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Old 09-24-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
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Which first gen. Camaro was top dog?

Which first gen. PRODUCTION Camaro was top dog? This topic has been argued on these and many other forums thousands of times. I was browsing through some '69 Chevrolet brochures online and came across this:
"We'll start with our strongest. Z/28 Camaro." That tells me that Chevrolet considered the Z/28 to be the top dog, that's good enough for me!
Clyde
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:53 PM   #2
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I'd say an SS396 with aluminum heads was top dog. Try finding an original of those!
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:55 PM   #3
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:08 PM   #4
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Read Chevy's own ad copy, I'm telling you what they thought. Yes the ZL1 in '69 was a brute, raw horsepower and great for 1/4 mile runs. Obviously though, an obscure engine package that was not a general production package (remember, only 69 ZL1s were made that year) could not be the top dog production model. I don't think anyone argues that the COPOs or the Yenko, Balwin/Motion, etc. Camaros were the top dog production package either. I think the Z/28 qualified as a general production package since a little over 20,000 of them were made in '69. The argument by many has always been that the SS (especially the BB 396cid versions) were the top dog production Camaro back then, this brochure from Chevy back then seems to say otherwise in Chevrolet's opinion (and they do mention BB 396 in the text).
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pincoin View Post
I'd say an SS396 with aluminum heads was top dog. Try finding an original of those!
My comments were not addressing what was the most rare or hard to find, rather which production Camaro was the top dog.
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:37 PM   #6
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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Yenko 427 ZL-1 COPO
And this post has exactly what to do with this thread? I don't see any relevance.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:05 PM   #8
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:33 PM   #9
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I'm with you Clyde. The Z28 was a OEM racecar for the street/masses. No other regular production Camaro was.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:15 PM   #10
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildpaws View Post
And this post has exactly what to do with this thread? I don't see any relevance.
Clyde
It is your thread title that is misleading. You asked who is top dog. Then in post 4 you explain that you want to discuss whether the SS or Z/28 was considered the top dog back then by GM.

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Old 09-25-2011, 12:23 AM   #12
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L78 396.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:25 AM   #13
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It is your thread title that is misleading. You asked who is top dog. Then in post 4 you explain that you want to discuss whether the SS or Z/28 was considered the top dog back then by GM.

You have a valid point, I've added a line to the first post stating production Camaro, now if we can get a moderator to edit the thread title (since I apparently can't edit that).
Clyde

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Old 09-25-2011, 07:40 AM   #14
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Who gives a crap... You will never get a definite answer. Some will say SS, some will say Z/28... It was 45 years ago, no one the was around at GM then likely still is.

Z/28 - track car built for performance. Crappy road manners.

SS - came in many forms... I.e. Power plants. Better car for on the street but the Z was probably a little more race oriented.


IF and a huge IF there is a looming Z release, it will likely be a race inspired car, built for performance, low, loud, rough and bad to the bone. Look up a Cobra R. Like that. No ac, no radio, no back seat... lots of power... lots of money... few made.

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Old 09-25-2011, 09:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pincoin View Post
I'd say an SS396 with aluminum heads was top dog. Try finding an original of those!
X2
And it wasn't that hard to get one. You just had to check the block.

This is a failed attempt to get the z/28 to be considered the top dog. It was Chevy's top dog on the road racing series called Trans Am where they were great, but it wouldn't hold up to the big blocks that were properly prepped to go against the Hemis of the day.
There were the ZL1's and the iron-headed 427's known as COPO cars today. Yes, they were harder to order and not everyone could afford the extra cash, but they were able to be found.
You didn't see Nickey, Yenko, Bill Thomas and Motion building small-block Supercars(but they would build what you were wanting) back in the 60's(yes, Yenko built a LT1 350-powered Nova in the early 70's but he claimed his 427 powered Nova as the one he probably shouldn't have released for street duty it was that nasty).

Give it a rest.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildpaws View Post
Read Chevy's own ad copy, I'm telling you what they thought. Yes the ZL1 in '69 was a brute, raw horsepower and great for 1/4 mile runs. Obviously though, an obscure engine package that was not a general production package (remember, only 69 ZL1s were made that year) could not be the top dog production model. I don't think anyone argues that the COPOs or the Yenko, Balwin/Motion, etc. Camaros were the top dog production package either. I think the Z/28 qualified as a general production package since a little over 20,000 of them were made in '69. The argument by many has always been that the SS (especially the BB 396cid versions) were the top dog production Camaro back then, this brochure from Chevy back then seems to say otherwise in Chevrolet's opinion (and they do mention BB 396 in the text).
Clyde
Have you ever ridden in a stock 302 powered z/28 from the 60's? No torque off the line unless it's wound up and yes they could wind high, but if we were talking stoplight to stoplight or even on the strip you couldn't beat the torque of the big block. Put the aluminum heads on with a check of the block and you're close enough to that small block's weight.
Z's were king on the windy's but not at the strip.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by usa1camaro1969 View Post
Have you ever ridden in a stock 302 powered z/28 from the 60's? No torque off the line unless it's wound up and yes they could wind high, but if we were talking stoplight to stoplight or even on the strip you couldn't beat the torque of the big block. Put the aluminum heads on with a check of the block and you're close enough to that small block's weight.
Z's were king on the windy's but not at the strip.
My friend, you are definately barking up the wrong tree this time!! Have I ever ridden in one? You bet your butt I have since I bought one new in '69 and drove it for a number of years. Can't beat the torque of a BB on the strip? I guess you haven't seen any of the D/S Z/28 record holders scaring the bejesus out of BBs and sometimes beating them. Do I need to post some of the current D/S videos yet again to let you see their under ten and a half second runs around 125mph? None of the first gen. Z/28 owners back in the day was worried about SS396 Camaros, they were not a real issue, the 325 hp and 350 hp versions were absolutely no issue, the 375 hp version made it a driver's race. The real thrust of my post is not so much what you or I think, it is what Chevrolet seemed to imply in their own ad copy, go back and read it again.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:34 PM   #18
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:50 PM   #19
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Clyde the Z28 guys fully get it.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
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My friend, you are definately barking up the wrong tree this time!! Have I ever ridden in one? You bet your butt I have since I bought one new in '69 and drove it for a number of years. Can't beat the torque of a BB on the strip? I guess you haven't seen any of the D/S Z/28 record holders scaring the bejesus out of BBs and sometimes beating them. Do I need to post some of the current D/S videos yet again to let you see their under ten and a half second runs around 125mph? None of the first gen. Z/28 owners back in the day was worried about SS396 Camaros, they were not a real issue, the 325 hp and 350 hp versions were absolutely no issue, the 375 hp version made it a driver's race. The real thrust of my post is not so much what you or I think, it is what Chevrolet seemed to imply in their own ad copy, go back and read it again.
Clyde
Nope. In order to get one to run more had to be done to it than just hopping in it and running it. Sometimes beating the big blocks? That's much like when I sometimes take my v6 out and beat the SS in fifth gen form. I don't falsely believe there's more to it than some of the SS guys can't drive. I have also run in both "back in the day" and they aren't what you're claiming them to be.
And there were more ads than the one you posted from back in the day.

http://www.firstgencamaro.com/vintageads.html

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Old 09-25-2011, 06:56 PM   #21
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Clyde the Z28 guys fully get it.
Amen brother!! I should have known better than to post something that would get the non-Z/28 guys riled up! I truly just wanted to highlight that Chevy seemed to say that they thought the Z/28 was top dog......oh well, back to the salt mine to earn enough to pay for that proper Z/28 when Chevrolet decides to release another one.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:09 PM   #22
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First Gen Camaro street racing pecking order:

1. 427 ZL1 (430 hp *)
2. 427 L72 (425 hp)
3. 396 L89 (375 hp Aluminum Heads *)
4. 396 L78 (375 hp *)
5. 396 L43 (350 hp)
6. 302 Z28 (290 hp *)
7. 396 L35 (325 hp)
8. 350 L48 (295-300 hp)
9. 327 L30 (275 hp)

* = underrated but close to what the engines would be rated today

All of the other numbers are optimistic by today's ratings.

The Z28 was the master at the curved track with a better suspension and balance than the big blocks. You could also buy the Z28 with a dual quad setup and long tubes in the trunk as I recall that would move the Z28 up the list once installed. Maybe on a par with the L78 and L89. But all the power was up top. Good driver mod needed.

Edit: Oops forgot about the Z28 "Off Road Cam" in the trunk as well.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:48 PM   #23
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Some, like me, have memories from back in the day....others have dreams. I know what my Z/28 did back in the early 70's. It wasn't the fastest car at the strip, but it would hang pretty good with just about anything that was in non-modified condition. And that is the truth from this driver.
The biggest advantage that I found in the ole 302 was the fact that it could be driven to the track and raced...and do it consistently week after week. Most other 'factory stock' cars were in need of prep work before and in between races to keep them running consistently, or they just wouldn't perform as they should. I can still remember some 440 six pack guys just shaking their heads trying to get those carbs synched!
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:09 PM   #24
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:17 PM   #25
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I recall a Brock Yates Car and Driver piece, circa '70, about a Ford-supplied "road tester" Boss 302 Yates "evaluated"...at Lime Rock Park (IIRC)...in an authentic race!

The Boss and the Z/28, while not exactly competiton-ready from the factories, were pretty decent material to work from...

As fabled as the COPO and Big Block cars may be, I don't recall anyone being "competitive" in sanctioned racing with one of those without some very serious "engineering" and "parts thrashin'". Harrell's efforts with ZL1 #1 only gained prominence after the car become almost unrecognizable from "showroom stock appearance". Grumpy's, the same.

Off the showroom floor, the Z/28 was a damn fine ride...doing anything. No "tricks" required... Ride? No worse than the BBs. Handling? They didn't call it the Hugger for nuthin'. Cost? Less than an SS - L78, with better mpgs and, initially, lower insurance rates. And it would run with/outrun any other juice-cammed Camaro...in any orientation, at any task.

Look at all the "restified" Camaros sold this past weekend @ B-J Vegas. There's a reason more current '69 Camaros wear the Z/28 badge than any other performance "suit"...and that, folks, undeniably, is called HERITAGE.

BTW, re-read the 396-325 hp description above..."boss". Oh really?! Hyperbole at its height...
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