The first prototype Chevrolet Camaro was born fifty years ago, and the Historic Vehicle Association in Gaithersburg is commemorating this golden anniversary with a display of the pilot prototype.
The first Chevrolet Camaro No. 100001 was actually a pilot production assembled on May 21, 1966 at the General Motors Assembly Plant, located in Norwood, Ohio. Although the car was first produced in 1966, it came out in the fall and was considered a ’67 model. General Motors developed it in just 36 months, and was originally going to be named the Panther. Chevrolet invested over $100,000 in Panther badges, but only a few weeks before the official debut in Detroit the company dramatically changed the name into a Camaro. The prototype was dressed in a gold exterior and interior color scheme, as part of a GM tradition at the time.
The Chevy sold over 400,000 Camaros in the first two years. Those weren’t the Mustang’s incredible sales numbers, but perhaps more important is that it kicked off Detroit’s greatest rivalry. Based on insurance status compiled by Hagerty—the nation’s largest insurer of classic cars, the Camaro is the third most popular collector car in the United States, behind the Corvette (#1) and the Mustang (#2).
The most amazingly is that the first pilot prototype Camaro (No. 10001 – pictured) still exists, and according to the HVA the vehicle will be exhibited at the Woodward Dream Cruise week (August 13-20).