Best Camaro Trims From Each Generation

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Endless rumors circulate surrounding the Camaro’s future. In fact, the only thing confirmed is its sixth generation will end in 2023, which was always the plan, according to GM Authority. Whether or not the rumors are true and this is the last of the Camaro, its history is rich with exquisite style and trim levels. Here is the most worthy trim level from each generation.

Generation 1: 1969 COPO 427

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Copo | Getty Images

The first-generation Camaros got special treatment in the way of the Central Office Production Order (COPO) 427. These Camaros were special ordered, as it was the only way to get the 427 big block. This engine used an aluminum block and cylinder heads and had the highest compression ratio compared to any other Camaro. It produced the most horsepower by far at 425. Chevrolet continued the COPO tradition in 2020 as well.

Generation 2: 1970 Z28

1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 | Chevrolet

In 1970 Chevrolet outfitted the Camaro Z28 trim with the Corvette’s 5.7-liter V8. While the Corvette made 370 horsepower, the Z28 was detuned slightly to 360. The engine achieved this with solid lifters, aluminum pistons, an 11:1 compression ratio, and lots of flow thanks to a Holly 780 CFM four-barrel carburetor. Owners had to buy upgraded suspension, a Hurst shifter, and positraction as well. The 1970 model came right before one of the worst Camaro trims in 1975.

Generation 3: 1988 Iroc-Z 1LE Trim

1988 Chevrolet Camaro IROC Z | Chevrolet

The 1LE took some finesse to get a hold of, according to Hemmings. If a customer ordered an Iroc-Z, they had to get it with either the 305 or 350 V8, a performance rear axle that included positraction and specific gearing, and opt-out of air conditioning. This would apparently trick the scheduling system into building a Camaro with the 1LE trim. This meant the Camaro would also come with bigger brakes and beefier suspension bits. 

Generation 4: 1997 30th Anniversary LT4 SS

In the middle of the Camaro’s 4th generation, Chevrolet released a special white with orange stripes coupe only Camaro, dubbed the 30th Anniversary LT4 SS. The LT4 was a 5.7-liter V8, and in the Camaro, it produced 330 horsepower. The LT4 SS trim also came with Bilstein suspension, high-flow exhaust, a lightweight driveshaft, and a limited-slip differential with a stronger ring and pinion.

Generation 5: 2012-2015 ZL1

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 | Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

A fifth-generation Camaro SS went for $34,000 brand new. The ZL1 trim packed on some dollars, tallying up the price to $56,000, but a lot came with it. Chevrolet shoved a 6.2-liter LSA V8 under the hood, sending 580 horsepower to the rear wheels. The car could hit 60 mph in four seconds, and complete a quarter-mile in 11 seconds. Chevrolet evolved the Camaro beyond just straight-line speed with the ZL1 trim. It was designed with downforce in mind, with the exterior built to generate 65 pounds of downforce at 150 mph, Chevrolet claims. 

The ZL1 continued its dominance into the sixth generation, commanding 650 horsepower and a 198 mph top speed, making it one of the best Camaro trims ever. The Camaro went through a lull after the early 1970s and didn’t pick back up until the 1980s. As far as muscle cars go, that was the standard progression. The Camaro rose up with a vengeance, hopefully for a long time still to come. With the move to electric vehicles, the future of the Camaro remains to be seen, according to GM Authority.

RELATED: The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Is The Best Muscle Car You Can Buy Today

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