First-generation Camaro debuted in September 1966. It was available as a 2-door coupe or convertible with 2+2 seating and a choice of 230 cu in (3.8 L), 250 cu in (4.1 L) inline-6 or 302 cu in (4.9 L), 307 cu in (5.0 L), 327 cu in (5.4 L), 350 cu in (5.7 L), 396 cu in (6.5 L) 427 cu in (7.0 L) V8 engines. Concerned with the runaway success of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet executives realized they needed a smaller, lighter car with powerful engine choices. The Camaro was born !

Available from the start in a hardtop coupe and covertible body styles, it could be ordered with almost 80 factory options and 40 dealer accessories.

The RS package included numerous cosmetic changes including a blacked out grill with hidden headlights, revised parking and tail lights, upgraded interior trim, and RS badging.The SS package included as standard equipment a modified 350 cid V8, a 396 cid big block producing 325bhp (L35) and later a 375bhp version. The SS pack also incuded simulated air-intakes on the hood, special bumble bee striping and a blacked out grill. It was even possible to order both the RS and SS packages and get a RS/SS Camaro. In these cars the RS badging took precedence.

Camaro popularity soared when a RS/SS Convertible with the 396 paced the 1967 Indianapolis 500 race.

A year prior in December 1966, Chevrolet quietly released one of the most famous options codes of all time, the Z-28. Unpublicized and unknown it was not mentioned in any sales literature. It was only possible to order a Z-28 if you were one of the few dealerships or employees in the know. The Z28 came with mandatory front disc brakes with power assist and a Muncie 4-speed transmission. It was not available as an option on an SS or a convertible.

The engine was a 302 cid small block (Non-California emission cars were labeled MO while California emission engines were labeled MP) that was created by taking the 327 block and installing the short-stroke 283 crank. Specifically designed to compete in the Club of America Trans Am racing series which placed a 305 cid limit on its entries, the Z-28 was available to the public solely to qualify the car for racing.

Advertised horsepower was listed at just 290bhp, which didn't sound impressive until you dyno'd it and got an honest 360-400 bhp. The Z-28 also came with a competition suspension, broad racing stripes on the hood and trunklid and could even be combined with the RS option package. There was no Z-28 badging at all. The Z-28 proved to be difficult to launch on the street because its high reving engine and sported a 140mph+ top end. Only 602 Z-28s were sold in 1967, making it a truly desirable collectable.

In 1969, Chevrolet offered a wide range of engines for the Camaro and the mightiest of these was the aluminum block 427 cubic inch V8 (code ZL1).

The ZL1 was Central Office Production Order 9560 (COPO) that could be specially ordered for an additional $4,160 over the base price of the Camaro. This internal 'fleet' order helped overcome the restrictions GM placed on Chevrolet to only offer engines smaller than 400 cubic inches in the Camaro.

Eventually only 69 were ever ordered.

Around 20 of those cars were prepared for the NHRA Super Stock series and with slicks could reach low tens in the quarter mile.

The heart of the ZL1 was a monster V8 originally developed for the Can-Am Chaparral. It utilized cylinder heads similar to the aluminum-head L88 engine but had an entirely aluminum block with steel liners. The ZL1 came with wet-sump lubrication, K66 transistorized ignition system and accommodations for a mechanical fuel pump. Atop the intake manifold was a BIG single Holley 4-barrel and produced around 500 horsepower. To handle the power, Chevrolet fitted a new positraction differential with larger pinion and axle gears to the Camaro. It was timed over the 1/4 mile in the low 13's.

RS: 64,842
SS: 34,411
Z-28: 609
ZL1: 69

230 I6 140bhp.
250 I6 155bhp @ 4200rpm, 235lb-ft @ 1600rpm.
(Z-28) 302 V8 290bhp @ 5800rpm, 290lb-ft @ 4200rpm.
327 V8 210bhp.
327 V8 275bhp.
350 V8 255bhp.
(SS350) 350 V8 295bhp @ 4800rpm, 380lb-ft @ 3200rpm.
(SS396) 396 V8 325bhp @ 4800rpm, 410lb-ft @ 3200rpm.
(SS396) 396 V8 375bhp @ 5600rpm, 415lb-ft @ 3600rpm.
(ZL1) 427 V8 500bhp.

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