The New Chevrolet Camaro Concept Coupe and Convertible.
Just to prove that German automakers aren't the only
ones who plan products based on what their rivals have done, GM comes out with the camaro--a retro-styled,
two-door coupe with a honking big V-8 that harks back to the glory days of Motown. If that sounds familiar,
that's exactly what Ford did with the Mustang.
Hot on the heels of the Pony car's success, DaimlerChrysler has
dusted off the Challenger and Chevy has produced a new camaro, a nameplate that was more recently interred.
muscular camaro concept is pure '69 updated, with the kind of subtle detailing that makes it look up-to-the-minute.
The interior is very glitzy, and pays homage to the original, even down to the GM seat belt insignia and the twin
The car is 186.2 inches long and rides on a 110.5-inch wheelbase. The wheels are 21s at the front and 22s at the rear,
shod with monster 275/30 front and 305/30 rear tires, which should be able to corral the 400 horses from the LS2
6.0-liter V-8 engine powering through a six-speed manual transmission.
The show car has a cobbled together chassis
with an all-independent suspension, but if it makes it into production, it will use the so-called Zeta Lite
architecture that will be shared with Holden in Australia. The good news for GM is that the architecture--while hardly
cutting edge--is far more sophisticated than the live-axle Mustang. Insiders say that a $20,000 base model production
car could use an inexpensive V-8 (the LS2 would come in a costlier model), so a V-6 version would be offered only to
make the car easier to insure.
The real car would have smaller wheels, but the overall diameter of the tires wouldn't be much changed. GM vice-chairman and product czar Bob Lutz apparently loves it and joked on the show stand "all I have to do is persuade this man"--referring to GM CEO Rick Wagoner--"to pay for it."
Combining dramatic design and exciting performance, the Chevrolet camaro Concept recaptures the spirit of one of the most popular sport coupes of all time and redefines the camaro for new generations of fans.
The camaro Concept embodies the performance and passion that have made first-generation camaros some of the most sought-after collector
cars, updating the formula with a fuel-efficient powertrain, sophisticated chassis and contemporary design execution. The goal is to
make the sport coupe relevant to younger enthusiasts while retaining its appeal to its current fans.
“Millions of people of all ages fell in love with the camaro for all of the right reasons,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice
president, global design. “camaros were beautiful to look at and offered performance that could rival expensive European GTs.
Yet they were practical enough to drive every day and priced within the reach of many new car buyers.”
Though only a show car at this point, the camaro Concept is intended to explore customer reaction to design and engineering
elements that might lead to an all-new version of the camaro.
The long hood, short deck and wide stance of the Camaro Concept leave no doubt that it is a serious performance car. Those
looks are backed up by a 400-horsepower aluminum small-bock V-8, a six-speed manual transmission, and a sophisticated chassis
with four-wheel independent suspension.
Like its forebears, the Camaro Concept would be practical enough for everyday use. It features fuel-saving features like Active Fuel
Management™ cylinder deactivation technology, yielding highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or better. Its overall size is a comfortable
fit for city streets and suburban parking lots, and its back seat provides occasional seating for two adults.
Lean, muscular design
Because of Camaro’s powerful heritage, the GM Design team chose a theme that pays homage to the original
Camaro, while being instantly recognizable as an all-new car.
Said Bob Boniface, director of the Warren Advanced Design Studio, “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.”
The 1969 Camaro, considered by many to be the best first-generation design, was a significant inspiration. But as GM design
teams in Warren, Mich., worked on alternatives for the Camaro Concept, they also turned to the latest Corvette and to aircraft
like the YF-22, seeking a design that encompasses the spirit that made the 1969 Camaro great, but interprets that spirit in
a fresh, exciting way.
“The overall proportions, long hood and powerful fender forms say, ‘This is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive performance
vehicle,’ ” said Tom Peters, design director, rear-wheel drive performance cars. The prominent front grille and hood
bulge hint at the power of the Corvette-inspired V-8 engine. Large wheels and tires, exposed high-performance brakes and prominent
fender shapes signal that the Camaro Concept has the handling and braking to go with the powertrain.
The cockpit of the Camaro nestles between sharply defined fender forms, a design element inspired by fighter planes and the
new Corvette. And like any high-performance vehicle, the clean, purposeful design is integral to the aesthetic. “The
Camaro Concept isn’t just a styled shape,” said Peters. “The design incorporates what the vehicle needs
to perform to its optimum level.”
The same purposeful design is reflected in the interior of the camaro Concept. The gauges and splash of
orange trim hint at classic first-generation camaros, but the overall design and execution reflect the no-nonsense
functionality that drivers expect from a high-performance Chevrolet sports car.
Performance for the real world
The Camaro Concept features the latest generation of GM’s legendary small-block V-8. The 6.0-liter LS2
engine features an aluminum block and heads for light weight, and Active Fuel Management™, which shuts
off four cylinders to save fuel when the engine is lightly loaded. This concept version of the LS2 is rated
at 400 horsepower, yet it could also deliver more than 30 mpg at highway speeds.
The Camaro Concept’s six-speed manual transmission provides a wide spread of ratios for aggressive
Acceleration off the line, confident passing and merging and efficient highway cruising.
Modern sports cars are about more than just straight-line speed, so the Camaro Concept features a sophisticated rear-wheel
drive chassis. Its independent front and rear suspension features progressive-rate springs and gas-pressurized dampers.
Four-wheel vented disc brakes with 14-inch rotors provide confident stopping under all conditions
Enhancing both the performance and appearance of the Camaro Concept are unique
five-spoke cast alloy wheels, 21 inches in the front and 22 inches in the rear.
An American icon
Designed in the mid-1960s, the first-generation Camaro captured the
optimism of an era. The Baby Boomers were in their teens, rock-and-roll and Motown ruled the airwaves, and
American culture was sweeping the globe.
Like the Impala, Chevelle and Sting Ray, the new Camaro showcased Chevy’s strength of bringing stylish, high-quality
cars to a mainstream audience. Its dramatic proportions and graceful lines recalled both the Corvette and the Italian Gran
Turismo cars of the era. And its powertrain lineup, which soon included both the potent Z-28 small block and big block 396s
and 427s, gave the Camaro the performance to go with its looks.
But what really made the Camaro an American icon was that it was accessible to millions. Chevy sold more than 699,000 Camaros
in its first three years. So for every Z-28 taking the checkered flag at the track, there were thousands of less exotic Camaros
cruising the drive-ins, picking up the groceries, or taking the family on vacation.
“The Camaro Concept is designed to have that same broad appeal, with unmistakable style, spirit and performance,”
CHEVROLET CAMARO CONCEPT CONVERTIBLE -
Ever since the Chevrolet Camaro coupe concept
broke cover to become the star of last year's Detroit show, interested observers have been wondering when a convertible
would follow. Just as the current-generation Ford Mustang spawned a ragtop, it was simply inconceivable that Chevy
wouldn't do thesame for the Camaro, even though the coupe is still a "concept." The convertible is also a neat way
of keeping the Camaro buzz alive in advance of the coupe's 2009 production debut. The convertible will hit showrooms
late in '09.
Like the coupe concept, this convertible is very close to the production version. Visually, the convertible makes a
much bigger splash than the coupe. That's partly due to the retro hugger orange pearl paint job and gunmetal gray racing
stripes. Tom Peters, General Motors' director of exterior design for rear-wheel-drive and performance vehicles, says
the idea was to create a more striking package: "We opted to go with bright metal accents, as opposed to satin finish,
for things like the exhaust tips and fuel filler, and even the rear lights have a polished look. The wheels are
different, too. We wanted to do an update of the redline tires from the 1960s, but instead of the red line going
around the tire, it's actually on the wheels."
Peters says the surface changes to the convertible's body are centered around the rear fenders and the trunk lid.
Unlike a pure concept, where designers can do as they please, the convertible has been engineered dimensionally to
accept a roof folding into the trunk, hence Peters' insistence that the real thing will look pretty much like the
concept. He does allow, though, that the windshield will need to be taller on the production convertible.
The concept's rear seats have been moved inboard, too, in order to accommodate the extra folding-roof hardware.
That said, the Camaro concept doesn't yet pack a lid. Interestingly, Peters won't entirely rule out the notion of a
folding hardtop. Although it's unlikely, since the extra cost involved would make the Camaro less competitive
against its Ford Mustang rival, Chevy could conceivably offer either a ragtop or a folding hard top, as do Mazda
(MX-5)and Chrysler (Sebring).
The creative designer for the Camaro's interior, Micah Jones, says that cars such as Audi's A4 Cabriolet were
the benchmark for the Camaro--the Audi features a hinged tonneau that covers the roof once it's stacked in the trunk.
That's not a cheap solution, and as always, the final detail design for the Camaro's mechanism will be driven by cost.
Jones says the interior has been tweaked to reflect the car's open-topped mission: "We wanted a lighter,
more airy atmosphere for the cabin, so we went for a light-on-dark color scheme.² Jones also mirrors Peters
in his assertion that the interior will reach production virtually untouched. It's gorgeous, at least as good a
reinterpretation of a '60s theme as that managed by today's Mustang. Here, it's round gauges hiding in square
binnacles, a treatment adopted by the first-gen Camaro. For the convertible, the instruments are white-faced with
red needles, which is very cool indeed. And while cost will militate against the use of genuine aluminum for the
binnacle surrounds and switchgear, there are cheaper materials that can do a reasonable job of mimicking the effect.
Chevy isn't short of powertrains for the Camaro, and like its coupe sibling, the convertible will be offered
with an entry-level V-6 and move up to big-displacement V-8s. It's very likely that high-performance variants
to rival the Mustang's GT offerings will also be rolled out, perhaps wearing the legendary SS badge.
Cost will also determine how sophisticated the Camaro's chassis will be. At the moment, designers are
specifying four-wheel independent suspension with a multilink rear end and progressive-rate coil springs
with gas dampers. Again, this isn't the cheap option. And Chevy's bean counters will point out that the
Mustang has managed to be a sales success in spite of its archaic solid rear axle.
Excerpted from automobilemag.com and chevrolet.com
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