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Chevrolet Camaro - Know Your Stripes

A look at the factory stripes on the infamous F-body.

By , Photography by General Motors


Check out Part 2 of "Know Your Stripes!"

Last issue we did a story on how to paint a Camaro-style stripe on an S10 pickup. We showed how to lay it out and spray it, but we think there is another angle when talking about stripes we needed to cover: What is actually correct? If you go to as many Super Chevy Shows as we do, then you will start to notice that there are a ton of Camaros with factory-style stripes that don't always match.

Some of the first factory stripes we could find happened to be on a '57 Corvette built by GM's Styling Center, and that car also wore the SS moniker (also the first use of that well-known set of letters). Then, in the beginning of the '60, the Sebring race Vettes and Corvairs got the same treatment, with a center stripe with two thinner outside stripes running along side it. During this era, cars had stainless trim, which acted as a high-class stripe, but hit the late '60s and painted stripes came in and became the norm. This was not only the style, but a lot cheaper.

It wasn't until the release of the '67 Camaro that Chevrolet put some sort of painted-on stripe on a car. The Camaro was offered with the most options of any vehicle in the Chevy lineup. Most notable were the two thick stripes that ran along the hood and deck lid of the Z/28. Those two stripes were on the Z/28 only, while the SS cars got a stripe painted around the nose. Funny how most have come to regard the stereo stripes on the hood and trunk as SS stripes, but in actuality they were really for the Z/28. Since the Camaro got so many options, the focus of this story will be the F-body models up to '73.

We used our connections with GM's archive and National Parts Depot to pull as many factory images and diagrams related to the Camaro stripe craze that dominated the car's early years. We are going to focus on the most popular stripes that we could actually get measurements on. NPD offers reprints of the Chevrolet Assembly manuals, which feature technical drawings of the stripes for just about all the popular muscle cars if you don't see what you need here.

Back in the day, the designers and engineers were a bit too precise and spaced everything out in decimal version tenths, hundredths, thousandths, and so on, so not all the stuff converts to a well-known fraction (or tape size). It would clog up the article if we were to try and give you the closest familiar fractions. Just use an online conversion chart to see what the closest fraction is, and then you can decide to either match the factory numbers exactly or just get close. Just know that matching exactly will probably require, a mechanics ruler and a bunch of 1/16 and 1/8-inch masking tape to create these oddball fine lines.

1. Here is a '57 Corvette show car. It's the first instance we can find of a factory stripe package.

2. The SS nose stripes (L48) on the '67 and (D91) on the '68. You could order this on any trim level, but came standard on the SS. It starts 0.790-inch back from front edge at the centerline and 0.830 back from fender peak/edge. This gives you the spacing off the front of the valance. From there it's a 0.10-inch pinstripe, 0.12 space, 3.76 center stripe, 0.10 pinstripe, 0.12 space, with a 4.20 total size. All these measurements stay the same as the stripe wraps the fender and goes down toward the bumper, but it is 1.40 back from the front edge of fender at center bodyline instead of the 0.790 and 0.830 on the topside. Everything is the same for the '68 D91 version, except the last measurement is not 1.40, they moved it forward a bit to 0.870 back from front edge of fender at center bodyline. If the car was equipped with engine badges on the front fender, the stripe was broken above the center bodyline.

3. The '67-'68 Z/28 Camaros: Starting with the hood, these stripes run off the end of the nose of the car and stop 1.36-inch before the end of the cowl. The measurements for these will start at the edge of the hood at the front. Measure over 5.98, then it's a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.38 space, 12.46 center stripe, 0.38 space, 0.25 pinstripe, with a total width of 13.72. The stripes get 0.90 larger as they go back, so the rear measurements are a bit larger and are measured over from the side of the hood at the back. Measure over 6.56, then it's a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.38 space, 13.10 center stripe, 0.38 space, 0.25 pinstripe with a total width of 14.32. The back edge of the stripe has rounded corners that follow the curve of the cowl depression.

4. For the rear stripes, which also have a taper in them, the measurements start at the edge of the trunk panel. Starting with the top, measure over 7.02-inch, then it's a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.38 space, 13.53 center stripe, 0.38 space and 0.25 pinstripe. The lower measurements are 5.96 then a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.38 space, 13.26 center strip, 0.38 space and 0.25 pinstripe. If the car is equipped with a rear Chevrolet emblem, there is to be 0.15 clearance around letters. If the car is equipped with a rear spoiler, then lower measurements apply.

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