The big 5-0 is coming up soon for the Camaro nameplate and I already know your first reaction. “But wasn’t it killed off for several years? So that shouldn’t count!” Yes, production was halted from 2003 until 2009, but the nameplate began in 1966 and went on sale that September as a 1967 model, and that is where I am counting from for this piece. With that being said, let’s dig in!
In 1964, Ford brought out the Mustang. GM had nothing to compare at the time, but in 1966 Chevy finally had an answer, the 1967 Camaro, and the two cars have battled ever since. The constant one-upmanship between Ford and Chevy has produced some great cars over the years. The original Shelby GT350’s and GT500’s, being chased by the Camaro SS with the 350 Small Block Chevy, and dealer special order COPO models are a few of the greats. Of course Ford responded by stuffing a NASCAR engine under the hood of the new Mustang Boss 429. Not only did these cars compete on the streets and the sales floor, but they also competed in SCCA Trans Am Racing, with the Boss 302 and Camaro Z/28 going toe to toe on the track. Both cars suffered through the 1970s with the oil crisis and new emissions regulations, but in the early 1980s there was a resurgence, with the return of the GT trim to the Fox Body Mustang and third generation F-Body Camaro. While engines were down on power from the 60s, the improvement over the 1970s was substantial. Moving into the 90’s both cars saw new generations, new V8s, and more. By the end of the decade both cars were hitting the 300hp mark with V8s.
However, in 2002 production of the Camaro ended. Chevy decided not to pursue a new generation and for almost 7 years the Mustang was unopposed in the market. That is until the spring 2009 when Chevy finally released the 2010 Camaro. Picking up right where they left off, Chevy and Ford pushed each other forward once again with the new Boss 302, GT500, Camaro ZL1, 1LE, and Z/28. In 2015, the Mustang began its seventh generation, while at the same time celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a special trim package. The latest Mustang now has independent rear suspension, a GT350 trim featuring a 5.2LV8 with flat plane crank and other track modifications. Chevy is on their 6th generation Camaro and it is truly a world beater, not only being compared to the Mustang, but some have even compared it to one of the all time greats, the BMW M4. These two cars have divided car enthusiasts for years. Ford vs Chevy, Mustang vs Camaro, it’s America’s great rivalry. These are two cars that I pray live on forever. The constant battle between the two has led to the production of many amazing vehicles and continual improvement. This is why every muscle car fan should be happy that this year the Camaro celebrates its 50th anniversary.
To celebrate, Chevrolet will be releasing the 2017 Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition for the V6 2LT and the top of the line 2SS later this year. As with most anniversary editions vehicles, the Camaro’s special edition is purely cosmetic. On the outside, the 50th Anniversary includes a Nightfall Gray Metallic paint, special edition wheels and center caps, a unique grille with satin chrome trim, orange brake calipers, special orange striping, and 50th Anniversary exterior badging. Once inside, owners will receive a special black leather interior with orange stitching, 50th anniversary badging on the instrument panel, seat backs, steering wheel, and illuminated door sills.
Overall, it comes together in a stunning package, probably the best looking new Camaro available from the factory. Production numbers and pricing have yet to be released. If the 45th anniversary package's numbers are anything to go off of, around 8,000 were made and it was around $1,400 more for the special edition.