Name: 1966 Chevrolet Camaro
Year Produced: 1966
Number Built: 26,508 (1967 data)
Class: Muscle Car
Body Type: 2-door coupe
Engine: 3.8L 3769CC Straight 6 engine
Power: 140 hp @ 4400 RPM
0-60mph: 7.9 seconds
Top Speed: 105 mph
Transmission: 3-speed manual floor shift
Length/width/height: 184.7 in/ 72.5 in/ 51.4 in
Wheelbase: 108 in.
Current Price: US$30,000-US$35,000
These days we put such premium on owning the first production model of any new vehicle. It can mark the beginning of an era, the start of something great, and in this case, the birth of one of GM’s most-loved nameplates. Back in the spring of 1966 a company called Fisher Body began working on a car that wore VIN number N100001. The project was top secret, and even Fisher didn’t know that what they were creating was in fact the first Camaro. With such legacy behind it, it’s hard to imagine a historic sports car like this ending up as a stripped-down and neglected drag race car. But that’s precisely what happened to the first, hand-built Camaro according to this fascinating new video from Pilot Car Registry. The video covers every previous owner, the car’s first construction and unveiling, and finally its restoration. The video is 18 minutes long, but if you are at all interested in the history behind a legendary classic like this, it is worth the watch.
The hand-assembled example was a display model until a certain R.T. Ayers from Oklahoma got hold of it. But he parted ways with the Camaro, as did the next string of owners, until it eventually wound up being stripped down for use in drag racing. Fortunately, each original piece was removed carefully and kept in storage. After nearly 50 years, the N100001 has been located and fully restored to its original factory condition. In the entire car, the only two parts that are not genuine Chevrolet pieces are one seat cover and the carpets.
More than just a car, the N100001 represented the start of something special in the automotive world. Though the Mustang was credited for jumpstarting the idea of the affordable muscle car, it was the competition that the Camaro provided that eventually ignited the incredible horsepower wars, resulting in the creation of some of America’s finest automotive masterpiece. Finding and restoring a piece of history such as this means that not only can we read about this car’s history, we can see it in person looking just as it did 50 years ago when the world was first wowed by the name Camaro.