1972 Chevrolet Camaro: The American Pony Car

1972 Chevrolet Camaro: The American Pony Car

When the 1970 Camaro Z/28 made its premiere at the Chicago Auto Show in February of that year, the audience went crazy. With good reason: the new automobile looked gorgeous, with clean bodylines, a long front end, and a short rear deck. That split-bumper front end was particularly threatening when selected with the Rally Sport option.

The car was such a hit that it was featured in various movies along the way. From the 1976 American comedy gumball Rally to the 2011 Super 8, this magnificent car has surely made its way in front of the camera.

History

The Chevy Camaro was a last-ditch effort by General Motors to face the challenge posed by the wildly popular Ford Mustang.

Almost everyone, save Ford, was taken off guard when the Mustang was introduced in April 1964. What happened to Chevy’s inexpensive sporty vehicle that might have competed with the Mustang? The boxy Chevy II Nova lacked sex appeal, and the rear-engine Corvair didn’t really cut it. While there had been suggestions for a “Super Nova”-style automobile before the Mustang’s launch, it wasn’t until August 1964, after the Mustang had proved to be a success, that the go-ahead was granted to hurry a similar car into production. By the autumn of 1966, Chevy had a fully developed automobile in its showrooms—just over two years.

The Firebird was based on the same basic automobile that was known as the F-car inside General Motors. However, although Pontiac would spin the vehicle in its own manner, the Camaro was practically ready for production by the time the Firebird was authorized.

Although the Camaro would become the Mustang’s most fierce competitor, its history differs from that of the Ford model. That legacy is worth documenting, with five generations of Camaros now behind us and a sixth on the way.

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The Start of the Z/28

The “Super Hugger,” the second-generation Camaro, was an all-new car with a unitary structure, front subframe, and coil spring front suspension, similar to its predecessor.

The second generation’s chassis and suspension were improved in terms of performance and comfort; basic versions included major improvements in sound-proofing, ride isolation, and road-holding. Chevrolet engineers used their first-generation Camaro racing expertise to improve the second-generation Camaro’s handling, braking, and balance. Initially, high-performance configurations were available, but as the 1970s advanced, the market altered due to the fuel crisis, rising insurance costs, and increasing emissions restrictions. In 1974 and 1978, major design revisions were made, and the second-generation Camaro was retired in 1981.

1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Due to a 117-day strike at the Lordstown, Ohio facility, where the vehicles were solely made, production of the Chevrolet Camaro dropped dramatically in 1972. While this may seem odd, this certainly added value to the few produced 1972 Chevrolet Camaros.

The 1972 Chevy Camaro was offered in 15 colors, although the quantities of each color were not listed. The colors were Antique White, Pewter Silver, Ascot Blue, Mulsanne Blue, Spring Green, Gulf Green, Sequoia Green, Covert Tan, Placer Gold, Cream Yellow, Golden Brown, Mohave Gold, Flame Orange, Midnight Bronze, and Cranberry Red. Stripes came in black and white, with the exception of Antique White automobiles, which had black stripes while Mohave Gold exclusively had white stripes.

The second-generation Camaro remained almost unaltered in appearance until 1973. Yes, the style was inspired by Ferrari. GM clearly took inspiration from the 1963 250GT Lusso. For 1973, big-block V-8s were dropped from the lineup.

To catch a better glimpse of the 1972 Chevrolet Camaro, visit our website.

The Engine

Engineers added some genuine punch to the Z28 with a 350-cu.in. screamer with the now-famous designation, LT-1, to add to the knockout style. The Z28’s gross rating of 360 horsepower drove it to new heights. The engine was lowered to 330 horsepower in 1971, the same as the Corvette. Because of the decreased compression, the horsepower was reduced and quarter-mile timings were increased by more than a half-second and trap speeds were reduced by several miles per hour.

Engineers worked hard to keep as much electricity as they could. They changed the camshaft profile, ignition curve, and induction system, as well as the cylinder heads. To assure excellent performance, they altered rear-axle ratios. A little-known fact about the Z28 is that GM management approved the use of the 400-cu.in. small-block in place of the somewhat neutered 350, but a UAW strike, which effectively halted Camaro production for two months, helped kill the idea, as the end result was fewer Z28 orders, so GM stuck with the detuned LT-1. That isn’t to say it was a horrible thing. Solid lifters, free-breathing heads, and a large Holley carburettor remained on the engine.

In 1972, it was difficult to tell the difference between a ’71 and a ’72 model. The ’72 featured 15-inch wheels and tires and the engine still produced the correct noises thanks to strong lifters. The handling, which has always been a strong suit of the Z28, has become a little better with some small suspension tweaks. And, despite what we assumed was the end of the muscle car era when GM slashed the Z’s horsepower by another 20 or so, it still managed to be decent with 255 horsepower.

In 1972, the fastest time on street tires was 15.2 seconds at 86.6 mph. In comparison to its predecessors, it is not particularly powerful. Solid lifters would be fitted in any GM engine for the final time this year. However, GM emphasized that the Z28 was as excellent as any sports GT vehicle and that it could handle bends as well as, if not better than, most automobiles.

With newer models of the Camaro entering the market, would the old ones gain more fame for their utter genuinity?

1972 Chevrolet Camaro: The American Pony Car

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