10 January 2006

The Year of Looking Back

The hype from The North American International Auto Show has given automakers, auto writers and auto drivers something to talk about… rather, gawk about. The classic car threesome making big news for 2006, especially for the collector car world, is Ford’s 2007 Shelby GT500, the 2009 Chevy Camaro and 2009 Dodge Challenger. But there’s one problem: Who can wait to get one?

2007 Shelby GT500  

This new pony is actually in production and gets its giddy-up-and-go from a 5.4-liter V-8 with 450 hp in a six-speed stick and solid rear end. It rides on 10-spoke, 19-inch wheels. Supposedly, the inside is a more contemporary look than its predecessors. It does have the double stripes on hood, a reshaped upper and lower grille and a new aluminum hood with function dual air extractors, all giving a nod to the ’60s models.

Both the GT500 convertible and coupe will go on sale mid-summer of this year with a sticker pricing out at less than $45,000. This is the earliest scheduled release of the three concept cars, which might be good for Ford depending on demand.

2009 Chevy Camaro  

A new big V-8 reminiscent of the ’69 model, this “classic” boasts 400 hp from an LS2 6.0 liter V-8. Sitting atop wheels with a 110.5-in. wheelbase on 21s in the front and 22s in the back, there is enough new glam to make it noticeable. IF GM decides to roll with it, we’ll see what the real car ends up with. Supposedly more inexpensive V-8 and V-6 models could come down line too.

The buzz is that GM will be the last of this trio to make it to production, IF it does. That’s too bad, because this would look great on the blacktop (most notably with the concept car’s wheel package specs).

2009 Dodge Challenger  

True to the original Mopar, you definitely feel like you’re in a time warp with this one. The ’09 Challenger proves to be straight from 1970. The color is original for the concept but Hemi does have 1970 Hemi Orange. It’s got a shortened LX platform on a rear-wheel drive chassis with a 425-hp, 6.1-liter Hemi V-8. It teeters on a 116-in. wheelbase with 20s up front and 21s rear-side. One of the neatest things is the pistol-grip stick shift. It includes floating headlights, ribbed black seats, a hood with flat-black trim and thankfully, two doors (unlike the Charger). A cost-effective V-6 model for the price-wary buyers will be most likely available.

The one thing missing is the hood locks. Granted, there’s really no use, but they look cool and nostalgic nonetheless. End note: Can you say “Hemi”? 

For more on these concept cars, visit Automobile Magazine at www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/naias/.

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