The V8 engine has been going through a quiet and palpably hollow exit, particularly in Australia, and particularly over the past couple of years. Replaced by turbocharged, smaller displacement motors with fewer cylinders in the name of improved emissions numbers and fuel economy.
And with the exit of the V8-powered range-topper for the upcoming 2018 Holden Commodore, now an import from Europe instead of a truly homegrown product, there’s a real sense of the rumble being silenced in the distance. But what if that were to come back to life; that same sound and verve, but packaged up as a Chevrolet Camaro instead?
There’s certainly demand for a muscle car like that, just ask Ford who’ve been enjoying the market all to itself with their Mustang. Now it seems that the Camaro is slated for a local introduction well ahead of its expected schedule (2022) as News.com.au reports (with exclusive images, too) some units of the iconic American bruiser being spotted undergoing right-hand drive conversion by its partners in crime over in Melbourne: HSV.
The Camaro, were it to roll into Holden showrooms in 2018 and provided its launch is appropriately hyped-up, would very likely still have enough time and momentum left on its side to snatch up some possible sales away from the Mustang, which has been a healthy profit generator for Ford ever since the car was introduced here in its 6th-generation form, which coincidentally should also be arriving Down Under in its facelifted guise next year.
There will still be a delay, however, between the launch of this all-new entrant into the Aussie market and the V8-less gap in the Holden line-up once the final Commodore V8 rolls off the production line on October 20th, the first time the company has not had an eight-cylinder option since 1968.
Some significant hurdles do come with the Camaro’s arrival, too, as right-hand drive conversions are often expensive. HSV and Holden, with help from General Motors, will be working feverishly to streamline this process as to eliminate undue constraints on time and cost-per-vehicle once they arrive directly from their original assembly in Michigan and prior to being delivered to the customer.
Due to this, the Camaro will likely not match the Mustang for price as the Ford has the advantage of being developed from the start as a globally-available model. And while the Camaro SS with its 6.2-litre LT1 V8 will make the perfect foil for the Mustang GT, it remains a mystery if Holden will also bring in the less powerful and less expensive variants of the Camaro to battle the Mustang EcoBoost.
Chevrolet currently offers a base Camaro with a 2.0-litre Ecotec four-pot that output 205kW, however the step-up 3.6-litre naturally aspirated unit would be a better suited match for power and torque.
The local introduction of the Camaro - and it looks like it’ll wear a Chevrolet badge, too - will open the doors for even more potent versions of the car such as the ZL1 with its monstrous 480kW LT4 motor. The path should then be well paved for GM follow through on bringing the next-generation Corvette to Australia too. Things are looking up.