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Camaro History: 5 Best Fifth Generation Moments

Written By, NowCar Team

Fifth generation Chevy Camaro

The Camaro is one of the most storied models from any American car manufacturer. Made to do battle with other roaring performance cars of the 1960s, it's changed a lot over the past 50 years. But buying it as a new car in Orlando today isn't much different than it was in 1967.

After being introduced in 2009 (as a 2010 model), this latest generation of Camaro has to make room for the sixth generation. So to say goodbye to the fifth generation Camaro, here are some of the best moments throughout its history.

Concept Reveal

Most concept cars are built for one purpose and one purpose only: show. Flown to auto show after auto show, these vehicles build buzz for brands and help them gauge popular trends in the industry to be used in future production cars.

The fifth generation Camaro, however, was no such concept. Unveiled in spectacular fashion at the 2006 North American Auto Show, it's hard to tell the difference between the exterior of the concept and future 2010 production model. (The interior did get a major overhaul, though.)  

It was one of the most talked-about cars of the show, and would continue to be shown off at major auto shows up until its release in early 2009.  

Integration with Transformers Franchise

For a car manufacturer, having their vehicle be at the center of a major summer blockbuster is a ticket to success. For the Camaro, that was Transformers.  

Many hardcore Camaro fans hate the fact that their beloved muscle car is associated with Transformers' Bumblebee character. But that integration led the way to the Camaro's success, helping it become the bestseller it is today.  

It also gave millions of children a dream car to own one day, which will likely turn the next generation of car buyers into Camaro enthusiasts.  

Beating Mustang Sales 2010-2014

The Camaro and the Mustang had the perfect car rivalry in the 1960s. It was the golden age of cars, when everyone wanted a roaring V8.  

With an early jump on the Camaro, however, the Mustang always seemed to have the upperhand on GM's muscle car. And when the Camaro exited the market in 2002, there really wasn't a car for Mustang to compete with it. The original pony car was in a league of its own.  

But with the perfect execution and launch of the 2010 Camaro, GM was able to innovate, draw in new buyers, and win over Mustang lovers with its fifth-generation muscle car.  

Thanks to all of this, the Camaro has seen five straight years atop the muscle car sales charts.  

ZL1 Introduction  

While the Camaro had already started taking huge bites out of Mustang sales, the company needed a car to compete with Ford's higher-end Mustangs like the GT500. So in 2011, GM unveiled the most powerful Camaro ever produced--the 2012 ZL1.  

With a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, it produced 580 total horsepower and 556 lb.-ft of torque. It was the Camaro's Halo model.

It wasn't just powerful, though, it was a track-ready daily driver. It had innovative coolers to keep its engine, transmission, rear differential, and Brembo brakes from overheating under the pressure of its monster performance capabilities.  

It was also an extremely accessible high-performance car as well. Unlike the GT500 and Boss 302, which came equipped only with a manual transmission, the ZL1 was offered with an automatic.  

Even better? You could get in as a convertible.  

Enthusiasts might cry foul about that, but they know the ZL1's manual transmission did allow for better overall performance. Offering those options to all drivers, however, opened up the ZL1 to everyone.  

Selling 500,000 Units in the U.S.  

While each of the previous moments were integral to the fifth generation Camaro's success, selling 500,000 units in 6 years is something Chevrolet and its fans can be proud of.  

Despite being the last to enter the new muscle car race, the Camaro came out on top. And with a next generation ready to debut in just a few short months, the brand is preparing to do battle with Ford and Dodge's new models once again!