THE Ford-Holden rivalry has been reignited, with Holden Special Vehicles announcing pricing for the Chevrolet Camaro.
The performance outfit is importing the Camaro and converting it to right-hand drive for local sales.
When it goes on sale later this year the Camaro will cost $85,990 (before on-roads), which should translate to a little more than $90,000 drive-away — a premium of about $20,000 over the Ford Mustang coupe.
The Camaro will be available in 2SS specification only and metallic paint is the only option.
Its naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 (339kW/617Nm) turns the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel mounted paddle-shifters.
A new facelifted model has just been released in the US with a 10-speed automatic and upgraded infotainment, but Australian buyers won’t get this model until next year.
The Camaro’s outputs compare favourably with the Mustang — it’s a dead-heat for power and the Chev claims 61Nm more torque than the Blue Oval’s performance coupe.
No manual transmission will be available from launch despite earlier indication that the Camaro would be available with a six-speeder.
The labour-intensive conversion process means that only 550 examples will be available for the first year. The low numbers won’t pose a threat to the Mustang’s dominance as the country’s best-selling sports car and Ford’s best-selling passenger vehicle.
HSV managing director Tim Jackson says: “Our business model has always been to provide a niche offering with strong connection and support to our customers and, with just 550 available in our first model year, we are excited to get the product in customers’ hands.”
Inside, the Camaro is kitted out with heated and ventilated leather trimmed front seats, heated leather steering wheel, nine-speaker Bose audio and an eight-inch digital instrument cluster.
Externally, the Chevrolet bow-tie badge is front and centre in the aggressively styled nose. The 20-inch alloy wheels house large Brembo brakes.
The Camaro joins the Silverado large truck in HSV showrooms and gives an indicator to brand’s future now that its former staple — the locally produced Commodore — has disappeared.
“This project has been over three years in the making and involved millions of dollars of investment in product development, testing and validation,” says Jackson.
“We set out with the goal of retaining the integrity of the left-hand drive vehicle through the adoption of extensive engineering, development and manufacturing processes … we believe we have achieved our goal.”