For all those who weren’t big Ford fans and thereby wanted something similar to but different from the Mustang, there was and still is the iconic Chevy Camaro.
Updated September 2021: Whether you’re a fan of the awesome Chevy Camaro or just enjoy pony cars in general, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve updated this article with even more special Camaro models, both old and new.
When the Camaro was announced, the media questioned the name of the car from Chevy’s top honchos. The Mustang was a horse, a free-spirited stallion. What was a Camaro? Chevy’s execs answered that it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs,” making the Camaro sound like a predator and the Mustang its prey.
Of course, the much hyped launch never really lived up to it all with the Mustang always leading in sales. That said; the Camaro has held its own in a good way. It has been a much-lauded and vaunted muscle car, with many of its models achieving near-legendary status over time. The Camaro has its haters but more than that, it has its steadfast fans. Including, apparently, Bumblebee from the transformers franchise.
So here go the ten most awesome Camaros ever ranked from the good to the best…
13 1967 Chevrolet Camaro: The Kickstarter
When you talk about the best models of a car, it’s best to start with the origin story. In this case, it’s the 1967 Camaro that came in a variety of engines including a powerful V8 that made a whopping 295 horses.
The Camaro came frothing at the mouth and had the option of a three- or four-speed transmission as well, and could go as fast as 129 mph, channeling 380 ft-lb of torque for a smackdown of a ride. The SS models sell for a pricey penny today.
12 1967 Yenko Camaro: Power Personified
In 1967, Yenko decided he wanted the most powerful Camaros to be sold at his dealership, and so he got stock Camaros and engine-swapped them.
The Yenko Camaros bore a 7.0-liter V8 engine that made an astounding 450 horses and ft-lb torque, each, and we are still talking 1967 folks! Top speeds went all the way up to 140 mph, making for a 0-60 mph sprint of 5.4 seconds…
11 1993 Chevy Camaro Z28: Spoiled For Choice
In 1993, the Camaro entered its fourth-generation. By now, horsepower calculations had changed and stringent emission controls had changed the internals of the car, dampening power a tad. The oil crisis of the ’70s had soured the muscle car market as well.
The 5.7-liter V8 power mill now made 275 horses and 325 ft-lb and came with a standard automatic transmission as well as a Borg-Warner manual transmission for fans to enjoy the stick shift. The top speed was ranked in at 152 mph.
10 1977 Camaro Z28: First Camaro To Outsell The Mustang
In 1977, the Z28 Camaro returned after a two year absence. Granted, its 5.7-liter small-block V8 only produced 185 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, which means it certainly wasn’t the fastest or most powerful Camaro ever made. However, at the time, it was the best handling one.
The ’77 Z28 featured tuned shocks, stiffer springs and thicker stabilizer bars to make it out handle all Camaros before it. It also had blacked-out trim and a unique hood graphic. The looks and handling made it a best-seller, with 14,349 1977 Camaro Z28 models sold. Those sales contributed to 1977 being the first year the Chevrolet Camaro managed to outsell the original pony car, the Ford Mustang.
9 2012 Camaro ZL1: Back With A Bang
This is the Camaro we know and love as it entered its fifth and rather iconic grille generation. The standard engine in it was a V6 but if you really wanted a car that could do escape velocity, the 6.2-liter V8 made 580 horses and 556 ft-lb of torque.
Top speeds were a pounding 184 mph and this Camaro could sprint 0-60 mph in flat four seconds. With the Camaro taking a break in the 2000s, this Camaro was amazingly cool and very well-received, giving Mustang some real-time jitters.
8th 2010 Camaro SS: Much Vaunted Performance
The Camaro SS has always been a vaunted beast, and after the Camaro was off the market and production for almost a decade, to have a performance variant back on track pleased Camaro fans to no end.
Especially when the top trim came armed with a 6.2-liter V8 that made 422 horses and 408 ft-lb of bone-jarring torque. It could do top speeds of 155 mph and whoosh 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Not only did it mean serious business, but it also looked serious muscle too.
7 1998 Camaro Z28 SS: Two’s Company
Not only was this a superior Camaro because it bore the sportier Z28 engine, but it was also an SS, so think of it as a double whammy and definite crowd-pleaser, although its looks were more sporty than muscle.
The Z28 came armed with a 5.7-liter V8 that made 320 horses and 345 ft-lb of torque for a top speed of 160 mph that pleased those with a need-for-speed to no end. Especially as a 0-60 mph sprint was a quick 5.5-second one.
6 1985 Camaro IROC-Z: Of Championship Dreams
The Camaro Iroc-Z was named after the International Race of Champions and most of us car-crazy kids seemed to have a Matchbox or Hot Wheels version of it, replete with the fancy decals of the original. With lots of upgrades and performance parts, this was the comeback of the Camaro as a true muscle car.
The 5.0-liter V8 made 210 horses and 285 ft-lb torque which was not a huge number but for the time of the oil crisis and emission control, it was respectable. The 146 mph top speed and the 7-second 0-60 mph run also redeemed the Camaro name.
We are back to one of the classics and why not because this is the Camaro Z28, which established the fact that this car was going to be all about performance. It bore a 5.7-liter V8 that made 290 horses and 290 ft-lb of road-chewing torque.
These numbers may not sound like much today, remember that this is more than 50 years ago. More impressive numbers are the 131 mph top speed as well as a 0-60 mph sprint that took just 6.9 seconds. Put things into perspective and this model is to die for.
4 1971 Camaro SS: The Iconic Muscle
For many, this remains the most iconic and perhaps the best Camaro to date, although you have to be a classic car lover to appreciate those clean and bold lines. The SS variant of this 1971 Camaro bore a 6.4-liter V8 that remained unencumbered with the likes of the emission control enforced catalytic converters.
It made a thrilling 300 horses and even crazier 400 ft-lb of torque, for top speeds of 140-145 mph. This bold and beautiful Camaro could zip 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, and able to compete with even the modern Camaros of today.
3 2019 Camaro ZL1: The Fastest, Yet
The most recent version had to make it to this list, obviously because it is a ZL1 and is very aerodynamic for its time. The front splitter, the boomerang fins, the rear wing – this one is a monster on the road or the track.
The 6.2-liter V8 on this makes an astounding 650 each of horsepower and ft-lb torque, with a peak speed of 202 mph. This is the fastest and most powerful factory-made Camaro ever, zipping 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds . What’s not to love?
2 2018 Camaro GT4.R: A Proper Race Car
The Chevy Camaro GT4.R was a race-ready car built by Prat & Miller, one of GM’s partners, that went on sale in 2018 for $259,000 — roughly four times the cost of a “regular” Camaro ZL1. The Camaro GT4.R has a modified ZL1 body to optimize aerodynamics and plenty of lightweight carbon fiber helps make it lighter, coming in at just 3,131 pounds.
Surprisingly, this beast doesn’t have the ZL1’s supercharged engine, instead featuring a naturally aspirated Chevy Racing-developed 6.2-liter LT1 V8 that produces 480 horsepower — 170 fewer horses than the supercharged LT4 found in the ZL1. In addition to a long list of pricey, hi-tech performance parts, it also has all the safety equipment needed to go racing.
1 1969 Camaro ZL1: Worth Over $1 Million
The 1969 ZL1 Camaro is the stuff of legend. Only 69 units were made, making it super-rare — which translates into super-expensive whenever one does come up for sale at an auction. However, there’s more to the ZL1 than just rarity, it packs a serious punch as well.
The 1969 Camaro ZL1 had a modified chassis and suspension and an all-aluminum 6.8-liter big-block engine rated at 430 hp. This pony car managed to hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds! That’s a respectable number today, but this is a car from the late 60s. It’s little wonder why the ZL1 nameplate has been used for the most powerful Camaros since then.
Sources: Motorious, MotorTrend