Is GM Planning a Camaro Comeback?

December 13, 2005

Is it my imagination, or is Detroit starting to look a little like Hollywood? Okay, even global warming won't melt the snow and sprout palm trees up and down Woodward Avenue. But Tinseltown has long specialized in recycling old ideas, as several Christmas offerings illustrate. And lately, Detroit seems to be taking the same approach to revitalizing its lineup. Consider Chrysler, which will follow this year's launch of the Dodge Charger with concepts dubbed Challenger and Imperial debuting at January's North American International Auto Show. Even the Aspen is due for a return, as these shots on TheCarConnection.com illustrate. Ford never abandoned the Mustang nameplate, but the brand was brought back to life with the current retro edition.

"So where's the Chevrolet Camaro?" we keep asking, everytime we snag a moment of General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz's attention. Apparently, while GM's car czar isn't ready to give us the details, it seems Chevy's long-lamented pony car is set to rise again. TheCarConnection.com has learned that a concept Camaro is all but certain to appear at the North American International Auto Show next month. And if it receives a positive reception, except GM to deliver a production version for the 2009 model year.

It's been more than three years since the Camaro was pulled from production, a victim of mediocre design and slumping sales. At one time, Chevy's pony car gave Mustang a serious run for its money, but over the years, Camaro started to look like so many other GM's design-by-committee products.

If the shots we're seeing (but which we cannot yet legally provide TCC readers) are any indication, GM has learned its lesson. There'll be no more jellybean muscle cars, along the lines of the forgettable new GTO. The concept is a lot more aerodynamic than the angular bricks that dominated Woodward Ave. 40 years ago, but it clearly picks up the angular "heritage" styling cues of the mid-'60s. You'll know this is a Camaro from first sight.

Different sources conflict on some of the details, such as whether the new Camaro will be based on the Kappa "architecture" used for the Pontiac Solstice roadster, or a revised version of the Zeta platform. We believe Kappa is simply be too small, and even stretched would have a hard time handling all the brute power GM will build into a revived Camaro. So that means a rear-drive Zeta, significantly redesigned from the version now underpinning the much-maligned GTO. As for powertrain, expect a range of engines, including a Corvette-derived LS1. Considering Ford's getting ready to punch out an impressive 450 hp from the Shelby Cobra, we'd be shocked if GM doesn't intend to go it one better with Camaro.

We'll have more details as they become available, maybe even a pic, if our spy photographers can track some down.

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