“The Transformers edition is by far the best-recognized Camaro of all time and a sure-fire future collectible…”
2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (photo courtesy of Rich Niewiroski Jr.)
1982 Camaro Z/28 Pace Car Replica (photo courtesy of Anders Svensson)
1990 Camaro IROC- Z convertible (photo courtesy of Sicnag)
2010 Transformers Special Edition Camaro (photo courtesy of Sicnag)
As we await the arrival of the sixth generation Chevy Camaro, let us look back at some favorite Camaros from each generation.
- 1967 Yenko Camaro – Don Yenko essentially ran a kick-ass speed shop out of his family’s decades-old Cannonsburg, Pa., Chevrolet dealership. Yenko replaced the car’s factory 396 V-8 with a Corvette L-72 427 that put out well over 400 gross horsepower. They went on to become among the most feared and (later) the most valuable muscle cars from the first golden age of automotive performance.
- 1968 Camaro Z/28 – If the big-block Yenko Camaro was a straight-line drag strip specialist, the Z/28 was the first-gen Camaro that you wanted to take on a road course. Its small-block 302-ci engine was essentially a 327 block with the crankshaft from the old 283 V-8. It made for one of the most entertaining and rev-happy pushrod V-8s of all time.
- 1970 Camaro Z/28 – The all-new second generation Camaro bowed for the 1970 model year complete with a fastback design and some styling cues borrowed from one of the best, the Ferrari 250 Short-Wheelbase Berlinetta of 1964 (Camaro would appropriate the name “Berlinetta” too, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves). The new car was an even better performer.
- 1979 Camaro Z/28 – The 1979 Z/28 looked fantastic with a new front spoiler and NACA duct hood. And while 175 hp doesn’t sound like a lot, the early 1970s change from SAE gross to net horsepower made it look worse than it was. The 1979 Z/28 remained a sharp handling and by-no-means slow car. Values have roughly doubled in the last five years.
- 1982 Camaro Z/28 Indy Pace Car – The ’82 pace car wasn’t about performance as much as looks. Nice examples are rare, but when they do show up, they are bargains, trading for well under $13,000.
- 1990 Camaro IROC- Z convertible – One of the biggest things to happen was the introduction of the first convertible since 1969 (courtesy of American Sunroof Corporation) just in time for the Camaro’s 20th anniversary. Fantastic examples still trade for under $20,000.
- 1997 Camaro SS LT4 30th Anniversary SLP coupe – SLP Engineering (which stands for “Street Legal Performance”) followed the Yenko formula of 30 years earlier and grabbed one of the hottest Corvette engines (in this case the 1996 Grand Sport LT4). With wheel, tire and suspension upgrades to go with the balanced and blueprinted 330-hp LT4, the car cost about $18,000 more than the next hottest SS Camaro of the same model year. Buy one today for 50 grand.
- 2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary convertible – The F-body went out of production in 2002 (by then it was being produced only in GM’s Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, plant) but at least it went out with a bang—the 325-hp SS went like stink.
- 2010 Transformers Special Edition Camaro – Brilliantly announced at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, fewer than 2,000 were produced exclusively in Rally Yellow with black stripes and Autobot badges that were strategically placed. The Transformers edition is by far the best-recognized Camaro of all time and a sure-fire future collectible.
- 2014 Camaro Z/28 – Like the original Z/28 that cleaned up on road courses in the SCCA Trans Am series, the new Z/28 has track star written all over it. With extra-careful attention paid to light weight and aerodynamics, the car is able to put to good use on the track its huge Brembo brakes, Pirelli P Zero tires on 19” wheels and 500-hp, 7-litre V8- (that’s 427 cubic inches to Chevy big block fans).
Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca
SAAB 900 Turbo, extremely predatory-looking.
1957 Lincoln Premiere: Low, long, and wide.
Facel Vega HK 500, the perfect vehicle for a bank job or armored car heist.
1935 Cord 810, a menace even in chrome.
1961-64 Lagonda Rapide, the stereotypical ‘bad guy’s’ car.
1968 Marcos 1600, a terrifically styled sports car from England
1959-66 Jaguar MK II, a familiar villain of British TV and movies.
1957 Plymouth Fury, from Stephen King’s movie ‘Christine’.
1953 Cadillac Fleetwood, the perfect car for Michael Corleone.
by Jonathan A. Stein
Like people, certain cars have a sinister look about them, especially in dark colours and particularly in black.
Some cars have been typecast for the large and small screens and others just look evil without any help from the mass media. Here are a handful of production cars that look as if they could scatter children and make law-abiding citizens run for their lives.
1935 Cord 810 Beverly or Westchester: Sleek and low for its era with that coffin nose, few cars have more of an air of threat about them. To me, the chrome pipes of the 812 take away a lot of the menace.
1957 Lincoln Premiere: Low, long, and wide, from its stacked headlamps to its perfectly proportioned fins, there is an air of menace about any ’57 Premiere in a dark colour.
I can’t see a ’52 or ’53 Cadillac Fleetwood in a dark colour without expecting Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) to step in or out of it. If ever a car was typecast, this is it.
1959-1966 Jaguar Mk II: This car has been cast repeatedly as the villain’s ride in all manner of British television and movies, though its menace is largely due to expectation rather than appearance.
1957 Plymouth Fury: This car would look threatening and scary even if it hadn’t been immortalized in Stephen King’s “Christine” as the embodiment of evil.
Very few cars look scarier than a Facel Vega HK 500 — in black. I’ll never forget the last time I saw a somewhat questionable – and now departed – car dealer. He was moving a black Facel Vega and it had a powerful burble and looked ready to spirit him away from a bank job or armored car heist.
1968-1972 Corvette Stingray: Talk about a car that looks “Bad Ass”; few cars top a black Stingray with chrome bumpers.
1961-1964 Lagonda Rapide: If there hadn’t been so few of them, this car definitely would have been a stereotypical “bad guy’s” car. They’re just plain menacing, even in white.
1963-1968 Marcos 1600 or 1800GT: Few cars are lower or look more sinister than these terrifically styled sports cars from England. They’re seldom seen on our shores. And although they look scary, they’d be hard to hop into for a quick getaway and there’s limited space to haul the loot.
The SAAB 900 Turbo had a very long life — from 1978 until 1998 — but it’s the cars from the mid-80s that will be best remembered as extremely predatory-looking. I’m talking about a black three-door Turbo, probably with tinted windows.
All kinds of cars make statements, but when you combine, long, low and wide with great presence, sometimes a car can be a little scary.
Jonathan A. Stein writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca