It’s fast, flashy and fiery orange. And John Gray waited two long years to see it in his driveway.

“It’s a fabulous vehicle,” Oshawa’s mayor says of his shiny, new Chevy Camaro. “The looks you get when you drive it, you know you’re getting attention.”

But Gray’s choice of chariot, powered by 425 horses and paid for by the city, has some of his constituents fired up.

The $38,000 six-speed muscle car is out of sync with Oshawa’s economic status, bleak unemployment picture and concern for the environment, says resident Bill Steele, questioning why the mayor should get a free ride on the backs of overburdened taxpayers.

“Our taxes are the highest in the GTA by far, and I don’t like that I’m paying for part of a sports car that gets 17 miles to the gallon,” he complained.

Coun. Brian Nicholson points out the car is a taxable benefit and the city is actually saving money by paying Gray a lower salary to offset the purchase. Buying a local product is keeping 6,000 workers in the plant and another 6,000 in spin-off industries, he says.

“The Camaro made in Oshawa is very fuel-efficient. Of course it stands out; it’s designed to stand out.

But if the mayor driving it around encourages other people to buy one, then it’s a job well done.”

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