WE WEPT WHEN GM announced that a right-hook version of the 2010 Chevy Camaro would not be built, but now there's reason for Australian pony car fans to smile again.
Queensland-based car importers Performax International has announced that it will be bringing in left-hand-drive Camaros, converting them to right-hand-drive and offering them for sale to Australian motorists.
Performax will take delivery of its first car in the next few weeks, which will be used by the company to set up all the tooling and parts needed to convert the Camaro to RHD and comply it for road use.
Once the converted Camaro is approved, Performax expects to start selling them to private buyers by Christmas this year.
Why the delay? In order to satisfy Australian design rules and import requirements, the LHD-RHD conversion process is a lengthy one.
Performax will be spending coming months taking the test car apart, studying it and figuring out how best to do the swap, as well as manufacturing their own OEM-quality replacement parts.
"The whole process will take time," said Performax General Manager, Nicholas Vandenberg.
"Tooling up for the conversion process which will involve digitally scanning and reverse engineering of the OEM dash to suit RHD then moulding the dash for our plastic injection machine.
"Every aspect of the retooling process will take time to reverse engineer the components that need to be remanufactured. This also extends to brackets, clips, mounts, and all of the steel components will have to be CAD drawn then laser cut and folded.
"We are very fortunate to have the technology in house such as the laser scanner, 3 dimensional printer and plastic injection machine to assist with the process giving unprecedented quality for RHD vehicles. We are very experienced in this process and don???t expect any unusual difficulties."
Under the Federal Government's Registered Accredited Workshop scheme, Performax will be allowed to bring in 100 Camaros per year once approval is granted; and initial interest is already high. The order books aren't open just yet, but Mr Vandenberg says it has received a large number of inquiries from interested parties.
Performax will be focusing its efforts on getting approval for its LS3-powered Camaro SS manual, but the company plans on eventually offering other Camaro variants in the near future.
"The intention is that we will offer various models such as the V6," said Mr Vandenberg.
"However this will be subject to change depending on some ADR test determinations that may rule out some of those vehicles."
It's still far too early to talk about pricing, but don't think the Camaro SS will be anywhere near as cheap as its mechanical cousin, the HSV GTS.
Current estimates place the cost for an imported and converted Camaro to be in excess of $100,000. Considering the car's rare-bird status and iconic looks, we'd wager there'd be at least 100 people out there who reckon that's money well spent.