A Brief History of the Classic Chevy Camaro Through Six Generations

The pony car has made its way into the hearts of gearheads, collectors, and people who love everything vintage. Originating in the 1960s, the pony car was, and in many ways still is, a performance-oriented vehicle with a big, powerful engine in a car that looked good but was largely made with mass-produced parts.

Targeting younger generations of American drivers, the spirit of the pony car was style, power, and speed at an affordable price, making pony cars some of the bestselling vehicles of the 1960s and imprinting them in the lore of drivers across the globe.

While the original pony car was the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro is right up there among the greats as one of the most iconic pony cars in history. If you’ve got an eye for this classic pony car, we’re going to guide you through all six generations to decide whether you should go vintage or modern on this classic car.

1st Generation

The Camaro’s first generation was also its shortest-lived. Lasting only from 1967 to 1969, the first Chevy Camaro only ever made it to about half of the Mustang’s sales, but the first gen was still responsible for producing some gorgeous cars. Powered by the V8 engine churning out 375 horsepower, Camaro made a statement that it was all about speed and power. The Chevy Camaro earned its reputation when the 1967 convertible paced the 1967 Indianapolis 500, proving itself right out of the gate.

2nd Generation

Lasting from 1970 to 1981, the second-generation models received a number of refinements over their 11-year run. They were bigger than the first generation and only came as coupes, sadly lacking the availability of convertible models. A new roofline offered better rollover protection, and wider doors made it easier to climb into the back passenger seats. Improved safety was a consistent theme of the evolution of the second generation.

3rd Generation

From 1982 to 1992, the Camaro arrived as a hatchback coupe with a new aerodynamic shape and strut front suspension. Unfortunately, the Camaro’s reputation for power took a hit in this generation, with a 2.5-liter engine only producing around 90 horsepower until more powerful options became available, including a V6 engine producing 102 horsepower and a robust V8 that put out 215 horsepower.

4th Generation

The fourth generation finally brought back the convertible style, and includes models from the years 1993 to 2002. This was the generation that brought the Camaro into the new millennium, and the body was known for its extreme sleekness and its more aggressive appearance. The low front end and wedge-shaped profile are hallmarks of the fourth generation. This generation was known for bringing in better front and rear suspension and a Z28 model that churned out 275 horsepower.

5th Generation

The Camaro was absent from dealerships between 2002 and 2010. After a long disappearance, the fifth generation came back from 2010 to 2015, getting its design inspiration from 1969. Part of the Camaro’s resurgence was spurred by pop culture; with the release of the Transformers movie in 2007, the Camaro seized the popular imagination again.

Besides pop culture references, the fifth generation wheeled out a potent 580 horsepower V8 engine in the Camaro ZL1 Coupe.

6th Generation

The contemporary version of this classic car continues to give drivers a high-powered experience. It’s lighter, more fuel efficient, and still powerful, with the least-powerful engine on offer producing 275 horsepower. It comes with a more high-end interior and a design that still pays homage to the 1960s.

The Camaro is a storied car that has seized imaginations for decades. If you’ve been thinking about getting one, find the generation that fits your style.