With a platform shared with the successful Chevrolet Nova, a name derived from the French word for “friend” or “comrade,” and a mission to do battle with Ford’s wildly successful Ford Mustang, Chevrolet introduced the stylish 1967 Camaro 2+2 coupe and convertible to fanfare and success both in the showroom and on the race track.
So let’s get a quick, high-level overview of the first-generation Camaro and highlight special editions, so you’ll know which examples are best for you.
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Tracking the Indianapolis 500 pace cars and replicas is a bit difficult to do authoritatively, but the folks at CamaroPaceCars.com have summed it up this way.
Approximately 550 Indianapolis 500 Camaro pace car replicas were made, including the cars sent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for track, 500 Festival, and “brass hat” use. Three specially-prepared 396-powered cars were ordered for use at Indy, though it appears only two were used. All pace cars and replicas were powered by 350 c.i or 396 c.i. engines. Only one of the actual 396/375+hp pace cars survives.
The 1967 Camaro pace car replicas can by identified by the “O-1” or “C-1” codes on the firewall data plate.
Probably the most-recognized first generation Camaro for a good reason, a total of 3,675 Indianapolis 500 pace car replicas were made, including the two actual pace cars (both of which still exist). Of that total, approximately 130 replicas were sent to the Speedway for the 500.
The majority - perhaps 80-85% of the pace car replicas - were powered by the 350 c.i. engine. The rest were powered by the 396.
The 1969 Camaro pace cars received the “Z11” designation on the firewall data plate.
The “Z10” coupes were not officially designated as pace car replicas, but like the 1964.5 Ford Mustang pace car coupes made three years before, they share their respective pace car replicas’ DNA, and are generally included in the Indy pace car history.
Approximately 450-500 Z10s were made. They sported white houndstooth interiors instead of the orange houndstooth in the Z11s.
The Z10s were available only through dealers in the southwest and Tennessee.
It was a rare honor for the Camaro to be given the opportunity to pace the Indianapolis 500 in two years so close together. They continue to have a devoted fan base.
In 2019, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Camaro pace car, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum hosted a Camaro Pace Car Homecoming, drawing over 200 Camaro pace cars of all generations, including the actual surviving 1967 pace car and the two 1969 pace cars.