Saturday, March 21, 2009

Detroit Tries Muscle: The Return of the Camaro

Saturday, Mar. 21, 2009
from Time Magazine

Few General Motors Corp. cars have ever had the mystique of the Chevrolet Camaro. A macho machine if ever there was one, the Camaro was launched in the 1967 model year in response to Ford's fabulous Mustang. The Camaro made waves quickly, because buyers had the option of muscling it up with GM's big-block V8 engines, turning a sporty 4-seat roadster into a street monster and track regular. Mustang had the name; but Camaro had the horses. Like many of Detroit's muscle cars, though, Camaro was doomed by paunchier styling and performance over the years, and the car's blue-collar fans drifted away to pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. Slow sales doomed the car in 2002.

Now the beast is back, and Karen Rafferty, the car's marketing manager says the Camaro will appeal to both older muscle- car enthusiasts and to new generation of motorists looking for a distinctive vehicle that blends cool styling and the latest technology.
GM has already has 14,000 orders for the new Camaro since unveiling the first concept car in 2006. Never export oriented, GM is preparing to sell the car in 20 countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. (See the 50 worst cars of all time.)

From its one-piece rear quarter panel to its independent rear-suspension, deep-dish steering wheel and comfortable interior, the new Camaro goes well beyond the old-fashioned "Detroit iron" of the 1960s and '70s. The new Camaro is powered by either by an old school, 426-hp V8 or an up-to-date direct-injection V6 engine that produces 29 miles per gallon and 304 HP in one package. (See TIME's top 10 fictional cars.)
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