Muscle-car heaven: America’s 50-year love affair with the Camaro

From its days as Chevy's answer to the Mustang to its social media-heavy presence today, the Camaro has thrilled drivers for a half-century, reprorts Gogo Lidz.

The Camaro was born out of a volcano. We know this because 50 years ago, in the muscle car’s very first TV commercial, it rose from a caldera amid fountains of fire and a molten lake of lava. Fans of the sporty Chevrolet still debate how many martinis Don Draper downed while writing copy for that ad.

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Chevy small block series-number 8

Chevy Small Blocks 1981 to 1995 Number-8

Four inch bore family

The 350 continued

The LT-9 350 variation is often known by its VIN code as the “M code 350”. This 5.7 liter engine is in the K20 and the K30 pickups as well as step-vans and motor homes on the P30 chassis marketed from ’81 to ’86. The engine has a four bolt main bearing configuration with the factory specs listing it as developing 160 bhp at 3500 RPM and producing 250 lb.-ft. of torque at 2800 RPM when equipped with the Rochester  Quadrajet carburetor.


In the 1982 model year the only engine available for the Corvette is the L83-350 with 9:1 compression and is coupled to an automatic transmission only will give up 205 bhp and offers 285 lb-ft of torque. The power option in ’82 is a twin throttle body fuel injected version called the cross-fire. There was no production model Corvette in ’83 and therefor no L83 in that year.


The first of the generation four is the new L98 for Corvettes; this 350 is in show rooms for the 1985 model year. The basic equipment tuned-port fuel injection (TPI) allows this version to produce 230 bhp in both ’85 and ’86 but for ’87 through ‘89 it is bumped up to 240 bhp but with the optional 3.07:1 rear axle ratio (’88-’89 only) the engine will develop 245 bhp. The L98-350 d the option of aluminum heads in 1986 , with “D” ports added for the 1987 models and this head option was available for the Corvette until the end of its run in the Corvette in the 1991 model year.


From January 1987 until 1992 the L98-350 is an option for the Firebird and the Camaro with the basic ‘87 edition producing 225 bhp (168 kW) while offering 330 lb-ft of torque but the power option would put out 245 bhp (183 kW) offering 345 lb-ft of torque with a modified hydraulic roller camshaft. For the 1990 model year the output is increased with the cylinder compression upped to 9.5:1 for the Camaro and Firebird while in 1990 the ‘Vette with the same L98 engine offers 10:1 compression.

In the 1987 model year Chevy, GMC, and all the rounded C/K class of trucks including the four door crew cab units can be equipped with the L05 version of the 350 engine, as well, the recreational Suburban and the K5 Blazer have this engine. Other G.M. products with the L05-350 as an available option from 1990 through to 1993 with the L05 production ceasing entirely in 1996 include the Buick Roadmaster, Cadillac Brougham, Cadillac Fleetwood, Caprice LTZ, Caprice (wagon-an option), and the AMG Hummer H1 for `95-`96. From the 1994 model year until `96 the L05 is replaced by an uptown version called the LT1 in all GM `B`bodies while in the final year the Vortec heads are used in the 1996 G38.

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Mustang or Camaro?

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Chevrolet 3100-restomod 1954 images

The exterior of this '54 Chevy 3100 pickup is reminiscent of the original, but all the comforts we require for today's driving demands are now included in this unit. The front clip is from a '77 Camaro, while under the hood is a 305 CID engine that's coupled to a TH350-3 speed automatic transmission. The  Toyo Proxes T1-S radials are mounted on Enkei Luxury Series wheels put the torque to the pavement. The interior driver upgrades include power windows, power brakes, power steering, and a tilt wheel.  The seats are cloth covered and fitted with seat belts while the dash sports a modern AM/FM/CD deck. The package includes the trailer and two vintage coke coolers-how cool is that?

305 CID V8 TH350 Asking $32,995 Buy here

MCF thanks Gateway Classic Cars for the images provided here

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Chevy Camaro 2011 to 2013

The Camaro for 2011is much the same as 2010 and has many things going for it-with all versions offering good performance in the six cylinder models but the V8’s range is from fast to amazing. For safety all models have four air bags in front with one curtain bag on each side extending into the rear seating compartment. The impact tests show favorable results while all units are equipped with anti-lock brakes to safely stop quickly from triple digit speeds, traction control, and dynamic stability control as standard features on all Camaro versions. Creature comforts available on all models include Onstar navigation, Bluetooth, as well as heads up display, iPod, and a USB plug is all offered optionally if you like.

2010 Camaro 5

The car has an aggressive, in-your-face look-aerodynamic also- but that comes at a price-the Camaro does not offer good visibility; particularly through the windshield and the seating is fringing on cramped for anyone while a tall individual may have a problem with head room particularly if sitting in the driver’s seat. The rear seating is not very large even for children while the trunk has little available storage space. The driver has responsive, crisp steering while passengers do have a great ride on the tuned suspension and the interiors well sound proofed from exterior noise is an added bonus.

2010 Camaro

For the 2012 model year the car retains the retro look and offers the same drawbacks but it receives a five star safety rating by NHTSA now. The features inside remains the same although there is the added options of leather or suede upholstery which could be a nice touch and the rear view camera is also a great new feature

2010 Camaro 2

But let’s face it this is a muscle car in every sense of the word with the entry level 3.6 Liter engine putting out 312 hp (229.5 kW) but still giving up to 18/29 mpg city/highway. The SS power option remains as a 6.2 liter and with the six speed automatic offers 400 hp but with the six speed standard version puts out 426 hp and will do 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The big news is the addition of the track capable ZL1option complete with a newly styled body and this power choice is equipped with the 6.2 L engine but in the ZL1 it develops 580 hp with 556 ft-lb of torque at 6,000 rpm,  with the standard transmission, it will take you from 0-60 mph in 4.1seconds-if you don’t blow any shifts and will do up to 180 mph without a problem.

2010 Camaro 3

The Camaro is available in five trim levels for 2013 with the base V6 offering a few more horses at 323 now with slightly improved highway mileage as well for this year. Other than too low head room on all versions the SS model has a slight tendency to under steer while the 1LE version has a slight tendency to over steer. The supercharged 6.2 Liter engine putting out 580 hp is in the ZL1 which can take you from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 184 mph.

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