Design Notes: 1st Generation Camaro
A crowded kitchen
For multiple reasons, Chevrolet decided that the new car would be closely related to the Chevy II which had a total redesign being prepared for the 1968 model year. It was Chevrolet Studio II, of the GM Design Center, that was handed responsibility for the Mustang challenger’s design work. Though, unlike projects before it, there were to be a lot of proverbial cooks in the kitchen. Input was fielded from no less than five high-ranking individuals, including Studio II’s Mr. Henry Haga and ranging all the way up the ladder to Mr. Bill Mitchel, vice president of design.
What was Mr. Mitchell’s opinion of the first generation Camaro? In his own words, “It wasn’t worth a damn.” That is a quote from an interview with Car Classics magazine back in 1978. He continued, explaining why he felt that way, “There were too many people involved.”
On top of that, there were some limitations. One of the other men on that team described two of the car’s constraints that limited design: cowl height and hood length. Both factors were a result of the car’s genes.
Stylistic starting point
For general styling inspiration, the designers called upon the essence of the 1964 Chevrolet Super Nova concept car (at right) which had been displayed at that year’s New York Auto Show.
But even before that, GM had been studying designs along this line since at least 1962. The two images to the left are of full-size drawings dated May of 1962. They differ from each other in detailing only (more evident when viewing the larger versions in the gallery).
These images to the right show a full-size clay model that was prepared in July of 1962. (Apart from its unique fender exhaust ports, an intriguing detail that is not particularly clear, even in the larger versions, is the logo fastened just behind the front wheel well–it’s a cobra.)
These next two drawings to the left are from later in that same year, dated October, 1962.