1972 CHEVY CAMARO BACKGROUND
On the outside, the 1972 Chevy Camaro looked pretty much the same as the 1970 and 1971. But inside, relentless federal safety and emissions regulations were forcing changes that made the Camaro heavier, less responsive, and…slower. Horsepower was headed south and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it, with the technology that was available to them at the time. The ban on unleaded gas forced more changes. Then on top of it all, the automotive industry collectively agreed to start rating the horsepower output of their engines using the “SAE Net”-method, rather than the “SAE Gross”-method they’d been using for decades. The bottom line is that Net Horsepower is inevitably going to be a lower number than Gross Horsepower, so it made it look like the reduction in power was even worse than it actually was. Make no mistake, it was bad, real bad. So bad in fact, that by 1975 it had gotten so embarrassing that Chevy refused to build a Z/28 version of the 1975 Camaro. It was back by 1976, and horsepower began to slowly climb out of the basement. But for now, the 1972 Chevy Camaro was still looking very handsome and muscular, and soldiered on the best it could on the strength of its reputation. But as the driver demographic began to move away from pure performance, and more toward “personal luxury cars”, the Camaro became one of only a small handful of cars that kept American performance alive, joined by the Corvette, the Pontiac Trans Am and the Ford Mustang GT. This, the Second-Generation of Camaros, which debuted in 1970, would run through the 1981 model year. That’s a 12-model-year run, and just goes to show how timeless this wonderful shape truly was.