WHAT CAR ARE WE GETTING?
The Chevrolet Camaro 2SS. Only one version will be offered in MY2018 spec with an eight-speed paddle-shift auto (no manual initially). Think 6.2-litre V8 with 339kW/617Nm. There’ll be a limited-slip diff, Brembo brakes, bi-modal exhaust, sunroof, full leather, heated seats, 20-inch rims, rear spoiler and Bose nine-speaker premium audio, all standard.
WHEN & HOW MUCH?
HSV’s converted Camaro SS was due in showrooms end of September, priced at $85,990 (plus on-roads). Production at HSV’s new factory at Clayton in Melbourne’s south-east began early September – just “a little late”, HSV managing director Tim Jackson told MOTOR. The slight delay was because “it just takes time to do it properly”.
The Camaro will be sold nationally through 60 Holden dealers in re-branded Chevrolet areas – along with the similarly converted Silverado pick-up trucks. That’s more than the previous HSV network due to the addition of rural dealerships.
HOW MANY CAMAROS ARE ACTUALLY COMING TO OZ?
The first model year will be limited to just 550 units. This will be augmented by further shipments already on the water from the USA. HSV is looking at selling around 1000 a year, although production capacity will rise to more than 2000 if demand warrants.
Annual sales will never approach the Mustang’s 9000-plus, a car imported as a factory made right-hand drive, avoiding the extra cost of local right-hand drive conversion.
ARE WE GETTING THE FACELIFTED ONE?
Yes. Right-hand drive conversions of the latest 10-speed auto model – and possibly a manual option – won’t be available until “well into 2019”, according to HSV.
ARE WE GOING TO GET ZL1 AND/OR ZL1 1LE?
ZL1 is to Camaro SS what HSV GTS was to Commodore SS – the supercharged big daddy. The ZL1 has a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 packing 485kW and 868Nm. The 1LE pack optimises the ZL1 for track duty complete with monster brakes and wild aero. “We’ll look at them in the future,” Jackson teased. They’d cost well beyond $100,000.
In the news: ZL1 possible, but difficult
WHAT DOES HOLDEN THINK ABOUT ALL THIS?
HSV’s conversion program has been endorsed by global GM product chief Mark Reuss, the former Holden boss who visited Australia recently. Reuss was shown the RHD Camaro and Silverado at a look-and-drive event at the Lang Lang proving ground, reportedly declaring he was happy with the result and supportive of HSV’s Chevrolet niche.
While the next-gen mid-engined C8 Corvette is destined to be made in right-hand drive and imported by Holden in 2021, right-hand drive production of the new Camaro due around the same time has not been confirmed. In fact, despite the success of the RHD Mustang, GM insiders report that a business case for a factory RHD Camaros cannot be made.
WILL THERE BE A CAMARO SUPERCAR RACER?
The Walkinshaw Andretti United (WAU) team – closely aligned with Walkinshaw family owned HSV – is doing an engineering study to determine viability of a Camaro Supercar. Although the latest Gen2 rules allow two-door coupe body shapes, adapting them to fit the control Supercars chassis is difficult. Most problematic is the low roofline, which Ford has overcome by raising, stretching and widening the Mustang shape (a Mustang-bodied Supercars racer will replace the Falcon next year).
Pictured: Camaro ZL1 with Camaro NASCAR racecar
A similar solution has been found for the even lower-line Camaro and WAU is keen to switch from the ZB Commodore in 2020. It is looking at a technical alliance with Kelly Racing – about to lose its Nissan factory backing – and giant-killing independent Erebus Motorsport to justify the change.
Formerly the factory-backed Holden Racing Team, WAU has to tread carefully because of HSV’s links to Holden. Although Holden’s new management is supportive of racing again and has gone on record as not opposing the Camaro joining as a Commodore rival, the internal politics of such a change are a minefield. –