V6FBody Online's - F-Body History



 F-Body History -  How It All Started

How 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. When Ford 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 Motors realized the appeal of a four seat sports car. Ironically, the Mustang was created in response to the Chevrolet Corvair Monza!dot_clear.gif (46 bytes) General Motors had 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 interest." 

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 Studio 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. 


June 1962 clay model of the XP-836

Building The F-Body:  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. 


1963 airbrush rendering for Project XP-836, which became the Camaro


  One 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. The designers did 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 the 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, the 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.


The Camaro 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. The 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!

Journey of the Chevrolet Camaro,

from 1967 through today.

Journey of the Pontiac Firebird,

from 1967 through today.


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