Ever since I was five, which was 50 years ago, I’ve known how to tell the model year of a first-generation Camaro. I imagine you know the signs as well. In 1967, there were no side markers; in 1968 and 1969, there were. In 1967 and 1968, the wheel arches were round; in 1969, they were made a little more square with “speed streaks” trailing them along the body. Actually, there were far more changes in ’69 than that, but this has alwyas been the easiest one for me to spot.
I came upon this ’68 RS convertible behind a bar and grill in Fishers, Indiana, where I used to have lunch a lot. It’s downright refreshing to find a plain Rally Sport with a 327, given how many of these I see at car shows modified into big-block firebreathers with an SS badge in the center of the grille. At least, this RS is still badged as having a 327; that reverse-scooped hood could be hiding something larger.
Chevy’s refresh in ’69 sure resulted in a sleeker, more muscular look. But there’s something pure about the original ’67 and ’68 look, side-marker lights or no.
The other easy tell for a 68 Camaro over a 67 is the lack of vent windows. It is much easier to spot when far away compared to the marker lights.
Looking directly at the rear: the tail lights differed from 1967 to 1968, the latter gaining raised chrome bezels.
On the base models sans hidden headlights the 1967 had round parking lights, the 1968 had rectangular.
Nice! Those Chevy slotted wheels really are amazing, there is good reason why they are so ubiquitous. The very distinctive center cap looks like nothing else, and the wheels look good with or without them.
I’m about the same age as you, Jim, but by the time I was cognizant of cars, the ’68 Nova (which was loosely based on the F-body mechanical bits) was already out. I never much cared for the first-gen F-bodies – I thought the Mustang was a much better-looking car – and I derided these cars as “tarted-up Novas”, even though that wasn’t at all true.
What a beautiful car! The details are so well done! I understand why they are collectables and so beloved. I just wish they were as good as they looked. I could look at this beautiful car all day. I wouldn’t want to drive it, just look at it.
To my jaded designer eyes the first gen Camaro always looked like a rushed rather generic looking GM reply to the Mustang. The 70 1/2 Camaros tho….WOW! IMhO a truly epoch mass produced car design that has stood the test of time.
Both generations look a bit staid if parked alongside a third gen Camaro tho. That struck me one time when I saw my ’88 IROC-Z near a early 70s Camaro in a parking lot. The 2nd gen still looked GR8, but a bit dated next to the sleeker, clean ’88. I believe the same would be true with a ’88 parked next to a ’67-’69. BTW, the pic is of a ’92 RS with a wheezy V6 that I had, but at least it was NOT achromatic like most vehicles are now.
All 3 generations look STUNNING if near the latest “top chopped” Camaros with their tank slit DLOs!! To each their own tho……… 🙂 DFO
I agree with you about the revived Camaro, the 2010 and later look like cartoon caricatures of the 67-69. Ford was the most successful with retro styling since the S-197 was both the right size, unlike the super sized Challenger and free of cartoonish details.
I still prefer the smoother look of the 2nd generation F body although my ideal would be an amalgam of the 70-71 front with a mid 70s wraparound rear window.
I grew up in the 80s so I still associate the 3rd generation with Members Only Jackets, knock off Porsche sunglasses and too much cologne.
It’s a shame that many owners of 1st generation Camaros feel the need to slap on a cowl induction Z/28 hood on an otherwise nice, original car.
I agree. I’m surprised it doesn’t have front and rear spoilers as well.
Came in to post exactly that. Same with 67 Stinger hoods on C2 Corvettes.
CC Effect: last night I made a grocery stop on the way home from work and saw a 67 Camaro Pace Car Edition parked outside of a place that sells/works on classics. Had it not been 7:30 and dinner still in my future I would have stopped to photograph it under the lights.
That’s the easiest way to tell a 67 from a 68 – if it has great big blue letters that shout OFFICIAL PACE CAR then it’s a 67. 🙂
For non RS Camaros it’s round parking lights on a flat grille vs rectangular in a more V shaped(previewing 69) grille are easy tells too. I’m definitely in the minority but I like the 67-68s substantially better than the 69s; the speed streaks, the googly eyed standard grille, the weird transparent and body colored louvers over the lights in the RS grille, the Z/28 cowl hood, the louvers on the quarter panel etc. don’t do a thing for me, in fact it all looks tacky. The 67-68s look kind of boring by comparison, but is that a bad thing? They’re clean but very curvy, and in RS form have a great muscular no nonsense hidden headlight look, very much in the vein of the 68 Dodge Charger. Only place I find the 69s improved the design were in the taillights
And it’s these improved taillights that have me preferring the ’69 of all the “Tri-Six” Camaros.
Of course I wouldn’t kick any one of these three out of my fantasy garage.
I have to admit, I do find the taillights that much better that they make the car. But the reverence for the whole is grating to me. For all the “improvements” on the 69 Camaro many carried over to Pontiac conspired to utterly ruin the Firebird’s looks in 1969
Very nice. The closest I will ever get is the Corgi toy version I owned. I always thought being able to unhide the headlights was peak toy. Sigh, long gone unfortunately.
I agree with the wing vents on the 67 vs 68.
In the 70s my family had a car lot. Driving the Camaros and mustangs were my favorites.The 327 4bbl ralley sport was my favorite. Faster than the Mach 1.
The 1st generation 1967 & 1968 Camaros are so much more better looking and smaller than the 1969, I do not understand except for the engine options how the 1969 model is always favored. Honestly,but I like the wing vent side windows and the ignition key in the dash ,where it belongs.