Chevrolet Chevelle

In 1964, General Motors debuted its new mid-size version of the A-platform.  Included in the A-body family besides the El Camino and Malibu SS was the Chevelle.  This vehicle was designed to compete in sales against other compacts and mid-sizers like the AMC Rambler, Ford Falcon, and Ford Fairlane.  Throughout its entire production run, the Chevelle would see a variety of body styles, even including a 4-door sedan and station wagon.

The first generation Chevelle had a wheelbase of 115 inches (2921 mm).  In its initial season, the Chevelle was available in three trims: Chevelle 300, Chevelle Malibu, and Chevelle Malibu Super Sport (SS).  The base Chevelle (the 300) could be had with a 194 CI (3.2L) inline-6, good for 120 horsepower @ 4400 rpm.  The Chevelle was updated in 1965, with a “Deluxe” model added to the 300 lineup.  The Chevelle Super Sport (SS) debuted with a Malibu SS badge.  Thus, this car is also called Chevelle Malibu SS.  A 327 (5.4L) Small-Block V8 was a regular production option (RPO) on the 1965 SS.  This Small-Block turned out 350 horsepower.

1966 Chevelle SS 396

1966 saw an update to the Chevelle and Malibu SS.  In the United States, the Chevelle and Chevelle SS became their own lineup, while the Malibu SS remained in the Canadian lineup.  The SS396 was equipped with a 396 CI (6.5L) Big-Block V8, which produced 325 horsepower, or an upgrade option which saw power amped up to 360 horsepower.  Another option above that, still using the 396 Big-Block V8, was the L78, which threw out 375 horsepower @ 5600 rpm.  The 300, 300 Deluxe, and Malibu remained in the lineup for 1967.  Included in the lineup, other than in the SS, was the 396 Big-Block V8.  This turned out the same 325, 350, and 375 horsepower levels as in the SS.

1969 Chevelle SS 396

1968 saw the introduction of the second generation Chevelle.  The wheelbase for the coupe now sat at 112 inches (2845 mm), and the sedan and wagon sat at 116 inches (2946 mm).  The base models were the 300 and 300 Deluxe.  The latter was available as a 2-door hardtop.  1969 saw a slight cosmetic restyling to the Chevelle lineup.  The lineup consisted of the Nomad, 300 Deluxe, Greenbrier, Malibu, Concours, and Concours Estate.  The base 300 was dropped from the lineup.  The SS 396 still turned out 325 to 375 horsepower from its 396 Big-Block.

1970 saw a more rectangular profile to the Chevelle, as opposed to the “coke-bottle” styling it had in the 60’s.  The SS came with two options: the SS 396 with the 402 CI engine, and a new 454 model.  The optional LS6 added an 800 CFM Holley carburetor to the 7.4L Big-Block, turning out 450 horsepower and 500 lb/ft of torque.  1971 saw a cosmetic redesign to the Chevelle lineup.  It was rectangular like the 1970 model, but the lights had changed.  The front fascia was designed to have two headlights flush with the grille, whereas earlier Chevelles had four headlights.  The 454 Big-Block was exclusive to the SS.  Because of the low-octane gas mandate, all engines produced lower amounts of power.  For 1971, the 454 Big-Block in the Chevelle SS turned out an advertised 365 horsepower.  That figure was dropped to 270 horsepower in 1972, the last year of the cowl induction 454.

1977 Chevrolet Chevelle

1973 saw a dramatic redesign to the Chevelle lineup.  The convertible and 4-door hardtop was discontinued, leaving the 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and station wagon in the lineup.  The coupe was referred to as “Colonnade Hardtop”, and it had a shorter wheelbase than the sedan and wagon.  Only the latter two shared the same 116-inch wheelbase with the Monte Carlo, with which the Chevelle shared the A-body chassis.  The base engine for the Deluxe and Malibu models was a 250 inline-6.  The Deluxe model was dropped in 1974, leaving the Malibu as the new base.  In 1976, the headlights on the Chevelle models were redesigned: more rectangular accents outlining the round lights like brackets, flush with the redesigned grille.  The two coupes (formerly Colonnades) were now the Malibu Classic Landau, with the vinyl roof; and the Malibu SS, the “hardtop”.  The top-of-the-line was a 350 V8.  The Chevelle ended production in 1977, except for the Malibu model, which remained in production as a downsized model many years after that.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a compact car in production since model year 1973.  Upon its introduction in July 1972, it was intended to be an economy car much like the N600/Z600 subcompacts and the short-lived 1300 sedan/coupe it slotted in between in the Honda lineup in Japan.  The Civic debuted at the right time during the automotive industry’s history: 1973 had wrought a very sufferable energy crisis.  This placed heavy demand on automakers to develop efficient economy vehicles, many of them being compact hatchbacks with options kept to a minimum.  Thus, the Civic was Honda’s answer to this energy crisis, and proved to be a popular seller for many years since its launch.

1977 Civic

The first generation Civic was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan, 3- or 5-door hatchback, and a 5-door station wagon.  The initial engine offering was an 1169cc (1.2L) inline-4.  A 4-speed manual transmission was standard, but the Civic could also be had with the 2-speed Hondamatic, Honda’s first ever automatic transmission.  To further ensure utmost compact-car economy, the Civic’s wheelbase was at 2200 mm (86.6 in); and its exterior length was kept to 3551 mm (139.8 in).  Curb weight was at a very light 680 kilograms (1500 lb or 3/4 tons).  1974 saw a slight upgrade to the US-market Civic: a slightly larger 1.2-liter inline-4 and 5-mph safety bumpers.  The bumpers increased the Civic’s exterior length to 3731 mm (146.9 in).  A new emissions-reducing technology called CVCC debuted in the 1975 Civic.  CVCC stood for “Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion”, and it later found its way into the Honda Accord.

1979 Civic wagon

Before the debut of the second generation Civic for model year 1980, the Civic got a cosmetic upgrade for 1978 – 1979.  It retained the standard 1.2-liter and 1.5-liter CVCC engines as before; albeit with added power.

1982 Civic hatchback

The second generation Civic debuted in July 1979 as a 1980 model.  Motive power came from either a “1300” 1.3-liter or a “1500” (1.5L) CVCC.  1982 saw an upgrade; namely, an addition of larger black plastic bumpers and more rectangular lights.  The Civic kept this Prelude-esque look until 1983.

September 1983 saw the introduction of the third generation Civic.  The Civic lineup now consisted of a 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, and a 5-door wagon now called Shuttle.  In the US, the Shuttle was called Wagovan.  The wheelbase of the hatchback measured at 2388 mm, while the sedan measured at 2438 mm.  Model year 1984 saw the debut of the Honda Ballade-based “Ballade Sports CR-X“.  This was a 3-door hatchback, which launched in North America as the “Civic CRX“.  This special model had either an economy or sport variant.  The economy variant, hence the name, had an emphasis more on economy: it was equipped with a 1.3-liter CVCC engine.  This unit threw out 60 horsepower.  The sport model had a 1.5-liter engine.  1985 saw an update to the sports model, which included a trim level called Si (“sports, injected”).  The Si had a fuel-injected 1.5-liter, which gave 91 horsepower.

1986 saw a facelift to both the standard Civic and CRX models.  The headlights were changed from the recessed type to flush mounted.  The Civic/CRX would be little changed for 1987.

1989 Civic hatchback

September 1987 saw the debut of the fourth generation Civic.  The wheelbase had been extended to 2,500 mm (98.4 in).  Likewise in 1988, the second generation CRX debuted, its wheelbase over 2,300 mm, making it 100 mm longer than the first gen CRX, but 200 mm shorter than the standard Civic.

1990 CRX
1991 Civic Si

Also that year, the sporty Civic Si hatchback debuted with a 1.6L D16A6 inline-4 as its power.  At first, it threw out 105 horsepower, but was increased at 108 horsepower a year after.  In general, the fourth generation Civic would last in production through August 1991.

September 1991 saw the introduction of the fifth generation Civic.  This generation could be had in 2-door coupe (EJ1/EJ2); 3-door hatchback (EH2/EH3); and 4-door sedan (EG8/EH9).  The EG8 line consisted of the USDM DX and LX, and the Canadian LX, LX “Special Edition” (1994-1995), and EX.  All these models were powered by a 102 horsepower 1.5-liter D15B7.  The EH9 was the USDM EX sedan, which was powered by a 125 horsepower 1.6-liter D16Z6.

The VIN codes for the Japanese hatchbacks were EG3 and EG6, but North American hatches were numbered EH2 and EH3.  The EH2 lineup consisted of the USDM CX, VX, and DX.  While both the American and Canadian CX got their own versions of the 1.5-liter D15 engine, the power output was different for each.  The USDM mill threw out 70 horsepower, while the Canadian CX was more powerful, at 102 horsepower.  The DX got the D15B7 with the same 102 horsepower in both markets, while the VX got the D15Z1 with VTEC-E.  The VX hatch could be had only with a manual transmission.  The EH3 was the Si hatchback, which could be had with a 1.6-liter D16Z6 VTEC engine good for 125 horsepower.  The Canadian Si hatch was produced 1992 to 1993 only.

The EJ1/EJ2 comprised the coupe lineup.  All DX models including the “Special Edition” got the same 102 horsepower 1.5-liter D15B7, while the USDM EX and EX-S got the 125 horsepower 1.6-liter D16Z6 VTEC.  The Canadian counterpart of the US-market EX was the Si (the sport model).

The fifth generation Civic would remain little changed until the end of its production run in 1995.

September 1995 saw the introduction of the sixth generation Civic.  This car came in coupe, hatchback, and sedan forms.  The EJ6 was the DX/LX sedan and coupe, as well as the CX hatchback; the EJ7 was the USDM HX coupe; the EJ8 was the EX sedan and coupe, as well as the Canadian Si coupe; the EJ9 was the 1.4L SOHC sedan; the EK1 was the 1.5L SOHC VTEC-E hatchback; the EK2 was the 1.3L hatchback; the EK3 was the 1.5L SOHC VTEC-E hatchback; the EK4 was the SiR/VTi hatchback; the EM1 was the 1999-2000 Si/SiR coupe; and the EN1 was the USDM GX sedan.

August 1997 saw the introduction of the Japanese-only Type-R (codenamed EK9).  Assembled in Suzuka, Japan, this was the hatchback model with 182 horsepower 1.6L B16B inline-4 paired to a 5-speed manual transmission.  The interior featured red racing seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.  For 1999, the Civic was cosmetically updated.  This was the year the Si and SiR models were introduced into the coupe lineup.  In 2000, Spoon Sports modified the Type-R to a “racing version” which had a higher engine-revving redline.

Model year 2001 saw the debut of the seventh generation Civic.  While this car came in sedan, hatchback, and coupe forms, the coupe was available only in North America.  December 2001 saw the debut of two Civic variants: the Civic Hybrid and the second generation Type-R hatchback.  The JDM Hybrid was assembled in Suzuka, Japan, while the EP3 Type-R was built in Swindon, England by Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM).  The Type-R was equipped with a 2.0L K20A producing 200 horsepower for the European version, and 212 horsepower for Japan.  The “Type-R” also found its way into North America in the form of the Si and SiR hatchbacks.  However, power was detuned to 160 hp from its K20A3 unit.  Spring 2002 saw the introduction of the Civic Hybrid in the US market.  The Hybrid was equipped with a 1.3L LDA inline-4 paired to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a CVT.  Model year 2004 saw a facelift for the Civic lineup.  This time it had gained sharper headlights and differing style taillights.  This design was retained until September 2005, the end of its production run.

September 2005 saw the introduction of the 2006 model year Civic.  The wheelbase of the sedan was at 2700 mm (106.3 in), while the coupe sat at a shorter 2649 mm (104.3 in).  In addition to the standard Honda Civic model, Canada received a rebadged version of Japan’s Civic Sedan, the Acura CSX.  This model, which shared the same fascia with the Japanese Civic, remained in production for the length of the production of the eighth generation Civic itself (that is, until 2011).  The Hybrid model remained in the lineup also.  It retained the 1.3L LDA inline-4 engine found in the prior Hybrid model, but this time paired to a more powerful electric motor for better mileage.  It won 4 awards in 2006.

For North America, the Civic Si remained as the top-of-the-line performance model.  It was available as a coupe (FG2) and sedan (FA5).  Motive power came from a 2.0L K20Z3 i-VTEC throwing out 197 horsepower, and was paired to a 6-speed manual transmission.  In 2007, Canada got the identical Acura CSX Type-S, employing the same 2.0L K20Z3 powertrain.  Both the Acura CSX (for Canada only) and the Civic Si were assembled in Alliston, Ontario by Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM).  Model year 2009 saw a mid-cycle refresh for the entire Civic lineup, including the Canadian-market Acura CSX.  The eight generation Civic ended production in 2011.

The ninth generation Civic debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2011 and went on sale that spring as a 2012 model.  The wheelbase for the sedan sat at 2670 mm (105.1 in), and the coupe sat at 2620 mm (103.1 in).  Exterior length for the sedan was 4525 mm (178.1 in), and the coupe at 4472 mm (176.1 in).

The Civic Si (FB6 sedan and FG4 coupe) gained a new motor.  A 205 horsepower 2.4L K24Z7 powered the car, and was paired to a 6-speed manual transmission.  The Hybrid also gained an upgrade: its powertrain now consisted of a water-cooled 1.5-liter i-VTEC with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA).  Rowing the gears in the Hybrid was done by a CVT automatic.  2012 saw a facelift to the North American Civic lineup, and again in 2014.

In 2015, Honda UK Manufacturing (HUKM) in Swindon, England started production on the European-market Type R hatchback, codenamed FK2.  This model was powered by a 2.0L K20C1 (turbocharged) throwing out 306 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque.  Japan received approximately only 750 such models.

2015 saw the end of production for the ninth generation Civic, and the end of the Civic Hybrid lineup.  Following this year, 2016 would see no production of a Civic Hybrid.

2016 Civic coupe
2017 Civic hatchback

Honda Motor Co debuted a Civic coupe concept previewing the tenth generation model at the New York Auto Show in April 2015.  The sedan was previewed in September 2015, and the production coupe debuted at Los Angeles in November.  Both the sedan and coupe started production and sales in model year 2016.  The hatchback joined the lineup for 2017.  Exterior length for the hatchback was 4519 mm, and width at 1799 mm.

In 2017, Honda of Canada debuted the Civic Si, based on the sedan and coupe.  Production took place in Alliston, Ontario, and power came from a 1.5L L15B7 (turbocharged) good for 205 horsepower.

2017 Honda Civic Type R

The fifth generation Type R debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017.  This model was built by Honda UK in Swindon, England, and got power from a 2.0L K20C1 turbo.  In Europe and Japan, power was at 316 horsepower, while the North American Type R threw out 306 horsepower.  The exterior dimensions for the Type R compared to the base hatchback were radical: the Type R was 4557 mm in length (compared to the base’s 4519), and 1877 mm in width (versus the base 1799mm).

Chevrolet Camaro

In June of 1966, General Motors held a press conference regarding their upcoming Ford Mustang beating muscle car, borne out of the 1964 XP-836 prototype.  This car was codenamed “Panther”, but eventually, the name “Camaro” was chosen.  This car would be based on the GM F-body platform shared with the Pontiac Firebird.

1967 Camaro SS

The first generation Camaro started production in September 1966 for the 1967 model year.  Dimensionally, the Camaro was very similar to the Ford Mustang: the wheelbase for both cars was the same, at 108 inches (2743 mm); but the Camaro was longer and wider (184.7 in vs. the Mustang’s 183.6; and 72.5 in wide vs. the Mustang’s 70.9 in width).  It was available in two body styles: hardtop and convertible.  Besides the base model, the Camaro came available with SS and RS packages; a combination of both was also available as the SS/RS.  Engine choices included the 350 (5.7L) small block V8 and the 396 (6.5L) big block V8.  A Trans-Am racing spec Z/28 debuted with a 302 CI (4.9L) V8.  Trans Am dictates that the participating race cars must not have engines larger than 305 CI (5.0L).  The mill in the Z/28 was good for 290 horsepower.  That year, 220,906 Camaros were produced, 64,842 of which were RS models.  Only 602 Z/28s were produced.

1968 Camaro SS

1968 saw a slight update to the Camaro.  The SS gained the 396 big block V8, which threw out 350 horsepower.  The Z/28 became a regular option in the Camaro lineup.  Despite that, the Z/28 was again outsold by the SS and RS that year.

1969 Camaro

The Camaro was refreshed again for 1969.  Although initially the front end featured a hideaway headlight design like on prior models, the circular light models were redesigned to have the lights more recessed into the air intake.  The delayed introduction of the then-new second generation 1970 Camaro meant that the 1969 Camaro would continue production into November that year, 243,085 units total.

1970 Camaro

When the second generation Camaro entered production in February 1970, it had started a false rumour that it was a “1970 1/2”.  But with production starting early in 1970, that made it still a fully “1970” model.  Model years for North American market automobiles begin the fourth quarter of the preceding year (usually the earliest on October 1st), and go on until September of the advertised year.  That is why continued production of the 1969 Camaro into November 1969 caused public confusion as to if that model was a 1970, and the second generation being a 1970 1/2.  This model retained its “egg-crate” grille front end design through 1973.

1973 Camaro Z28

In 1972, Camaro production would suffer vastly due to a United Automobile Workers strike at the Norwood assembly plant in Ohio, and failure to meet federally mandated bumper safety regulations.  This had forced the engineers to redesign the Camaro for 1974.

1977 Camaro

And redesign they did.  It was given a sloped front end and protruding aluminum safety bumpers to meet federal 5-mph crash standards.  Also, 1974 was the final year for the Z28, 13,802 produced out of 150,000 Camaros for 1974.  1975 would see a drastic change to the Camaro lineup.  The energy crisis of the 1970s had caused the downsizing and/or discontinuation of many American sports and muscle cars.  The Camaro did not change much, save for the addition of a catalytic converter, which reduced emissions.  Catalytic converters were added to all GM vehicles, and electronic ignition was also introduced.  Camaro sales for 1975 was at 145,770 units.  Although not a regular production option, the 1977 Camaro saw the return of the Z28 package as a 1977 1/2.  This model featured a 350 V8 producing 185 horsepower.  Although a Borg-Warner Super T-10 4-speed manual transmission was available, most cars were equipped with a 3-speed automatic.

1981 Camaro

1978 saw a redesign which added body-color urethane bumpers in place of the aluminum bumpers, giving it a distinctly sportier look.  A T-Top was added to the lineup, and the 1979 model saw an introduction of the Berlinetta.  1979 saw record sales of the Camaro: 282,571 units that year.  The 1981 Camaro came with an emissions reducing unit called “Computer Command Control” (CCC).  Canadian ’81 Camaros did not get CCC.

The third generation Camaro began production in October 1981 for the 1982 model year.  Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1982 saw three variants in its lineup: Sport Coupe, Berlinetta, and Z28.  The Sport Coupe would be available with a 2.5L 4-cylinder, 2.8L LC1 V6, or a 5.0L LG4 V8.  The Berlinetta also came with these same engine options, save the base 2.5-liter.

1982 Camaro Z28 Pace Car
1982 Camaro Z28 Pace Car (rear view)

The Z28 in the 1982 lineup was notably underpowered; its 5.0L LG4 V8 threw out 145 horsepower.  The Z28 was a pace car for the 1982 Indianapolis 500, and 6,360 pace car replicas were produced for the public.  In addition to the “Z28” badging, the car had a distinct two-tone livery, and the door panels had the 1982 Indianapolis 500 logo plastered on them, with “The Sixty-Six – May 30th, 1982” as the smaller-print tagline underneath.

1983 Camaro Z28

The Z28 was updated in 1983, featuring a 5.0L “High-Output” V8.  This engine produced 190 horsepower, and could be coupled up to either a Borg-Warner 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic.

1985 saw a refresh to the Camaro.  The IROC-Z was a new model which featured low ride height and Tuned Port Injection.  This brought increased power to the Camaro, with either a 215 horsepower 5.0L LB9 or a 4-barrel High Output 305 L69 good for 190 horsepower.  Fewer than 2,500 IROC-Z’s were produced for 1985.  In 1987, the Berlinetta was dropped from the lineup, replaced with the LT, and Camaro production in Norwood, Ohio was coming to an end.  The new Camaro production facility had moved to Van Nuys, California.

1988 Camaro

In 1988, the Z28 was dropped, and replaced by the more popular IROC-Z.  All models had fuel injection.  The 1990 model year proved to be exceptionally short – not 30,000 or more made it off the assembly line before December 1989 had ended.  This was because of the early introduction of the refreshed ’91 models.  The IROC-Z was dropped from the lineup that year.

1991 Camaro Convertible

February 1990 saw the early introduction of the 1991 Camaro.  This would be the year the B4C “Special Service” option was introduced.  The B4C was a performance-boosting law enforcement package much like what was used in the Ford Mustang SSP highway patrol car.  From 1991 to 1992, fewer than 1,200 B4C police Camaros were produced.  The Van Nuys assembly plant in California ended production of the third-gen Camaro in August 1992, and Camaro production moved to another plant.

The fourth generation Camaro began production at the new assembly plant in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, Canada in November 1992, and sold to the public starting January 1993.  This new rounded Camaro, designed by Ken Okuyama of Ken Okuyama Design, had the same 101 inch wheelbase as the previous Camaro, but was longer (193.2 in) and wider (74.1 in), and featured an optional T-Top and 2+2 seating.  The 1993 Camaro came in two trims: base and Z28.  The Z28 featured the same 5.7L LT1 small-block V8 as in the Corvette.  This threw out 275 horsepower and 325 lb/ft of torque, and was coupled to a Borg-Warner 6-speed manual transmission.

1996 Camaro

In 1995, the 3800 Series II V6 was introduced as the engine option for base Camaros sold in California.  This same engine would replace the 3.4L L32 as the base engine in 1996.  The Z28 saw a power boost to 285 horsepower.  Returning to the lineup that year were the RS and SS.  In 1997, the Camaro turned 30, and to celebrate, a “30th Anniversary Limited Edition” debuted which featured a unique white and orange stripe exterior paint livery.  A total of 979 “30th Anniversary” Camaro SS models were produced for 1997, with 108 additional models available with the modified LT4 small-block which produced 330 horsepower.

1998 saw a refresh to the Camaro, which featured a front-end redesign and a new engine.  The 5.7L LS1 replaced the LT1 found in earlier Z28s of this generation.  The LS1 (also found in the Corvette) threw out 345 horsepower.  The Camaro remained largely unchanged throughout its production run for the next few years.  However, 2001 would see the lowest production volume for this generation, as preparation for its 35th Anniversary Edition for 2002 was already underway.  The new engine option for the SS and Z28 models were the LS6, replacing the LS1.  This unit was good for 310 to 325 horsepower.  Production for 2001 barely made it past 29,000 units, and the 2002 models totaled 42,098.  The final F-body Camaros ended production in Boisbrand, Quebec, Canada in August of 2002.

General Motors had proposed a rebirth of the Camaro in the form of the 2006 Camaro concept shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January that year.  The concept featured a retro body style that resembled early Camaros of the 60’s, and it rode on GM’s Zeta platform shared with the Australian Holden Commodore full-size sports sedan.  After teasing several more concept Camaros (including a convertible version), General Motors announced in March 2008 that they would begin production of the long-awaited Camaro.

The long-anticipated fifth generation Camaro entered production at the Oshawa plant in Ontario, Canada in March 2009, exactly one year after GM’s Camaro production announcement.  Like the 2006 concept, this car rode on the Zeta platform, and somewhat retained the concept’s retro outfit.  Measured against the previous generation produced from 1993 to 2002, the new Camaro had a wheelbase longer by 11 inches (112.3 in versus the previous gen’s 101.1 in).  It was shorter (190.4 in) but wider (75.5 in) than the 4th-gen model.  Measured against the first-gen 1969 model, its wheelbase was longer, with the ’69’s being at 108 inches (2,743 mm).  The 2010 was nearly 4 1/2 inches longer than the 1969, and 1 1/2 inch wider.

At its introduction, the 2010 Camaro was available only as a coupe with LS, LT, and SS trim levels.  For engine options, the LS and LT got the 3.6L LLT V6 throwing 304 horsepower @ 6400 rpm, and the SS got either the LS3 or L99 V8.  While both measured at 6.2 liters, the L99 was the lesser V8, throwing 400 horsepower while the LS3 produced 426 horsepower.  While the same Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission was available for all models, the 6-speed manual transmissions were different for each.  The LS/LT got an Aisin unit, while the SS complimented its V8 with a Tremec TR-6060 unit.  Model year 2011 saw the introduction of the convertible.  It could utilize the 3.6L V6 like the LS/LT models, and the 6.2L V8 as in the SS.  The 2012 Camaro ZL1 debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2011.  This model featured a supercharged 6.2L LSA V8, making a great 580 horsepower @ 6000 rpm, and 556 lb/ft of torque @ 4200 rpm.  The high performance of this ultra Camaro was complimented further with a MagneRide suspension and six-piston Brembo brake calipers.  The Camaro was given a cosmetic update in 2014, which made the Camaro’s headlights thinner, as well as revised taillights.  These were one-piece strips, as opposed to the 2010-2013 block type lights.  Hardly much had changed for the 2015 model due to the upcoming debut of the sixth generation 2016 model.

2016 Camaro Convertible

The sixth generation Camaro was introduced to the public in May 2015 as a 2016 model.  This time, it rode on the Alpha platform shared with the Cadillac ATS and CTS.  The LS/LT trims were equipped with the 2.0L LTG Ecotec and 3.6L LGX V6.  The latter was available only for the LT.  The 1SS/2SS got the 6.2L LT1 V8 shared with the Corvette.  This engine threw out 455 horsepower @ 6000 rpm, and 650 lb/ft of torque @ 4400 rpm.  2017 saw the introduction of the revised ZL1 model.  This time, it threw out 650 horsepower from its 6.2L LT4 V8.  From here, the Camaro would be little changed, save the 2019 model year cosmetic update.

Toyota Celica

The Toyota Celica was a sports car produced by Toyota Motor Co from 1970 to 2006.  The name “Celica” is derived from the Latin “coelica” or “coelicus“, meaning “celestial”.

At the Tokyo Motor Show in late 1970, the A20 Celica debuted with the intention of being a touring car above the Corolla in the Toyota lineup, as well as being the Japanese version of the Ford Mustang.  Initially, the Celica was available only as a 2-door notchback (coupe), and motive power came from 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter inline-4s.  The top-of-the-line for this generation was the 1600 GT, VIN number TA22.

1975 Celica ST notchback
1976 Celica GT-S liftback
1977 Celica ST liftback

The Celica was given a refresh in 1973, gaining a liftback/hatchback body style.  New engine choices included a 1.9L, 2.0L, and 2.2L.  The North American Celica gained the liftback version in 1976.  The new top-trim was the 2.2L 2200 GT model.

1978 Celica ST

August 1977 saw the introduction of the second generation Celica, the A40 series, and retained both the coupe and hatchback models as standard.  Although initially the Celica featured round headlights, it was redesigned right away in 1979.  This facelifted model would have square lights.  Also new that year was the Celica XX (also called “Celica Supra“), which featured a longer wheelbase and other dimensional changes in order to compete against Nissan’s Z-car.  This model would soon become its own lineup, separate from the Celica altogether.  Also in Japan, 1980 saw the introduction of a 4-door sedan called Celica Camry, which would also eventually become its own lineup.

The A60 generation debuted in August 1981 for the 1982 model year.  North American Celicas gained fuel injection as standard equipment.  This generation’s wheelbase was the same as the previous model, at 2500 mm (98 in), but exterior length increased to 4435 mm (174.6 in).

1985 Celica liftback

August 1983 saw a refresh to the Celica, including retractable (hide-away) headlights, a trend that was popular mostly throughout the 1980’s.  American Specialty Cars built convertible Celicas from 1984 to 1985 for North America.

The T160 Celica differed vastly from its prior counterparts.  New in 1986 was the front wheel drive configuration, whereas pervious Celicas were rear wheel drive.  Optional on some models was four wheel drive.  The epitome of high-performance Celicas was the GT-Four, called Turbo All-Trac in North America, which employed this 4WD technology.  The GT-Four/Turbo All-Trac was the ST165 model (the top-of-the-line), and with its prestigious 4WD technology also came the turbocharged 3S-GTE 2.0-liter.  For this generation Celica, this unit was capable of outputting 182 – 190 horsepower.  The base model was the AT160 with the 1.6L 4A-F/4A-GE.

September 1989 saw the debut of the T180 Celica, the fifth generation.  This model saw a differentiation between its two liftback body styles; one narrow-body, and the other wide-body, depending on the model.  The high-performance GT-Four, Turbo All-Trac, and Turbo 4WD were wide-body.  This generation’s narrow-body liftback was a tad narrower than the previous gen: 1705 mm versus 1710 mm.  The wide-body was notably wider (at 1745 mm), and rightly so for performance reasons: the 2.0L 3S-GTE was upgraded to gather up to 232 horsepower for the top-of-the-line GT-Four RC and the European-market Turbo 4WD Carlos Sainz Limited Edition.  Carlos Sainz is a Spanish rally-race driver who, in 1990, drove the Celica GT-Four to 1st place victory in the World Rally Championship that year.  He again lead Toyota Team Europe to 1st place again in a Celica Turbo 4WD in 1992.

Some Japanese-spec Celicas came with a four-wheel-steering (4WS) option, which enhanced handling.  The “4WS” lineup included the 4WS S-R, 4WS Z-R, 4WS GT-R, Active Sports, 4WS Convertible, and 4WS Convertible Type G, all of which had the VIN code ST183.  North America did not get any 4WS Celica models.

October 1993 saw the debut of the T200 Celica.  This model had notorious bug-eye style round headlights, like the third generation Acura Integra that also debuted that year.  Although exterior dimensions would vary depending on model, the width was the same throughout the lineup at 1750 mm (68.9 in).  This made the T200 Celica 5 mm wider than the wide-body T180.  The Celica was still in the high-performance rally racing game, this time producing well over 250 horsepower out of the 3S-GTE for its ST205 GT-Four model.  North America did not get a GT-Four/Turbo All-Trac for this generation, but instead had the ST204 as its top-line model.  The ST204 employed the 2.2-liter 5S-FE capable of 135 horsepower for its “GT” model.  The base model was the AT200, which employed the 1.8-liter 7A-FE.  Production of the T200 would last through June of 1999.

July 1999 saw the introduction of the T230 generation.  It had a longer wheelbase at 2600 mm, but was narrower, at 1735 mm.  As this generation Celica did not participate in rally racing, there was no seriously powerful 2.0-liter in the lineup.  Instead, it got two 1.8L engines: 1ZZ-FE and 2ZZ-GE.  In North America, the Celica came in two trims: GT and GT-S.  The GT got the 1ZZ-FE, which developed 140 hp @ 6400 rpm; the GT-S got the 2ZZ-GE, which featured VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing and Lift control with Intelligence).  This amped the motor’s output to 180 horsepower.  Some 2003-2004 Celicas came with an available “Action Package”, which added a supercharger to the Celica’s engine.  Included in the Action Package were goodies such as dampers, anti-sway bars, disc brake pads, custom exhaust, and an exterior body kit.  The Celica did not have a chance when it came to export sales after 2005 – North American sales halted there.  The Japanese-domestic and European Celica would remain selling through the end of its production run in April 2006.

Buick Regal

The Buick Regal is a mid-size automobile in production since 1973.  Upon its debut, it was based on the Century, hence the initial naming “Century Regal” (but that name was dropped by the end of the first generation’s run).  Like the Century, the Regal rode on the same GM A-body platform and was assembled in Flint, Michigan.  Engine options ranged from a 231 CI (3.8L) V6, 350 CI (5.7L) V8, and a 455 CI (7.5L) V8.  Depending on the model, the car’s length was at 212 – 216 in (5400 – 5500 mm), and wheelbase between 112 – 116 in (2800 – 2900 mm).

General Motors downsized many of their vehicles in 1978.  Chief among these downsized vehicles were the two Buick models, the Century and the Regal, still riding on the A-body.  But by that time, the original A-body was well over 40 years old, and the lineup soon needed a new chassis to ride on.  From 1981, the Regal would ride on the G-body, shared with the Chevrolet El Camino, Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix, and other models.

1981/1982 saw an update to the Regal lineup.  The car was made to be slightly more aerodynamic, given Buick’s entry into NASCAR.  Celebrating Buick’s victories in the Daytona 500 and Winston Cup Grand National, Buick re-engineered the Regal into a lineup of street-legal high-performance variants called Grand National, Turbo-T, and T-Type.  Initially, 1982 Regals with the GN package came with a 4.1L V6, throwing 125 horsepower.  1982 saw very limited production of the Grand National, and this model was discontinued, with the 1983 high-performance variant being available only with the Regal T-Type.  The Grand National returned in 1984; this time with a turbocharged 3.8-liter producing 200 horsepower.  Of the 2,000 Grand National models produced in 1984, approximately only 200 were made with the “T-Top”, making them the rarest Grand Nationals.  1986 saw a power upgrade to the Grand National: 235 horsepower versus the previous gen’s 200.  The power was bumped up again in 1987, and that year, the T-Top was discontinued, leaving only the Grand National and the Turbo-T.

1987 Buick GNX

In 1987, GM partnered with McLaren and American Specialty Cars (ASC) to create the “GNX” (Grand National Experimental).  This very-limited high-performance mule was distinguished from other Grand Nationals by a special stealthy all-black with black trim look, and an upgraded version of Buick’s 3.8-liter.  This unit developed close to 280 horsepower at 4400 rpm.  This car was considered to be in supercar territory, facing off against the Porsche 911 Turbo at the drag strip.  At the quarter mile, it was faster than the Porsche (12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph vs. the ’86 Porsche Turbo’s 13.1 sec at 105 mph).

The third generation transitioned to the front-wheel-drive W-body platform in 1988.  This was the “first-generation” W-body which featured the same 107.5 inch wheelbase for the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix, and Chevrolet Lumina sedan.  Engine choices were a 2.8L V6 (developing 125 horsepower); 3.1L V6 (140 horsepower from 1989 to 1993; ’94-up threw 160 hp); and a 3.8L V6 (170 horsepower from 1990 to 1995; 200 hp for 1996).  Although the top of the line Regal was the Gran Sport (GS) model, there was no supercar-style high-performance variant like the previous generation had.  This generation would be strictly a practical executive mid-size vehicle.

The Regal was revamped for 1997, this time sharing a similar body with the Century.  Both it and the Century rode on the W-body platform.  These cars were the “second generation” W-body, an upgraded version of the automobile platform whose wheelbase was increased to 109 inches.  Starting in 1997, both the Regal and Century were available only as 4-door sedans, and retained this trend until the end of their production runs (the Regal discontinued in 2004, with a hiatus until it relaunched in 2011; the Century discontinued in 2005 with no successor, other than being replaced in the Buick lineup by its Regal sibling).  Although the Chinese-market Regal was available with inline-4 and V6 engines, the only engine option available for North America was the 3.8L “Series II” V6, available in two variations: L36, with 205 horsepower; and the supercharged L67 (developing 240 horsepower).  The L67 was employed in the top of the line GS.  After the Regal ended production in 2004, the LaCrosse/Allure replaced it in Buick’s mid-size lineup during the Regal’s hiatus.

In 2008, GM debuted the next iteration of their mid-size front-wheel-drive platform, dubbed Epsilon II.  This platform was the basis for the new Buick Regal sedan, which debuted in China in 2008.  Compared to the previous generation, this model had a shorter wheelbase sitting at 107.8 in (2738 mm).  This Regal was a rebadged version of Europe’s Opel Insignia executive car, and the Epsilon II platform was also shared with the LaCrosse/Allure, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet/Holden Malibu, Roewe 950, and Saab 9-5.  The newfangled Buick Regal made its world debut at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show in December that year, and began North American sales in February 2010.  Initially, the car came in two trims: CXL and CXL Turbo.

At the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, the Regal GS made its debut as a concept car.  This vehicle employed a turbocharged 2.0L inline-4, developing 270 horsepower, 50 more horses than the production CXL Turbo’s output.  The GS entered production as a 2011 model, and in 2014 it was detuned slightly.  This generation was produced until 2017.

For model year 2018, the Regal was redesigned.  The 4-door sedan was exclusive to China, while elsewhere two new body styles debuted: a raked 5-door fastback and a station wagon called TourX.  It was based on the “Epsilon” platform as before, but this time, was renamed E2XX, sharing this platform with the Cadillac XT4, Chevrolet Malibu, and Holden Commodore.

Honda Accord

In May 1976, Honda Motor Co debuted an economy car a grade up from the Civic, and this mid-size Accord model has been a successful mainstay in the Honda stable for many years.  The first generation model was available either as a 3-door hatchback or 4-door sedan.  The engine options at the time were a 1.6L inline 4 and a 1.8L four.  Both the Japanese and American Accords were assembled in Sayama, Japan.

Model year 1982 saw the introduction of the second generation model.  This was the first generation USDM Accord to be built in Marysville, Ohio.  In Japan, the second gen’s debut coincided with the debut of the similar Honda Vigor.  Dimensionally, this model changed as well: exterior length was down by 40 mm to 4410 mm, versus the first gen’s 4450.  Many of Honda’s models employed “CVCC” technology in their engines, as did the Accord.  But 1984 saw an introduction of electronic fuel injection (EFI) to the Japanese Accord lineup.  The American EFI version came in 1985.

The third generation Accord debuted for 1986, and this generation saw the introduction of the 2-door coupe.  In Japan, there were several different versions of the Accord: CA1 (with the 1.8L A18A), CA2 (with the 1.8L B18A), CA3 (with the 2.0L B20A), and the ’87-up CA5 with the 2.0L A20A.  American and Canadian versions ranged from BA, CA5, and CA6.  The CA6 was the 1988 Accord Coupe, similar to (or same as) Japan’s ’88 CA6 coupe.  The North American VINs for the Accord actually started either with “JHM” or “1HG”, denoting “American Honda Motor”.  Some ’87 to ’88 models started with “2HG”.  For example, the first 6 digits of the VIN of a 1988 Accord coupe would go something like “JHMCA6” or “1HGCA6”.

1990 – 1991 Accord

September 1989 saw the debut of the CB series Accord in Japan.  This prompted the 1990 model Accord in North America.  For this generation, a station wagon was introduced, and the 3-door hatchback was discontinued.  The engine lineup included four inline-4s. They were the 1.8L F18A, and three F-series’s, F20A (SOHC), F20A (DOHC) and F22A (SOHC).

1993 Accord coupe

1992 saw a refresh to the Accord model.  Notable cosmetic changes included a restyled front splitter (front bumper), conversion to amber turn signals on the front, and restyled tail-lights.  This refresh would last until the end of the model’s run in 1993.

The CD series Accord debuted in most markets in September 1993.  The body style choices remained the same from the previous generation: 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and station wagon.  The engine options also varied depending on the year and trim.  The CD3 got a 1.8L F18B, and the CD5, CD6, CD7, CD8, and CD9 models got the 2.0-liter or larger “F-series” engines.  Model year 1995 saw the introduction of a V6 into the Accord lineup.  The CE6 Accord LX-V6/EX-V6 got the 2.7L C27A4 shared with the Acura Legend.  The Accord got a mid-cycle refresh for 1996, and the 1997 model (the final year for the “CD” generation) remained relatively the same.

The Accord underwent a renewal for its sixth generation in August 1997, for the 1998 model year in North America.  This series is referred to as the CG.  At the same time, in Japan, a slightly different model, the CF/CL debuted.  The CL was the high-performance Euro-R, something North America did not receive.  Although a wagon variant existed in the lineup in Japan, for North America the wagon was discontinued, leaving only the sedan and coupe.  While the Sayama plant in Japan built both the JDM and USDM Accords for this generation, the Marysville plant built only the USDM version.  Upon its introduction, the Accord was available only as a sedan, but gained a coupe model one year in.  The 1.8-liter was discontinued, and the engine lineup consisted of 2.0-liter or larger.  The Accord got a refresh in 2001, and continued production through 2002.

The CM series Accord debuted in September 2002 for North America.  Initially, the engine options were 2.4L K24A4 and the 3.0L J30A4.  They produced 160 and 240 horsepower, respectively.  In 2005, the US got a hybrid model, which employed a 3.0L V6 (not the same as the J30) paired to a 144V electric motor.  Total system output was 255 horsepower @ 6000 rpm.  The Accord was refreshed in 2006, and the base motors from before were altered for higher power output.  The 2.4L upgraded to the 166 hp K24A8, and the 3.0L V6 to the 244 hp J30A5.

Model year 2008 saw the start of the eighth generation Accord.  It was slightly larger than its predecessor, being 4950 mm long and 1847 mm wide.  The chassis codes varied depending on the model and engine combo.  The CP2 got the 2.4L K24Z2/K24Z3 (sedan); the CS1 the K24Z3 (coupe); CP3 the 3.5L J35Z2 (V6 sedan), and the CS2 the J35Z3 (V6 coupe).  The Accord got a refresh in 2011, and the generation ran production through 2013.  There were no hybrid models for this generation.

The ninth generation Accord debuted in model year 2013.  This model was shorter (4862 mm) and wider (1849 mm) than the previous generation.  While Honda did declare the Accord (at least since the last model) would not have (or need) a hybrid variant, in model year 2014 the Plug-in Hybrid debuted.  The maximum combined city/highway EPA rating was 46 MPG (5.1 L / 100 km).  US production would be limited to 1,030 units.

2016 Accord coupe
2017 Accord

The Accord was refreshed in 2016, but the Plug-in Hybrid was discontinued.  The refreshed model in this generation would last only until 2017, before the end of its production run followed by the introduction of the tenth generation Accord.

Chevrolet Bel Air

The Chevrolet Bel Air was a full-size vehicle produced from 1950 to 1975 in the United States, and until 1981 in Canada.  The concept of the Bel Air was to have a sporty hardtop convertible in their lineup.  This car was initially based on the Styline DeLuxe model from 1949.

1953 Bel Air

The first generation Bel Air was produced 1950 to 1954, though the Bel Air wouldn’t be its own model until 1953, when the lineup gained a 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan.  A 2-door convertible was also introduced.  This generation Bel Air was based on the GM A-body platform from 1936, shared with other models in the Chevrolet lineup (ie: Chevy 150, 210, Impala, etc.), and other GM models, such as the Pontiac Chieftain, Star Chief, Oldsmobile 76, and 88.  In this generation’s final year of production, 1954, the lineup gained a station wagon model.  Power came from the 215 CI (3.5L) Thriftmaster inline-6 and the 235 CI (3.9L) Blue Flame inline-6.  The Blue Flame 6 produced 125 horsepower.

1955 Bel Air

The Bel Air was revised in 1955.  The new model would still share the 1936 A-body platform with other GM vehicles like the previous generation model had.  As this was the case, the 115 inch wheelbase of the previous generation counterpart had been retained for this lineup, but was nearly 2 inches shorter in exterior length.  Hardtop, sedan, and station wagon models were standard throughout the lineup for the entire generation.  A new engine option was the 265 (4.3L) Small-Block V8, which was also featured in the Corvette.  The difference for the Bel Air’s 265 was that it produced 162 horsepower, versus the Corvette’s 195 horsepower.  The Bel Air was given a cosmetic update for 1956, and another for 1957.

1957 Bel Air hardtop

The 215 Thriftmaster and the 235 Blue Flame engines from the previous generation were available in this model, but two new V8s were introduced: the 265 CI (4.3L) and 283 CI (4.6L) Small Blocks.

For one year only, in 1958, Chevrolet produced its third generation Bel Air model.  This car transitioned to the more extensive full-size, rear-wheel-drive B-body platform.  This allowed the Bel Air to strongly resemble its platform twin, the Impala.  In addition to the hardtop, sedan, and convertible models, a coupe was introduced to the lineup.  A larger V8, the Big Block, was introduced.  This engine was good for anywhere between 250 to 315 horsepower.

The Bel Air was radically redesigned for its fourth generation in 1959.  This included a low-slung four-headlight design and curvier windshield/pillar design.  Engine choices were the 235 Blue Flame 6, 283 Small Block V8, and 348 Big Block V8.

1961 saw the debut of the fifth generation Bel Air.  The exterior dimension changes included a shortened length, although the wheelbase remained the same.  After that year, the 4-door hardtop was discontinued.  The Bel Air continued to be updated year after year, and the 1963 and 1964 models saw significant change.  It began to more resemble its platform counterparts, the Biscayne and Impala.

1969 Bel Air 4-door sedan

The 1965 Bel Air was not only cosmetically redesigned, but also slightly longer than its predecessor.  The wheelbase remained the same from the prior generation.  The body styles for this generation would range from 2-door and 4-door sedans and a 4-door wagon.  It would be this point onward that the Bel Air would offer little semblance to its namesake due to its strong resemblance to its other platform model counterparts.  Engine choices included two inline-sixes (230 and 250), and a range of Small Block and Big Block V8s.  In 1970, the wagon was renamed Townsman, and the 250 inline-6 developed 155 horsepower.  The top of the line that year was the 454 Big Block V8.

From 1971 to 1975, the Bel Air was practically the same as the contemporary generation Caprice.  The B-body platform had rubbed off on the Bel Air so much, that both the Bel Air and Caprice were assembled in the same Arlington (Texas), Oshawa, Ontario (Canada), and South Gate (California) assembly plants.  They even shared the same two Small Block V8s, the 350 and 400, as well as the 454 Big Block.  The Caprice and Impala proved to be more worthy mainstays in the Chevrolet lineup, and 1975 saw the final year of American production of the Bel Air.

Canada would see the “Bel Air” name continue on in 1976, in the same generation from 1970.  In 1977, the Canadian-only eighth generation debuted, still strongly resembling its Caprice/Impala counterparts.  These models were assembled in Baltimore, Maryland; Flint, Michigan; and Oshawa, Ontario in Canada.  The engine lineup consisted of a singular inline six, the 250, and 305 and 400 Small Block V8s.  A drop in sales spelled the end for the Bel Air altogether, and 1981 saw the final “Bel Air” in the Chevrolet lineup, America or Canada.

Nissan Fairlady

The Nissan Fairlady (also called Fairlady Z) is a front-engine, rear wheel drive sports car in production since model year 1970.  In other markets outside of Japan, this model was also known by many other monikers, such as Datsun/Nissan 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, 280ZX, 300ZX, 350Z, and 370Z.  These numeric names (much like those renamed from the Japanese-counterpart Silvias to American-spec “S-cars”) are indicative of the vehicles’ engine sizes, in liters (example: 240Z = 2.4 liter; 370Z = 3.7 liter, etc.)  This lineup is also known as “Z-cars“.

1967 1/2 Datsun Sports

The Fairlady model actually dates back to 1959, when Nissan Motor Co debuted the Datsun Sports as a roadster model.  This roadster lineup had its own series of generations, and was produced until 1970.

1972 240Z
1973 240Z

October 1969 saw the debut of the first generation “Z-car”.  This was the S30 generation, produced 1970 to 1978.  The initial series was the 2.4L “240Z” model in North America.  The car’s power was 151 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, and torque was at 146 lb/ft.  This initial 240 series was in production from 1970 to 1973.

1974 260Z

The next car in the S30 lineup was the 2.6L “260Z“.  Worldwide, this model was in production from 1974 to 1978; though the American 260Z was produced in 1974 only.  The increased engine displacement meant that this model would make 10 more horsepower (162 hp @ 5,600 rpm).  The torque was also increased, to 157 lb/ft.

1975 – 1978 280Z

1975 saw the release of the more empowered 2.8-liter 280Z.  The “280Z” name is not to be confused with the S130-generation “280ZX” which debuted in 1979.  The third series of the S30 generation would again see a power and torque bump; 170 horsepower and 163 lb/ft.  This model remained in production until the end of the S30’s run in 1978.

1979 saw the debut of the second generation Z-car, as well as Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year.  This generation is known as S130.  The North American spec S130 retained the same 2.8L engine carried over from the previous generation; however, power was reduced (135 horsepower for the base model, versus the 1975’s 170 horsepower).  1981 saw a slight power boost: 145 horsepower for the base, and new that year was the Turbo, which threw out 180 horsepower to rival the likes of its previous-gen naturally-aspirated counterpart.  The Japanese domestic Fairlady Z got both 2.0L and 2.8L engines.  The 2.0L version was named “Fairlady 200Z“.  The S130 generation ended production in 1983.

1984 300ZX (US)

The third iteration of the Z-car was more appropriately designed for the 1980’s.  In 1982, Kazumasu Takagi led a design team in order to create the Z31 generation model.  It entered production in 1984, and in Japan, it was available with both 2.0L and 3.0L engines, and in North America, 3.0L only, and named 300ZX.  At first, this car generated between 160 and 200 horsepower; and 174 lb/ft to 227 lb/ft of torque.  Special editions of this car included the 1984 50th Anniversary Edition and the 1988 Shiro Special.  The Anniversary Edition model was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Datsun/Nissan brand, and the 1988 Shiro Special featured a special white coat, special heavy-duty anti-sway bar suspension, Recaro seats, and a viscous limited-slip differential.

1989 saw the launch of the Z32 Fairlady Z in Japan, and launched in North America in 1990, still as a 300ZX model.  The revised “Import Car of the Year” for 1990 came available with two engine options: a naturally aspirated VG30DE V6 good for 222 horsepower; and a turbocharged VG30DETT making 300 horsepower.  The Japanese-spec turbo was restricted to a maximum output of 276 horsepower.  Besides the coupe model, a T-top was also available in the lineup.  In 1992, a popular aftermarket conversion of the Z32 300ZX convertible model was made available.  The mid-1990s saw a market trend favouring sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and the rising Yen:Dollar ratio.  The unstable economy at the time had forced Nissan (and other Japanese automakers with their sports cars) to jack up the price of the 300ZX more and more.  At first, it was priced at $30,000, but the rising Yen:Dollar ratio eventually caused the car to cost $50,000.  North American sales of the 300ZX would suffer (along with other popular Japanese sports cars of the time), and the Z-car would terminate sales in 1996.  Despite this, the Japanese domestic Fairlady Z remained in production until 2000.

Despite the unstable financial situation in the 1990s, the memory of the Z-car had not been forgotten.  In 1999, Nissan debuted a bright-orange concept car aptly named “240Z“.  It paid homage to the original 240Z of the early 70s, sporting a 70’s style fastback/hatchback body style like the old model.  It featured a working drivetrain which included a 2.4L KA24DE borrowed from the 240SX.  The 240Z didn’t enter production, but served as a footstep towards future production of a Z-car.

2003 Nissan 350Z

After the production hiatus, Nissan returned the iconic “Z-car” to its lineup, this time displacing 3.5 liters.  The Z33 generation Fairlady Z saw production from 2002 to 2008.  The North American 350Z entered production in 2003.  This car shared its VQ35DE engine with the Infiniti G35.  Initially, the base model 350Z made 276 horsepower and 274 lb/ft of torque.  2005 saw a slight power upgrade.  A lesser base model now made 287 horsepower, and a special model, the 35th Anniversary Edition (celebrating the anniversary since the very first Z) made 300 horsepower.  This 35th Anniversary Edition was also a tie-in model for the Playstation racing video game Gran Turismo 4, and was available in two exterior colors: “Ultra Yellow” and “Pearl Black”.  The drivetrain for this 35th Anniversary Edition model was available again in 2006, still throwing 300 horsepower.  The 2007 model saw a revision to the lineup; namely an updated version of its 3.5L V6, renamed VQ35HR, which now made 306 horsepower.  This update coincided with Infiniti’s introduction of their new G35/G37 lineup, with which the Z shared the VQ35HR engine.

In December 2008, Nissan debuted the next iteration of the 21st-century Z-car, the Z34.  In Japan, the model still retained its “Fairlady Z” moniker, but the American spec was renamed accordingly to the increase in engine size.  The 3.7L 370Z debuted for the 2009 model year, and in June that year, a NISMO variant was released.  The base 370Z developed 332 horsepower from its VQ37VHR engine, and the NISMO model provided 350 horsepower.  The NISMO model did not come with an available roadster version.  In 2012 (for model year 2013), Nissan gave the base 370Z models a cosmetic upgrade.  The aesthetically refreshed model featured standard LED daytime running lights on the front fascia; however, the base model still developed 332 horsepower from its 3.7L V6.  The NISMO variant remained unchanged from its 2009 debut.

2017 370Z NISMO

2015 saw a cosmetic upgrade to the NISMO model.  The front end featured horizontal LED lights which differed from the base models’ vertical bars.  The power remained at 350 horsepower for the NISMO.

Plymouth Barracuda

The Plymouth Barracuda (called “Plymouth Valiant Barracuda” in Canada) was a muscle car produced by Chrysler Corporation from 1964 to 1974.

1966 Barracuda

 

When Chrysler Corp developed the first generation Barracuda from 1964 to 1966, they based it heavily on the Valiant model in the Plymouth lineup, sharing the same A-body platform.  Thus, the Canadian version of this car was named “Valiant Barracuda”.  The base engine choices for the United States and Canada were different: the Canadian Barracuda got the 170 CI (2.8L) Slant-6, while the American base had the 225 CI (3.7L) version.  An amped-up version of the Barracuda could have the 273 CI (4.5L) 90-degree V8 (codenamed “LA“).  The 273 in the 1964 Barracuda produced 180 horsepower, and could also be had with the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission.  In 1965, Plymouth introduced the “Formula S” package to the Barracuda, which included an upgraded version of the 273 V8, nicknamed Commando.  The Commando was capable of producing 235 horsepower, thanks to its 10.5:1 compression ratio and strengthened camshaft.  The Barracuda was restyled in 1966 before the debut of the second generation model.

1967 Barracuda

 

In 1967, Plymouth debuted the restyled second generation Barracuda, still based on the Valiant model, like the previous model.  A notable cosmetic feature on the ’67 model was a larger front-end air intake (grille) and a much curvier shape.  The chrome bumpers were also revised.  From this generation onward, a convertible was available in the lineup.  The 225 Slant-6 engine remained as the base engine, and in 1968, the 273 V8 was ditched and replaced with a larger 318 CI (5.2L) V8.  This 318 was also an “LA” engine, like the smaller 273 it replaced as the base V8.  Among one of the most powerful V8s produced for this generation was the 426 CI (7.0L) Hemi V8, developed for Super Stock drag racing cars assembled by Hurst Performance.  1969 saw the final year of production of the A-body Valiant-based Barracuda.

1970 Cuda
1971 Cuda convertible

Plymouth’s ultra muscle car was about the get more ultra: the 1970 edition of the Barracuda abandoned the tradition of being based on the Valiant (A-body) and instead shared the E-body platform with the Dodge Challenger.  Thus, this created a much larger vehicle than the previous compact size Valiant-based Barracudas.  Very often, this generation of Barracudas is nicknamed to a shortened “Cuda“.  The two base Slant-6 engines for the 1970 Barracuda were the then-new 198 CI (3.2L) and the 225 CI engines.  The “LA” V8 engines were 318 CI, 340, and 360.  The top-of-the-line V8 was the 426 CI Hemi, throwing 425 horsepower.  1971 saw a slight update to the Barracuda; namely, a cosmetic update which featured a four-headlight design for the front end.  The V8 engine options (including the 426 V8) remained the same from the year before.

The oil crisis of the early 1970s had inflicted upon the Plymouth Barracuda lineup (as well as other popular sports and muscle cars) a drop in engine and transmission options and power output.  The 1972 ‘Cuda went back to the two-headlight front end design like the 1970 model.  The diluted versions of the previously famous and powerful ‘Cudas had only three engine options for 1972, a 225 6-cylinder and two V8s: the 318 and a detuned version of the 340.  The 1973 Barracuda was available only with the 318 and 340 V8s, as that year, the 225 six was dropped.  Due to dropping sales, as well as the devastating effects of the oil crisis, the ‘Cuda ended production in April 1974.