Chevy Camaro F-Body - Goodbye, Sweet Prince

Bid Farewell To A Friend Forever

Mike Petralia Apr 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0204_01_z 70s_chevy_camaro Front_view 2/1

As the owner of a '70 Camaro, the first year for the Second-Generation Camaros, (I consider '70-73 to be the finest), it's hard not to choke up as I begin this story. Truth be told, I have a penchant for all things Camaro. If I had unlimited resources and tons of storage space, I'd have at least three of each generation in my garage. One would be pure stock, maybe a rare model like a '67 pace car, and I would work hard to keep its original integrity intact. The second would be a full-on g-Machine with 18-inch rubber, a six-speed, EFI power, and brakes so big they could do double-duty stopping a 747. My third dream Camaro would be a hard-core real street drag racer. It'd run mid-8s all day and look better than most Best of Show winners on the circuit. I guess that'd all be fine, but what would I drive? Of my dozen Camaros, none would be fit for battle in everyday L.A. traffic. I think I'd have to get another one for daily abuse. Maybe a '00 Z28 with an LS1 and 4L60E to make driving easy. Yeah, that's it: I'd have a baker's dozen worth of Camaros sitting in my stable. These dreams, like many I have, will probably never come to pass. I guess the good thing is that now I won't have to worry about what the next generation Camaro will be like and whether or not I'll want three more of those models too! That's because there will be no more generations to extend the Camaro lifeline. In September 2002, the last F-Body will roll off GM's assembly line. With no replacement plans to speak of, that means the F-Body is officially dead. May it rest in pieces.

Even though GM has not alluded to plans for the eminent replacement, in the automotive world of today, a stay of execution is always possible. Look at all the models that have been killed off in the past, only to be resurrected some time later in a different format to dominate their domain again. Take the Impala SS: It was born and lived its first life as a big car, and later it returned as a big car again, only to be killed twice. Then the stubborn Imp was resurrected for a third life as a mid-sized car and has done well in its class. The Monte Carlo is another example, and its body size and chassis platform still make it attractive enough to buyers of all shapes and sizes and to racecar builders and drivers alike. It's only fitting that GM should soon retool and resurrect the Camaro in a slightly different platform to compete in an ever-changing marketplace. Because, what is a car if not a way for its builder to earn a living and for its owner to get from point A to point B? Granted, some cars might do one thing better than the other, and some do both extremely well: The Camaro sort of lost its way in both categories. For several years, lately, Camaro sales have been slipping away, and GM knew something had to be done to avoid losing money. While it may have been the fastest, most powerful, and best-handling sports car in America for under $40,000, the Camaro found less and less favor with the younger crowd, particularly young women, who used to be a strong demographic for F-Bodies. What left a bad taste in a woman's mouth for the Camaro was its low-slung design in which she can appear neither graceful nor sexy upon entry and exit of a Camaro, no matter how hard she tries. And if she wore a short skirt, the crowd waiting to get into that hip, new restaurant she's just arrived at would get more than just a good meal that evening.


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