If you forced me, at tiny, multi-bladed knifepoint, to name the least Swiss thing I could think of, chances are pretty good I'd say a chili-eating contest and a Camaro laying rubber out of a Dairy Queen. I'd only be half right.

I tend to think of the Swiss national character as one of order, cleanliness, cheese perforation, and not really standing out from your neighbors. I've heard stories about the incredible levels of organization and orderliness that rule neighborhoods in Switzerland, and have seen pictures of lovely, almost model-like neighborhoods in Zurich or Bern.

And the one thing that I'd never picture in those environments is a big, brash, hairy-chested American muscle car brute like a 1st-gen Camaro. Yet Camaros were built in Switzerland. Specifically, the Camaros were in western Switzerland built at GM's plant in Bienne, and they made 854 Camaros between 1967-68.

The pleasingly nerdy site Camaros.org has these details about the Swiss Camaros as well:

Swiss Camaros were unique in that they were the only production application of the 283 cu. in. V8 engine in any Camaro. This was done for tax reasons (the tax was based on engine displacement). The 230 cu. in. L6 and the 283 V8 was used in 1967 models. The 1968 models used the 327/210 hp engine and presumably the L6 too, but no 1968 L6 Swiss cars have been found so far. The transmission choice was either a Powerglide automatic or a manual 4-speed. Most cars had several options such as power windows, rear defroster, console, power disc brakes, power steering, and deluxe interior.


The Swiss GM factory even had their own little mountainous grille badge, which would seem like the ultimate accessory to get for me if I had an early Camaro.

There's just something so gloriously misplaced and wrong about a Swiss Camaro that makes me really delighted. I wonder how many proper Swiss homeowners were horrified when a neighbor pulled their new Swiss Army Red Camaro into the driveway next to their sensible NSU Prinz or Opel Kadett.


And I wonder how many stench-eyes were shot at that first daring Swiss driver to lay a massive pair of rubber streaks all the way down Bahnhofstrasse. Because that (probable, hypothetical) chocolate-loving, watchmaking, Alps-dwelling motherfucker is my hero of the day.