Death of the Panther.......Birth of the Camaro

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fxgs1
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Death of the Panther.......Birth of the Camaro

Post by fxgs1 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:29 am

Here's a little history behind the naming of the Camaro some of you might not of heard before:


The Day the Panther DiedBy: Scott Settlemire
June 28, 1966, was a day of firsts. It was a day where 200 journalists were inducted into SEPAW (more about that in a minute).
That day, the FIRST and LAST meeting of SEPAW took place.
It was the first time that 14 cities were hooked up real time for a news conference via telephone lines (something that seems so very simple today, but so very complicated then).
And it was the first time that the world found out that a new Chevrolet would be called Camaro rather than Panther.
On June 21, 1966, approximately 200 journalists from around North America received the following telegram:
"Please save noon of June 28 for important SEPAW meeting. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. Details will follow (signed) John L. Cutter - Chevrolet Public Relations - SEPAW Secretary."
As you can imagine, there were many befuddled looks upon receiving such a telegram.
The next day, June 22, the same journalists received this telegram:
"Society for the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World will hold first and last meeting on June 28. (Insert city here) chapter will meet at (insert hotel name here) and join national 14 city telephone hookup with meeting in Detroit at which national president E. M. Estes will preside. Please telephone acceptance to Frank Faraone, (Telephone # ) Delaware 7-4601 (signed) John L. Cutter - Chevrolet Public Relations SEPAW Secretary."
Well ... that certainly gave the journalists something to think about, and the best part is that they would not have to travel around the country to attend this SEPAW meeting; rather, they only needed to travel to one of 14 cities.
This was truly a technological undertaking.
The call arrangement included 14 cities and originated from a downtown Detroit hotel, where Chevrolet General Manager E. M. "Pete" Estes made some announcements.
The announcement over the wires was heard by approximately 150 journalists in Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco, New York and Washington.
Amplifiers and microphones were installed in each of the 14 meeting rooms across the country so that newspeople could hear Mr. Estes' remarks and direct questions to him. The questions and answers were heard simultaneously in all cities on the circuit.
It's interesting to note that we think nothing of linking friends on a conference call at will from our homes or offices. It was a different world 40 years ago, and as you can see by the above figures, it was quite an accomplishment.
The REAL story, however, was in what Mr. Estes was about to tell the journalists.
Looking through notes that survived 40 years within Chevrolet files, I've managed to put together some of what Mr. Estes talked about that day.
Mr. Estes started the news conference with this statement:
"SEPAW stands for the Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World - and by your presence, you are automatically charter members."
He went on to mention the many travels he made to dealers and plants - and mentioned milestones such as the three-millionth Los Angeles-produced Chevrolet passenger car - and the first passenger car to roll off the newly opened Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant.
Mr. Estes continued: "It is also a year in which Chevrolet has gotten into the hottest sales race since 1959."
He made it clear that Chevrolet intended to remain America's number one seller of cars and trucks.
"One of the reasons we're going to stay No. 1 is also a reason for this meeting. Chevrolet is definitely going to have a new car included in the new models for the 1967 model year - and this car will be introduced on September 29, 1966. This is NOT news to many of you! As far back as April 8, 1965, a Detroit newspaper had page-one headlines proclaiming that Chevrolet had a Panther car to answer the horsy offering of a competitor."
"In the two years since then, you gentlemen of the press, radio and television have literally designed, built and marketed the Chevrolet Panther to the point were we get irate letters from customers, plus phone calls, demanding all specifications and price so they can place orders."
Mr. Estes continued: "We have frequently said, 'What Panther?' And there have been many other names suggested, citing Chevrolet's preference for names starting with the letter 'C.' "
He announced that this new Chevrolet would be built in two assembly plants - one in Los Angeles (Van Nuys) and one in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio (Norwood). He then invited all newspeople to drive this new Chevrolet - and all of the new Chevrolets at a press preview in Detroit on September 12 and in Los Angeles on September 19.
Mr. Estes then said: "Oh, yes! I almost forgot! The purpose of this meeting! Much as we appreciate the tremendous publicity given Panther, we ask you to help scratch the cat once and forever. And as such, this will be both the FIRST and LAST meeting of SEPAW. Chevrolet has chosen a name which is lithe, graceful and in keeping with our other car names beginning with the letter C ... it suggests the comradeship of good friends ... as a personal car should be to its owner. Above all, it is the name of our new car line to be introduced on September 29 ... and to us, the name means just what we think the car will do: GO! ... and here it is!"
At that moment, five Michigan State University students - each holding a letter - Mr. Estes held the sixth letter - and while a narrator described to out-of-towners what was going on, Mr. Estes placed each of the women students in order and then lined up with them for all to see the word "CAMARO."
And thus was the day the Panther died!

ricmiller
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:48 am

Re: Death of the Panther.......Birth of the Camaro

Post by ricmiller » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:51 am

I 'm glad to to hear this story. Camaro is an amazing Chevrolet model, I am looking for an auction. However, I was on a road trip when an accident occurred, and fortunately, nobody got hurt during that time. A site showed me where I could go to buy a new Toyota . I am pretty excited to have a brand new car.

Mod edit: Commercial link removed

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