Buyer's Guide: 1982-1992 Chevrolet Camaro
Heavy Metal Thunder
By Christian Seabaugh | Photos By Jorge Nunez | January 31, 2013
Enthusiasts didn't have much to get excited about in the early 1980s. Former performance kings were all but neutered V-8 shadows of their old selves, and tightening fuel economy standards made it seem the malaise was here to stay. And then something changed. A new attitude was spurred on by a new style of music. Formed in the underbelly of Los Angeles' Sunset Strip, and fronted by bands like Moetley Cruee and Quiet Riot, this rising movement spurred young enthusiasts to seek out a car that matched the music and the attitude of the era. They found the 1982 Chevrolet Camaro.
In the late '70s, there was some controversy at GM over what the next-generation Camaro should look like. Many thought performance was dead, and that the Camaro (and its Pontiac Firebird twin) should follow the lead of the rest of GM and switch to a front-drive setup. Fortunately, Camaro chief engineer Tom Zimmer and his development team leader Fred Schaafsma decided early on that handling should be the third-gen Camaro's top priority, and it demanded rear drive.
The mandate also put the new Camaro on a diet and earned it a revised suspension. Though the traditional live rear axle remained, the old leaf springs were replaced with coils. Up front, double control arms were swapped for a pair of struts and springs. Optimization of the F-car's unibody helped the third-gen Camaro lose around 470 pounds. This paid off with 0.83 g on the skidpad and dynamic handling Motor Trend described as among the best available, bar none.
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