50th Anniversary Camaro
  • Image Credit: General Motors

Looking Back: How Chevrolet Has Celebrated the Camaro's Birthday Over the Years

To mark the Chevrolet Camaro's golden anniversary later this year, the bowtie brand recently announced a new special edition package complete with no shortage of "FIFTY" badges and heritage-inspired orange touches.

The 50th Anniversary Edition is a remarkably classy affair for a car that has had its share of ups and downs.

A look back through the archives at the ways the automaker has celebrated its pony car's birthday reveals as much about the Camaro itself as it does the ups and downs of parent company General Motors itself.

Today's reborn 2016 Camaro is arguably the brand's best effort since the fall of 1966, when the first Camaro hit the market in response to Ford's overwhelmingly successful Mustang. 

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Camaro IROC-Z Convertible
  • Image Credit: General Motors

1987: Camaro 20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

The first time the Camaro's historical significance was formally marked occurred in 1987, but all is not quite as it seems.

Chevrolet contracted with the American Sunroof Company to build the first Camaro convertible since 1969. Just over 1,000 were built, and they all carried a 20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition badge on their dashboards.

The other big news for '87 was that a new 225-horsepower V-8 engine was on offer for the first time. That was big power 30 years ago, but even today's base Camaro puts out 275 ponies.

That's progress, even if there's no IROC-Z any longer. 

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1992 F-Body Camaro
  • Image Credit: General Motors

1992: Camaro Heritage Edition

GM tried a little (but not a lot) harder in 1992 to celebrate the Camaro's birthday. 

Rumors circulated at the dawn of the '90s that the F-body Camaro would get some Corvette bits, namely a six-speed gearbox, aluminum cylinder heads, and tubular exhaust headers, but Chevrolet didn't exactly deliver.

Instead, every '92 Camaro received a 25th Anniversary badge on its dashboard. Exciting? Err, no.

A "Heritage Edition" package added some graphics and rally stripes that, frankly, didn't really remind buyers of 1967.

But '92 was the last year of the third-generation Camaro, and enormous changes were just around the corner. 

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1997 Camaro Convertible
  • Image Credit: General Motors

1997: Camaro 30th Anniversary Edition

Nostalgia was big in the mid-'90s, with just about every automaker looking back to the '50s and '60s for inspiration.

Remember that this was the era of the New Beetle, the reborn Thunderbird, and, a few years later, the PT Cruiser. We're sorry for reminding you of that last one in particular.

To celebrate the Camaro's 30th, Chevrolet offered Z28 and SS models in a special white with orange stripes package. Inside, they could be outfitted with either houndstooth upholstery or white leather. The look definitely flashed back to 1967, even if the Camaro itself kind of looked like a Geo Storm. 

At least it finally had some serious muscle once again.

Just over 100 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary Editions were modified by SLP to the tune of 330 horsepower, making them the fastest Camaros to date. 

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2002 Camaro Coupe and Convertible
  • Image Credit: General Motors

2002: Camaro 35th Anniversary Edition

You're looking at what could have been the last Camaro ever built. 

GM exited the pony car business in August of 2002, although as the next slide indicates, the Camaro's absence was relatively short-lived. 

To celebrate the end of an era, the 35th Anniversary Edition was launched for SS coupes and convertibles with bright red paint and unique checkered flag fade stripes running from nose to tail. 

However, all 2002 Camaros included a badge reminding buyers of the model's 35th birthday.

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2012 Chevy Camaro
  • Image Credit: General Motors

2012: Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition

Nobody, not even the Camaro, showed up to its 40th birthday. After GM dropped the model after 2002, it took until the 2009 model year for another Camaro to appear, by which time the car was ready for birthday number 42.

Three years into the 5th generation Camaro's run, Chevy unveiled a big surprise for its 45th: more power for the V-6 model. Boasting 323 horsepower, an 11 pony boost over the year prior, the entry-level Camaro could easily outrun most of its older brothers. 

The 45th Anniversary Edition package added striping and 20-inch alloy wheels, plus the expected heritage-inspired badging, for both V-6 and SS models. 

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2017 Chevy Camaro 50th AE
  • Image Credit: General Motors

2017: Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition

Half a century on, things couldn't be better for the Chevrolet Camaro. The model was thoroughly redesigned for 2016, and while its looks may be derivative, it's significantly lighter, faster, and much more polished. 

For its 50th birthday, the Camaro brings back its orange themes. Special graphics and badges are joined by matching brake calipers. 

Uniquely, Chevy is now spelling out the word "FIFTY" on the car's numerous badges. And there are a lot of them.

What does the bowtie brand have in store for the Camaro's 55th? Well, check back in, oh, five years. 

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