How Chevrolet Works

Chevrolet Camaro Second Generation

Arriving in the spring of 1970 was a brilliant new second-generation Camaro ('69s were sold as '70s through the previous December). With dramatic, European-inspired GT styling, it sold nearly 125,000 copies despite the abbreviated 1970 run.

The ragtop was no more, another victim of fading demand, but a smooth new coupe offered the usual arm-long list of extras, including two SS packages, like Chevelle's, plus a separate Rally Sport trim group and the still-potent Z28 option.

Wheelbase was unchanged, but most everything else was. If the result was heavier and less-efficient, it was also a smoother-riding and better-handling Chevy ponycar.

The 1971-72 Camaros were much like the inaugural "19701/2" models save minor changes dictated by federal regulations. For '73, the macho SS was replaced by a less-pretentious LT (Luxury Touring) model with standard 145-bhp V-8, variable-ratio power steering, and appearance touches like hidden wipers, black rockers, Rally wheels, and woodgrain dash trim.

Prices started to gallop with the '74s, which were face-lifted at each end to accommodate required five-mph impact bumpers. A wraparound rear window marked the '75s, which began Camaro's sales revival after a four-year dry spell.

Capital­izing on renewed interest in ponycars, Chevy reinstated the Rally Sport package as a midseason option. This included matte-black hood and front fender tops, special paint, and the further option of color-matched Z28 wheels. The '74 facelift kept going for 1976-77 as Camaro reached, then exceeded, its '60s sales record.

The big Camaro event in 1977 was a revived Z28, only with the emphasis now on refined road manners rather than raw power. Chassis engineer Jack Turner took a straightforward approach: tighter springs, thicker front antiroll bar, a more-­flexible rear bar, larger wheels and tires. New exterior graphics and colors were well suited to the smooth lines. A midyear introduction limited '77 sales, but the reborn Z then zoomed in popularity.

Effectively face-lifted for 1978, the durable second generation Camaro ran three final years in four models: base, Rally Sport, Z28 and new-for-'79 ­luxury Berlinetta (replacing LT).

For more on Chevrolet cars, old and new, see:

  • Chevrolet New Car Reviews and Prices
  • Chevrolet Used Car Reviews and Prices