On Sunday afternoon, the floor of the North American International Show in Detroit was abuzz over the unveiling of the Dodge Challenger concept that was also on magazine covers like Autoweek and Automobile. The muscle car in red got our blood pumping. And then a funny thing happened. GM unveiled the Camaro concept. And the air pretty much went out of the Challenger.
Chrysler pretty much dusts GM on concept cars. But not this time. It was an otherwise quiet show for GM. Not much to get excited about. New Escalade? Sorry. Yawn. But the Camaro was the car that people lined up to see. Under Bob Lutz and chief designer Ed Welburn, GM’s studio hit a much needed homerun and cleared the bases.
Whereas Chrysler kind of enslaved itself to the orginal 1970 Challenger, GM updated the idea of the Camaro into a modern interpretation of a muscle car that paid homage to the original Camaro from the late 1960s without trying to redo the car. Though Chrysler boss Tom Lasords and head PR man Jason Vines dispute my assertion that Challenger wilted after the Camaro was unsheeted, my chats with several top designers and buff book editors tell me I have it right.