3rd Generation Chevy Camaro Review
When lead Chevrolet designers were interviewed during the late '70s about the Camaro's destiny, they anticipated the third-gen Camaro would debut during the '81 or '82 model year. They also explained the plan was to build the car as a front-wheel-drive, V-6 model. Of course history has proven that the Camaro has always been a rear-wheel drive car. The Third-Generation Camaro made its debut in the fall of 1981 for the 1982 Model Year. General Motors designers worked at finding ways to reduce the mass of their entire product lineup, and the Camaro was no exception. The 1982 models hit the dealerships with 500 pounds less mass than their second-generation predecessor. Not only that, but nearly every component was re-designed. The Camaro Z28 offered an even greater lineup of engine choices that ranged from a carburetor equipped (option code LQ8) or fuel-injected Iron Duke 2.5L four cylinder (LQ9), to a V6 (LC1), to two models of the 305 V8 - a 145hp carburated version (LG4) and a 165hp Throttle Body Injection (TBI, also known as "crossfire") EFI version (LU5). A lightweight factory fiberglass hood with functional cold-air induction was available to further lighten the car.
There were 3 models of the new Camaro - the Sport Coupe, Berlinetta and Z28. The Sport Coupe was the base model, and came with the LQ9 as standard (replaced with the LQ8 in Canada and overseas markets). The LC1 V-6 and LG4 V-8 were optional. The Berlinetta was Chevrolet's "luxury" model, designed to provide a "European" feel. It had a luxury interior and came standard with the LC1 V-6 (LG4 optional). It also came with gold accented 14"x7" alloy wheels and a unique nose with vents at the front. The Z28 was the performance model - it came as standard with the LG4 V-8, the LU5 being an option. The Z28s also had a unique hood, molded in plastic and with functional air extractor vents. The Z28 had 15"x7" aluminum 5 spoke wheels.
Possibly the biggest changes was the introduction of the Camaro Convertible, available on all models except the RS. However, it was only available with the V-6 and 305ci V-8 engines. The convertible was not "manufactured" by Chevrolet - it was created via conversions of T-top equipped standard Camaros by ASC, the reason being that the T-top cars had extra bracing fitted. Only 1007 convertibles were produced for the 1987 Model Year and all were treated as "Anniversary" cars by Chevrolet, 1987 being the 20th anniversary of the Camaro. All convertibles therefore received a special dash badge which read "20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition". The convertibles also had a specific CHMSL and fairings which extended onto the top edge of the doors.
The biggest news for the 1992 Model Year was the 25th Anniversary of the Camaro, although it was also the final year for the 3rd Generation car being produced at the Van Nuys plant. To celebrate, a "Heritage Edition" package was made available on all 1992 Camaros, comprising Chevy Camaro accessories available like hood and rear deck stripes (similar to those used on the 1st and early 2nd Generation Z28), body colored grille, black headlamp recesses, and 25th Anniversary badging. The package was available as a white car with red stripes, black with red stripes or red with black stripes. Mid-year, additional colors were added - either polo green with gold stripes or purple haze with silver stripes.
The third-gen Camaro proved to be a platform where a lot of the performance came back to the car. These advancements were largely due to the industry's growing ability to improve power and performance with technology while reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy. Four-wheel disc brakes and 350 engines were offered. To help performance and increase fuel economy, an '85 IROC boasts a very slippery 0.34 drag coefficient. Four-speed overdrive automatics and five-speed transmissions became available too, which helped increase both performance and mileage.
3rd Generation Chevy Camaro Gallery