The Chevrolet Camaro is a “pony car” made in North America by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. It was introduced on 26 September 1966 as a 1967 model year and was designed as a competing model to the Ford Mustang. The car shared the platform and major components with the Pontiac Firebird, also introduced in 1967.
The Camaro was initially advertised on Top 40 AM radio stations of the day in an attempt to woo the young adult market. Although it was technically a compact car (by the standards of the time), Camaro may also be classified as an intermediate touring car, a sports car, or a muscle car.
Though the car’s name was contrived with no meaning, GM researchers reportedly found the word in a French dictionary as a slang term for “friend” or “companion.” In some automotive periodicals before official release, it was code-named “Panther”, however, the project designation for the Camaro was XP-836 and some early GM photos show the final Camaro body labeled “Chaparral”. Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers “What is a Camaro?”, and they were told it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs”. The name conveniently fit Chevrolet’s “C” naming structure that included Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette.
The first-generation Chevrolet Camaro debuted for the 1967 model year on a brand new rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform and would be available as a 2-door, 2+2 seating, coupe or convertible with a choice of inline-6 and V8 powerplants. The first-generation Camaro would last until the 1969 model year and would eventually inspire the design of the new retro fifth-generation Camaro.