The Chevy Camaro SS: Then and Now

March 25th, 2020 by

A blue 2020 Chevy Camaro 2SS is shown from the front in a showroom in Cincinnati, OH.

The Chevy Camaro appeared on the automotive scene in 1967 and caused an immediate stir in the sports car community. The Camaro was chosen as the official Indy 500 pace car in its first year of production and has since become one of the classic models fledgling sports car aficionados aspire to one day own. The production of the venerable vehicle was temporarily halted in 2002, leaving the community shocked and curious as to what Chevy had up their sleeves. Drivers were thrilled when the 2009 reintroduction of the brand managed to revitalize the Camaro concept while paying homage to the classic generations. Now in its sixth generation, the 2020 Chevy Camaro SS retains the invigorating spirit of sports and performance.

When compared to its 1969 predecessor, it’s clear that the modern SS models are a product of their time, with safety and convenience technology that was unheard of even a mere twenty years ago. Still, for those who crave the excitement that comes from steering a powerful car at top speeds, the Camaro SS has never disappointed. From advanced engine options to small design tweaks that enhance the overall experience, both the 1969 Camaro and the 2020 version have been created to thrill.


The SS stands for “Super Sport,” which sets the stage for the zippy performance of this muscle car. In 1969, the low, wide stance of the Camaro earned it the nickname “the hugger” for its ability to slide along roads with its superior balance and maneuverability. Today’s Super Sport is known for the same features, but engineering capabilities and technologies have developed significantly within the past fifty years.

In 1969, the Camaro SS came equipped with a choice of a 5.7L or 6.5L V8 engine. The 5.7L engine offered a BHP of 295 and 380 lb-ft of torque. The larger engine, a Turbo Jet Mark IV “big-block” came in three iterations: the L35, which could provide 325 horsepower, the L34 at 350 horsepower, and the L78, which offered 375 horsepower. The average Super Sport model at the time could accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds.

While the standard transmission in this 1969 powerhouse was a Muncie three-speed floor-shifting manual unit, drivers were given the option to choose a three-speed automatic or Muncie four-speed manual. The options available depended heavily on the engine selected.

The 2020 Camaro is offered in five trims, as both a convertible and coupe. There are two variations of the SS trim available: the 1SS and 2SS. While the lower trims feature smaller engines, the SS trims are powered by a 6.2L V8 direct-injection engine. This engine offers 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional ten-speed automatic transmission. It makes the voyage from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds, shaving time off the 1969 model’s already blazing speed.

The 1969 “Hugger” had a wheelbase of 108 inches with a length of 186 inches. The 2020 model takes after its great-great-grandfather, with a wheelbase of 110.7 inches, and a length of 188.3 inches, maintaining a close ratio for impeccable thrust. But while the newest model has a fuel economy of approximately 16 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway, the older version had a combined fuel economy of around 11.7 miles per gallon.

A red 1969 Chevy Camaro SS is on a dirt road, shown from the front.

Features Found On the Camaro SS

When it comes to muscle cars of the 1960s, the mind tends to wander towards the beefy, aggressive exterior, with its bright, fanciful colors. The 1969 SS was styled to be even more forceful, with a lower and wider stance. It was given hood-mounted air-inlets, sports striping, and a proud SS badge to announce its presence.

There was plenty of style in all aspects of the ‘69 SS, including chrome accents, a black grille, and SS badging. Two-toned paint was made available this year, as well. Inside, the vinyl upholstery was considered a low-maintenance yet luxurious option, with a full floor of plush carpeting.
Today’s drivers have a full suite of standard features in their Super Sport Camaros. Brembo brakes are standard for the front and rear, as well as LED daytime running lamps, and features such as heated outside mirrors. The dual-outlet exhaust system includes bright tips, and the StabiliTrak electronic stability and traction control system come standard––a feature which drivers of The Hugger might have appreciated in tight turns and less-than-fair weather.

While the newest safety feature on the 1969 Camaro SS was the mandatory introduction of headrests, the 2020 2SS possesses a full suite of safety features. These include rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, rear vision camera, forward collision alert, and lane change alert with blind-zone monitoring.

Today’s drivers can also enjoy jamming to the tunes of their choice via the Bluetooth-enabled sound system, blasting through the six-speaker sound system that comes standard in the 1SS, or the Bose Premium system included on the 2SS models. Vehicle information is displayed on an 8-inch color display screen, and the 2020 Camaro is capable of maintaining a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. In 1969, drivers could include an AM/FM radio as an upgrade, and gauges and controls were available upon request.

Personalizing the Camaro SS

In 1969, customizing the Camaro Super Sport to become a dream beast included choosing the gauges on the instrument panel, selecting a radio, and reviewing the selection of interior upholstery. The houndstooth option was available on coupes and pace convertibles in 1969, ranging in color palettes such as black, orange, yellow, or ivory.

Today’s Chevy Camaro 1SS and 2SS don’t offer those particular hues, but a variety of appearance packages are available, allowing drivers to customize their car to their exact specifications. For example, the Redline Edition adds 20” aluminum wheels, painted black with red accents, as well as a black-and-red fender badge, red seat belts, red knee pads, and premium plush floor mats. The 2SS trim offers an Adrenaline Red Interior option, which includes black upholstery with inserts and stitching in complementary Adrenaline Red––a far cry from the orange houndstooth of 1969!

The SS 1LE Track Performance Package is an example of Chevy’s ability to pair appearance factors with performance options. This package includes a satin black hood wrap, with black mirrors, front splitter, and rear spoiler, paired with 20” forged aluminum wheels and red brake calipers. In the cabin, drivers sit comfortably in RECARO track-inspired bucket seats, steering via a suede-wrapped race-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel. This stunning appearance is accompanied by Brembo 6-piston front rotors and 4-piston rear calipers, a fine-tuned suspension with package-exclusive bushing, springs, and stabilizer bars, Magnetic Ride Control, electronic limited slip differential, and specific performance tires from Goodyear.

For those who plan to see what their 2020 Camaro SS can do off the standard roads, the available performance recorder can keep track of your performance data. The windshield-mounted HD camera records audio and video from your drives, while the performance data records 0-60 mph times, quarter-mile speed, and 0-100-0 runs. The recordings can be played back on the touch screen or saved on an SD card for later review on a home computer. Track Mode records video, audio, speed, rpm, g force, maps, lap times, and start/finish lapse, while Sport Mode limits data accompanying video to speed and g force. The Touring Mode records scenic drives via audio and video, with no accompanying stats. Valet Mode provides video and audio recordings when you hand the key to another individual.

A blue 2020 Chevy Camaro 2SS is driving on a winding road through hills.

The 2020 Chevy Camaro

While the technology involved in the construction, features, and options of the 2020 Chevy Camaro 1SS and 2SS reaches far beyond what engineers in 1969 could even imagine, it’s clear that the recent iteration of the Camaro is true to the original. With power, speed, and muscle being at the forefront of its construction, the added bells and whistles available on the new version reflect a safety-conscious environment, which only enhances the performance of the Super Sport, with features like StabiliTrak and Magnetic Ride Control that help drivers maintain control in high-g situations. There have been changes both inside and out, but the Camaro SS continues its legacy of high performance, high thrill, pure adrenaline fun.

When you are ready to test drive the 2020 Camaro, give us a call or stop by McCluskey Chevy in Cincinnati, Ohio, today!