Get more bang for your buck: Camaro bargains by generation
One of the best things about iconic cars like the Camaro, Corvette, and Mustang has always been that they offer a heck of a lot of car for the money. That’s true when they’re new, and for the most part it’s true when they enter the collector car market as well.
Nevertheless, there’s a vintage Camaro for every budget, from the 100,000-mile driver parked on the street to the high-end show stopper and everything in between. We looked at average Hagerty Price Guide values of the first four Camaro generations and found the cars that offer the best value, in terms of horsepower per dollar.
First Generation (1967–69)
$80 per horse
Hagerty Price Guide value: $15,900–$42,600
In the golden years of the 1960s, you often had to count on two hands how many engines were available for a given car. In the Camaro’s first year of 1967, the GM pony car could be had with a straight-six, two different 327-cubic-inch V-8s, a 350, a 396 (either 325-hp L35 or 375-hp L78), or the 302 in the Z/28. Unsurprisingly, the market favors the rarer and more powerful cars, but the best value in terms of sheer horsepower is a base ’67 Sport Coupe with the 327/275 hp L30 engine. It may not have the flashiness of an RS, the grunt of an SS, or the handling of a Z/28, but it offers that famous first-gen Camaro styling, plus plenty of usable power to have fun with at a much more affordable price. On average, you’ll pay $80 per pony. For reference, a ’69 ZL1, which is king of the hill when it comes to early Camaros, commands an average of more than $1200 per horse.
Second Generation (1970–81)
$47 per horse
Hagerty Price Guide value: $5,700–$14,500
The Camaro’s second generation spanned more than a decade and there were lots of changes over that time, both on the surface and under the hood. Values range widely, but the most bang for your buck is a ’77 Sport Coupe, which has a 170-horse 350 and commands just $47 per pony on average. It’s not a lot of power, but it’s not a lot of money, either. The worst overall value for second-gen cars is the 1972 SS, which still has the desirable square grille but is also emissions choked and offers just 240 hp from its 402 V-8. The going rate for that car is $133 per horse.
Third Generation (1982–92)
$25 per horse
Hagerty Price Guide value: $3,200–$11,500
The 1980s weren’t the best of times for the Camaro (or any car, really), but the good news is that even the highest-spec third-generation Camaros are quite affordable. The difference between base cars and special models also isn’t very big, but for the absolute best performance value it’s the 170-horsepower 1988 Base Sport Coupe that commands just $25 per pony. The 1989 IROC-Z, by contrast, will command an average of $82 per horse.
Fourth Generation (1993–2002)
$25 per horse
Hagerty Price Guide value: $4,700–$17,600
Much like the third generation, fourth-gen Camaros are a bit unloved, and although they’ve seen some value growth, they’re being outpaced by their Pontiac stablemates. If it’s value you’re after, a mid-’90s Base Sport Coupe with the V-6 actually offers the lowest dollar-per-hp ratio of the entire generation, with an average of $20 per pony. If you absolutely have to have a V-8, however (and who can blame you?), a 1995 Z/28 Sport Coupe is a similarly good value at just $25 per horse. Since SLP-built cars like the Camaro SS and similar Firebird Firehawk have a certain cachet among collectors, these cars are on a different scale. A 1997 SS 30th Anniversary Coupe, for example, costs an average of $73 per pony.