Who Invented the Chevy Camaro?

by Rob Wagner

Like most automotive inventions, the creation of the Chevrolet Camaro was a group effort. The Camaro's roots can be traced to 1958 when Pontiac designer Bob Porter noticed a four-passenger sports-style coupe being designed in an automotive studio. When the Ford Mustang was rumored to be in production in 1963, General Motors management directed Henry Haga at the Chevrolet styling studio to design a sporty car with George Angersbach responsible for the interior styling.

Options

The 1967 Chevrolet Super Sport convertible.

In addition to the four-seater, Haga and Angersbach in 1964 consider a two-seater roadster, a station wagon and a fastback.

Super Shark

An initial prototype named the Panther.

Early designs in 1964 include the XP 196X Super Shark that didn't get beyond the clay model stage and the further developed XP-386 prototype.

Two Versions Survive

A near complete design of the prototype with the Chaparral nameplate.

Ultimately General Motors decided on the coupe and convertible with a larger interior and built it on a platform to be shared with the similar Pontiac Firebird.

Name Game

George Angersbach's interior.

The car is variously named the "Panther," "Wildcat" and "Chaparral" as GM gears up for a publicity campaign.

Final Product

The clean lines, bold graphics and timeless styling of the Camaro.

Finally named the Camaro, it debuts in September 1966 as a two-door with a 2+2 seat configuration that leaves little room for adults in the rear.

Revival

The Haga/Angersbach design inspires the new generation Camaro.

The Camaro is discontinued in 2002, but the first-generation design by Haga and Angersbach inspires the revival of the 2009 Camaro.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera General Motors