The 1973

Chevrolet Camaro

lineup added a new Type LT (Luxury Touring) coupe, underscoring the move away from performance and toward luxury.

Essentially replacing the departed Super Sport, LT coupes carried a standard 145-horsepower version of the 350-cubic-inch V-8 engine.

Compared to a base price of $2,872 for the standard V-8 coupe, an LT listed at $3,268. But that extra $396 bought quite an appetizing assortment of goodies: variable-ratio power steering, black rocker panels and body accents, streamlined "sport" mirrors, Rally wheels, and a woodgrain dashboard.

The LT coupe also came with a full set of instruments, deluxe upholstery, and considerably more sound insulation.

A 175-horsepower variant of the 350 V-8 could be installed in either the base or LT coupe. Down at entry level, Camaros might have a 250-cid six or 307-cubic-inch V-8. Chevrolet did a better job than most manufacturers in adapting the Camaro to meet new bumper-impact regulations. Front and rear bumpers looked the same as before but were moved farther away from the body while being reinforced with brackets, braces, and an inner support bar.

Of the 96,751 Camaros produced in the 1973 model year, 11,574 were Z28s, an option that now cost only $598. Special Z28 features included front and rear spoilers, performance tires on five-spoke wheels, and contrasting stripes. The Z28's 350-cubic-inch V-8, now running hydraulic lifters, lost 10 horsepower. Rated at a modest but still-lively 245 horsepower, the engine abandoned its costly high-rise aluminum intake manifold. Turbo Hydra-Matic was now the only automatic available, and these were the first Z28s to offer optional air conditioning. Because of meager sales totals early in the 1970s, GM executives seriously considered dropping both the Camaro and the closely reĀ­lated Pontiac Firebird.

Each model earned a reprieve, mainly on the grounds that they had intrinsic value as "image cars" for the corporation, even if total sales continued to fall below the marketers' expectations.

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