Contempo Cantara: 1986 Chevy Camaro


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While I am all for the ingenuity that the aftermarket brings to the masses, there are some examples of modified vehicles that make you wonder if the designer should have taken a deep breath before heading to the fabrication lab. Although I do love wide fenders and headlight covers, this Contempo Cantara Camaro (say that three times fast) here on eBay may be trying a little too hard to look like Marty McFly’s DeLorean for my tastes – or maybe I just need to grab a leather jacket and an Aerosmith cassette and embrace a rockin’ alter ego.


As seen from this angle, the body kit enhancements were significant. A fiberglass decklid with louvered wings is the first thing you notice, followed by the fender flares and side-sill extensions. 16 inch wheels and high-performance tires rounded out the list. This car still wore its original wheels as spec’d out by Contempo, but the seller has swapped those for the bling-bling rollers seen here in this photo. I liked the original wheels better, personally, but this goes to show you just how much tire you can cram under those widened fenders.


Everything else remained standard Camaro. Standard 305, automatic transmission, cloth seats. The seller says his car is one of 48 but I don’t know how you’d verify that. Camaro owners could either buy the pieces of the kit themselves or you could bring your car to the Contempo Vans factory and they’d install it. The point remains that this was not a factory-built car and figuring out production numbers is a bit of trick. In searching through some message board archives, it’s clear that Camaro enthusiasts like the fender flare components, as they trade for a good price when they (rarely) come up for grabs.
Image courtesy of

In a very 80’s way, this is not a bad looking kit. What I mean is, if you’re committed to rocking a period-correct Camaro, you could do worse than the Contempo add-ons. It’s like some of the side skirts and front air dams you can still find for old 3-Series BMWs like mine: if I wanted to have my car be a textbook example of 80’s excess, a period-correct body kit is the way to go. Unfortunately for this seller, I don’t think the car or the kit are worth enough to justify a reserve-price auction, but if the bottom line price is below $5,000, it could be worth a look. Do any of you have a favorite body kit from a particular era of automotive tuning?

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  1. hhaleblian

    If man can create it, man can screw it up.

    Like 0
  2. Kincer DaveMember

    There were some decent looking body kits back then, this isn’t one of them, it’s not terrible but there were much better ones.

    Like 1
  3. '72 Spitty

    I’d buy it just for the Little Green Tree air freshener!

    Like 0
  4. Frankie

    Hey, it was the 80’s and cocaine was king.

    Like 0
  5. DolphinMember

    “Contempo Cantara Camaro (say that three times fast)”

    If somebody was on coke they could say it 3 times fast.

    Like 0
  6. Jaygryph

    I owned one of those. They do look neat in person. Internet haters always trash on it but I never heard anything negative from people who saw it in person. Bangshift trashed on mine when it went up for sale. They’re fairly rare. They were also on GTA firebirds which look much better I think .

    Like 2
  7. John Nicholas

    I actually own the white car pictured above. I pulled the louvers of the headlights and put on a set of 18″ Foose wheels. Mine is actually a Cantara GT, supposedly one of four with the big wing (similar to a Fiero) and the front spoiler.

    Like 1
  8. John Nicholas

    I actually bought one of these new when they came out. Here I am in 1989 or 1990 with my first one. I wish I’d never sold that one. But the white one is a great car and only has 36,000 miles on it. Third gen lovers hate the look, but I love it. It gets plenty of attention and does great at car shows.

    Like 3
  9. Anthony Codalata

    John Nicholas I think I bought your original car. Did it have a customized front license plate holder ?

    Like 0
  10. John Nicholas

    That would be cool if you bought it. When I owned it, it had a standard front license plate bracket. I sold it in the fall of 1990. Actually traded it in on a Honda Accord. I’m pretty sure they wholesaled it out and I heard it went south. If it had the Iroc hood it was most likely mine. Out of all of the Contempos I’ve seen, it seems like I was the only one who added Iroc hoods.

    Like 0

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