To Camaro, with love

camaro hagerty drivers club magazine
Eric Weiner

With the Camaro nameplate retiring soon, we’re honoring the beloved two-door with a series of love letters, fun lists, and memories over the next several weeks. You can follow along by clicking here.

My first and only Camaro set me back $312 a month when I could hardly spare it. Finished in fetching pewter paint with black hood stripes, the 1973 Z/28 shot an arrow through my frontal lobe, the part of the brain that’s supposed to control our impulses. When I saw the car in the fall of 2008, my wife and I had recently finished revamping our old house and welcomed our third kid into the family. The bank account hovered near zero, I’d just started a new job, and crisis in the nation’s economy was becoming more dire by the day.

You’d have to be a fool, given the circumstances, to finance a 25-year-old pony car, right? Well, this fool convinced himself that the $22,000 Chevy wasn’t a toy—it was an investment.

About a year later, the lust fog cleared enough for me to realize that the more I used the car—in pristine condition, with only 24,000 miles on the odo—the more likely it would depreciate. All while I was making monthly payments, with interest. Investment? Please.

I sold it, lost only a couple of grand, and was hugely relieved. Yet I was sad to see the Camaro go, and I wish I still had it today.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Camaro, probably from the IROC models that were everywhere during my high school days in New Jersey’s big-hair era. When we learned earlier this year that Chevy would once again end production of its pony car, we knew we had to send it off into the history books with a comprehensive look at all six generations. It’s also the cover story of the November/December 2023 issue of Hagerty Drivers Club magazine.

The celebration begins at this link, which you can return to regularly as we celebrate the Camaro with more articles in the coming weeks. Make sure to check back often to read the latest stories. If you want a more tangible experience, join the Hagerty Drivers Club and enjoy our fantastic print magazine that arrives in your mailbox every other month, along with roadside assistance, full access to the Hagerty valuation tools, and more. Never stop driving!





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    First Gens were definitely a prettier car than the Mustangs. I wasn’t as thrilled with the Gen II, but they’ve grown on me. The only Camaro I really disliked was the Berlinetta style. As is told in another story, Chevy originally poo-poohed a fastback style for the Camaro at first, and even the Mustang notchbacks outsold the fastbacks. A “fastback” Camaro just turned me off.

    I was offered a ‘64 Falcon from Dad when I got my license but declined. It wasn’t hot rod enough. Dad said fine then, you’re on your own. He was afraid I’d get killed in a hotrod and wouldn’t help financially at all. So my first vehicle in my bright teenaged 16 was a self paid for and self insured ’67 big block 4 speed. It’s a wonder I didn’t get killed in it.
    I’ve also owned couple Mustangs over the years. Favorite was ‘69 coupe. Thought that was best looking Mustang year by far however I feel the Camaros were head and shoulders above them in the looks department.
    In 2011 (while entering my second bright teenaged years) I purchased a 1969 SS/RS “tribute” with a period 396 and M20 Muncie. It now sports a GMPP 454 HO, black with white Rallye stripes and houndstooth interior. And similar to my guns, they’ll have to pry my cold dead fingers from around the steering wheel !
    Ordered a 2015 SS/RS manual painted to match and sold it in 2019. Terrible mistake. Wish I had it back😢

    I will be sad to see the Camaro go. But I think the last two generations have been difficult cars to live with on a daily basis. Great track cars though.

    I never owned a Camaro as I am a Mustang fanatic. I currently have a 2018 GT. I will miss the Camaro, though. I am 74 and have driven many Camaros and Mustangs and the rivalry between the marques have produced many great cars from IROC’s to Shelby’s. I hope Ford doesn’t lose the flame that Chevy kept lit.

    Back in late 1980s, found a California 1984 Z 28 Camaro, jet black but paint fading, missing its two front seats due to theft. Found two junkyard bucket seats and got a surprisingly good Earl Scheib black paint job; it was a lovely car for not a lot of money. My wife looked really good in the car; moved back to Ohio, and shipped the car from California. A few years later, it was handed down to our 18-year-old daughter, who crossed the highway to enter a freeway and got T-boned by an old 1970s Pontiac. Made a U-shaped Camaro, to our chagrin. Ever since, when I see a mid-80s Z 28, we both are wistful for what we once had. Lovely, good handling, straight-forward, classic automobile!

    The first gen cars were always visually boring to me. A rush to market answer to the wildly successful Mustang. I was pretty disappointed when they decided to make that the go to retro design for the 5th and 6th gens. Although, they do look better than the originals. The second and third gen Camaros are where they really came into their own. Great looking cars. Fourth gens not so much.

    As an owner of 5 previous Camaros and now a 92 Heritage Z28, I am proud and happy to went that route. Camaros are in blood and always will be till the day I leave this beautiful earth. First was an 81 camaro with a 229 v6 in high school (therein a 350 in collge) then a a 5 speed 91 RS t top 5.0 camaro after college. Drove it over 100k miles with no issues. Next was an 81 z28 for a few years untilI blew the engine coming back from a car show around 1998. Next was a mint 85 z28 that was only 5 miles from home with 30k miles. Sold it about 2 years later to a guy in
    College Station Tx.

    Found the 92 Heritage z28 with 47k miles in 2001. Like a dummy Sold it a year later to get my first new car, 2002 6speed z28. Regretted selling it. Traded in the 2002 a few years later to get a new pickup.

    Wife got a call August 2018 from a guy in East Texas that he had our old 1992 z28. He came over for a Radwood show in Austin. Tx spring of 2019 and we invited to our home for after. I asked him, “you know what I am gonna ask?” And he said, ” yes”. I blurted out “Can I first dibs if you decide to sell it?” He said yes.

    6 months later it was back home

    I had a ’69 Camaro back in the mid 70’s that I didn’t realize at the time was the rare LM1 model. Ahh… if we could only go back in time and talk to our younger self, “Hang on to this one!”

    After reading the farewell in the Hagerty Drivers Club Magazine, I guess what surprised me the most, was GM’s inner conflict about the car? It almost seemed that factions within the company fought against the car and it’s continuation. The Corvette seemed to always get top booking and seemingly at the expense of the Camaro. Sure, Ford had its potential hiccups along the way with what form the Mustang would take, but I don’t ever recall reading or hearing about the kind of acrimony as within Chevrolet. Very curious…

    We got a 2024 ZL1 convertible, and I already had a 95 Z28 6speed convertible. I am good until next time, if there is a next time.

    In 2019 I bought my newborn Grandson a 2019 ZL1 Camaro Supercharged 6.2 L , its gone away for 20years only coming out for Fluid changes , Beautiful Car .Everyone says gas either wont be available or too expensive to buy in 20 years. As a grandparent its important to expose your grandkids to things their Mom & Dad are not into , hopefully my grandson will love cars like his grandfather.If not, he is free to sell it!

    Back in my early teens, there was brand loyalty in our family. It was Chevrolet first, and then any other GM brand was still ok too. My first car was a 66 Chevelle. Paid $900 cash for it. But as the restyled Camaro came out for 1970, I knew I had to have one, and it had to be the Raylle Sport front end. My parents were emphatic on me not having car payments so I needed to have that $3,800 in the bank to even think about getting a new car. During my senior year of high school, I worked at a fast food place on nights and weekends. And when summer hit, was working two jobs to earn enough cash to actually almost pay for a ‘70 Lime Green Super Sport / Rallye Sport with a 4speed that had been sitting at our local dealership for a few months. As the ‘71s were now coming out, and this forgotten ‘70 was still sitting, I finally went there to put my down payment in when I was told that they did indeed sold it. But not to worry, they would order one just like it for me. As I waited for this car to be built, I kept workin those jobs only to be told by the dealership that the order they put in would not be built. So now the search was on to find any 71 Camaro in Chicago. Paydirt! Found a ‘71 Lime Green Rallyee Sport 350 2bbl with Turbo Hydro and Air Conditioning. Not a 4spd but still it was mine! Sadly, it was only in my ownership until 1977 because as I was sitting at a stoplight on a slightly wet street, a pickup truck hit his brakes too late and rammed into me. I saw him coming, could not move out of the way as I was behind another car. I braced and felt the car lift a bit. My front hit that car in front, and I could not open the door to get out. I was lucky to get out with no physical damage but my Camaro was totaled. It looked like a hockey stick. Sad story but I’m glad to be here to tell it.

    I don’t normally post to websites, but I had to share my Camero story. I bought the automotive love of my life in 1985: it was a 1979 Silver Camero with black leatherette interior. I was the second owner, and still have the car. It is a garage queen now, except for occasional trips to summer car shows. It still runs well and I only wish I could afford to fix a couple of rust spots and the restore the headliner which has come down, and is held in position by odd pieces of plastic. I still hope to gradually improve its appearance as the budget permits. In my humble opinion it was the best looking Camero model, and one of the best looking automotive designs ever. But I know I’m biased.

    This reminds me of my Camaro “love story”. I ordered my new 1971 Camaro SS350 in September of the prior year. It was my first high performance car that I bought after I graduated college. I never expected to keep it all these years, but I too fell in love with it. The first year it was my daily driver, but after that it became my “fun” car that I only drove weekly during good weather (stored during NJ winters). I’ve made some slight modifications over the years, but it’s mostly original – and nothing that can’t be undone. It currently has only 37k miles. I consider myself really fortunate to have kept my Camaro all these years. Even luckier to have a wife that understands me (on more than one level).

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