The 19 eighties in the US were a time of great electronic style music , crazy hair and cars that well , let's say weren't overly powerful was also a time during which General Motors believed that its F body vehicles , the firebird and the Camaro needed three distinct trim lines to cater to very different buyers .
More specifically for the Camaro .
The entry vehicle was known as the sport coupe .
And during these years in the 1980 s , yes , you could even have a Camaro with a 90 horsepower 2.5 liter overhead valve iron duke four cylinder with a heavy £30,200 of weight .
These iron duke powered Camaros took about 15 to 16 seconds to go from 0 to 60 miles an hour .
Hardly something that you would call sporty .
But let's say for the entry level buyer , it at least looked to be sporty on a budget .
The second or mid level trim catered more to luxury buyers and in some cases female buyers as well .
And for the Camaro , this was known as the Berlinetta trim introduced in 1979 and continuing through the 1986 model years .
The Berlinetta was a unique Camaro that was designed to provide a buyer with a luxurious interior and also a car that still had some level of sporty feel and good looks .
The last trim line on the Camaro lineup was the top of the line from a sports perspective Z 28 or if you're more familiar with the Queen's English Z 28 .
And upon their introduction in 1982 the third generation F bodies and the Camaro were able to get a top dog 165 horsepower , crossfire fuel injected 305 cubic inch V eight engine .
This crossfire V eight or as some like to call it the ceasefire or misfire injection V eight was always made it to an automatic transmission and could not be had with a manual .
If you wanted a manual in the Z 28 you had to opt for the carb rated 35 Q V eight making 145 horsepower .
That's right .
The top engine with a manual transmission for Camaros when they were introduced , had all of 145 horsepower .
So with that lack of hooves under hood , why wouldn't the buyer select a more luxurious sports car and something that was more performance oriented ?
And in the case of the Camaro Berlinetta from 1984 to 1986 buyers got a special treat in the form of a unique interior that was only offered on this trim level and only on the 1984 85 86 model years , the so called spaceship interior .
Now the spaceship interior had a number of wacky features and unique equipment that was only used in it in the Berlinetta and not across other Camaros or even other G M vehicles .
Certainly not something that would warm the cockles of a finance person's heart as it generated pretty significant discon of scale .
The first unique element that one notices when climbing into a Berlinetta is the swivel pod radio in the middle of the vehicle that can be tilted toward either the driver or passenger , not quite aware of this being employed on any other GM vehicles except a similar set up on the Buick Somersets and Somerset Regals for a number of years in the mid 1980 s .
It looks pretty cool , is handy .
The only downside is it kind of chattered a little bit when going over bumps and rocked a little bit ?
So , not quite all as sturdy as you'd hope it would be .
The next thing one notices is that around the steering wheel , there are two separate gauge pods to left and right of the wheel .
And what's not immediately evident upon looking at these is that the gauge pods can be pushed in or pulled out to be closer to the steering wheel more or less .
So someone can adjust the distance of the pods to the wheel for their preference .
Another interesting item is that this vehicle does not employ a typical turn stock , especially with the often used G M switch gear of the era and the single multi function lever instead , it has the turn signal as part of one of the pods and is a little flapper that you push down to turn left or push up to turn right .
Other vehicles that use something like this , like the Chrysler Imperials of the fifties and sixties where the turn signal lever was activated away from the steering wheel .
But again , something that was not typically seen on General Motors vehicles in particular or domestic cars , aside from the eagle premiers in the 19 eighties .
Yet another unique feature right in the middle of the dash is the digital dashboard with a series of idiot lights as well as gauges .
But my favorite is an idiot light that I've never seen before , which comes on only upon startup .
And that is the ok exclamation point , green light at the bottom right of the dash to tell you that all systems appear to be ok , at least for the time being .
And that caveat is after all necessary since this is a 1980 era General Motors vehicle .
Next , another cool feature unique to the Berlinetta is the removable flashlight that is integrated into the dome light .
You simply push a release button on the side of the dome light and a small flashlight comes out that you can use at night or for whatever purpose that you like in front of that dome light near the windshield is perhaps the most strange feature of these Berlinetta .
And that's this dual counter wheel style thingy at the top of the center console .
The purpose of this was to provide the driver with a series of reminders that they could employ and store useful information .
The strange thing is that the wheels have a lot of different positions on them .
Everything from enabling the driver to allegedly record date and time to chassis lubrication intervals to a feature called celebration .
Overall , these little reminders are pretty interesting .
The bottom one has five digits , the top one has four digits and the bottom one mostly has car related functions .
As you can imagine with the five digit odometer , you could put the reading in for chassis lubrication or engine oil reminders and the top has a lot of day date type reminders .
So with the four digits , you can put both the day and date and month , day format .
And I admit I've never quite seen another car with this thumb wheel style reminder if you will .
It's the only one that I know of at least for domestic vehicles , but I must say the date and time is an interesting feature to record on these vehicles because let's take date , for instance , say you wanted something that would remind you of today's date .
Well , you put it in the thumb wheel and go on your merry way .
But tomorrow you must manually change the date to the next day .
It doesn't automatically happen for you .
So this feature is interesting and curious and I think more of a gimmick than anything .
And with perhaps a bit more cost , it could have been made even more useful .
But that would have upset the 19 eighties era G M finance staff .
And last but not least if you got the Berlin , you got this funky leather pouch that Chevrolet advertisements of the air said could be used for sunglasses or a garage door opener .
I guess you don't want to accelerate too hard though and have the garage door opener fall out of the pouch and on to you in any event .
Some other interesting features of the Berlin interior include this unique automatic transmission shifter boot as well as the swivel map light that was used only on this trim in the f body cars .
But other automakers of the time , including Ford employed something similar .
It's for all these reasons that I believe that this Berlin Interior offered just a few short model years represents the funkiest interior of the eighties .
And yes , somebody's going to say , well , what about CS and some other exotic vehicles ?
But on this channel , we like to talk about some mainstream vehicles that you could actually go out and buy and find .
And if you really wanted that Camaro Berlinetta , you certainly could find one .
Hope you enjoyed this conversation about the funkiest interior of the 19 eighties .
Thanks again for watching .
And until next time , take care .