DETROIT – 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,” said Welburn.