Introduced in 1982 as a replacement for the
Torana, the Camira would quickly earn high praise from the commentators of the day, the car even taking out Wheels magazines prestigious “Car of the Year” award the same year. But the Camira would soon be beset with reliability and durability problems; quality control issues included smoking engines, poor quality paintwork and the ever present overheating problems, all combining to sully the Camira’s reputation forever.
Apart from the fact that the 1.6 litre engine was woefully underpowered, it was also badly designed for Australian conditions. Being a “G-Car”, or global car, the engineers had designed it to reach normal operating temperature as quickly as possible, so that European iterations were not running flat out down the autobahn with a cold engine. Under the more temperate Aussie conditions this design feature quickly revealed it to be a flaw, and the woefully inadequate cooling fan
did little to help, resulting in an engine prone to overheating whenever the mercury climbed much above 30C.
Just why the designers did not incorporate adequate drainage holes in the doors is anyone’s guess – Camira drivers would soon get used to the sound of water swishing around in the doors, the ensuing rust holes quickly providing a mode of egress. Later models improved markedly, the JE model actually being quite a good car, but the damage to the Camira’s reputation was irreversible, non-existent resale values a hang-over for years to come.