Chevrolet isn’t about to let the current Camaro line fade away without some celebration. It’s planning to unveil three special versions of the popular pony car at the SEMA Show this week, including a special 2015 Camaro Commemorative edition that will go on sale next spring.
It also will reveal another special – but as yet-unnamed — production model that will help mark the unexpected rival of a once-dead nameplate. Re-launched in 2009 after a long absence, the Camaro is now the country’s most popular muscle car, handily out-selling long-time leader, the Ford Mustang. But Ford is looking for a revival of its own with the launch of an all-new model of its own this year.
“The Camaro has had an amazing run since we introduced the fifth-gen Camaro,” said Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “In fact, Camaro’s outsold everybody in the segment, every single year. And what I attribute it to, is Camaro has always had this ability to deliver a combination of style, performance and affordability.”
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Commemorative model will be offered in both coupe and convertible body styles, and buyers will have a choice of either the V-6 or high-performance V-8 engines available on standard-issue models. They’ll also have a choice of the 2LT or 2SS trims.
So, what’s special? Five distinct exterior colors and a unique “adrenaline” rad interior, 20-inch wheels designed specifically for the Commemorative edition, along with a special stripe, front splitter, ZL1 rear spoiler, and special emblems on the fender.
“We wanted to create a special edition Camaro that celebrates that success as the fifth generation comes to a close as the end of the model year,” explained Todd Christensen, Camaro’s marketing manager.
(For a look at some of Chevy’s other SEMA cars, Click Here.)
The outgoing Camaro was certainly special for Chevrolet. The Gen-4 model was largely a failure, sales dwindling in the face of a changing market – and an assault by a more successful Mustang. Camaro was pulled from production, along with its near-twin, the Pontiac Firebird, and seemed destined to disappear in the automotive rubbish heap along with other relics of the muscle car era, like the Pontiac GTO.
GM decided to give both cars another chance. But while the “Goat” failed to catch fire with the public, a Camaro concept proved a major hit, giving momentum to the car’s return to production in 2009. GM stylists said they struggled to find a balance between old and new, preferring to call their work a “heritage” design, rather than retro.
Whatever the term, the fifth-generation Camaro caught fire and has maintained its mojo right up to the final year of production – a rarity among sporty coupes. Through the end of September, sales were up 7.8 year-over-year, at 69,878, compared to a 1.1% increase for Mustang, which reached sales of 59,831 for the first nine months of the year.
But even as Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out a new, gen-six Camaro, Ford has already hit the reset button, and initial indications are that it could have a major hit on its hand with the 50th anniversary Mustang that was introduced for 2015.
(Click Here for our review of the 2015 Ford Mustang.)
Camaro isn’t about to concede the checkered flag, however – as it’s showing with the three special models coming to the annual aftermarket event in Las Vegas this week. That includes a limited-edition version of the Camaro SS that will get a number of special exterior features, including a unique “Emerald Green paint scheme.
Chevrolet has asked fans to come up with a name for that special model and plans to announce their pick during the SEMA Show.
(Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat launches a new era for the muscle car. Click Here for more.)