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The first-gen Camaro was a compromised "committee car," according to Bill Mitchell and Irv Rybicki

The first-generation Camaro’s history is well-trodden. From the minute Pete Estes issued his famous press release and video conference, featuring the 1966 rollout of “Norwood ‘F’ Car Pilot-Production Unit”, there’s been no shortage of enthusiasm for Chevrolet’s second-most iconic nameplate. That is, except from the people who designed the first model. When Bill Mitchell and Irv Rybicki—VPs of GM's Styling Section—talked about the 1967–69 Camaro and related Firebird, they dismissed it.


“I can't remember what the hell they look like," Mitchell said in 1985. In his view, the spark of the original design was extinguished by compromises from all sides. "It's a committee car."


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Replies (9)

Replies (9)

GM has suffered By committee for many decades for better or worse. 

While I agree with the designers that the Super Nova was a much better design there is more to the story that is left out here. 

#1 the Mustang was a very cheap car to build. Not only was it based on a very cheap Falcon but Ford did little to add much quality to it. You drop a gas tank and you lose the floor of the trunk. Really cheap content here. 

Even the Corvair was a more expensive car to build than the Camaro or Mustang. 

Then you have the inter division rivalry that did more damage than any outside competitors. The GM divisions were very territorial and it hurt. GM should have been a hand with fingers all working together but is was a hand with the fingers all working to their own advantage and doing at times more damage than good. 

Just look at the Firebird. John Delorean wanted something more different. It was something that would have complimented the Camaro in the big scheme vs hurt it.   But they shut a John down and all he got was his 3ngines, 1 inch lower springs and some engineering details. 

I got to meet John Schinella years ago and he had similar issues on the Fiero program where the. Corvette team worked to shut down the Fiero and it’s coming 220 hp model. He simply said that Chevy sold more cars so Chevy got more say. 

Well back to this case. while the Super Nova May have made a better car could it have been anywhere close to being as profitable and cheap to sell as the Mustang? It is not likely. As for the Camaro we got. Yes it left some things on the table but it ended up the better car and still made a lot of money. 


I look at the concept car and I see the '67 Chevelle in side highlights and in the 3/4 rear view with the flying buttress roof.
When a company gets too large, with too many managers and execs vying for position and power, you get GM shooting itself in the foot, the leg, or the groin. Sad that there aren't more enthusiast visionary leaders. The bean counters just need to give theri numbers and skulk away.:-)

Intermediate Driver



The original idea was the Super Nova Concept that they wanted to use. But it was rejected most likely due to cost. 

It was not Horrible it just was rejected by the committee. Normally added cost and assembly issues play here. It was a take off on the Buick Riv too so that did not help. 


I kept looking at the pictures and thinking how much more efficient it would have been to have the clay model on a table rather than crawling around on the floor to work on it.

Pit Crew

While the SuperNova is attractive and very clean in shape, I think they did a great job giving it a dynamic look, accenting the wheel openings. But the 70-73 Camaro design, especially the RS variation, is gorgeous, and IMO some of GM's best design work ever.

Intermediate Driver

Very confusing, did I miss where they showed what the original Camaro was, and why it was horrible?


Love that ferocious grille but miss the hips. In hindsight, still a compromise to me.

Intermediate Driver

Personally I don't like that super nova concept at all!  I love the 1st gen camaro, specifically the 69.  It's neat to look at the early sketches of a vehicle and see what came out as the production model.  Acura... make a new vigor- wide/ low 2+2 with a stout v6 and a manual trans!

Intermediate Driver

When the Camaro was introduced, I remember reading that it was the first car designed using CAD, Computer Aided Design.

New Driver