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The second-generation Chevrolet Camaro is a pony car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors produced for the 1970 through 1981 model years. Introduced February 26, 1970, it was longer, lower, and wider than the first generation Camaro. A convertible body-type was no longer available. GM engineers have said the second generation is much more of “A Driver’s Car” than its predecessor.
Dubbed “Super Hugger“,the second-generation Camaro was developed without the rush of the first generation and benefited from a greater budget in light of the success of the first generation. Although it was an all-new car, the basic mechanical layout of the new Camaro was familiar, engineered much like its predecessor with a unibody structure utilizing a front subframe, A-arm and coil spring front suspension, and rear leaf springs. The chassis and suspension of the second generation were greatly refined in both performance and comfort; base models offered significant advances in sound-proofing, ride isolation, and road-holding. Extensive experience Chevrolet engineers had gained racing the first-generation led directly to advances in second-generation Camaro steering, braking, and balance.
Most of the engine and drivetrain components were carried over from 1969, with the exception of the 230 cu in (3.8 L) six-cylinder — the base engine was now the 250 cu in (4.1 L) six, rated at 155 hp (116 kW). The top performing motor was the 396 cu in (6.5 L) L78 rated at 375 hp (280 kW). Starting in 1970, the big block V8s (nominally 396 cu in (6.5 L)) actually displaced 402 cu in (6.6 L), yet Chevrolet chose to retain the 396 badging. Two 454 cu in (7.4 L) engines (the LS6 and LS7) were listed on early specification sheets and in some sales brochures but never made it into production. Besides the base model, buyers could select the Rally Sport option with a distinctive nose and bumper, a Super Sport package, and the Z-28 Special Performance Package (priced at US$572.95)featuring a new high-performance LT-1 360 hp (268 kW) 380 lb·ft (520 N·m) of torque 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8. The LT-1, an engine built from the ground up using premium parts and components, was a much better performer overall than the previous 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8s used in 1967-69 Z-28s; greater torque and less-radical cam, coupled with the 780 cfm Holley four-barrel,permitted the Z-28 to be available with the 3-speedTurbo Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission as an option to the four-speed manual for the first time.
The new body style featured a fastback roofline and ventless full-door glass with no rear side quarter windows. Doors were wider to permit easier access to the rear seat, and new pull-up handles replaced the old handles, for which the lower button had to be pushed in to lock the door. The roof was a new double-shell unit for improved rollover protection and noise reduction. The base model featured a separate bumper/grille design with parking lights under the bumper, while the Rally Sport option included a distinctive grille surrounded by a flexible Endura material along with round parking lights beside the headlights and bumperettes surrounding on both sides of the grille. The rear was highlighted by four round taillights similar to the Corvette. A convertible was not offered, making this the only Camaro generation not to offer one.
The ’70½ was the first Camaro offered with a rear stabilizer bar. The four-wheel disc brake option (RPO JL8 of 1969) was dropped.
Inside, a new curved instrument panel featured several round dials for gauges and other switches directly in front of the driver while the lower section included the heating/air conditioning controls to the driver’s left and radio, cigar lighter and ashtray in the center and glovebox door on the right. New Strato bucket seats, unique to 1970 models, featured squared-off seatbacks and adjustable headrests, and the rear seating consisted of two bucket cushions and a bench seat back due to the higher transmission tunnel. The optional center console, with standard Hurst shifter,was now integrated into the lower dashboard with small storage area or optional stereo tape player. The standard interior featured all-vinyl upholstery and a matte black dashboard finish, while an optional custom interior came with upgraded cloth or vinyl upholstery and woodgrain trim on dash and console.
The 1970 model was introduced in February 1970, halfway through the model year. This caused some people to refer to it as a “1970½.” model; all were 1970 models. The 1970 model year vehicles are generally regarded as the most desirable of the early second-generation Camaros, since the performance of following years was reduced by the automobile emissions control systems of the period and later the addition of heavy federally mandated bumpers.