In its simplest form, the Chevrolet Camaro car was General Motors' answer to the all conquering Ford Mustang. Back in 1964 when Ford launched the Mustang, observers reckoned they could sell about 100,000 of the pony cars a year. But when the Mustang sold more than a million in its first 18 months, Ford, and the rest of Detroit, knew it was on to something. Chevrolet's Camaro subscribed to the same theories as the Stang; a sweet looking two-door coupe spun off a compact sedan body and fitted with a choice of engines and mechanical packages to suit all budgets. Camaros were cheap to make, cheap to buy and loads of fun to drive. These days, everybody wants a 1967 or 68 Chevy Camaro and to see one now is to realise why - these are seriously sexy cars. Forget that they're based on ho-hum American platforms, they can be made to go hard, hang together and even, if you put in the time, handle acceptably.
Chevrolet Camaro – How Is It On The Road?
Chevrolet Camaro cars were small cars by North American standards, but they're still about as big as a contemporary Holden Monaro of Ford Falcon. Most of them on the road here have been imported from the States and in the old days, that meant a conversion from left to right-hand-drive. Later imports were old enough to be registered as left-hand-drive cars and if you can cope with sitting on the wrong side of the car, an original left-hooker is sometimes a nicer drive. Generally speaking, the bigger the engine fitted to a Camaro, the better it is to drive. The big-block V8s stretch that theory a little, but something with a mildly tuned 350 cubic-inch Chevy engine will go well and be reasonably balanced. The automatic transmission option is a good idea if you want a cruiser, but if it's the true muscle-car persona you're chasing, then only a Camaro with a clutch pedal will do.
What To Look For When Buying a Used Chevrolet Camaro?
We've seen some terrible things done to Camaros by US owners keen to unload them overseas. Rust is a big problem and everything from chicken-wire to paper-mache has been jammed into rust holes with plastic filler slathered over the top. Just because the Camaro in the photos looks nice and shiny doesn't mean it's glamour underneath. The same goes for early imports that were converted to right-hand-drive here. The standard of job varies enormously from better-than-factory to death-trap. Have any converted car checked out carefully. Some factory engines were tuned pretty softly (despite what the brochure said at the time) so don't be surprised if a stocker doesn't break any world speed records. But there's a whole aftermarket out there that can fix that, anyway.
Chevy Camaro - The Final Verdict
+ Big dose of Yee-Haa
+ One of the best looking US muscle cars of all time
+ Cheap to fix and maintain
- Watch for rust
- Some imports not what they appear
Chevrolet Camaro Standard Specifications
Engine Size: 5.0/5.7/7.4-litre V8
Fuel System: Carburettor
Standard Transmission: 3-auto/4-man