Ford and Chevy have a long history of one upping each other with design and quality of their cars. And, it seems, when one manufacturer turned out a huge success of an automobile the other found a way to follow suit and compete for that market share.
            In 1964 when Ford rolled out the hugely successful Mustang, General Motor’s felt it first in the dramatic loss of market share of the already waning Corvair. The car grabbed the imagination and pocket book of young buyers looking for a fast, sporty car they could call their own.
            It took GM until 1967 to introduce a competitor for the Mustang. Based on their revamped Chevy Nova which really wouldn’t see the light of day until 1968, the Camaro came with a reasonable price point and a number of power plant options. The standard was a three speed manual transmission and a 230 cubic inch straight six which claimed 140 horse power but in reality had a hard time claiming that number. Options included a larger 250 cubic inch straight six with 155 horse power.
            But if a buyer wanted more they could move into a 327 cubic inch V 8 fed by a two barrel carb that ran 210 horses. Upping the engine to a four barrel carb pushed horse power to 275. There were also two versions of a 396 cubic inch big block V 8 that came with either 325 or 375 horses.
            The name of the car was something of a story in itself. GM puzzled through a number of possible different names ranging from Wildcat to Gemini, among others. They somehow decided on Camaro. Supposedly some folks at Chevy found an old French dictionary to show that the word meant “friend” or “companion.” Someone at Ford evidently countered, producing an old Spanish dictionary that translated the word to mean a small, shrimp-like creature. Allegedly an automotive journalist found yet another translation where the word means “loose bowel.” Not something you would want to call your car.
            Still, once people started driving the car they realized there was nothing shrimp-like about it. This was pure American muscle.
            Over the course of four more generations since its inception, the Camaro has gotten any number of make overs but always seems to have the look of a flat out street racer. In the past few weeks we’ve come across a bunch of Camaros at different shows. Here is a group all from the same show. Pick the one you would like to take for a run out on the road.



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