January 1984

This one falls under the “didn’t happen” category. An aerodynamically-ambitious GM division was testing a new front end attached to one of their well-known cars when a spy photographer spotted it.

Motor Trend speculated it could be implemented as part of a substantial 1986 model year refresh.

From the windshield back, the tester retained its standard body but the facia, hood and front fenders were entirely unique.

Take a stab at it before clicking below for the answer.


“Aero” Camaro
By 1984, GM’s third-generation F-body (Camaro and Firebird cousins) were entering their third year on the market. That year saw some mechanical and minor visual upgrades but it was the 1985 models which brought the most significant visual changes. That is, until that generation’s next and final refresh came in 1991.

However, sometime in late 1983 or very early 1984 the photo below was snapped of an aero-nosed Camaro racking up test miles in GM’s mid-Michigan testing grounds.



The text accompanying the photo noted that GM’s sporty cars were about to face competition of a different sort. Ford was about to release their four-cylinder, turbocharged SVO Mustang; Dodge was rumored to be readying a high performance version of their Daytona Turbo Z; and Nissan and Honda had their 200SX Turbo and rumored 16-valve turbo Prelude for GM to consider.

What was anticipated from GM as a response? The test car above was reported to be testing turbo-powered motors.

Motor Trend reported that Chevrolet had been “rumored” to be developing single- and twin-turbo versions of the soon-to-be-released 4.3-liter V6.

Pontiac was “rumored” at the time to have had a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder (“Iron Duke”) available for both Firebird and Fiero duty.

1986 Chevrolet Camaro
Okay, so the “Aero” Camaro didn’t happen, although, when the fourth-generation appeared almost a decade later, it looked somewhat similar.

But for 1986, the year Motor Trend thought was a “good bet” for the diminutive front to be applied, there were no discernible visual changes from the 1985 version. (One exception would be the addition of the high-mounted center stop lamp, otherwise known as a third brake light, fixed at the top of the rear hatch.)

Below is the 1986 Camaro; no sloped front end and no turbocharged four- or six-cylinder engines–yet. The Z28 model is shown in yellow and IROC-Z model is shown in black.




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