The Camaro Z28 is a performance model of the classic Chevy pony car. When Chevrolet introduced the Camaro in 1967, its goal was to compete with the popular Ford Mustang. The original Camaro shared a platform with Pontiac’s Firebird, which was also new for 1967. As soon as it arrived on the scene, consumers loved the Mustang and GM needed something similar. The popularity of the Mustang could be explained by its reasonable price, sportiness, and performance elements. The Camaro was the answer.
The first generation, which included the Camaro Z28, stuck with the formula for a pony car started by Ford. The long hood and the short rear deck mimicked the now iconic pony car look. It also included a range of choices for engines from basic to high performance. In its earliest years, the Camaro Z28 was not exactly a trim level. It was an option, but there were no identifying badges on the cars. By 1968, you could get the badge, as well as the performance extras on the Camaro Z28.
In 1967, Chevrolet manufactured only 602 Camaro Z28s with the biggest engine. It held a 302-cubic inch V8 with an official output of 290 horsepower. By 1968, the performance package included disc brakes on all four wheels for better stopping during a race. The 1969 models had the same 302 engine, but power output now reached much more than the official rating. They also included a rear-facing scoop, dual exhausts, and stiffer suspension. In 1970, the Camaro Z28 got a 350-cubic inch V8 with a rating of 360 horsepower.
It was around this time that the Z28 package began to dwindle in terms of power and performance thanks to the end of the muscle car era. High insurance rates and tough environmental standards meant scaling back. The Camaro Z28 was not even available at all for 1975 and 1976. It did come back in ’77, but was never quite the same.