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Old 11-06-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
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Arrow NEWS: Meet The Mini-Camaro GM Designed To Compete With The VW Beetle

I really love looking at stillborn car prototypes. And while it feels weird to type "love looking at stillborn" anything, there's just something about the alternate-world possibilities of them that make seeing these concepts fascinating. And I can't think of anything more fascinating than a Mini-Camaro made to compete with the VW.


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Old 11-16-2013, 07:17 PM   #2
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Re: NEWS: Meet The Mini-Camaro GM Designed To Compete With The VW Beetle

The car pictured was more a study for the next gen Corvair, as the Camaro was already taking the place of the Corvair.

Bit of historic irony. The Mustang was developed in part to compete with Chevrolet's Corvair, However, Ford wasn't about to jump in and create the expensive items GM was doing at the time. GM had not only the 4 wheel independent suspended and rear engine Corvair, but also a midsized car line that included OHC 6 engines, aluminium V8s, turbochargers flexible driveshafts, IRS, and midsized cars that had all the above (in the early 60s!!!).

All the Iaccoca team spinning aside, the Mustang was Ford's low cost approach to compete with Corvair for the younger buyer market. When Ford ended up with a staggering number of Mustang orders before the paint on the first one was dry, GM abandoned plans for a 3rd gen Corvair, and did a crash program that brought out the Camaro..... was such a priority, that the Camaro came out even before the car it was based on (the Chevy Nova) hit showrooms.

In another irony of history, Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe At Any Speed" is credited with killing the Corvair, but that's false. First, his (rightful) accusations were against the 1st gen Corvair , which was replaced in 1965, the same year his book came out. Also, the same year the Mustang came out. Corvairs still sold well, but the astronomical sales of the Mustang had a big impact. By the time the (cheaper to manufacture) Camaro came out, there was no need for the Corvair. In 1967 (same year Camaro came out), the plug was pulled on what was supposed to be the new 1970 Corvair. Some design ideas for a new Corvair were toyed with for another year, but the project was dead. John Delorean (as Chevrolet's General Manager) killed advertising for it as soon as Camaro hit showrooms.

The story hints that the car mentioned was to be a companion to Camaro. That notion is very wrong. Corvair was an expensive car to produce, and was sold at a low price, and the profit margin on them was very, very small. GM killed off it's expensive-to-make mid size cars with the 1965 models (though the OHC 6 continued with Pontiac for years afterwards), and there is nothing to suggest that GM would have continued making the similarly expensive to make Corvair which had even thinner profit margins.

However, it's far easier, and PR friendly to say you discontinued making something because of an extremist's book in hostile times (there was a budding anti-automobile faction gaining strength in the activists circles) than to say you stopped making a vehicle because you replaced it with something else that was way more profitable.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:28 AM   #3
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Re: NEWS: Meet The Mini-Camaro GM Designed To Compete With The VW Beetle

The concept really looked a lot like the '70 Camaro.
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