it All Started Back In 1964, the Ford Motor Company
revolutionized the automotive industry by stuffing a 289 cubic inch V8 in a
small sports coupe. The 1964 1/2 Mustang was born, beginning the "Pony
Car" small-car performance era that would grow to immense proportions well
in to the 21st Century.
introduced the Mustang in 1964 there was no immediate
reaction from General Motors, but by August of 1964,
just four months after the Mustang's introduction, General
realized the appeal
of a four seat sports car. Ironically,
the Mustang was created in response to the Chevrolet Corvair Monza!
actually begun preliminary work on such a car as early
as 1958, according to Pontiac Designer Bob Porter. "I remember a
four-passenger, sporty type car
of the general size and weight class of the Mustang being
worked on in an advanced studio. In the early
'60s, similar cars were developed from time
to time. Everyone wanted to do one, but at
the time there was really no corporate
An Attempt to Win:.
By 1965 the Ford Mustang had evolved into a serious performance
car and was making record sales. General Motors was attempting to compete with
the A-body Chevelles, and GTOs but needed something more in the
"context" of Ford Motor Company's Pony Car, the Mustang. When
the Mustang sold
100,000 units in the first six months, and almost half
a million the first year, General Motors took an interest.
The responsibility for GM's Mustang fighter was
given to the General Motors Design Center's Chevrolet
under the direction of Henry
C. Haga. Interior design was directed by George
Angersbach, who had been heavily
involved in the design of
the Corvette, Corvair, and the Chevy II, which
became the Nova in 1969.
1962 clay model of the XP-836
It has long been a misconception that the
'67 Camaro was designed
from Chevy II components when actually
it was the other way around.
The Chevy II was to be all new for
1968. The Chevy II shared many parts with
the 1967 Camaro, but this did lead to compromises
in the design, most
notably the cowl height and hood length.
airbrush rendering for Project XP-836, which became the Camaro
unique feature was the decision to use a front sub frame
isolated with rubber 'biscuits" in combination
with the unit body construction of the rest of the car, a technique that
had been used on several European cars,
including many Mercedes-Benz models. This combined
the best of both worlds-a larger
interior and more luggage space than was possible with
a traditional frame and at the same time a
quieter, smoother ride than a full uni-body car delivered.
mock-ups of many
different models, including a
two-seat roadster, a fastback, and
a station wagon. GM was
trying to keep the cost as low as
possible, however, to compete with
the Mustang, GM decided tostick
with just two models, a coupe
and a convertible. As
launch date neared, the car still had no
name. It had been called
various names by GM, including Nova, Panther, Chaparral, and
Wildcat. Chevy also considered using
the letters "GM" in the name, and came up with G-Mini,
which evolved into GeMini, and finally Gemini.
General Motors Headquarters killed that name,
because they didn't want the letters "GM" used
in case the car was afailure.
This pre-release car bears "Chaparral" name.
On September 29th, 1966, General Motors, who was not
so sure of the new product, unraveled a Pony Car of its own, resetting the
standard for the class with impressive performance, luxury and styling:
the Chevrolet Camaro. Finally,
car was introduced to the press as the Camaro, considered
to be a good name because
nobody knew what it meant. Chevrolet produced an old
French dictionary showing that the word meant "friend"
or "companion", but Ford found an alternate meaning in an old
Spanish dictionary-"a small, shrimp-like
creature. "The automotive press had a good
laugh over that, and an even bigger
one when one journalist found yet another meaning-"loose
bowels." It didn't
take long for the laughter to
stop after the introduction of the stunning 1967 Camaro.
Chevrolet General Manager
E.M. "Pete" Estes
setting off the Camaro explosion, September 21, 1966.
was to be offered with a wide variety
of power plants,
ranging from a 230 cubic inch six
cylinder to a 327 V8.
In addition, a new engine displacement was
created just for
the Camaro, a 350 cubic inch V8 rated
at 295 horsepower. Once
General Motors believed the Chevrolet Camaro would be a success, they quickly
began production on its counterpart, the Pontiac
Firebird. The new F-body was the sister car to the X-body, the Nova or Chevy II.
original concept car shown a few years before, dubbed the "Super
Nova", would quickly develop into a performance legacy.
These pages will celebrate the rich history of the F-Body, detailing
each year model, it's background, special models and racing background. Enjoy!