1981 was the final year for the
second-generation Camaro body style.
The 1981 Chevrolet Camaro was in its final season with this body style, and it once again looked nearly identical to previous editions. Dropped from the lineup was the slowest-selling model, the RS, but base, Berlinetta, and Z28 made the cut. Sales trailed off somewhat, but everyone knew a new design was coming for '82.
There were, however, some mechanical alterations. GM's Computer Command Control (CCC) emission system debuted, and automatic transmissions got a lock-up torque converter to eliminate slippage in high gear, a move intended to boost highway fuel economy.
Though engine choices didn't change, their power outputs did. Despite the new CCC system, nearly all ratings dropped a bit as a result of meeting ever-tightening emissions requirements. The base 49-state 229-cubic-inch V-6 lost 5 horses to 110, now the same as the California 231-cubic-inch Buick V-6.
Also down five ponies were the 267- and base 305-cubic-inch V-8s, now 115 and 150 horsepower, respectively.
New (and standard) for Z28s was a hotter 165-horsepower 305 that came with a four-speed manual transmission, while the top 350-cubic-inch V-8 slid to 175 horsepower (from 190) and came only with the three-speed automatic. This year, the top two engines were available only on Z28s.
With real power unavailable, Camaro buyers
opted for the luxurious Berlinetta.
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