Chevrolet recently offered Top Speed the opportunity meet the man responsible for the sculpted shoulders you see in the side mirrors when sitting behind the wheel of the 2010 Camaro. One would think that the lead exterior designer for the rebirth of and American icon would be wearing blue jeans, cowboy boots and a straw hat. However, that was not the case with our new friend Luciano Nakamura, and to be honest it was a very similar case with the for the rest of the Camaro’s design team, made up of quite a multicultural group of talented engineers. Luciano tuned out to be a very cool fellow, but at first there was a sudden sense that we should feel intimidated by this all powerful General Motors representative. When we first met, the Camaro’s lead exterior designer stretched out his arm to greet us through his creation’s narrow window opening, all you could make out was a mysterious figure accessorized by the rings on his outstretched fingers and the silhouette of a cap and the glare of sunglasses. The person we got to know turned out to be a humble artist full of smiles who was much more eager to speak to us than the camera.
Participating in the creation of something like the new Camaro is every automotive enthusiasts dream, but for Luciano it was more like destiny. Named after the taxi driver that brought his Japanese missionary parents to the hospital so that they could bring little Luciano into the world, it was his fate from birth to bring the 21st century pony car to life. Mr. Nakamura then attended a technical high school with a focus on engineering in his native and at the age of 17 he received an internship with his native General Motors of Brazil where he was given the opportunity to learn about what it takes to make a car from the best place possible. While in Brazil, Luciano submitted some designs for a compact concept car that eventually came to life. Eventually he was brought to the U.S. where he was put to work with a team as diverse as Nakamura-san was, consisting of Russians, Canadians, Australians and many more nationalities to create the modern American muscle car.
In our time with Lucaino he was very eager to point out the Camaro’s sinister front end accented by a set of HID headlamps that come standard on the SS but V6 equipped cars can still get them with the RS pack. The lead exterior designer was also a big fan of the stylish 20 inch five spoke wheels that fill the negative space underneath the fenders very effectively. He was also keen on the sculpted creases that give the modern Camaro its classic coke bottle shape and powerful presence when viewed from behind. Speaking of the back end, the new pony car carries over the classic double round taillights from the Corvette and features a tasteful rear wing, standard on the SS and also available with the RS. The GM representative made sure to let us know that this is not the reinvention of the 1967 Camaro, but a 21st century performance machine that was inspired by classic Chevy.