2nd Generation Chevy Camaro Review
Introduced to market in February 1970, the second-generation Chevrolet Camaro would be in production 12 years. When the second-generation Camaro finally did appear, it made a tremendous splash. It was one of the most radical-looking new designs the industry had seen since the excesses of 1959. Unlike the Mustang, whose successive revamps from 1964 to 1973 represented a steady evolution of the original concept, the new Camaro was an almost complete stylistic break with its predecessor. The first Camaro, as we have previously seen, evolved from the "Super Nova" concept car of the early sixties. It essentially married the stylistic philosophy of the second-generation Chevrolet Corvair (1965-1969) with the short-deck, long-hood proportions popularized by the Mustang; park a '67 Camaro next to a post-'65 Corvair, and the family resemblance of their basic body shapes is readily apparent. The new Camaro looked more like something from Italy than Detroit. It featured a curvaceous nose and gaping grille that recalled early-sixties Ferrari or Maserati GT cars, particularly on Rally Sport models, which had no bumper ahead of their grille openings.
Under the skin, the new F-body was much more familiar with standard Chevy Camaro Accessories. It was about 2 inches (51 mm) longer and slightly wider and lower than the '69, but it was structurally very similar. It shared the first-generation car's semi-monocoque construction, with a separate front subframe carrying the engine and front suspension. Suspension design was substantially the same as before, as were most of the powertrain choices. Front disc brakes were newly standard, but the four-wheel discs that had been available on a very limited basis in 1969 were gone. The new Camaro was almost 200 pounds (90 kg) heavier, thanks to the addition of new side-guard door beams, as well as the more complex inner body stampings necessary for its curvy shape.
The high-performance Z/28 option package returned for 1970, but Chevy abandoned the earlier Z/28's rough-and-ready 302 (4.9 L) engine in favor of the new 350 cu. in. (5.7 L) LT-1. The LT-1, shared with the Corvette, was rated at 360 gross horsepower (268 kW), about as a strong as the underrated 302, but far more tractable. It could now be ordered with automatic transmission, whereas first-gen Z/28s required a four-speed manual. A big-block V8 remained optional on other Camaros. Chevrolet still called the big Turbojet V8 a "396," but it was now actually 402 cubic inches (6.6 L), rated at 350 gross horsepower (261 kW). Chevy briefly announced that the Camaro would offer the big 454 cu. in. (7.4 L) LS-6 engine offered in the 1970 Chevelle SS, rated at a whopping 450 gross horsepower (336 kW), but it never actually went into production.
The 1970 Camaro was just about as fast as its predecessor, despite its extra weight. In May 1970, Car and Driver put its well-prepared automatic Z/28 across the quarter-mile line (402 meters) in 14.2 seconds at 100.3 mph (161.5 kph), while Motorcade's Dave Epperson managed 14.5 seconds at 98.2 mph (158.1 kph). Those were excellent numbers, but the bottom was about to fall out. Like the first-generation Camaro (and the Mustang), the second-generation F-body had exaggerated long-hood, short-deck proportions, which gave it a muscular look. Note the flared front wheel wells: the second-generation Camaro's front tread width was 1.6 inches (41 mm) wider than before, although overall width was only 0.4 inches (10 mm) greater. With fat, F60-15 tires, standard on Z/28s, the Camaro handled well by the standards of its era, although its 0.74 g lateral acceleration is inferior to many modern economy cars. Its brakes were also marginal for the car's weight, fading prodigiously in hard use.
The 1970 model was introduced in February 1970, halfway through the model year. This caused some people to incorrectly refer to it as a "1970 1/2" model; all were 1970 models. The 1970 model year vehicles are generally regarded as the most desirable of the early 2nd generation Camaros, since the performance of following years was reduced by the automobile emissions control systems of the period and later the addition of heavy federally mandated bumpers.
2nd Generation Chevy Camaro Gallery