GALLERY & VIDEO: Chevrolet Camaro is now available in the UK - but only from a dealership in the Fens
FOR petrolheads the Chevrolet Camaro an icon of the American motoring scene. And it’s now available in the UK but at just one garage - on the outskirts of the Fens. WH Brand & Son was chosen by the American manufacturer as the first dealership to sell one of its flagship models. TOM JACKSON visited the garage to find out more.
“JUST remember that it’s left-hand drive,” Martyn Brand tells me as I hop into the driver’s seat and try out his new toy - a new �35,000 Chevrolet Camaro.
But this is no ordinary Camaro, it’s a limited edition model celebrating the iconic muscle car’s 45th anniversary.
And there are only two in the country. One is owned by Chevrolet, the other by Mr Brand’s family-run business WH Brand & Son.
A few seconds of getting myself accustomed to sitting with the wheel on the wrong side and we’re away - and moments later I’m revelling in the thrills and the comfort provided by a beast of the modern automotive world.
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The growl of the engine sends shivers down your spine and the power buries you back into the seat. And, considering the car weighs 1,770kg (that’s several hundred kilos heavier than the standard family car) the steering is very light and responsive.
But I was particularly amazed at how the car tamed the narrow and bumpy Fenland roads. For a car so heavy and wide (1.92m) the Camaro floated across the bumps as if I was driving on a motorway.
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My chance to test drive the car came because WH Brand & Son is the first of four Chevrolet dealerships in the UK to offer the model, having been named the manufacturer’s number one selling dealer in 2010.
Mr Brand said: “The Camaro is an iconic American muscle car and it’s great to be appointed the first UK dealer for the model.”
What’s reason for that success? Mr Brand said: “Because we are a family business we can deliver the personal service that’s lacking in big corporate, multi-franchised businesses.
“You can come down here, look at the cars and go on a test drive with no pressure at all.”
People from across the country have descended on the sleepy village of Whaplode Drove, on the outskirts of Fenland, to do just that with the Camaro.
Seven cars have already been sold and the first one left the showroom on Wednesday, a convertible bought by a man from Huntingdon.
It’s not just the Camaro which is available at WH Brand & Son. There’s something to suit everyone, from the small Spark city car and the Aveo hatchback to the Cruze saloon and the four-wheel-drive Captiva.
But because it sells the Camaro, WH Brand & Son is the only Chevrolet dealership to offer the marque’s entire range.
Mr Brand said: “We have broken the mould as far as the country garage goes - you think of the three petrol pumps beside the road standing back in its time.
“People think of us being in the sticks but we are 20 minutes from Peterborough, 15 from Spalding and about 25 from Wisbech.”
INFORMATION: To take a closer look and to test drive any of the models, visit WH Brand’s garage at Broadgate, Whaplode Drove. Alternatively, call 01406 330265 or visit www.whbrand.co.uk