Back in the ’80s, Camaro sales sizzled. The pre-owned Camaro market was a buyer’s paradise, while the new F-cars offered plenty of style and value. The ’82 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition (aka pace car) has always been a personal favorite (6,360 were sold). True story: A few months after the Indy 500, the race’s actual pace car showed up unannounced at our Super Chevy Sunday event at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Chevrolet Product Promotion’s Bill Howell parked it under Chevrolet’s huge display tent near the company’s impressive Chevy Power semi-trailer. He then tossed me the keys so I could take some Super Chevy feature photos on the wide-open spaces near the far end of the dragstrip.
This Camaro’s non-certified engine had a Bow Tie alumi-num block, Bow Tie heads, and ’82-edition throttle body injection induction. Time trial runs were going on, so I walkie-talkied the control tower to inform everyone we were going to drive the pace car down the ’strip. Mind you, it had a stock cam, stock exhaust, and stock driveline. Try 16.51 at 82.79 mph. Easy mid-15-second potential. The control tower person who filled out the e.t. slip was none other than today’s current Rockingham Dragway owner and good guy, Steve Earwood. What a treat for all to see this ultra-special Camaro.
For model year 1982, Camaro sales totaled 189, 747, easily trumping the Mustang’s 130,418. This included 71,242 V-8 Sports, 63,563 Z28s, and 6,360 Pace Cars. The remaining 48,582 Camaros were non-V-8s, with a gaggle of export models. Genuine Chevy fun in the sun—32 years ago.