50 Years Of Muscle Madness: The Chevrolet Camaro, Then and Now
America’s love affair with the Chevrolet Camaro was created when a press release, dated Wednesday, June 29, 1966, announced the emergence of an icon. Little did the folks at Chevrolet realize the monster they had unleashed.
DETROIT – Chevrolet will introduce a new personal-size car named “Camaro” with its 1967 models, E.M. Estes, general manager, announced today.
Estes called Chevrolet’s newest car “a four-passenger package of excitement.” He said it will be offered in both convertible and a coupe body styles.
All Images Credited To: General Motors
With that announcement from the Chevrolet Motor Division in 1966, a new era dawned. Reading that today, 50-years later, might give you a little taste of what it was like to learn about Chevy’s newest addition to their lineup back in 1966. Fast-forward 50 years, and the Camaro continues to push the bounds of both style and performance.
The new Camaro, although a completely different beast, does a great job living up to its reputation.
Since Chevrolet’s Pony car turned 50-years-old this year, we’re taking a look at some of the differences and similarities in the original, 1967 models, and the Camaro of today. We’ll take a look at the different ways the two cars were advertised, compare the performance options, look at the way safety was addressed in 1967 as compared to 2017, and finally, we’ll also take a look at the production and pricing for both model years. In addition to the look back, we’ll also be hearing a little from the folks at Chevrolet who gave us their input on performance and pricing. So, without further delay, let’s take a look at the way Chevy shows off their favorite musclecar.
The advertising used for the first-year 1967 Camaro was all sixties and all new. Remember, this was the start of an iconic brand name for GM, and their competition to Ford’s highly successful Mustang. They wanted to make sure the world knew the car was all new.
This is the lead image for the 1967 advertisement brochure.
Now, it’s 2017, and the Camaro as a name is old news. But, the new advertising model is bold and is designed to show off the meaner side of the Camaro. The pictures have highly contrasted lighting, dramatically angled shots, and mostly staged studio imagery. The headlights or driving lights are almost always on, and the contours of the body are exaggerated as much as possible.
This is the lead image for the 2017 advertisement brochure.
Let’s take a look at two images in particular. We’ll use the lead images shown above, one from the catalog in 1967, and one from the catalog for 2017. They are more or less a straight forward comparison, and both do a great job setting the stage for the overall advertising style of the model year they represent.
Starting with the classic 1967 Camaro, it is shown in a striking yellow color with the RS/SS 350 trim packages, black nose stripe, and red-lined tires with black wheels. One thing you’ll notice right away is the lack of headlights as the RS headlight doors are shut and the grill appears to be one single continuous piece. It’s also important to note that you can clearly see the smiling face of the driver.
Here is how the 2017 model advertises the different color options compared to the 1967 advertising color options. It’s definitely much more effective to see the actual car dressed in the color in question.
A very different picture is painted by the lead photo for the 2017 model year. The image shows a black 2017 Camaro racing down the highway. It’s also an action shot, the headlights and driving lights are on, but you can barely see the drivers face. We’re certain he has a serious look of focus. This ad wants you to feel like the 2017 Camaro is tough, fast, and all business, but wrapped in a shell that is still just as attractive as ever.
Both shots clearly show the grill, the side of the body, and the driver, but the 1967 ad intentionally lights the face with a smile, while the 2017 ad hides the eyes and only shows the serious lower half of the face. The next page on both advertisements does a great job of continuing with the same theme. The 1967 ad shows the bright yellow Camaro straight on and well lit, while the 2017 ad shows the SS Camaro in high-contrast studio lighting with the parking lights on and the windows darkened.
The different in advertising sets the tone for two completely different cars from two completely different eras. The 1967 Camaro was Chevrolet introducing something new and unique to the market, while the 2017 Camaro is working hard to live up to its reputation.
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