1970 was the storm before the calm. The war in Vietnam, racing budgets cut and diverted to safety & emissions engineering, Ponycar sales plummeting, plus parts delays and production glitches, resulted in the ’70 CAMARO: COMING LATE TO THE PARTY.


Eagerly awaited, the all-new ’70 Camaro (and Firebird) had been hyped by auto writers because of anticipated new platform, and engineering and styling changes. They did not disappoint. But there were production problems. When we evaluated 1970 GM cars in June 1969 at the Milford Proving Ground, the only Camaros and Firebirds were carryover 1969 models!

While Chevrolet design studios took the lead role in Gen-1 Camaro and Firebird styling, that was not the case with the Gen-II 1970 models. This time around and before he moved to Chevrolet, Pontiac General Manager, John DeLorean, lobbied to have Pontiac studios take the lead. He loved Italian styling – and his $12,000 Maserati Ghibli. And he wasn’t shy about letting Pontiac designers know that: “I want the new Firebird to be a $3,000 Ghibli.

Two very talented designers, Hank Haga and Bill Porter, were, respectively, the Studio Chiefs for Chevrolet and Pontiac. There was a lot of competition and political intrigue, but the result was two outstanding Ponycars with very different personalities and styling. Both incorporated European-influenced styling cues.

Built on a new 108-inch unibody platform, the long-hood, short-deck Gen-II Camaro and Firebird were longer, wider, and lower than their predecessors. Suspensions were seriously upgraded and ride and handling improved. They made the competition look old. The road-hugging, low-stance fastback Camaro and Firebird had distinctive looks and powertrains in keeping with each Division’s marketing philosophies.

 There would be delays causing the ’70 CAMARO: COMING LATE TO THE PARTY. Officially still 1970 models; they were introduced to the public in late-February 1970. Available only in coupe configuration, many enthusiasts mourned the loss of the convertible. The Press was invited to drive new Camaros at Ontario Motor Speedway, while the track was still under construction. Rave reviews followed!

’70 CAMARO: COMING LATE TO THE PARTYThe reasons behind the Camaro-Firebird delay were multifold. In addition to DeLorean flexing his muscles, there were parts delays from Fisher Body and glitches switching from Lordstown to Norwood assembly plants in 1969. The new Corvette was also delayed, primarily because of quality problems with the new fender flares. Chevrolet planted a potent 350/360 LT1 engine in the new Z/28. Thanks to a .030-inch bore increase, the new 396/350 and 396/375 big blocks actually displaced 402 cubic inches. Neither 396/375 nor 350/360 solid-lifter engines were available with AC but could be ordered with automatic transmissions.

Chevrolet showed us the new Camaro at a special drive program at Ontario Motor Speedway. We drove small and big-block models, but Chevy was really pushing its Z/28. It did impress. The new LT1 was a strong, flexible engine much better suited for street performance than its 302-inch predecessor. The Z/28 Camaro was the best-balanced and most fun to drive, especially on the slalom course.

The all-new Camaro, thanks to the availability of high-performance 454 big blocks available from Chevrolet, proved to be a perfect platform for Joel Rosen to create Act II for Baldwin-Motion Camaros. Rosen used the New York International Auto Show to debut a new Phase III 454 Baldwin-Motion Camaro with signature striping, a scooped hood, and Corvette side exhausts. Orders flowed in the first day and, seemingly overnight, Motion Performance was packed with Gen II Camaros from Baldwin Chevrolet receiving 454 big blocks.


Building the Second Generation Phase III 454 Camaro is covered in https://www.amazon.com/Motion-Performance-Tales-Muscle-Builder/dp/0760355606/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493151743&sr=1-1&keywords=MOTION+Performance%2C+Tales+of+a+muscle+car+builder


For complete ’70 CAMARO: COMING LATE TO THE PARTY facts, figures, and specifications, please visit Over-Drive Magazine @https://over-drive-magazine.com/2024/06/21/1970-chevrolet-camaro-fact-sheet/