Images are from the brochure collection of Hemmings Motor News, courtesy of Bruce Zahor.
It’s difficult to overstate what a difference GM’s new-for-1982 F-body sports coupes were, as they represented a drastic change from the long-serving 1970-1981 models. The new, third-generation Camaro was notably smaller (down 10 inches), sleeker (.374-.369 versus .412 coefficient of drag), and lighter (roughly 450 pounds) than its predecessor, and with revised front strut/coil spring underpinnings, had a renewed focus on handling. Styling was crisp and full of Eighties attitude, with exposed quad headlamps that differed from the pop-up units Pontiac specified for its equally fresh, aerodynamically-optimized Firebird.
Chevrolet touted the technology used to develop this new Camaro in the car’s 18-page, 1982 model-year brochure. The opening spread offered an era-appropriate high-tech look, with its graph paper effect and detailed cutaway illustration.
As was standard pony-car practice, Chevy offered a number of variants — from basic and mild-mannered to (relatively) powerful and full of attitude — designed to appeal to a wide swath of buyers. The entry-level Sport Coupe — which cost $7,631-7,925, or roughly $19,340-20,130 today — came with body-color steel rally wheels (whitewalls and full wheel covers were optional!) and a fuel-injected 2.5-liter/151-cu.in. four-cylinder: the Pontiac-built “Iron Duke,” making 90 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, figures notably absent in this brochure! The Euro GT-themed Berlinetta was the mid-level ($9,266-9,436, or $23,535-23,970) choice, and it combined Chevrolet’s 2.8-liter/173-cu.in., two-barrel-carbureted V-6 (102 hp and 142 lb-ft of torque) with standard 14 x 7-inch alloy wheels and comfort suspension, gold-toned striping and badges, and a lux-themed interior with extra sound insulation. The hot Z28 (priced at $9,700-10,150, or $24,640-25,780) featured a special body kit, a sport suspension with 15 x 7-inch alloys, and standard 5.0-liter/305-cu.in. V-8 making 145 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor, or 165 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque with Cross-Fire Injection EFI. Transmission choices were limited to a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic, the latter being standard with the fuel-injected V-8. And all examples shared a unique, dual-needle 85-mph/140-kph speedometer.
Of course, buyers could personalize their Camaros in many ways, with options including engine upgrades, four-wheel disc brakes (available on V-8 cars), a limited-slip differential, air conditioning, multi-adjustable Lear Siegler “L/S Conteur” seats (Z28 only), various stereos, and, of course, T-tops.
This Camaro was chosen to pace the 1982 Indianapolis 500, and Chevrolet celebrated by building a reported 6,360 Official Pace Car replicas that were distinguished by their eye-catching silver and blue livery outside and in, and standard V-8 engines. Another honor was the Z28 winning Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year award.
Like its predecessor, the third-generation Camaro would be long-lived, remaining in production through 1992 and selling strongly — nearly 185,000 in 1982, alone. Coveted examples would include the convertibles, IROC-Zs, and police package-equipped models.
Have you owned or enjoyed cruising in a third-gen Camaro?
Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.