Opinion: Aussies still want rear-drive V8 muscle

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

FALCON AND Commodore are going or gone but one thing remains and it’s healthier than ever: an Aussie appetite for attainable, big, rear-drive, V8 transportation.

Exhibit A: 6208 Ford Mustangs sold in Australia in the 2016 calendar year. Meanwhile, undoubtedly driven by unfulfilled dreams and last chances, SS Commodores and HSVs continue to get snapped up with abandon, with the Walkinshaw group (HSV) expected to post a record financial result for this year, and opportunistic dealers across the country jacking up prices of special edition Commodore models on showroom floors.

2017-Chevrolet-Camaro-ZL1-rear.jpgThe market for these kinds of cars is hot. It seems Ryan Walkinshaw and Tim Jackson of HSV know this. Faced with reinventing their business in lieu of their core product being pulled from underneath them, they are about to pull the trigger on a right-hand drive conversion program for the Chevrolet Camaro.

They’re betting there’s an appetite for this car so strong that it will cop the cost associated with building a car, and then the double-handling of having to build its interior a second time. It’s a gamble, but not an unwise one. And it seems it all ties into a future we didn’t imagine for ourselves not too long ago: American muscle filling a Falcodore-sized hole in our hearts.

2017-Chevrolet-Camaro-1LE.jpgOf course, the Aussie icons have been a mix of local and imported ingredients for some time, with American V8s powering the current generation of best-ever Australian GM performance cars. Don’t get me wrong, I’m reeling to lose Falcon and Commodore, but it seems we’ll be driving the same engines and kinds of cars, just in a different body and bolted together overseas.

2017-Chevrolet-Camaro-ZL1-front.jpgAmerican importers and subsidiaries in Australia, too, have never had a better case study than Mustang, to pressure their US mother companies into developing right-hand drive for their future muscle cars. A Cadillac CTS-V, as a random example, absolutely excites the hell out of me.

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Just as American culture has infiltrated our TVs, radios, movie theatres and waist-lines, it was always Uncle Sam selling us V8 Falcons and Commodores. And it seems we’re turning back to him to keep us satisfied.

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