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This concept version of the Chevrolet Camaro was shown at an automotive seminar this month. General Motors will soon build a production version of the Camaro, a muscle-car icon of the 1960s.
This concept version of the Chevrolet Camaro was shown at an automotive seminar this month. General Motors will soon build a production version of the Camaro, a muscle-car icon of the 1960s. (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg News Photo)

New Camaro rekindles old passions

DETROIT -- Gib Loudon said he was brought to tears when he saw the Camaro concept car at the North American International Auto Show in January.

The 47-year-old Millington, Mich., man who owns 19 Camaros, was thrilled to hear General Motors Corp. executives say that the Camaro, canceled in 2002, would be back by the first quarter of 2009.

``It's a passion," said Loudon, who bought his first Camaro as a high school student in 1977. ``It's been something that's overwhelmed my life."

His wife, Tammy Loudon, said they'll be among the first to buy a new Camaro.

``He can't wait to pass his first Mustang in one," she said.

Speculation about the Camaro, a former rival of the Ford Mustang, had been swirling since GM unveiled the concept car in January.

The official green light was given this month by GM's chief executive, Rick Wagoner.

The Camaro revives a two-door muscle car that ran from 1966 to 2002. The new Camaro will offer both a V6 and V8 engine, putting it in direct competition with the Ford Mustang.

Chrysler Group also is reviving its own muscle car, the Dodge Challenger, for 2008.

GM officials would not provide pricing information, but the Camaro will carry the Chevy philosophy of providing the best value in its segment, said Chevrolet's general manager, Ed Peper.

The new Camaro should hit what GM sees as a growing segment for affordable sports cars, Peper said.

He expects the Camaro to appeal to both baby boomers who remember the original Camaro and young buyers who weren't around for the muscle-car era of the 1960s and '70s.

``This is one of our proudest days in Chevrolet and GM's history," Peper said.

``We're once again going to build the muscle car that dominated the streets of America and the hearts of faithful enthusiasts everywhere."


(Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press Photo)
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