What is the best year ever for cars and why?
We put that question to the performance-minded people on Summit Racing’s Facebook page. Using their answers as a foundation, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 8 years in automotive hot rodding and performance history. Why? Because it’s fun to make lists. And it’s even more fun to attempt the impossible–like narrowing 100-plus years of automobiles down to the eight best.
We’ll unveil the list over the next week or so. In order the make the list, a given year must have been nominated at least once by the readers.
Who can argue with 1967?
One wonders whether it should be higher. Because in 1967, the Big Three delivered legends.
Ford and Mopar enthusiasts might object, but the star of the show was the launch of the Chevrolet Camaro.
One in particular stands out.
“On August 17, 1966, Vince Piggins, then an assistant staff engineer in charge of performance product promotion, issued a memo to upper brass outlining his plan to build an SCCA-legal factory racer based on Chevrolet’s new pony car, the Camaro,” according to The Illustrated Directory of Muscle Cars. “Once approved, Piggins’ proposed package was given regular production order (RPO) number Z28, a label that stuck despite Vince’s pleas for the name ‘Cheetah.’”
The 1967 Chevy Camaro Z/28 changed the pony car game—forever. And the Camaro has been a staple at hot rod shows and in classic car collections ever since.
Chevy didn’t stop with the Camaro.
They also introduced the fabled Chevy Corvette L88. Fabled, in part because it made epic power for its day—north of 500 horsepower and a 12.5:1 compression ratio—and also because only 20 were sold. The 1967 model year was the last of the C2 Stingray generation. A 1967 L88 Corvette sold at auction in 2013 for $3.2 million, and another sold in early 2014 for $3.85 million.
The first V8-powered Chevy Nova—the SS L79—also was introduced in ’67, and General Motors released a number of great Pontiacs, the most-famous of which are the 1967 Pontiac GTO (the final year of the first generation of Goats) and the 1967 Pontiac Firebird. The Firebird shares a chassis with the Camaro, but offers scarcity and was considered upmarket from the Camaro in ’67.
Ford and Mopar Weren’t Playing, Either
The update of Gone in 60 Seconds in 2000 reintroduced car enthusiasts to the modern-day “Eleanor.” And man, is she pretty.
The 1967 Shelby GT500 is among the most-beautiful cars to ever grace the roadways. In addition to being a neck-breaking head-turner, the GT500 didn’t have much trouble making rival cars seem childlike.
Not to be outdone, the gang at Mopar was cranking out the 1967 Dodge Charger 426 HEMI fastback—a mean-looking muscle car that could back it up at the track—and one of the stalwarts of the B-body car entries: The 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX powered by a 440-cubic-inch V8 that made 375 horsepower at 4,600 rpm. It is also rumored that you’re guaranteed to get a girlfriend if you drive one.
What’s your favorite car from the 1967 model year?