Although the Chevrolet Camaro earned its own identity decades ago, it was first nothing but a response to the Ford Mustang’s booming popularity. Thanks to a new video from Donut Media, you can step back in time and catch up on how the Camaro came to be, and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
Chevrolet wasn’t blind in the mid-1960s. It saw Ford’s Mustang swallow market share by baby boomers itching for a new kind of car. Chevy wasn’t in a bad spot—it was outperforming Ford in the small-car, mid-size and full-size segments—but it needed to respond to the Mustang. Enter the Panther project.
Panther was Chevrolet’s codename for what would become the Camaro. The division wanted a wide wheelbase, a focus on performance and an aggressive design. With work nearing completion, Pete Estes, Chevrolet manager at the time, announced the car in a record phone call. How was it a record? Estes dialed up press pools from 14 cities in a multi-way phone call to simply say, “The Panther is dead, long live the Camaro.” He’s the man who also tried to explain away the Camaro’s name as French (it’s not) and famously told media the Camaro is a small vicious animal that eats Mustangs. A rivalry was born.
The Camaro met its demise in 2002, but eight years later, Chevrolet returned with the iconic fifth-generation car. To this day, the Mustang and Camaro still duke it out. Most recently, Ford revealed the updated 2018 Mustang with five more horsepower than a base Camaro SS. Coincidence? We think not. Let the rivalry roll, Chevy.