How Chevrolet Created The Camaro To Take On Ford’s Mustang
Few at General Motors or its top-selling Chevrolet Division took the April 17, 1964 public debut of Ford’s ’65 Mustang as a serious threat … at first. That would soon change.
And few inside or outside the company knew that GM designers, as early as mid-1962, had been exploring the exact same idea — a youthful, stylish, compact coupe — at the exact same time when Lee Iacocca and his Ford Division team were creating what would become the Mustang.
Inspired by the elegant ’63 Buick Riviera launching that fall to take on Ford’s Thunderbird “personal coupe,” Chevrolet styling chief Irv Rybicki pondered the idea of doing something similar in concept, though smaller and much more affordable, that could share the new-for-’62 compact Chevy II’s unibody/front-stub-frame platform and mechanicals. When he suggested exploring such a car to vice president of GM Design William L. “Bill” Mitchell, Mitchell was intrigued. He agreed to move forward with it, provided the project’s work took place outside the building where no one would see what they were up to.