To mark the 50th anniversary of the Camaro in 2016, we decided to compile our list of the top 10 Camaros of all time.
This is gospel. And there’s no room for debate.
Just kidding — we want to spark discussion and hear (and dare we say, be educated) on why we’re right or wrong. So throw on your jean jacket, crank up the Lynyrd Skynyrd, and celebrate all-things Camaro with our list:
10. 1979 Camaro (All)
Our take: Why a 1979 Camaro? Because the people have spoken, and this was the highest-selling Camaro of all-time. That’s gotta count for something, right?
9. 1967 Camaro SS
Our take: This is the one that started it all. As the original — and trailblazer for all others — the ’67 Camaro helped establish the model as one of the most popular pony cars of all time and further escalated the Detroit muscle car wars.
8. 1988 IROC-Z 1LE
Our take: It was slim-pickins for American performance enthusiasts in the 1980s, but the IROC-Z (first introduced for 1985) was the vehicle of choice for would-be gearheads. While the ’85 brought us Chevrolet’s TPI (tuned port injection) setup, Chevrolet upped the ante with the 1LE package in 1988. The 1LE package came with oversized disc brakes and a tweaked suspension for road race duty and would last through the 1992 model year.
7. 1970 ½ Camaro Z/28 LT-1
Our take: The 1970 model year brought us the oft-overlooked second-generation Camaro. The star of the original second-gen. lineup was the Z/28 which featured the now-legendary LT-1 engine. The 360-horsepower engine propelled the Z/28 from 0-60 in just 5.8 seconds and down the quarter-mile in just 14.2 seconds, according to Car and Driver testing.
6. 2016 Camaro SS
Our take: Are we in the true golden age of muscle cars? Some say yes — and the 2016 Camaro may be further proof. Engineers continue to develop new technology and designs to push the limits of performance. Although the 2016 Camaro SS still needs to prove itself, you have to be impressed with 4-second 0-60 times and 12.3-second quarter-miles from the factory. It’s 455 horses worth of LT-1 power in a package that weighs 380 pounds less than its predecessor.
5. 2014 Camaro Z/28
Our take: The 2010 Camaro is responsible for the model’s rebirth, but the return of the Z/28 in 2014 re-established the car as a formidable performance vehicle. Finally, a Camaro with the performance and handling worthy of the Z/28 name.
4. 1968 Camaro Z/28
Our take: The Z/28 was around for the 1967 model year, but it really began to dominate SCCA Trans-Am Series racing in 1968. Sales of the Z/28 increased ten-fold from 1967, and the 1968 model brought us that famous Z/28 badging.
3. 1969 COPO/Yenko Camaro
Our take: 1960s hot rodding at its finest! Not satisfied with GM’s 400-cubic-inch limit on engines, Pennsylvania Chevrolet dealer Don Yenko helped elevate the Camaro from pony car to true muscle car by retrofitting it with a 427-cubic-inch engine. By 1969, you could order a few of these special setups from Chevrolet under the special Central Office Production Order (COPO 9561). And a few were delivered to Yenko’s dealership where they received distinctive Yenko/SC and sYc striping.
2. 2015 Camaro ZL1
Our take: If you were basing this list strictly on power, the modern ZL1 would land on top. Launched in 2012, the fifth-generation ZL1 spits out 580 horsepower and 556 ft.-lbs. of torque. The most recent iteration (until the sixth-gen. is unveiled) still churns out the same power but with updates and upgrades to the handling and braking systems.
1. 1969 Camaro ZL1
Our take: A true legend! Much like Yenko’s COPO Camaros, the ZL1 (COPO 9562) featured a 427-cubic-inch engine. However, the ZL1’s 427 weighed roughly 160 pounds less than the iron block in other COPOs, making it the quickest and most valuable Camaro of the time. Add in the fact that only 69 of them were built, and the 1969 ZL1 remains arguably the most desirable, sought-after (and still quick) Camaro you can find.
It’s the holy grail of Chevrolet Camaros!