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The Chevrolet Camaro is a cult American sports car, the pony car, produced by Chevrolet's General Motors corporation since 1966. Production was discontinued in 2002 and resumed on a new technical base in 2009.
In the post-war decades, more than 70 million children were born in the US, by the early 1960s they had graduated from school, received a driver's license, many of them went to work and bought more and more cars. Automobile corporations for a long time could not understand how to capitalize this market, they continued to produce large family sedans, although it was already clear that young people need something new: the car is not like their parents.
Lee Iacocca, the head of Ford at that time, understood the importance of a breakthrough to the youth market. He invited his designers and designers to take a step forward and create a completely new four-seater sports car on the Falcon chassis. The resulting Mustang was sold so well that it completely changed the relationship between the baby boomers and the auto industry. Ford introduced the Mustang on April 17, 1964, by the end of the day more than 22,000 cars were sold, up to the end of the year - 263,434 vehicles, and for the full year, Ford sold 418,812 sports cars, breaking all records set earlier. The main difference of the Mustang was in the back. The short trunk, long hood and aggressive appearance had nothing to do with the profile of the economy class cars. When the Mustang was equipped with the most powerful engine, it became the fastest compact car. With its Mustang, Ford created a new class of cars - pony car.
The GM leadership did not understand this. They simply did not perceive the Mustang with its angular design, flat panels and old-fashioned style. The fact that Mustang is ignored is also explained by the corporate structure of GM, in which higher bosses are isolated from the real state of affairs: they simply did not know that Ford sells the Mustang faster than it produces. And when it became known that over two months more than 100,000 cars were sold, they were in shock. GM finally realized that Chevrolet Corvair will never be able to play in a new field of pony cars, and it's necessary to develop a response to the Mustang. To get into the new market Chevrolet needed a car, the best in everything. It should be sportier, more comfortable, look better and, most importantly, should be faster. It should be faster by a quarter of a mile, have a higher maximum speed and better control.
Work on the new car began in August 1964. He was given the internal code XP-836, but outside of GM, in the press he was more often called Panther (Panther), this was one of the discussed names of the future car. Simon Knudsen (English Semon Knudsen) led the project in the initial stage, but in 1965 he went on the rise and Pete Estes (English Pete Estes), becoming the head of Chevrolet, oversaw the end of the project. Henry Hague was commissioned to design the look of the future car, George Angersbach (George Angersbach) was engaged in the interior, and Don McPherson (Don McPherson) was the chief designer for the engines and transmission at the time.
At the end of 1964, the outer contours of the car were mostly ready, designers and designers began to work on the details. In mid-November 1965, the first body was manufactured, and the first car was manually assembled on December 16. The prototypes looked like mutated Nova, during the winter and spring they rolled many test miles across the country. The last prototype was built in May, and in early June the approval of the samples was completed. The car moved to the assembly stage of the pilots directly on the conveyor line. This was the last step to the start of the serial release on August 7, 1966.
Even at this late stage, the Chevrolet car pony had no official name. Most often used the name Panther, but Nova and Chaparral were also on hearing. According to some information, it was suggested to use the abbreviation GM in the name of the new car: G-Mini, GeMini or Geminin. According to other information Wildcat was one of the proposals, but also refused it. Chevrolet marketers stayed up late, studying the magazines of the brand's fans, newspapers and other sources of information. The choice of the name of the future car lasted for months, Chevrolet employees put forward about 5 thousand ideas. After searching the names of all animals, minerals, vegetables and celestial objects, Bob Lund, Chevrolet's sales manager, suggested that the first letter in the name of the new car be the letter "C", like Chevy, Corvair, Chevelle and Corvette. He and Ed Rollet, GM's vice president of trucks, began to look at the English-French dictionary "C" that came to their aid and stopped at the word "camarade", buddy. It was quickly transformed into a Camaro and the more they repeated the word, the more they liked it. The choice was made.
Chevrolet did not want to talk about the new car ahead of time, and there were a lot of rumors around it. Eventually, Pete Estes assembled on July 29, 1966, a nationwide press conference, perhaps the largest, ever held. Automobile journalists were in 14 cities across the country, and Estes was in Detroit. In each conference room, microphones and speakers were installed, so everyone heard everything that was said. In his speech Estes announced the name of the new car, while he diligently distanced himself from the Mustang, saying that the Camaro is a continuation of the Chevrolet sports line launched with the Corvette. On September 12, Camaro was introduced to a select group of journalists at the GM testing center. Estes for a long time showed journalists all the novelties of the 1967 model year, then talked about a new market niche, which is aimed at Camaro. The car was, meanwhile, covered with a cover. After a long languishing, the veil was dropped, and the Camaro first appeared to the public - it was a convertible SS 350 Convertible, which slowly rotated on the podium. On September 26 (29), 1966, the new Camaro made its debut at the Chevrolet showrooms throughout America.