There have been attempts at tugging at the heartstrings of the Chevrolet Camaro faithful, with clickbait headlines going as far as speculating that, somehow, a showroom condition third-gen Camaro spied outside the General Motors Milford Proving Grounds is some kind of early indicator of an all-new seventh-generation model – because there’s an M-plate on it and Chevrolet Performance stickers.
Unfortunately, some die-hard fans have really taken this to heart. We’re not going to sugar coat it for you here, but we are going to explore very unconfirmed possibilities of what this M-plate 80’s Camaro could mean. However, lets start first with clearing the air…
WHAT IT IS NOT
A Seventh Generation Chevrolet Camaro Mule
Sorry, everybody. As the original source for reporting that the seventh-generation Chevrolet Camaro program has been put on ice, in addition to the sixth-generation Camaro Z/28 program getting the axe, we will firmly plant our heels in, and insist that this is not an early prototype of the seventh-generation Chevrolet Camaro. Like everything else, there are patterns and indicators to help identify what could be a test mule for a future automotive product. Unanimously, they are chop-jobs, often with strange wheel alignments, mismatched paneling, and giveaway diagnostic equipment. This third-gen Chevrolet Camaro exhibits none of that.
As we reported previously: the Camaro is not transitioning to the A2xx platform, and the sixth-generation will see the end of its life cycle by 2023. There is nothing charted after that, according to sources. The only way the fate of the Camaro wouldn’t be sealed is if General Motors was seriously foolish enough to wrap the legendary pony car into another one of its exercises in post-modernism, and turn it into a highly top-secret electric vehicle. But we have no indication of that. Nevertheless, it still wouldn’t make this (gas-engine-powered) Gen. III Camaro a test bed for such a program.
WHAT THIS CHEVROLET CAMARO COULD BE
Possible SEMA Concept
We’re also willing to bet this is an unlikely scenario, as GM Design tends to oversee the building of all Chevrolet SEMA project vehicles in a garage in Warren, Michigan. They usually stay put, and don’t require plating. Moreover, they’re one-off concept vehicles, making driving them on public roads a huge risk to the project. However, we will not rule this out.
Validation Testing For A New Crate Engine/Transmission Combination
A six-speed manual transmission with a possible supercharged V8 straight out of the Chevrolet Performance Parts catalog would be a dream come true for the deep pockets in the pro touring scene. This Camaro could be serving as a test bed for that – at best. The current Chevrolet Performance line of Connect and Cruise engine/transmission combos may run deep, but it’s missing a few notable combinations. such as any of Gen. IV or Gen. V small block V8 engines and their respective transmissions. This is the most likely scenario.
Chevrolet Starting A Sort Of Classic Vehicle Restoration Program
With new vehicles becoming more difficult for the hobbyist to work on, and missing some of the magic at the same time, late-model icons such as the Chevrolet Camaro have greatly appreciated. High-budget restorations have burgeoned a small industry, and OEMs are starting to take notice. Nissan, for example, has its vintage NISMO Heritage restoration program for late model R33 and R34 GT-R in Japan. General Motors may be getting on the wagon, as well, with Chevrolet leading the charge. If Chevrolet isn’t doing this, it damn well should.