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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.

5. We found two very similar mustache style stripes were offered in '68. This is the first and (we think) more common D90 stripe that was similar at the front like the bumblebee style, except the stripe turned at the fender and turned into a single scallop. This one stops 3.62-inch before the end of the door. The only measurement we could find for this one was the stripes were set back from the hood 0.25-inch, and had an overall width of 5.25. If you apply the same measurement as the next stripe you should get it close, but we could not find a definitive answer in the tech drawings.

6. The second one is the L48 option and looks very similar, but the stripe flows back into the quarter and stops about 12 inches or so from the door opening. This is one of the two measurements the tech drawing doesn't show completely. The other is when and where to start the taper in the scallop, as it's not a straight line. The nose portion of the stripe is back 0.375, then it's a 0.125 pinstripe, 0.125 space, 4.187 center stripe, 0.125 space, and a 0.125 pinstripe. It flows over the fender in the same size, turns back and gets a lot thinner and is centered on the center bodyline. At the front, it's 0.343 center stripe, with 0.093 spacing and 0.125 pinstripes. When you get to the back of the door, the stripe is thinner, with a 0.125 center, 0.046 space and 0.125 pinstripes. The portion on the quarter is pretty small with the center running back 2.48 and the pinstripes having an 8.47 thick point. The drawing doesn't give us the space between the two tips so we can't give you a solid answer as to how far back it really goes.

7. In '69 the D90 stripe changed again to what is commonly referred to as the hockey stick stripe. There is a lot going on in this curved scallop, so we are not going to extract the numbers, and instead just show you the complete tech drawing. We will say at least the numbers are starting to become more common, so this one will be a bit easier to layout with a roll of 1/8-inch tape.

8. One of the more simple options for '69 was the D96 stripes. These are more like a simple pinstripe, but again Chevrolet didn't make it super easy to replicate as the top line is half the size of the lower. The front line starts 0.08 from the fender extension line, with a constant 0.25 spacing from the bodyline/peak. The lower line is 0.12 with a 0.12 space and then a 0.06 upper line, which stops 27.50 from the back of the door. The rear line follows the same spacing and thickness as the front but it starts flush with the bottom of the louvers and ends 1.35 from the end of the rear quarter. These stripes could be added to other stripes like this one that also has the D90 option.

9. The Z/28 stripes were changed for '69, but only the rears. The front stripes share all the dimensions of the '67-'68. The rear stripes are 5.20 from the rear window molding measure over 3.95 from the edge of the truck, then its a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.38 space, 13.72 center strip, 0.38 space and 0.25 pinstripe. The lower measurements are 3.05 then a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.38 space, 13.34 center strip, 0.38 space and 0.25 pinstripe. If the car is equipped with a rear spoiler, the lower measurements apply.

10. Check out this set of stripes that was offered in '69. According to the Camaro White Book, these found their way onto more than 20,000 cars, even though this author has never seen them on one. Dubbed the DX1 option this was basically a reversed L48 stripe from '68.

11. In '70 we saw an all-new Camaro, but it came with way less stripe options, with just the Z28 getting a set of lines down the hood and deck. These stripes stayed the same from '70-'73, and feature a pretty large taper. Now the measurements go out from the centerline of the hood starting at the rear with 2.50, then a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.25 space, 14.75 center stripe, 0.25 space, 0.25 pinstripe. Everything stays the same except the center stripe is only 11.06 wide at the front edge of the hood and where the taper comes in. Now that the stripes don't run off the end of the car, a bit more work is needed to get the correct angle on them.

The inside edge of the center stripe (11.06 wide) is measured 3.32 on the header panel, while the outside edge is 2.82. This will give you the correct angle on the center stripe allowing you to add the same 0.25 spacing and pinstripe. All the corners have a gentle curve, but no notes were provided to figure then out exactly. The rear stripes are totally straight and are measured out from center line 4-inches followed by a 0.25 pinstripe, 0.25 space 13.42 center stripe, 0.25 space, 0.25 pinstripe.

12. During our research into all these stripes, we found more information, but it would have taken up too much room. If you are looking for diagrams on the L48, Z21, D96 or other options you should check out the NPD website and order the factory manuals for the year Camaro you are building. Since we gathered information on the Chevelles and Novas as well, you can expect a similar story on those models soon.

SOURCES
National Parts Depot - Florida
900 S.W. 38th Ave
Ocala
FL  24474
800-874-7595
http://www.npdlink.com
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