A friend, comrade and brother

Source: auto.mail.ru/article.html?id=34951

Please do not break, over - write.

August 11, 1966 off the assembly line plant in Norwood, Ohio, came first Chevrolet Camaro. Prior to the presentation of lavishly furnished news was still more than a month, but all those who participated in the creation of the model, no doubt - is now a Ford Mustang certainly not be good! By the 45th anniversary of the landmark date Авто@Mail.Ru recalls the story Camaro - one of the greatest American car.

The five-generation Camaro together. In the foreground, the current model of the original 1969 model year

Camaro is not visible ...
- What can I say, guys, a great machine! - Simon Knudsen, without hiding excitement, walked around a full-sized two-door coupe layout. - Just a class, and all of you - the big rock! But there is one problem ... You see, at the moment at Chevrolet have neither the time nor the resources to create another niche vehicle. Sorry ...
Since the fall of 1963, President Chevrolet made a mistake that cost the company millions of dollars in profit, and he himself - a career in General Motors. The proposed design group Erwin Rybicki project sports model did not find understanding, and so it remained a project. Show then Mr. Knudsen little more insight, and perhaps, Chevrolet Camaro would have appeared on the market in 1966, and two years earlier. What, ask the difference? Huge! In this case, may be, in the world and there would be a legend by the name of Mustang ... Anyone who is even slightly interested in automotive history, know - debuted in the spring of 1964 Ford Mustang marked the beginning of a new subspecies of American cars, known as "the pony-Kars" (pony cars). The witty name is hidden the essence of these machines - small in size, but emphasized elegant appearance, they differed sporty image and driving habits. Well, Mustang, which became a bestseller universal scale, on the right is the clearest embodiment of this segment. However, it considered the ancestor of the class is wrong. In the end, two weeks before the busy debut Ford started selling fastback Plymouth Barracuda, fully fit the format of "pony cars". But most importantly, and Barracuda, and he began to answer Mustang Chrysler and Ford almost forgotten today Chevrolet Corvair Monza corporation General Motors. This spectacular and seemingly trivial technically two-seater sports model in the early 60s was a real surprise for the American automobile.

The car, which became the forerunner of "pony cars», - Chevrolet Corvair Monza. The picture shows the redesigned version of the model, which debuted in September 1964

Sales of the first generation Camaro began September 29, 1966. In the photo machine in the basic version, complete with styling package with chrome wheel arch moldings

Compact for overseas standards coupe 4 m 57 cm surprised and independent suspension front and rear, and a very unconventional layout - 6-cylinder in-line all-aluminum engine air cooling located behind the rear, of course, the driving wheels. Corvair Monza liked enthusiasts - in 1961 GM dealers have shipped nearly 110,000 customers cute Club Coupe, Ford's marketing department and immediately made the success of the competition the right conclusions. Just two and a half years into a new segment of the meteor burst Mustang. Elegant, cheap, traditional in design colt instantly swept unconventional Corvair to the mass consciousness in the hit parade of sales.

Model Convertible Coupe cost more - all things being equal the difference was about $ 250. But it was impossible to get a gig "charged pack» Z28. Perhaps this is why a soft-top Camaro enjoyed among buyers is much less demand

It turned out that by giving competitors a cool idea at General Motors found themselves in the rear of the fashion trends. And the most insulting, that could be to blame only themselves. Corporate counterintelligence worked as it should - the confidential information about the future, "Ford's" novelty lay on the table the president of Chevrolet in early 1963. Then why Simon Knudsen delayed? Easy and simple, but everything seems just an afterthought. Try to put yourself in his place.

This clearly visible advertising opportunities factory tuning of the first Camaro

So, you - the head of the largest branch of General Motors. The Chevrolet portfolio has four full model, and the budget is ground for the development and launch of the new mid-sized Chevelle. Judge for yourself whether or not to bother you information about the new "podsportivlennom» Ford? Hardly. Your own Corvair Monza sold very well, and even the Corvette snobs Europeans recognize the serious sports car! Not surprisingly, Knudsen sends shelved proposed Erwin Rybicki project "Personal four-coupe", the one with which we began the story. Well, not to meet the upcoming Mustang empty-handed, by 1965 th model year Corvair celebrated a new body - a word, superb in design and execution.

In the year of the debut of 5, 7-liter 295-horsepower engine was exclusively reserved for the version of the Camaro SS350. On the other Chevrolet models, he was unavailable

Who in 1963 could have predicted that in the first four months, Ford will sell 100,000 Mustang, and in the next twelve to add to them a million ?! Worse, almost at the same time will be published a book of an ambitious young lawyer Ralph Nader, who in his crusade against Detroit was Corvair choose a scapegoat. Mixed with a little mud reputation as Chevrolet, Nader become a national celebrity and "supply» GM on the multimillion-dollar losses.

Race to the Top
Such a detailed insight into the history, I think, is needed to understand why in the summer of 1964 at General Motors stood on the ears. While in "fordovskie" show rooms lined unseen since the days of "The Tin Lizzie" stage, in the Chevrolet was panic - it is nothing like the Mustang was not even the Department of promising developments. That's where Simon Knudsen and remembered the ruined project Rybicki!

- We suddenly became the most popular people in the Chevrolet, - says anxious summer 1964 Erwin himself. - Everyone wanted to we gave something brilliant, and as soon as possible!

"Before the Corvette at hand!" Something like this in a free translation of the advertising slogan sounds. Indeed, charged Camaro Z28 in 1967 cost between $ 3297 and took a quarter-mile from the start of the 14, 9. 400-horsepower Corvette was more expensive by almost $ 2,000 and the same measuring station passed only eight hundredths faster

Some historians believe that the first, albeit timid response to Chevrolet's Mustang has become an elegant concept car Super Nova, shown in the spring of the 64th exhibition in New York. However, sympathetic, albeit completely devoid of aggression dvuhdverka most certainly hinted at future generation compact Chevy II, and the role of the "Mustang-fighter," is clearly not pulling.

Shortly after the debut Camaro had the honor to become the "safety car" America's most famous race - 500 miles of Indianapolis

The real work started in the summer. The haste in design bureau Chevrolet Studio 3, headed by Henry Haig appeared experimental X-186. The prototype won among designers nickname "Superakula" has not gone beyond the stage layout, but has become a major project for the next X-386, longer resembled the final sample.

GM's hurry. In a hurry. The company's management to account, that the creation of a completely new model will take at least one and a half to two years. But despite the hard rush job, no one thought to blindly copy bestseller "Blue Oval". Moreover, Chevrolet designers Mustang felt too angular and conservative. So muse creators of the future Camaro was not the "Fordist" horse, and the prestigious 1962 Corvette with steep rifts front and rear wings.

Model 1968 easiest way to identify the absence of the front vents and rear presence LAMPS

The work was complicated by the designers not only limited terms, but also, so to speak, an artificial shortage of imagination. After all, the future Camaro, Mustang as well as before it, was created based on a different model. If donor horse became popular Falcon, the technical stuffing sports resonated with compact Chevrolet Chevy II. That's where Camaro «hybrid" body - to the main support structure fastened powerful front subframe. The technical solution that today can be found everywhere, provided a good car noise and vibration isolation. In addition, the sub-frame facilitates the installation of heavier engines. However, in the rest of the new Chevy prosport represent typical Yankees - a bit gruff and slightly uncouth. In many European sports models, whether that time will meet, for instance, associate with single-sheet rear suspension longitudinal leaf springs? In this regard, the notorious Corvair Monza with the rocker arm looked like a breakthrough.

Nameplates SS (Super Sport) and 396 (the volume in cubic inches) on this hardtop 1968 hint at 6, 5-liter V8 rated at 375 hp

On the other hand, filigree cornering in America never appreciated. On the free highways, as well as racing ovals, much more important than horsepower. And here's the perspective Chevrolet was something to boast! If the most powerful engine of the Corvair Monza gave a total of 180 hp, even the base V8 compelling new products developed 210 hp Well surcharge engine could pump up to 375 hp!

Official capacity of 4, 9-liter V8, believes Camaro Z28, was 290 hp But many believe that the real hidden under the hood at least fifty horses besides

The contours of the future "Mustang killer" were clearly pick out in the spring of 1965. By the time the designers originally worked on a wide range of bodies, among which was listed the classic four-door sedan and even wagon stopped in two versions - due to time pressure hard choice fell on the hardtop and convertible.

Eater mustangs
At the same time there was a new problem - to come up with a name for the machine ringing. After resounding success Mustang last but not least was associated with the name of the best one - a memorable, romantic and completely American. But until now, in the circles of developers promising sports Chevy featured as the F-car, ie car, built on the platform of F. It is clear that the youth fashion brand name cars useless. The search proved long and difficult. The marketing department and advertising agency GM sifted through thousands of options, but none hitched immediately and unconditionally. Initially, the car wanted to christen as the Panther, that is, "Leopard" or "Panther". But then, on the 14th, "the director" floor of the head office of GM thought the name too aggressive. In the end, wild cats happens to attack people ... The next "semifinalist" became Chaparral - so-called shrub thickets of oak, common in the southwestern United States. But this name, on the contrary, seemed too bland and herbivores. We had to come up with something else. And the final decision delayed literally until the last moment.

Shop Camaro Z28 - the embodiment of simplicity and elegance. By the way, this version relies only 4-speed manual gearbox

Only June 28, 1966 at a specially convened press conference the next president of Chevrolet Istes Elliott said proudly two hundred journalists that the sixth model in the company's portfolio will be called Camaro.

According Istesa, it is consonant with the French word «camaraderie», that is "partnership", "brotherhood". In addition, it corresponds to the tradition, according to which all new Chevrolet have names beginning with the letter C, - Corvette, Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II. Adoption of how beautiful, and so controversial - the largest at the time the company was the model Impala. No C, as you see, and there is no trace. And in the sales department Camaro word translated in their own way, they say, is "a small, angry animal that eats Mustangs».

As we can see, on the couch prosport Chevrolet is not too closely - women and children fit

Hint, already quite obvious, but one of the first reinforced promofotografy on which Elliott Istes wick ignites a huge stick of dynamite with the inscription Camaro - they say, beware, Ford, we will give you a light! Hot news emphasized image and the first commercial Camaro. A little naive by today's standards, but in his own very remarkable.

Shop Camaro with a custom package of options Rally Sport looks very priyatstvenno. Note 2-speed selector (!) Automatic transmission Powerglide

Yet many converged on that Camaro - the name is not too good. All the more so avid for sensations journalists immediately sat down to dictionaries in search of "fried" the name of the new Chevrolet transcripts. And those who have been looking for, of course, found! It turned out that the Spanish Camaron translated as "shrimp" and in Panama and Colombia just slightly disparagingly called "trinket", "cheap thing." Even funnier was the version, excavated in a slang phrase book - a printable version of it sound like "the urge to diarrhea," ... There is no doubt that the "urge" to be sure remembered Istesu and GM in the case of the model For sale on the market. But to the relief of all the Chevrolet employees did not happen.

With sports forever
To tell the truth, the real killer new Camaro Mustang and did not. Although the press and buyers took the car very sympathetic. Journalists liked more noble in comparison with the "Ford's" pony-car road manners Chevy, including better insulation and vibration protection. Customers appreciated the effective design, which looks more like doroguschy Corvette. As for the dynamic characteristics, there turned out to be worthy rivals of each other. Slight advantage Chevrolet's power leveled slightly higher weight. Add to the spectacular appearance and dynamic performance worthy of even a long list of optional equipment. "Upgrade" in the Camaro could be strongly everything from interior design and exterior décor to every conceivable nuance technical tuning: more powerful engines, disc brakes on a circle, with the convergence of transmission gear ratios and short main pair. Now multiply it all on a large-scale advertising campaign in the United States and the largest number of dealers and 220,000 Camaro, sold in the first full year of production, seem almost ordinary figure.

On the surface this seems Camaro meek lamb. Misleading impression! We have before us one of the most powerful, rare and expensive versions of the model. 69 copies of the Camaro ZL1 were released only for the racing version can be stratified to take part in the championship dregreysingu. Under the hood, "Zed-e-Ouen" hidden raskachennyh to 430 hp 7-liter "bigblok", which provided a phenomenal acceleration in the area of ​​a quarter mile - only 10, 4 seconds! The 1969 Camaro ZL1 cost $ 7269 - more than twice as expensive version of the Z28 and three times the base 6-cylinder models

But at GM have been satisfied. Just a year before, Mustang has sold more than 600 thousand, and now its sales have fallen by a third! In other words, exactly the words of sellers, the new Camaro fed "Mustang", or if you prefer, customers lured by the main competitor.

The famous racing Camaro «The Lightweight» Team Roger Penske Chevrolet brought two titles in the race series for cars SCCA

In just three years was released almost 700 thousand Camaro, as early as February 1970, Chevrolet introduced the second-generation model - a car with a completely new design, brought to mind the suspension and chassis, improved sound insulation and more powerful engines. Here it is something and should not, just had to be the new star of the market "pony cars", all eclipsed star Mustang. However, something happened that no one expected - the storm clouds gathering over by the US automotive industry. Lobby insurance companies to raise rates for cars with powerful engines, and hit a little later the oil crisis a couple of years wiped out an entire subculture of car that General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and AMC carefully nurtured over the decades. Spectacular and super maskl- and "pony cars" were persona non grata, and in the book of the history of American cars closed a remarkable chapter.

Camaro and Mustang in not overcome the internal dispute. However, unlike his counterpart, who in the mid-70s turned into a pale shadow of himself (Mustang II of 1974, if anyone knows, was a banal hatch with 4-cylinder 85-horsepower engine), Camaro for all four generations until the end of the issue remained faithful to the true values ​​"pony car" - the sporty image, aggressive appearance and worthy rideable habits. Overall, from August 1966 to August 2002, were issued 4,821,768 Camaro.

But as we all know, the story of sports Chevrolet, fortunately, has not ended. In April 2009, we started selling the fifth generation model, which is again locked in a duel with uncompromising Mustang. And last year the Camaro sales overtook Ford!



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