Curbside Classics: 1980 Chevrolet Camaro and Camaro RS – The Object of High-School Dreams


Here it is, the car to which most of my male peers aspired during my 1980s teenagerhood: the second-generation Camaro. The Colonnade Cutlass Supreme may have been the car most often spotted in my high school’s parking lot – and the broughamier the better – but the Camaro inspired almost as much lust as was rumored to have actually been indulged after practices for the annual powderpuff football game.


Even though I will always prefer the first-generation Camaro’s body, I will admit that the second-gen body looked pretty darn good – at least until Chevy started tinkering with the schnoz and tail styling. The simple, clean look of the 1970-73 Camaro’s flat face and cheerful, round tail lights brackets the rest of this slinky body best. The sugar-scoop headlights and wraparound tail lights of 1974-77 looked okay, but weren’t as clean. The integrated bumpers introduced in 1978 simply made the lithe Camaro look big and ponderous.


Whoever owns this one added a tach, but what’s the point when the transmission shifts itself?


A privileged few managed to snag Camaros during my high-school days, and they all looked like this one: rough around the edges, often with some non-original body panels. I rode around in a few of them and wasn’t as impressed with them as their drivers were. Maybe it was because they were all pretty used up, but they were sloppy handlers with surprisingly little go power. Maybe my Camaro-driving buddies all ended up with sixes.


Within days I came upon this Camaro RS of similar vintage and color. I’m guessing 1980 for both of these Camaros, but it’s hard to know for sure as the styling barely changed after 1979.


This Camaro lives in my part of town. I’ve repeatedly seen it parked in a driveway in a nearby neighborhood. This strip mall is a hop, skip, and a jump from this Camaro’s home. Apparently, it’s this owner’s grocery getter.


Except for those lumpy seat covers, this Camaro’s interior looks pretty good. It’s remarkable that the dashboard is uncracked.


But oh, isn’t that body rich with delicious patina? I never went along with all the Camaro lust back in the day, and certainly feel none now, but I’m glad these two originals are still rolling.