GM Talks Camaro Engines - We Detail 1st Generation
We know that the next gen Chevrolet Camaro is coming for the 2016 model year, but General Motors has been surprisingly quiet about the 6th gen muscle car over the past year or so. This left us to rely on rumors, spy shots and leaked information when discussing the 2016 Camaro, but beginning with a shadowy teaser of what is believed to be the next gen car in videos at both the Detroit and Chicago auto shows, GM has seemingly started their slow tease of the new muscle car.
The newest bit of Camaro related information from General Motors doesn’t offer us any insight into the 2016 Camaro, but it does run through the list of engines that have powered the popular muscle car since the debut back in 1967. GM only touched briefly on the engine options during the early years, but I’ve done some digging and found full lists of available engines for every model year Camaro. Since the Camaro has such a long and storied history, a rundown of every engine over the past 48 years would be incredibly long, so we will look at each generation on its own – beginning today with the original Chevrolet Camaro. This includes the 1967, 1968 and 1969 Camaro, which were the most powerful of the famous muscle cars until the current (5th) generation models were introduced.
While the Ford Mustang had smaller, less powerful engines when it was introduced in 1964, the Chevrolet Camaro came out with a big spread and big power when it met the world in 1967.
During the course of the 1967 model year, there were two inline-6 engines and five different V8s, with the base model 230ci I6 packing 140 horsepower while the least powerful V8 – a 327 – produced 210 horsepower and a second 327 offered 275hp. The 1967 Z28 relied on a 302 cubic inch engine with 290 horsepower while the SS350 while the three different Camaro SS engines offered 295, 325 and 375 horsepower from a 350 and two 396s.
For 1968, all of the 1967 engines returned, but there was a new 396 that offered 350 horsepower in the Camaro SS. The 1968 model year Camaro also had the L89 package, which added aluminum cylinder heads to the SS350 and SS396, which helped reduce engine weight by roughly a hundred pounds.
Also in 1968, while there were no 427 cubic inch V8s offered by GM, a few dealerships around the country began ordering 427 V8 engines from GM and installing them in customers’ Camaros. This was the first step towards the legendary COPO Camaro.
Come 1969, the 275hp version of the 327 V8 was discontinued, but the rest of the engine options from 1967 and 1968 carried over for 1969. Additions included a new 307 cubic inch V8 with 200hp, a pair of 350 V8s with 250-255hp and the official arrival of the 427 big block V8 as part of the COPO program. The COPO 427 was rated at 425 and 430 horsepower, but those power numbers are widely regarded as being very low estimates.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Camaro engine history, where we look at the lengthy second generation muscle car!