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Holden our own in Detroit

But GM Holden wins either way.

A Chevrolet Camaro convertible was unveiled on the eve of this year's running of America's biggest motor show and is battling the Holden EFIJY for attention as visitors to the chilly motown event clamour for the two concept cars to be put into full-scale production.

Both have tapped a rich vein of muscle car nostalgia and Holden is a common denominator.

The design staff at Fishermans Bend created the EFIJY with inspiration from the original 48-215 Holden and are also responsible for readying the Camaro, which was first seen a year ago as a concept coupe in Detroit, for production.

Prototypes of the Camaro coupe are already on the road around Melbourne as the car is readied for American sales in late 2008. The development project is a major export income stream for GM Holden, which is also hoping to confirm an American sales plan for the VE Commodore - which would be badged as a Pontiac - within the next three months.

"It's an open secret that we are doing the production work on the Camaro coupe," GM Holden's design director, Tony Stolfo, said yesterday.

The convertible is the second step in a plan to use the Camaro as a rallying point for GM, which is deeply in the red and looking for good news to bring customers back to showrooms and prevent further leakage to Toyota, the global number two.

It looks great and tugs at the heart strings of the baby boomers who pushed for production of the Camaro coupe, as well as pushing American sales of everything from the latest Ford Mustang to the Chrysler Viper, Prowler and PT Cruiser.

There is no plan yet to put the topless Camaro into production, although could easily change if there is enough support at the Detroit Show. "If this Camaro convertible doesn't make your heart beat faster you should see either your optometrist or your cardiologist, because you have a problem," the general manager of Chevrolet, Ed Peper, said.

There is absolutely no production plan for the EFIJY, which has come to America as one of the banner cars at a GM style event, even though Stolfo admits it uses enough regular GM components that it could be readied for the road.

But Australians are likely to get a look at the Camaro this year, as GM is about to make a decision on right-hand production for the coupe.

If the born-again sixties star is given a go-ahead for countries including Britain and Australia, GM sources in Detroit hint that a car could undertake a global tour including the Melbourne International Motor Show in the first week of March.