The first Chevrolet Camaro ever built still exists, and the Historic Vehicle Association in Gaithersburg is commemorating 50 years of Camaros with a display of the pilot prototype. See photos.
WASHINGTON — Fifty years ago this week, the first Chevrolet Camaro was built, and the Historic Vehicle Association in Gaithersburg is commemorating the milestone with a display of the first pilot prototype.
Camaro No. 100001 survives in pristine, original condition and will be on public display in Detroit from Aug. 13 to Aug. 20. (It will be encased in HVA’s glass cube that recently featured President Reagan’s Willys Jeep on the National Mall.)
The vehicle will also enter the HVA’s National Historic Vehicle Register.
According to the HVA, the Camaro was originally going to be named the Panther. General Motors developed it in just 36 months, compared to the years Ford spent developing its Mustang.
But the Camaro did not equal the Mustang’s incredible sales success initially. Ford sold more than a half million Mustangs in 1965, compared to the 400,000 Camaros GM sold in 1967 and 1968. (Although the car was first produced in 1966, it came out in the fall and was considered a ’67 model.)
The Chevy Camaro is now the third most popular collector car behind the Corvette, and the Camaro’s rival of five decades, the Mustang.
The prototype Camaro is currently being measured and documented by the HVA, and those documents will permanently reside at the Library of Congress, joining similar pages documenting classics like the Shelby Cobra Daytona prototype and the first Meyers Manx dune buggy.