The 60s has arguably been the pinnacle of the American car era. Although big displacement engines were nothing new, these motors would also power cars that are nothing short of land barges. In 1964 John De Lorean came up with the concept of installing a big performance engine on some entry level car that is relatively smaller, thus taking advantage of power to weight ratio. This led to the development of the Pontiac GTO, which was in essence, a Pontiac tempest with a 389ci motor. It was the birth of the muscle car. With the success of the GTO, all of Detroit followed the same concept which started the muscle car war of the 60s.
However, in 1964, a new subclass of the muscle car, known as the pony car was born. The idea was to create an affordable compact performance-oriented car that targets younger buyers. These cars are distinctly shaped with long hood but short decklid. And while many consider Mustang as the pioneer in the pony car world, it was Plymouth’s Barracuda that was released first, some 14 days ahead of Ford. Ford had so much success in terms of sales when the Mustang came out, but noticeably, Chevy seemed to be quiet and did not have an immediate answer to their business nemesis. Initially, Chevy thought that their sporty rear engine Corvair can compete toe to toe against the Mustang, however, history will show how wrong they were. Mustang essentially killed the Corvair and General Motors needed to create their own competitor that will challenge Ford.
It may be 2 years too late, but it’s probably worth the wait. The Camaro was introduced in 1966 as a 1967 model, a new F-body platform pony car that will eventually be vying against the Mustang on becoming the default car of hot rodding. While there is no such thing, it was a tongue in check remark from GM that the word Camaro means a small animal that eats horses, thus, a Mustang destroyer. Although it never did kill the Mustang, it gave Ford a run for their money giving them the rivalry that’s been on going until this very day.
Rommel Alberto’s car is a first generation 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS, a special performance package equipped with 350ci V8 motor, and factory chassis upgrade for better cornering and to handle the additional power from under the hood.
This Camaro looked completely factory stock and has been meticulously and correctly restored down to its smallest details. But don’t let those steelies with factory beauty rings fool you, Rommel’s car is a sleeper as its numbers matching 350ci motor has been massaged for better performance. The ported and polished engine is equipped with TRW forged pistons, 202 intake valves, and a 1.5 Crane Cams roller rocker. It has an Edelbrock intake maniford with a 750cfm double pumper Holley carburetor. Power is transferred to its stock differentials via Turbo 350 automatic transmission. The car sits on correct 15” Master Craft Avenger rubbers
Today, Camaros are debatably the epitome of old American muscle cars. They are among the mainstream cars of hot rodding. And while many of these cars have been restomodded there is always that undisputable appeal when it comes to the factory original look. And the beauty of this is that Rommel’s car may look stock on the outside, but I guarantee, it has the brutal power of a hot rod from underneath, so you might want to think twice before messing up with it.
So keep the passion alive and get those old cars back on the road. Happy Lumang Oto motoring folks.