CHEVY CAMARO CONVERTIBLE CONCEPT DEBUTS
AT NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
DETROIT – The Chevrolet Camaro concept was the celebrated star of the 2006 auto show season. You can only top that by literally and figuratively blowing the top off. That’s exactly what GM’s designers and engineers did to create the Camaro convertible concept. The introduction of the Camaro convertible concept was on the eve of the North American International Auto Show at GM Style, an exclusive, fashion-splashed event combining celebrities, couture and automobiles.
The Camaro convertible concept, wrapped in Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat paint with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes, is based on the original Camaro concept, with only minor changes required to accommodate the convertible body style.
“The best follow-up to last year’s award-winning Camaro concept is a Camaro convertible,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, global design. “The Camaro convertible concept instantly evokes an emotional response – it’s a vehicle that you want to make room for in your garage.”
The Camaro convertible concept embodies strong heritage while appealing to a new generation of customers who seek a distinctive statement in a new car.
“For some of us, an emotional bond was formed when we introduced the Camaro coupe last year,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “It is magnificent. But now this year, if this Camaro convertible doesn’t make your heart beat faster, you should see either your optometrist or your cardiologist, because you have a problem.”
Chevrolet already has announced production plans for the Camaro, which will go on sale in 2009. A production convertible model will be added later that year.
Like the Camaro concept vehicle, the Camaro convertible concept blends a dramatic, forward-looking design that is mindful of the brand’s storied heritage. That design includes classic long hood/short deck proportions and a wide, wheels-at-the-corners stance that gives the vehicle the look of hugging corners even when stationary.
The Camaro convertible concept is motivated by a torquey V-8 engine that rightly sends power to the rear wheels via a manual transmission. It also features a four-wheel independent suspension system and four-wheel disc brakes.
“There is an undeniably fun spirit with the Camaro convertible concept,” said Peper. “The promise of fun made by the convertible top is reinforced with the Camaro’s ‘let’s go’ stance – it’s a car that begs to be driven.”
The Camaro convertible concept shares exterior dimensions with the Camaro concept, although the convertible concept’s windshield surround, which features a bright anodized finish, is changed slightly to accommodate the convertible top.
Additional design details include:
Tonneau cover over the folded top
Rear spoiler with LED-lit CHMSL
Racing-inspired fuel filler door
Front-inlet hood scoop, inspired by the Corvette Z06
Heritage-inspired rear fender “gills”
Anodized aluminum door handles
Bold 21-inch (front) and 22-inch (rear) wheels, with accent color
The Camaro convertible concept’s Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat color is a contemporary update of the classic hue, which was originally offered in 1969. It is complemented with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes. The modern interpretation of the classic color and its dark accent stripes simultaneously reflect the Camaro’s heritage and deliver a deep, lustrous and thoroughly contemporary appearance.
The Camaro convertible concept rides on 21-inch front wheels and 22-inch rear wheels. The wheels have a deep-dish, five-spoke design and feature charcoal center sections with bright outer edges and a red outline on the wheel edge. The charcoal wheels complement the gunmetal gray stripes on the body.
Inside, the Camaro convertible features a simple yet purposeful interior that reflects design elements inspired by the muscle car era, including the first-generation Camaro. A new, light-and-dark color scheme enhances the airy feel of the convertible, particularly when the top is lowered.
The seats’ fronts feature platinum-tone leather surrounding suede-like Alcantara® inserts, with black, sculpted seatbacks. The use of light color only on the seating surface is reminiscent of vintage houndstooth interiors, while a matching, tri-coat platinum paint is used to accent the door panels and instrument panel, giving a modern, bold feel to the interior.
“The light-on-dark interior coloring makes a strong statement that conveys the spirit of freedom and fun that is embodied by a Camaro convertible,” said Micah Jones, interior designer.
As with the Camaro coupe concept, the convertible concept features an instrument panel inspired by first-generation Camaros, including an intricate “round-gauges-in-square-holes” design. The gauges have a deep, three-dimensional appearance, with white faces and red pointers.
“The instrument panel – including the four auxiliary gauges mounted in front of the shifter – pays homage to first-generation Camaros, while achieving a modern appearance through its refined integration of components,” said Jones.
Craftsmanship and attention to detail are evidenced throughout the interior, including the smoke satin aluminum finish on trim plates, vents, seat handles and safety belt buckles. The shifter and pedals are made of billet aluminum. The steering wheel has a detailed, deep-dish three-spoke design and the front seats are hinged at the center – rather than the sides – for an integrated appearance. A separate ignition button is used to start the engine and the speedometer and tachometer needles complete full-sweep indexing when the engine rumbles to life.
A “spine” motif runs through the center of the vehicle and on the seatbacks, including a prominent center console that stretches to the rear seat. The spine reinforces the symmetry of the Camaro convertible, as well as its precision.
An attainable icon
The original Camaro was introduced to the Baby Boomer generation, a large group of young, individualistic and mobile Americans that drove fundamental changes in the auto industry. The Camaro was personal, sporty and powerful – attributes that were typically found on more expensive, smaller and, often, foreign sports cars. The Camaro represented a real life-sized sporty car that was attainable for just about everyone. An almost endless list of optional features, colors and trim combinations ensured owners could tailor their Camaro to their exact taste.
As Boomers transitioned into larger vehicles to accommodate growing families, younger drivers embraced used Camaros as their first cars, and third- and fourth-generations of the Camaro continued to deliver affordable fun and performance to a new generation of enthusiasts. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of owners of all walks of life have found driving fun in a Camaro during the past 40 years.
The new Camaro concepts draw on their namesakes’ heritage, but also the global, youthful influences of the 21 st century. These influences are seen in the Camaro convertible concept’s bold proportions, tailored wheel-to-body relationship and detailed interior – including the multi-dimensional instruments. It’s a design that resonates with a generation of younger car buyers influenced by highly stylized “tuner” cars and import sports cars.
“Youthful buyers want a car that makes a statement in its design as much as its performance,” said Brian Smith, exterior designer. “The new Camaro concepts bridge heritage with contemporary style, with a design that is simultaneously admired among import-influenced youth and traditional enthusiasts.”
Along with style and performance, the timeless spirit of fun is woven into the new Camaro concepts.
“Camaro has always represented the American ethic that style and performance don’t belong exclusively to the wealthy,” said Smith. “Camaro has always been everybody’s sports car, and these new concepts demonstrate its spirit is relevant for a new generation.”