HALLELUJAH Holden fans! Or should that be, GM fans? After 11 long months since October 2017, a brand new, rear-drive V8 from The General is nigh – one that already comes with a Chevy bow-tie on the front and back. And despite a wee price discrepancy which HSV will have you not speak of (one that’s not as big as we were expecting, it turns out – official Camaro pricing is overpage), it’s ready to give a certain smug ponycar a good kicking. Or at least a good arm-wrestling.
Yes, the Clayton-converted 6.2-litre V8 Chevrolet Camaro SS is upon us. In its final engineering stages, in the coming weeks you will be able to request of your local HSV dealer to have one in the driveway. But word has now gotten out that the GM-focused Aussie aftermarket, sensing a ponycarsized opportunity, is also rearming at a scale that would have alarms going off at the UN.
As we speak, every Aussie GM tuner worth knowing is figuring out how to pack containers full of superchargers, exhausts, brakes and suspension bits from Uncle Sam in preparation for Camaro’s arrival. This means that while it could be some years before factory supercharged thoroughbreds like the 485kW ZL1 1LE reach our shores, there’ll be no waiting for an equivalent force-fed Camaro with just as much poke. And such is the way in the aftermarket these days, that same car can come with a warranty, built to an OE standard and by someone half adept at customer service, all for a reasonable price. Yes indeedy, the good times are returning for the GM faithful – all we need now is a few right-hook, rear-drive, four-door Cadillacs...
I’m fascinated to see how withered rivalries evolve as we continue to embrace muscled-up imports from ostensibly the same companies that gave us Falcon and Commodore. Of course, we’ve no need to import the legendary GM vs Ford rivalry from the States along with the cars, and as a lot of the homegrown equivalent festered on the racetrack, cheering on the Peter Brocks and Dick Johnsons of the world, I’m eager to see if it will be the racetrack again where old Blue vs Red scores continued to be settled.
It’s sounding as if Camaro will join Mustang in Supercars at some point, meaning both the US coupes are headed for Mount Panorama. This ain’t new – cast your mind back to Allan Moffat’s thumping Coca-Cola 1969 Trans Am ’Stang which did battle with Bob Jane’s ground-shaking 7.0-litre Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 1971 Australian Touring Car Championship. Cast your mind back further still to the Geoghegan/Beechey era where the Mustang took top ATCC honours five times in a row, ’65 to ’69. Endearingly, Aussies cheering on Aussie drivers in Mustangs and Camaros at Aussie racetracks will be an old thing becoming new again.
Of course, buying the road cars themselves en masse is very much a new thing for Aussies, but the success of the Mustang has shown our willingness to embrace this new reality. Recall that Mustang was far from a hit when it was more recently sold here between 2001 and 2003. This all bodes well for Clayton’s Camaro experiment – already we’re hearing they’ve got pre-orders for three times as many cars as they originally intended to build. As this and Mustang show, with meat pie no longer on the menu, Aussies have shown they are more than happy to order the apple variety than go hungry.
1. Infiniti QX80 test car and a Honda Jazz. Moments later, Jazz is gone. Infiniti burps
2. Audi Sport driving instructor Steve Pizzati really (doesn’ know how to draw a crowd
3. Overtaking a truck full of yellow Kia Stingers headed back to the paintshop. Gulp
4. Wild Street Machine MX-5 gets changed in front of three-cylinder Mini... Mini blushes
5. Photographer Alastair on a shoot, photographer Alastair in his spare time? Who knows