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Buyers Guide - F body models

Chevrolet First Generation Second Generation Third Generation Fourth Generation
1967-1969 1970-1981 1982-1992 1993-Present
Pontiac First Generation Second Generation Third Generation Fourth Generation
1967-1969 1970-1981 1982-1992 1993-Present

The Camaro along with the Pontiac Firebird, with which it shares the same basic chassis, is generally known as an F-body. This designation comes from the letter assigned to the car during its development by General Motors. Each major car line at GM is given a letter name that includes all of the division-crossing models. The letter assigned to the model that became the Camaro and Firebird was F.

Chevrolet

Camaro

First Generation

The first-generation Camaro lasted three model years. These first-generation Camaros came as either hardtops or convertibles. All cars had two doors with 2+2 style seating. As is usual with US produced cars mid-year changes were made deliberately for marketing, production, and safety purposes. The first generation Camaros were built in August 1966 for launch in September 1966. The 1969 model was unusual in that it continued till the end of 1969. This was because of difficulties with the design and production of 1970 models.

The majority of 1967-69 Camaros were built at the Norwood, Ohio factory. The remainder were built at the Van Nuys, California assembly plant near Los Angeles. A number of Camaros were built in the Philippines and in Belgium. These overseas Camaros used a different VIN and trim tag format from those assembled in the US.

Models

Base - standard suspension, lower performance engine options.

SS - Super Sport: upgraded suspension, higher-performance engines.

RS - Rally Sport: an appearance package that included hideaway headlights and special trim items. Available in combination with any of the other packages.

SS/RS - A combination of the SS performance package and the RS appearance package.

Z-28 - A special factory road-racer version of the Camaro. Only one Z-28 was built as a convertible.

Z-28/RS - A combination of the Z-28 special high performance package with the RS appearance package.

L30/M20 and Lm1/M20 - SS performance components but without the trim and emblems.

If you own a US-built car the Chevrolet Customer Assistance Centre at 800.222.1020 (toll-free US number, but contact BT to gain access at normal US call charges) will provide you with some data on your car. If you provide them with your VIN they will send you a fairly accurate specification of that year Camaro and the options.

If you are restoring your Camaro you will find useful information at the following web sites:

Camaro Research Group and the Worldwide Camaro Association. In the UK you could contact the Classic Camaro Club at Box 2222, Braintree, Essex, CM7 9TW.

If your vehicle was originally sold in Canada, you can request a vehicle report. Call the GM Canada Vintage Vehicle Services 905.644.4060. For a nominal fee ($45CDN as of Nov 1999) you will receive basic information from the original computerized records such as the option by RPO number, date of shipment, and the Canadian dealer number.

The highest priced Camaros are the 1969 Central Office Production Order (COPO) 9560 models; only 69 of these were ever built. They had SS type equipment (minus the badges) and 427ci aluminium engine (ZL-1) giving at least 430hp. Other models they command a premium include the COPO 9561 fitted with a 427ci cast iron engine (L72) and the original Z28s. Other to look out for are the latter Z28s, SS optioned cars with the L78 or L79 engines and dealer-modified models like the Yenko also command high prices.

Generally speaking manuals are more popular than automatics. The closer the car is to its original condition, with few or no modification, with documentation the higher its value.

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Second Generation

The model years from 1970 through to 1973 all look very similar. A big facelift came into force in 1974 to meet tougher crash test legislation. The wrap around window came in 1976 and a T-bar roof in 1977. The next major change was in 1978. During the seventies power outputs declined to meet the emission regulations. A 1970 Z28 Camaro that had the Chevy 350cu. in. LT-1 Corvette engine and 360bhp was capable of 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds. By 1972 the output was down to 255bhp and continued to decline. In the early 1980s there were fitted with a 305 V8 producing a mere 180bhp.

Rust is a big problem in these models. Rear wheel arches, front wings, the bottom of the doors, the boot/truck floor and the panle behind the rear window are notorious areas for rusting. In the later 1975-81 models rust is common in both footwells although this was not a problem on earlier models. However all the panels are available from a variety of suppliers so its not all doom and gloom.

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Third Generation

In 1982 the third generation Camaros were introduced with the following line-up: Sport Coupe, Berlinetta, and Z28 with a range of five engines. The Z28 was selected as the Indy 500 pace car.

The Sports Coupe was fitted with the LQ8 2bbl 4 cylinder fitted in Canada and for overseas, but the LQ9 TBI 4 cylinder for US models. The LC1 2bbl V-6, the LG4 4bblbl V-8 were options. Transmissions were a 4 speed manual and a 3 speed automatic. All Camaros were fitted with front disc brakes.

The Berlinetta came standard with the LC1 V-6. The LG4 V-8 was optional. Exterior gold `Berlinetta' badging on the rear bumper and C pillars were standard. The headlamp pockets were painted in an accent color and tail lights got a gold and black horizontal divider bar. The Berlinetta also came standard with additional body insulation, softer suspension and full instrumentation. The Berlinetta also had its own unique steering wheel with `Berlinetta' badge.

The top of the range Z28 came with the LG4 4bblbl V-8 as standard motor and LU5 twin TBI `Cross Fire Injection' 5.0 liter/305 motor as optional. All Z28's came with lightweight SMC (Sheet Molded Compound) hoods. The LU5 optioned Z28's also came with functional hood air induction flaps. The Z28 had a different nose from the other models. It also came standard with a 3 piece rear spoiler and black horizontal bar in tail lights. A 1982 Z28 can be distinguished from a 1983 and 1984 Z28 by its lack of the bowtie emblem by the Z28 emblem on the rear bumper. 6360 Z28 Indy Pace Car replicas were produced and came with special silver and blue paint scheme.

In 1983 5.0 liter H.O. L69 motor was introduced in March.(March 1, 1983). In 1983, L69 was only available with 5 speed manual transmission. A 4 speed automatic was introduced and was only standard on V-8 cars. A 5 speed manual was introduced and was only manual transmission available on V-8 cars.

For 1984 Berlinetta received electronic instrumentation and the Z28 was available with automatic transmission.

The distinguishing feature of 1985 Camaros were the new noses and deeper valances and front spoiler. The IROC-Z was introduced. It came with 16x8 aluminum wheels, .5 inch lowered ride height, body coloured valances, rear gas shocks amongst many changes to the suspension and steering from the standard Z28. The Z28 and IROC-Z got a 305 version (LB9) of the TPI engine (LB9) that was also fitted to the Corvette.

Sport Coupe restyled and upgraded in 1986 making it look more similar to the Z28 and a result the Berlinetta was discontinued early in the year. All 1986 Camaros had the newly required CHMSL (center high mounted stop light) mounted externally on the leading edge of the hatchback glass. This was the only year Z28's and IROC-Z's had the CHMSL mounted here. The 215hp 305 TPI motor which had been introduced the previous year was detuned losing 25hp due to a cam change, although torque was increased.

A LT option was available for the Sport Coupe and incorporated most of the Berlinetta’s equipment. Later in the year the RS Camaro was introduced for California and with V-6 power only. It came in a choice of red, white or black. Leather interior were available for the first time. The CHMSL moved to the spoiler (which was slightly increased in size) on all cars equipped with a spoiler. (all Z28's, IROC-Z's; spoiler optional on LT and Sport Coupe) The Camaro convertible was introduced for the first time since 1969 as a regular production option. The convertible was available on the Sport Coupe, Sport Coupe LT, Z28, and IROC-Z. The new 350 TPI motor was not available in the convertible however. Only 1,007 convertibles were produced this first year of production. 1987 was the 20th anniversary of the Camaro and the convertibles were considered the anniversary editions and were signified by a special dash badge that read `20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition'. 1987 was the last year for Camaros produced at the Norwood Ohio plant; the original Camaro Plant.

The 5.7 350 TPI became available on the IROC-Z. Other than external badging the eight digit on the VIN number can be used to distinguish the two models `8' for 350 TPI's and an `F' for 305 TPI's.

LT option and the Z28 model were dropped in 1988. The Sport Coupe took on appearance of the old Z28, the IROC was the only other model.

In 1989 the Sport Coupe dropped, replaced by the returning RS model.

The 1990 model year was only a half year of production. Due to the termination of the Chevrolet IROC contract, no IROC-Z's were produced after 12/31/1989. Instead, the 1991 Camaros were introduced early during last half of the normal 1990 model year.

In 1991 Z28 name returned. Changes were limited.

1992 was the 25th anniversary of Camaro and last year for the 3rd generation Camaro. 1992 also marked the end of Camaros produced at the Van Nuys plant All Camaros had 25th anniversary badge on dash. A `Heritage Edition' which included first generation Camaro style hood and rear deck stripes, body colored grille, black headlamp pockets, and a 25th anniversary badge on rear spoiler (RS) or hatchback rear edge (Z28). Initially these Heritage Editions were only available as white car with red stripes; black car with red stripes; or red car with black stripes. Later additional colours became available: polo green car with gold stripes and purple haze car with silver stripes.

Books
Standard Catalog of Chevrolet 1912-2003 USA
Chevrolet Camaro & Z-28 1973-1981 USA Clarke R M

Magazines
Coming soon

VIN Identification | More Guides | Chevy Car Links | Pictures | Values | Chevy & Camaro Magazines

Fourth Generation

Although looking different on the outside the the floor stamping and all of the rear suspension was shared with the third-generation car. For '93, the Camaro lineup consisted of two models: base sport coupe powered by a 160-horsepower 3.4-liter version of GM's V6 and the Z28 with the Corvette's 5.7-liter LT1 small-block V8 underrated at 275 horsepower. There was no convertible.

The black-roofed (no matter what the body color) '93 Z28 was a stunner. The LT1 was easily the most powerful small-block installed in the Camaro since its namesake, the 1970 LT-1. The most desirable '93 was probably the black Z28 replicas of that year's Indy 500 pace car.

The convertible Camaro returned with the 1994 model year. In 1995 the base Camaro added GM's "3800" 200-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 as an option. The 3800 was both significantly more powerful and refined than the 3400, and by 1996 would become the only V6 in Camaros.

To celebrate the Camaro's 30th anniversary, Chevy introduced a specially optioned white Z28 with orange stripes and orange houndstooth upholstery (evocative of the '69 Camaro pace car) for 1997.

By 2001, it was obvious that the Camaro's days were numbered and it soldiered on into 2002. For the Camaro's last year in production, changes were, understandably, minimal. Z28s got a new power steering cooler, the sound systems were revised and V6 convertibles got the automatic transmission standard, but that's about it.

Chevrolet did celebrate the car's 35th year, however, with a special graphics package for the Z28 SS coupe and convertible. The flamboyant stripes and logos of the 35th Anniversary package were attractive in their own idiomatic way, but it was hardly the glorious send-off for which Camaro enthusiasts had hoped.

Pictures

For RHD Conversions in the UK

Coming soon!

Pontiac

First Generation

Coming soon

Pictures

Second Generation

As with the Camaro, the model years from 1970 through to 1973 all look very similar and a big facelift came into force in 1974 to meet tougher crash test legislation. The wrap around window came in 1976 and a T-bar roof in 1977. The 1977 model also received quad headlamps.

If you want a Trans-Am with power then by an early model before the emission regulations took their toll or buy one with a 400 or 455cu. in. The V8s in themselves were not altered much to bring the emissions down and so its possible to improve the levels of performance with the right equipment. One engine to be avoided in the Pontiac 303ci. in. turbo engine which compared to the others in the range lacked power.

During the seventies power outputs declined to meet the emission regulations. A 1970 Z28 Camaro that had the Chevy 350cu. in. LT-1 Corvette engine and 360bhp was capable of 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds. By 1972 the output was down to 255bhp and continued to decline. In the early 1980s there were fitted with a 305 V8 producing a mere 180bhp.

Rust is a big problem in these models. Rear wheel arches, front wings, the bottom of the doors, the boot/trunk floor and the panle behind the rear window are notorious areas for rusting. In the later 1975-81 models rust is common in both footwells although this was not a problem on earlier models. However all the panels are available from a variety of suppliers so its not all doom and gloom.

The Trans Am radiator grille and the plastic nose mouldings never fitted properly. In fact don’t expect perfect panel and trim fit on any Firebird.

VIN Identification | More Guides | Pontiac Car Links | Pictures | Values | Books | Magazines

Third Generation

In 1984 the Trans Am now available with "ground effects" bodywork. Grille inserts in front fascia replaced with solid pieces.

In 1985 the Firebird receives restyled nose but the power bulge hood disappears. On the Trans Am the 'ground effects' bodywork is standard.

CHMSL stop lamp introduced as required by Federal legislation in 1986 and is placed on top of back window.

In 1987 Trans Am GTA is introduced with the option of the LB9 305 TPI motor or the L98 350 TPI. The Firebird Formula introduced, also available with L98 350 TPI motor.

In 1991 All cars received restyled noses loosely fashioned after "Banshee" show car. Trans Am's ground effects restyled as well. Trans Am and Formula receive new flat-wing-wrap-around spoilers.

The Firehawk was introduced in 1992 but only 25 were built.

Books
Standard Catalog of Pontiac 1926-1995 USA
Pontiac Firebird 1967-2000 Photo History UK USAScala G
Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am 1969-1999 UK USA Scala/Wyss
Pontiac Firebird, Trans-Am And GTO USA Hot Rod Magazine
Pontiac's Third-Generation Firebird & Trans Am UK USA Schorr M L

VIN Identification | More Guides | Pontiac Car Links | Pictures | Values | Books | Magazines

Fourth Generation

1997

Coming soon!

Values Magazines


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