The End Of Affordable V8? Why the Chevy Camaro Being Discontinued is a Bigger Deal Than You Think
Is it possible for a car as iconic and beloved as the Chevrolet Camaro to be under-appreciated? In the case of the current sixth-generation version, we'd actually say “yes.”
The End of the Line?
Though not without faults, the sixth-generation Camaro is one of the best all-around performance cars General Motors has ever built. That alone is one of the reasons we enthusiasts are disappointed that Chevrolet plans to stop selling the Camaro after the 2024 model year.
But there's an even bigger loss that will come with the Camaro's demise: the loss of the affordable, attainable Chevrolet V8 performance car.
For almost 60 years, the Chevy small block has represented performance for the everyman. While Novas and Malibus once offered the cheapest ticket to small block fun, it’s most often been the Camaro that has served as the blue-collar gateway to GM’s wonderful V8 engines.
From the first-generation cars of the late ‘60s to the tough second gens of the ‘70s and the IROC-crazy ‘80s, the Camaro has has been an aspirational performance car that many regular people could afford.
Yes, the Corvette still exists and the current one is better than ever. It deserves its position as the flagship of Chevrolet performance, but the ‘Vette has always been the more expensive, less practical way to enjoy a Chevy V8.
This gap has only widened with the debut of the C8, where that V8 now comes inside a mid-engined, American supercar that in the real word is hard to find with a price tag less than $80,000.
2002 All Over Again?
Contrast that to the current 2023 Camaro, where Chevy will sell you a no-frills 455 horsepower, 6.2L V8-powered LT1 coupe for around $37,000. Interior quality or driver visibility issues aside, it’s an incredible car for the money.
But with the Camaro on its way out, the inexpensive Chevrolet muscle car or (pony car depending your definition) will cease to exist, and a gaping hole in GM’s performance lineup will emerge.
What about Cadillac? They will sell you the impressive CT5-V Blackwing sedan with a blown V8, but like the Corvette, it sits an entirely different price bracket (base price around $93,000). And unless you want a pickup or full-size SUV, that’s it for GM’s V8-powered offerings.
The exact future of the Camaro beyond 2024 remains unclear at this point. GM has hinted that name will return in the future (more than likely on an electric vehicle of some sort). But there won't be a seventh-gen Camaro with a gasoline engine anytime soon.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because a scenario like this happened about 20 years ago when GM stopped selling the Camaro (and the Pontiac Firebird) after 2002.
It wasn’t until the 2010 model year that Chevy brought back the Camaro in all of its retro styled, Transformers glory, with that car evolving into the sixth-gen version that’s on sale today.
This time though, it’s unlikely that Chevy is going to take a few years off before reintroducing a fresh V8 Camaro to the lineup. GM has been very open about its plan to transition to EVs and the likelihood of them engineering a new, gasoline-powered Camaro in the coming years is extremely low.
What about an EV? Could a Camaro-branded electric sports coupe be cool? Maybe. But it won’t be the car we know and love today. And it almost certainly won’t have the affordability of the current car.
While General Motors corporate leaders and auto industry observers might see the end of the Camaro as a difficult but neccessary decision in the face of decreased sales and a changing industry, it’s more than that.
Yes, we will miss the Camaro because it’s a great car on its own, but even more than that we will miss the decades-long tradition of Chevy selling inexpensive, V8 fun to American car buyers.
Just as they did in the mid 2000s it looks like potential Camaro buyers will now have to double their budget for a Corvette or head over to the Ford dealer and look at a Mustang instead. And sadly, this time it may be permanent.
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