2009 comebacks: Time Is Right for a Sleek, Fast, New Camaro

GM is bringing back the Camaro -- just in time for a baby boomer mid-life crisis.

As Chevy lover Bruce Springsteen sang, "The time is right to go racing in the street."

The 2010, fifth-generation Camaro can be special ordered now and ready for cruising this spring. It's got a choice of a V6 engine with 300 horsepower and 27 miles to the gallon, or a 400 horsepower V8 with automatic transmission and something GM calls active fuel management, which is supposed to mean that the car gets 23 miles to the gallon on the highway.

If you really want to blow the doors off -- Chevy is also offering a 422 horse V8 with a six-speed manual trans. I'd probably get a ticket in my first five minutes behind the wheel, but what a kick it would be to own that baby and go roaring down a windy road on a beautiful summer day.

I never owned a Camaro, but I did own and love its chief competitor – the Mustang. In 1967 when Chevy first introduced the Camaro at a press conference, a reporter asked what the name meant. The product manager answered, "a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs."

The Camaro was hard to spot at the North American International Auto Show, which runs through Sunday in Detroit this week. It was old news -- since the concept car was introduced at the 2006 show. But beyond that, this year Chevy is putting all its eggs in the economy and Volt electric car baskets. The sexiest vehicle GM has at the show is the 2010 Buick Lacrosse. That's sad.

Let's hope the U.S. auto industry's future doesn't depend on being boxy, ugly and slow. To hell with green, I want a beautiful red Camaro.

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