The very first Chevrolet Camaro SS 350 advertisement looks like it should have been part of the scenery for the 1960s production of HG Wells' classic novel The Time Machine. It seems to appear, fully formed, from the very magma underneath the Earth's crust.

This first Camaro debuted in the Fall of 1966 for the 1967 model year. The platform was available until 1969. It was rear-wheel drive and came either as a coupe or a convertible. The various types, including standard, SS, RS, and Z/28 meant engine choices of 230 cu in (3.8 L), 250 cu in (4.1 L)inline-6 or 302 cu in (4.9 L), 307 cu in (5.0 L), 327 cu in (5.4 L), 350 cu in (5.7 L), 396 cu in (6.5 L), or 427 cu in (7.0 L) V8.

The craziest part of the Camaro history might just be one guy you don't associate with cars much at all. If you're older than about 35, you might associate this character with consumer protection. If you're in your early thirties, like me, he might just be the first person you voted for in the 2000 presidential election: Ralph Nader. You see, Nader wrote a book called Unsafe at Any Speed. Prior to the launch of the Camaro, GM was hoping to counter Ford's success with the Mustang with the Corvairโ€”but not only could the Corvair's rear-engine design not really counter the Mustang, Nader's total panning of the vehicle played a significant role in declining sales.

You can blame Nader for getting Bush Florida... maybe. You can also apparently blame him for the Camaro... maybe.