Hershey, PA (May 11, 2017). Summer and performance cars seem to go together and this summer the AACA Museum is excited to highlight several varieties of iconic American muscle cars – namely Camaros and Firebirds as we celebrate their 50th Anniversary here at the AACA Museum.
On September 29, 1966, General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Camaro and its sister car, the Pontiac Firebird, went on sale February of 1967. These vehicles were General Motor’s answer to competing with the popular Ford Mustang. The Camaro and Firebird were designed to provide a sports car experience but still be affordable for the average driver. The Camaro has been through six generations of body styles over the years along with several anniversary edition vehicles. The Firebird has evolved through four generations of body styles over time until production ended for both vehicles in 2002.
Chevrolet announced the return of the Camaro in January of 2006 and production began in 2009 after an eight-year hiatus. The new 2010 Camaro model year introduced the fifth generation and the return of these American muscle cars with the 2016 model year ushering in the sixth generation. There were many variations of body styles over the years including convertibles, sports coupe, rally sport, Z/28, Berlinetta and the IROC (International Race of Champions) Z/28 along with some special anniversary editions. The introduction of the T-top in 1978 was also significant as it simulated the ability to have the open air feel of a convertible. Another claim to fame came in July of 2007 when two Camaro concept cars were built for the movie Transformers and “Bumblebee” became the star of the movie.
In 1971, Firebird sales were somewhat bleak and General Motors was considering canceling the 1972 model year; however, there were two things that had a significant and positive impact for the Firebird. First was the introduction of the large “screaming chicken” hood graphic and the other was the ability to get a 455 Super Duty engine. The Firebird became even more popular in 1977 with black and gold Special Edition Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies.
These iconic General Motors vehicles have captured the hearts of our nation and we are excited to highlight them in a 50th Anniversary Tribute exhibit.