After eight months of deliberation, General Motors have publicly reached a decision and have announced that the retro-design muscle car first shown in January at NAIAS will make it to production as the fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro. The new car will follow the current trend of â€˜pony car’ resurrection and has to compete with the Ford Mustang and future Dodge Challenger as it did back in the early 1970s.
The new Camaro is part of GM’s attempt of strengthening their product lineup, one of the main elements in the automaker’s restructuring plan. General Motors is fighting to recuperate its position in
The first Camaro was introduced as a 1967 model and was Chevy’s answer to the Ford Mustang. The model was stopped at its fourth generation in 2002 model, after about 4.8 million units were produced.
As a reaction to Ford Mustang’s success GM has unveiled the Camaro concept at the 2006 Detroit North American International Auto Show. The concept was “intended to explore customer reaction to design and engineering elements that might lead to an all-new version of the Camaro" as a GM official has stated.
The concept car was 186.2 inches long and used a 110.5-inch wheelbase. The wheels were concept car size reaching 21s at the front and 22s at the rear and where shod with huge 275/30 front and 305/30 rear tires, but they won’t make it to production. The power plant under the bonnet was a 400 bhp LS2 6.0-liter V-8 engine mated with a six-speed manual transmission.
At eight months after the launch of the concept car, the production version was officially announced. It is rumored to use the so-called Zeta Lite platform that Chevrolet will share with Holden in
The new Camaro was announced to resemble a lot to the concept car unveiled in January at NAIAS. The initial production is said to begin at the end of 2008, and the car is expected to become available in showrooms in the first quarter of 2009. However, that will be three years after it’s unveiling in
Market analysts anticipate that most of the Camaro buyers will be enthusiasts, people who owned one when they were younger. Unfortunately, the market preferences are changing a lot faster than many vehicle manufacturers can predict. The fuel efficiency is these days one of the top three buyer priorities, and this tendency is most likely to affect muscle car sales. This makes hard to schedule a car for launch two to three years from now and make it resonating with the consumers.
A possible answer to this issue is the use of Active Fuel Management that shuts off the cylinders not required for highway cruising. Chevy anticipates that the modern Camaro could achieve a 30 miles per gallon fuel efficiency in such circumstances, without compromising the muscle-power that made these cars popular in the first place.
By mixing a dramatic design and true performance, the next Chevrolet Camaro is entitled to regain the spirit of one of the most admired muscle cars of all time and also to attract new generations of fans. Using an updated formula, with fuel-efficient power-train, advanced chassis and contemporary design, the new muscle car will be relevant to younger car aficionados while retaining its charm for the current enthusiasts.
As Bob Boniface, director of the Warren Advanced Design Studio has stated “the fact that the Camaro has been out of production for a number of years made it particularly important that the Camaro Concept honors the Camaro heritage in the right way.”
Our artists have produced two images of the production Chevy Camaro. Some elements that are concept-car specific (such as the tiny rear mirrors and door handles) are unlikely to enter in production. The same for the sophisticated multi-light headlamps that are going to be simplified a lot, at least for the base version. The 21’ and 22’ wheels of the concept car are also going to be replaced with conventional alloys ranging probably from 17’ so 19, depending on the model.
The first generation Camaro (1967-1970) was launched as a response to the Mustang. Moreover, just as that was based on Ford Falcon, the first Camaro shared the same platform with Chevy’s compact Nova.
The main engineering of the Chevy muscle car was a uni-body structure with a separate steel rail sub-frame. The front suspension was independent with double A-arms while the rear axle was solid with semi-elliptical leaf springs. As most of the standard-equipped cars at the time, the braking was by four drums, the steering manual, and the engine was a 230-cubic-inch straight six rated with 140 horsepower and mated with a three-speed manual transmission.
Optional were the larger 250-inch version of the R6 producing 155 bhp, a 210-horsepower 327-cubic-inch small-block V8, that same V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and a higher compression ratio producing 275 horsepower, or two versions of the 396-cubic-inch big-block V8 with either 325 or 375 horsepower. Those engines could be mated to a series of wide or short-ratio 3 or 4-speed manual transmissions, or to the one of two automatics.
One of the iconic variants of the first Camaro was the he Rally Sport (RS) appearance package that offered deluxe interior trim and hidden headlights with it. Another one was the high-performance Super Sport (SS) package that had its own decoration (including a domed hood with simulated vents, "bumble bee" stripes encircling the nose and iconic SS badges). Beyond that was offered the SS-350 model with a new 350-cubic-inch small-block V8 rated at 295 horsepower as Chevy’s first 350.
The second generation Camaro was in production for 12 years (1970-1981). It had the styling inspired by Ferrari and was a lot bigger, heavier and no longer available as a convertible. In addition, as the 70s progressed, it grew less powerful, due to the pressures of tightening emissions regulations and the fuel crisis.
Still based on the Nova platform, the second Camaro was produced much like its predecessor with a unibody structure, a front subframe, leaf springs in the back and A-arms up front for suspension. Those A-arms were freshly designed and the steering gear moved from the back to the front of the front axle, but otherwise the basic mechanical pieces were familiar.
The third generation Camaros were built between 1982 and 1992 and were the first without front sub-frames or leaf-spring rear suspensions. It had the front end held up with a modified McPherson strut system. In addition, the hind end relied on a long torque arm and coil springs. Besides that, these were the first Camaros with fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmissions or five-speed manual transmissions, four-cylinder engines, 16-inch wheels and hatchback bodies.
The fourth-generation Camaro (1992-2002) was a new design sharing much of the floor stamping and all of the rear suspension with the third-generation car. However, with plastic front fenders, new short-arm/long-arm front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and a sleek new profile, the ’93 was new enough.
The fourth Camaro lineup was available in two models, the base sport coupe powered by a 160 bhp 3.4-liter version of GM’s V6 and the Z28 with the Corvette’s 5.7-liter LT1 small-block V8 detuned at 275 horsepower. Once more, the convertible was gone.
Since the 1964 introduction, the Ford Mustang has been the icon of American performance with its bold style, brawny engine and rear-wheel-drive excitement, earning its place as the top-selling sports car for 19 years straight. This is the car that invented the vehicle segment the new Camaro will have to enter. For 2006, Ford is building on the clean-sheet 2005 design by offering a V-6 "Pony Package," 18-inch wheels on GT models, a pair of new colors and , later in the model year, a darker aluminum interior upgrade option.
The Ford Mustang is one of the biggest automotive sales success stories of all time. Nearly one out of every two sports cars sold in
The standard engine, a 60-degree 4.0-liter SOHC V-6, produces 210 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Muscular engines infuse Mustang with tire-smoking performance. The 4.6-liter aluminum V-8 has three-valve heads and cranks out 300 horsepower.
Click here to read our complete Ford Mustang review.
The other contestant for the muscle car battle will be the 2008 Dodge Challenger. The Mopar will use the updated version of the LX platform (called the LY platform) already under the Dodge Charger , Chrysler 300, and the Magnum , but it will be a coupe (with only two doors) like the vintage Dodge Challengers. As back in the early 1970’s the new Challenger is set to compete with the Ford Mustang and it said that it will be produced in 60,000 - 70,000 units a year. The starting price for the 2008 Dodge Challenger will be around $28,000.
The new LY platform will offer a six - gear manual transmission, along with the regular automatic transmission. It will be available with a Hemi, although there has been some speculation about which size HEMI that will be put in the 2009 Dodge Challenger . The talk right now is whether or not they will put the new 392 Hemi, which is designed for racing, in the Challenger or if they will have a different sized Hemi, or a tuned down version of the 392.
The new Challenger will feature the long hood, short deck, ample stance and two-door coupe body style that discerned the iconic Challengers of the 1970s. As Dodge , designers stated the car it’s not just a re-creation; it’s a reinterpretation. The car follows the muscle car recipe mixing lots of horsepower with pure signature lines, an aggressive air-grabbing grille and bold color-graphics combination.
Dodge designers declared that the production version will follow exactly the design details of the concept car. However, we know that is never actually like that.
Click here to read our 2008 Dodge Challenger preview.