While none of Detroit’s big-three automakers have announced firmly announced their plans for the next generation of V8 pony cars/muscle cars, it doesn’t take a genius to realize the days of this entire segment may be numbered.
With the hard push towards electrification and automakers boldly proclaiming their shift away from internal combustion engines in the face of government mandates, there’s good reason to expect cars like Mustang, the Camaro and Challenger to either go electric or to fade away completely.
Realistically, we likely have one more generation at the most remaining for the current crop of V8 American coupes, and the Mustang and Challenger will likely be around as long as they possibly can.
The Chevrolet Camaro on the other hand, has a future that’s a bit more precarious. Despite its bonafide performance chops, the sports car-like Camaro regularly comes in behind the Challenger and Mustang on the sales charts, and higher spec Camaros also have to deal with their own Chevrolet competition: the Corvette.
So instead of the cramped, low slung sports car with awkward visibility and a cave-like interior, what if Chevy did away with the Camaro altogether and instead replaced it with a reborn Chevelle?
We already know that GM has the architecture to make this work, as the underpinnings of the current Camaro have already proved themselves, along with the work that’s gone into Cadilac’s rear wheel drive offerings.
This car though, would be an honest old school muscle car, separating it from the supercar-like C8 Corvette. Front-engine, spacious interior and styling influenced by the Chevelles of the late ’60s and early ’70s—more of a muscle car than a pony car.
The current LT1 V8 has more than proven itself as a base engine for this car, and for those wanting more horsepower there could be an “Chevelle LS6” packing the supercharged engine from the current Camaro ZL1.
As for the styling, go heavy on the retro. A more upright stance, an airy cabin, round headlights—and give it plenty of room for big rubber underneath. In other words, make it look like something Vin Diesel would drive.
The now-departed Chevy SS is another good benchmark, beloved by all who drove it but largely overlooked because of its rental sedan styling—imagine the SS but with some proper muscle car style.
Sure, this idea may essentially be a Chevy version of the Dodge Challenger, but there’s nothing wrong with that. That car has been incredibly successful and people are drawn to its more relaxed muscle car attitude and retro styling.
And hey, if Chevy really wanted to differentiate this new Chevelle from the competition they could finally build the modern El Camino that so many people have been asking for.
The likelihood of a new Chevelle actually happening might be small, but we can’t help but dream. What better way could there be for GM to close out what’s likely to be the end of muscle car as we know it.