Ca­maro? Turn right at Gympie

Right-hand-drive con­ver­sions will be done pri­vately, writesPAULGOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE Chevro­let Ca­maro has missed the boat for Holden show­rooms but will soon be sail­ing from the US to Aus­tralia. The VE Com­modore-based retro coupe is com­ing as a pri­vate im­port and cars will be avail­able later this year.

They won’t be cheap, but the man who plans to land the first Ca­maro says he can de­liver a right-hand-drive car to match the orig­i­nal Chevro­let qual­ity.

The work is done by Per­for­max In­ter­na­tional, which has been op­er­at­ing for more than 20 years and spe­cialises in im­port­ing and con­vert­ing a wide range of pop­u­lar Amer­i­can ve­hi­cles. Its big­gest seller is the Chevro­let Sil­ver­ado pickup, but the Chevro­let Corvette and Ford Mus­tang are both pop­u­lar.

The first Ca­maro — a top-line SS V8 — is al­ready on the docks in Cal­i­for­nia and Nick Van­den­berg of Per­for­max can­not wait to get it to Aus­tralia and start the con­ver­sion and com­pli­ance work.

‘‘The Ca­maro is an ex­cit­ing car,’’ he says. ‘‘Peo­ple know a lot about it. It’s a buzz car and they are talk­ing about it.

‘‘Al­ready an­tic­i­pa­tion has been aroused by GM Holden do­ing the car. Since it de­cided to not do right-hand-drive we can at least sup­ply a few cars a year for Aus­tralia.

Per­for­max, based at Gympie in Queens­land, has its con­ver­sion team on standby. Van­den­berg says the work will be done with the lat­est equip­ment.

‘‘We have in­vested hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in this busi­ness,’’ he says.

‘‘We can do a 3D scan of a dash­board, then get it dig­i­tally on to a CAD draw­ing and re­verse-en­gi­neer it into a 3D mould for our plas­tic-in­jec­tion mould­ing ma­chine.

‘‘We have a team of three guys to han­dle com­pli­anc­ing. One of those is the CAD man who does all the com­puter work.

‘‘It’s al­most the qual­ity of the orig­i­nal equip­ment. And we are the only peo­ple in Aus­tralia with this equip­ment. It will be a seam­less right-hand-drive con­ver­sion with full ADR com­pli­ance and a fac­tory war­ranty.’’

Van­den­berg is ex­pect­ing the Ca­maro to gen­er­ate a lot of in­ter­est, but the big­gest ques­tion — the price — has no an­swer yet.

‘‘What de­ter­mines the cost is the cost of the con­ver­sion,’’ he says. ‘‘Un­til we get the car here we can only give an ap­prox­i­ma­tion.

‘‘For a top-line SS as a man­ual or auto it’s go­ing to be be­tween $120,000 and $150,000. We sold a con­vert­ible Corvette the other day for about $200,000, so it will def­i­nitely be cheaper than a Corvette.’’

He says the Sil­ver­ado is a solid base, but mus­cle cars gen­er­ate the real fol­low­ing.

‘‘We’ve done quite a lot of Corvette con­ver­sions, and Ford Mus­tangs. We got com­pli­ance for that only last year and we were flooded by cus­tomers,’’ he says.

The tim­ing for the Ca­maro is still not set but the plan is locked and loaded.

‘‘The car is on the docks. It will take four or five weeks to ar­rive, so it will be ready to­wards the end of the year,’’ Van­den­berg says.

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