YOU CAN make HSV’s managing director Tim Jackson wince simply by describing the work his company does on the Chevrolet Camaro as a simple conversion.
The truth of the matter is the task of ensuring Camaros roll off HSV’s Clayton production line with the steering wheel on the right side (literally) requires significant re-engineering from Australian workers.
Wheels was invited to HSV’s Clayton factory for an exclusive look at what goes into the ‘re-engineering’ process, and what we witnessed was impressive.
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HSV claims 357 new components were designed, developed and sourced for the program, with only the Camaro’s front and rear glass, rear suspension assembly, differential and fuel tank left in place during the shift from left- to right-hand drive. Everything else is removed, and we really mean everything.
In total, there are nine different build stations the Camaro must progress through during its re-engineering.
First, the doors and bonnet come off, the interior is stripped out, AC degassed and wiring harness removed.
Second, the wheels are taken off, a new harness is put in, the rear interior refitted, exhaust disconnected, brake, boosters and air-con, fluids extracted, dash removed, front fascia and guards off.
For the third station the engine is removed and RHD parts fitted, firewall modified, front clip on, engine in, connect drivetrain and rear brakes, refit exhaust, wheels on.
Fourth is reconnecting wiring to the engine, RHD instrument panel in, front interior fitted, plumbing reconnected, fluids filled, interior and doors fitted. At this point the Camaro is driveable again.
Fifth is a refit of the front fascia, guards, bonnet, wipers, and headlights. Check for fault codes and troubleshoot.
The sixth station involves the Camaro being run over the bump track to settle suspension, before moving onto the seventh part of the process which involves a wheel alignment.
At the penultimate stage is a road test, with a second fault code check. Finally, the ninth station involves a full GM quality check.
HSV also submitted four Camaros for crash testing to ensure the car’s validation locally.
Investment from HSV in the project has been significant, with the company going all-in following the end of Holden production locally.
“Not including the testing equipment that we’ve brought on board, as a stand-alone program, the Camaro is at least $10m worth of work across joint development, engineering time, crashing cars and so on.” Jackson told Wheels.
A full feature which goes in-depth into the re-engineering process will appear in the November issue of Wheels, on sale November 1st.
Until then, enjoy this gallery which gives a glimpse of the work being conducted to allow the bow tie badged V8 coupe to prowl Aussie roads.