Video: Hot Laps In A 1969 Camaro Z/28 Trans Am Series Race Car
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is undoubtedly an awesome track-prepped machine, the ultimate fifth-generation Camaro if you will. But to my eyes, the 2014 model is no match to the original Z/28, especially if we’re talking about a Trans Am-spec race car.
Chevy introduced the Z/28 option for the 1967 model year, promoting it as a "virtually race-ready" Camaro available at any U.S. dealer. Fitted with a 4.9-liter, small-block V-8 specifically designed to race in the Trans Am series, the Z/28 became a huge success by 1969, when it accounted for nearly 22 percent of total Camaro production of the year.
The Z/28 was off to a slow start in Trans Am, losing the 1967 championship to Ford and Mercury. However, the bowtie-badged muscle car went on to dominate the competition in both 1968 and 1969 with Mark Donohue behind the wheel. In two years, the Camaro Z/28 won 21 of 25 events, crushing Detroit rivals from Ford and its Mustang. The streak ended once the second-gen Camaro was introduced in 1970 and it took Chevy five more years to win another championship, this time with the Corvette.
Although the Camaro returned to the spotlight with seven Trans Am titles in the 1980s and 1990s, none of these vehicles managed to reach the fame of the first-gen Z/28s. Not at all surprising considering the stardom the first-gen Camaro so rightfully enjoys. There’s more than that, of course. The looks, the sound, and all the amazing things surrounding late 1960s racing. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to climb into one of those Trans Am beasts, but Motor Trend’s Jess Lang managed to hoon a 1969 Camaro Z/28 around the Laguna Seca. Hit the play button to find out why the first-gen Z/28 is one of the most enticing muscle cars ever built.