Still wonderful after all these years.
Some cars are iconic the day the first units roll off the assembly line. While everybody has their pick, it's impossible to deny America's love for the Chevrolet Camaro. Originally codenamed 'Panther', the Camaro was clearly built as a competitor to the then all-new Ford Mustang. And back in 1966, Chevrolet unveiled to a small group of automotive journalists in Detroit, Michigan at a press event for the 'Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World' the first details of their Mustang fighter.
Clearly the journalists were confused as to why they were there, to say the least. They soon, however, were told of a car whose name comes from a "small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs." The Camaro was first unveiled to the press in September, 1966 and it went on sale later that month as an early '67 model. Chevrolet's new rear-wheel drive F-body platform sports car was offered as both a coupe and convertible and, like its Mustang rival, had 2+2 seating. Powered by a variety of engines such as the 4.1-liter inline-six as well as numerous V8s that ranged from 5.0- to 6.5-liters, the Camaro was an instant success.
Transmission options included a four-speed manual, two-speed "Powerglide" automatic, as well as the "Turbo Hydra-Matic 350" that became an option in 1969. Chevrolet also offered packages with familiar names like RS, SS, and Z/28 that allowed buyers to choose the trim level just right for them. The Z/28, obviously, was the top-of-the-line package, since it was designed to participate in the SCCA Trans-Am series. By the end of the Camaro's first production year, more than 221,000 units had been sold. This number continued to rise for the subsequent two years until the second generation model was launched in 1970.
This second generation model was longer, lower, and wider than the original, and Chevrolet dropped the convertible option. In 1982, the third generation came out and featured fuel injection and even a four-cylinder engine due to the aftermath of the 1979 energy crisis. The fourth generation was launched in 1993, but was discontinued in 2002. Not until 2010 did the current fifth generation hit the streets. And this featured 1968 Camaro has certainly had its fair share of proper usage. After buying the car in pretty bad condition, the owner went about completing gutting and then restoring it.
After some extensive surgery, it was time to choose the new engine. Powered by a LS3 small-block V8 with 600hp, it's also been stroked to 427 cubic inches. Since this Camaro's completion, the owner has taken it to track day events at Willow Springs Raceway and a few other places. And what was once something heading to the junkyard, is now a 600hp reborn '68 Camaro. American muscle doesn't get much better. Photos courtesy of Chad-68