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The 1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 – A Classic Despite Setbacks

From CRO Member Julie Mabry - http://coolridesonline.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/WBLRG104-JulieMabry-1972ChevyCamaroZ28.png
From CRO Member Julie Mabry

In our second installment this week of September’s 2016’s Ride of the Month we feature the 1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 presented by nominee Julie Mabry. Here is some general information about the vehicle.

Note: This is not information about the actual vehicle nominated for September’s Ride of the Month, just general information on the vehicle itself. Please check the link at the bottom of today’s article to view all the actual vehicles nominated for this month’s Ride of the Month.

The year 1972 was the third year of the controversial second-generation Camaro. Like most muscle cars produced throughout the 1970s, the Camaro Z28 was a victim of tightening government standards for emissions and fuel economy. When it comes to power output, the Z28’s small block V8 became a mere shadow of the big block V8s available in the first-generation model. However, despite its lack of performance, the second-generation Z28 is still undoubtedly a rare American classic.

Suffering from Setbacks

The 1970s were notorious for tightening emissions standards, which put an end to the golden age of the American muscle car. Sadly, even the top-of-the-line Camaro Z28 was no exception. Big block V8s became a rarity, while more efficient small block V8s became the norm. Even when using small block engines, General Motors was still forced to cripple their performance by reducing compression and installing low-flow intake and exhaust systems.

To make matters worse, there was a United Auto Workers strike in 1972. By the time the strike was over, 1,100 Camaros had to be scrapped before they ever hit the streets because they couldn’t meet the new emissions standards.

Down on Performance

Stricter emissions standards were a disaster for performance cars like the Camaro Z28. The 1971 Z28 was powered by a 350 cubic inch V8 that produced 275 net horsepower. In 1972, the Z28’s 350 V8 was rated at only 255 horsepower. The loss of power translated into a 7.7-second 0-to-60 time and a quarter mile time of 15.2 seconds at a mere 86.6 mph. The only available transmissions were four-speed automatics and manuals produced by Muncie. Unlike previous years, Hurst shifters were no longer used.

New Features for 1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

The only distinctive visual change to the 1972 Z28 was its larger front egg crate grille. This was also the first year to receive a three-point seat belt due to stricter safety standards. Otherwise, the 1972 Z28 remained virtually unchanged from the previous model year.

Despite its lack of new features and its loss of power, the 1972 Camaro Z28 is still undoubtedly an American classic. Only 2,575 Z28s were produced that year, which makes it an exceedingly rare collector’s car today.

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