However, while the ’Stang comes out of the factory with the steering wheel on the correct side for us, it looks as though it will be up to Holden’s performance sub-brand, HSV, to swap over left-hook Camaros until an all-new sixth-generation model, potentially with right-hook ambidexterity, arrives in the US late 2018, and in Australia as late as about 2020-21.
A pair of fifth-generation left-hand-drive Chevrolet-badged Camaros were recently spotted at Walkinshaw’s Clayton factory, in left-hand-drive form. Reports suggest they will be converted to right hook, before being sold via Holden showrooms with full factory support for servicing. The cost? It’s believed to start from around $80,000, which would equate to about $90,000 once on-road costs, including luxury car tax, are factored in.
The Australian-delivered Mustang starts from $44,990 for a six-speed manual 2.3-litre EcoBoost, but the $57,490 V8-engined, six-speed automatic GT Fastback is the Camaro’s more likely rival.
The hefty $20,000-plus premium means the Camaro and Mustang are unlikely to be direct sales rivals Down Under. However, comparisons of the long-time rivals will be inevitable.
Holden and HSV are believed to be keen to sell up to 1000 of the converted Camaros a year – ironically, the same conservative number Ford estimated when it announced the Mustang would be coming to our shores. Ford’s pony car has become a runaway sales success in Australia, snaring more than 6700 sales in the first nine months of this year and accounting for almost one in two sports car sales so far this year.
It’s believed the pony car’s sales dominance is behind Holden’s decision to fastrack the Camaro’s introduction to Australia, with the support of head office in Detroit.
HSV is initially expected to perform conversions on the Camaro SS, powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2-litre LT1 V8 engine. It serves 339kW and 616Nm to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox.
That’s enough straight-line performance for a claimed 0-60mph (97km/h) time of 4.0 secs flat – add a couple of tenths to reach 100km/h.
In the US, a track-focused “1LE” pack is available as an option. It doesn’t boost power, but introduces improved suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, and stickier Goodyear Eagle tyres.
The 5.0-litre V8 powered Ford Mustang GT produces 306kW and 530Nm, and accelerated to 100km/h in 5.0secs flat when it was performance-tested by Wheels.