Fond memories of an early car follow many of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s and the second generation Camaro fills this category for me, and likely many others.
I loved the original Camaro’s shape, but the second gen was a smooth and sexy new look in the muscle car wars. The pointy snout with the two big headlights, smooth uncomplicated body lines and handsome four round taillights was a winner, and then down the road they were used as the International Race of Champions race cars. Bingo, loved it!
All that was plenty, but my first serious girlfriend’s dad had one that he loaned us for a date night. The car was as red as her hair, and I dare say we looked a spectacular couple heading to the show. While I should remember more, I mainly recall being able to bury the accelerator and squeal the tires, once we were out of dad’s earshot, and I made sure to take the highway that night so I could push the speed envelope.
OK, enough of fading high school memories, the ’71 Camaro was a slight upgrade from the second gen that launched in early 1970, both known for better handling (rear stabilizer bar added), ride and power than the original Camaro. Its nickname was the Super Hugger!
This one features both Rally Sport and Super Sport features and trim, which means at its heart is a 350 cu.in. small-block V8 that produced between 260 and 270 horsepower. That would help the 3,310-lb. coupe (no convertible was offered for the second gen’s run) scoot. There were plenty of engine choices though. The 1970 Camaro offered 10, seven being V8s. Then the gas crisis hit and a couple were dropped for 1971.
The RS versions also went with the Endura plastic type nose piece that resisted dents and dings, plus small bumperettes that replaced the full front bumper on most models. Plus there were two smaller round parking lights next to the bigger headlights. This radically improved the looks.
The second gen Camaro also went with one-piece side windows, no vents and no rear side window, creating a dramatic looking fastback coupe. Oh, and if you were a Pontiac guy or gal, not a bowtie lover, the Firebird carried the same profile, plus Jim Rockford (James Garner) drove one in The Rockford Files TV show a bit later in the ‘70s.
Sales were good too, with more than 103,000 Camaros sold in 1971, but just 8,377 SS models and only 6,844 came with this engine. I’ve seen some 1:1 SS models go for upward of $80,000 at auto auctions in the last year, so if you have one, it’s a keeper.
If you don’t have that kind of coin though, and like black muscle cars this Auto World model is a must. It’s bathed in Tuxedo Black and coupled with the painted silver trim around all the windows it looks like the only thing it’s missing is a cummerbund.
Yet the sophisticated looks are elegantly racy too with muscular five-spoke chrome wheels with a blue bowtie logo on the hubs and thick Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/T-labeled rubber. Markings are minimal, just “SS 350” logos on the front fenders midway up, just in front of the doors.
Mirrors are black to match the Camaro’s body and that considerable black rear spoiler perfectly melds into the bodywork. Likewise the nose spoiler insinuates racer, but also is a sharp styling feature as its shape beautifully matches the nose’s pointed beak.
Front bumperettes and rear bumpers are chrome as are the headlight bezels and snazzy grille. Headlights and taillights look realistic plus I really like the small round red parking lights that give this Camaro’s nose some personality, along with the spoiler and split bumper. Exiting out the back are twin chrome exhaust pipes on either side and there’s a handsome chrome accent piece on both rocker panels.
Under the big hood is a red V8 engine block with red headers and a chrome air filter with twin black air ducts and a red label atop it. Of course all the black wiring and hoses are in place. There’s a silver power steering unit with gold base plate, silver exhaust manifolds on each side of the engine, a silver alternator/generator, white fluids container and a realistic looking radiator structure. That includes “Caution Fan” labeling in orange, and a couple labels atop the radiator. This is a fine-looking engine bay.
Inside are high-backed vertically ribbed black Strato buckets that you can actually flip forward and a sharp dash with wood-look facing on the driver’s instrument panel with “Camaro” imprinted on the passenger’s side lower dash. I like the old bowtie type 4-stalk steering wheel with white and black bowtie on the hub. Down low is a console Hurst shifter with white cue-ball knob. Door trim is silver around wood-look inserts along with chrome door releases and window cranks.
The bottom features a well-detailed undercarriage too, plus the front wheels are steerable. Meanwhile, front and rear the license plates feature the MCACN (Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals) logo as this is another in Auto World’s series of cars that have appeared at the MCACN shows. The car also marks AW’s American Muscle series 30th anniversary, a logo that appears on the sharp window box that houses this model.
So again Auto World creates a high-value, sharp-looking muscle car, one that’s well-crafted with opening hood and doors and delivered in an attractive box for display. This is exactly what we expect, and have come to expect for the past 30 years.
Maker: Auto World
Stock No.: AMM1250/06