Challenger vs. Camaro?
On the Challenger's day in the spotlight on Woodward in Royal Oak, guess who shows up uninvited to the party ... a rival from the 1970s named Camaro
BY JOE GUY COLLIER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Conspiracy or coincidence?
During a Chrysler Group
news conference Tuesday showcasing the Dodge Challenger concept, a General Motors Corp.
truck drove by with two Chevrolet Camaro concepts in tow.
The original Challenger and Camaro were rivals in the 1970s. The Challenger returns in 2008; the Camaro in 2009.
After the cars crossed paths Tuesday morning on Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, Jalopnik.com, a popular auto Web site, declared: "The Muscle Car Wars Are On!" The event took place just days before the Woodward Dream Cruise, a moving shrine to muscle and classic cars.
Jason Vines, Chrysler's head of communications, stoked the controversy with a quick reply on the Web site.
"Notice the two Challengers, including the concept-to-be-production-in-'08, drove into our event while the two Camaros had to be towed," Vines said.
The folks at GM claim they weren't trying to upstage the Challenger: The Camaro concepts were simply being moved between two scheduled appearances of their own on Woodward.
"It was completely coincidental," said Chevy spokesman Travis Parman.
And, yes, Mr. Vines, the Camaros can be driven, Parman responded. Under its own power, a Camaro was driven at Detroit's North American
International Auto Show in January and an unveiling last week in Warren.
"We're happy to remind Jason Vines that the engine roared quite nicely," Parman said.
Vines wasn't buying it.
"They can say their lame stunt was an accident," he said.
The production Challenger still will be available to the public ahead of the Camaro, Vines added. Ford Motor Co.
, by the way, never abandoned the Mustang, its ever-present offering in this segment.
Isn't it nice, though, to see Detroit automakers bickering again about who has the best muscle car?
If the Challenger and Camaro concepts already are sparking controversy, just wait until the production versions arrive.
Contact JOE GUY COLLIER at 313-222-6512 or [email protected].