1966, when the Camaro debuted, Chevy’s longtime rival company, Ford, had recently launched the Mustang and Bronco. Other automakers had released offerings like the Dodge Charger and Pontiac GTO. This burgeoning market inspired Chevy to design a vehicle to tame these pony cars. The automaker codenamed this vehicle “Panther.” This became the first generation of Camaros, which lasted from the model years of 1967-1969. In other words, they’re exceptionally rare and coveted vehicles. For instance, a 1969 COPO Camaro sold for $850,000 back in 2008.

More magnificent models

In the 1980s, the Chevy Camaro boasted the “IROC” trim level, which quickly became the nickname for all third-gen Camaros. This model was named after the International Race of Champions, as a nod to the fact that both the second-gen and third-gen Camaros were used as IROC racecars.

Generation four, which debuted in the 1998 model year, brought us the first aluminum V8 in 30 years — a feature that had been unseen since the COPO. The Camaro’s sibling, the C5 Corvette, also shared this lightweight engine. This dynamo continues to be a fan favorite even today, since it’s perfect for tuning and engine-swapping projects.

The 2010 model year ushered in the fifth-generation Camaro, which was built upon the Zeta architecture, designed by Holden in Australia. It offered plenty of power and a spacious ride in an incredibly affordable package. The sixth generation rolled out for the 2016 model year. It served as the basis for the powerful eCOPO electric Camaro, which proved that electric sports cars have enough muscle to tear up the track.

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Sources: Muscle Cars and Trucks, Dustrunners Auto