On September 29, 1966, the first official Chevrolet Camaro was sold

The 2016 Paris Motor Show understandably gripped the auto world last week. But in the shadow of Paris, Chevrolet quietly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Camaro on September 29, 2016 by launching a microsite within the Chevrolet website and paying homage to all the things that have made the Camaro one of the most enduring American performance cars in history.

The site does a great job in taking us on a six-generation journey of the iconic muscle car, beginning with the first-gen model that was hailed as a “Mustang eater” and the legend of the Camaro name that came with it. From there, the site dives into each succeeding generation, highlighting the enduring characteristics that made each gen-model stand out. Each generation comes with some incredible artworks and videos highlighting the critical elements that have made the Camaro the car that it is today, culminating with the sixth-generation model that was released earlier this year.

The timing of its release wasn’t a coincidence either as Chevrolet followed up the sixth-gen’s debut with the launch of the Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition, a special edition model that served as the face of the model’s golden anniversary.

The evolution of the Camaro is a rich story and Chevrolet did its best to paint that story through the microsite. At the very least, the site provides us an opportunity to take a walk down memory lane to see the muscle car’s roots, all the way from its maiden run in 1966 right up to 2016 where its status as one of America’s biggest and most important contributions to the automotive industry remains to this day.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

What does the future hold for the Chevrolet Camaro?

There’s no denying that the Chevrolet Camaro remains a popular choice among muscle car owners and that popularity is only going to propel the muscle car as it embarks on the next 50 years of its life. Chevrolet itself has promised that the muscle car will continue to be one of its most important models and its chief engineer, Al Oppenheiser, has even hinted the brand’s plan to launch “more exhilarating and stunning Camaros year after year.”

We already know some that’s already in the pipeline, starting with the new Camaro Z/28 that’s positioned to compete against the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R. Coupe and convertible versions of the Camaro ZL1 are also coming and with the 2016 SEMA Auto Show just right around the corner, expect the Camaro to be heavily represented in the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show.

It must be said though that not everything about the Camaro is peaches and cream. Reality can be humbling from time to time. No more was that evident for the Chevy muscle car than in 2015 when it lost the sales title to the Ford Mustang for the first time in five years. Yep, the introduction of the fifth-generation model in 2009 helped the Camaro reign supreme in the muscle car wars, outselling the Mustang every year from 2009 to 2014. But the introduction of the latest-generation Mustang helped turn the tables for Ford as the Mustang handily outsold the Camaro last year, 122,349 units to 77,502.

The trend has continued in the first eight months of 2016 with Ford selling 80,829 units through August compared to just 47,958 units for the Camaro. Even Dodge Challenger, the perennial third placer in this race, has managed to catch up to the Camaro, even beating the Chevrolet muscle car’s sales numbers in some months of the current year. So far in 2016, Dodge has sold 45,488 units of the Challenger, turning a traditionally one-sided race into a delicately close one.

So while Chevrolet is justified for celebrating the Camaro’s 50th anniversary, it’s also has to take into consideration the dwindling popularity of the muscle car compared to its two biggest rivals. Only time will tell if the Camaro rebounds and regains the top spot that it has held for a long time.

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Camaro here.

Source: Chevrolet

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