The Truth About Cars » Camaro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 27 May 2015 20:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Camaro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Greetings From Belle Isle: Crashed Camaros and Brakeless Bimmers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/greetings-belle-isle-crashed-camaros-brakeless-bimmers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/greetings-belle-isle-crashed-camaros-brakeless-bimmers/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 15:06:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073698 Chances are if you have an Internet connection and even a passing interest in automobiles, you’ve heard about the “Jalopnik Camaro crash.” If not, here’s a quick catch-up: Patrick George, who covers a variety of topics for Gawker’s cars-and-planes-and-wow-just-wow blog, managed to understeer his way out of a lead-follow pace lap at Detroit’s Belle Isle […]

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Chances are if you have an Internet connection and even a passing interest in automobiles, you’ve heard about the “Jalopnik Camaro crash.” If not, here’s a quick catch-up: Patrick George, who covers a variety of topics for Gawker’s cars-and-planes-and-wow-just-wow blog, managed to understeer his way out of a lead-follow pace lap at Detroit’s Belle Isle Grand Prix course and into a wall. Damage to the car was relatively minor. He was then removed from the event by GM security, in marked contrast to the kid-glove treatment given About.com writer and part-time The Onion-wannabe Aaron Gold after Mr. Gold managed to put a Camaro ZL1 in the tire wall at VIR for no reason whatsoever.

The veritable blizzard of publicity for both Jalopnik and GM in the week that followed has caused some of the more jaded observers of the autojourno game to wonder if perhaps the whole thing isn’t a masterstroke of guerilla marketing. I have to admit I had my own doubts as to the authenticity of the incident, doubts that have not been completely erased by discussions with Patrick and other members of the Jalop staff.

After watching the video a few times, however, I’ve come to believe that it’s probably genuine. I’ve also come to believe that many of Patrick’s harshest critics on YouTube and elsewhere might have found themselves “in the wall” given the same set of circumstances. So if you want to know what Patrick did wrong, why the incident unfolded as it did, and how it relates to an off-track incident I witnessed myself the day before Patrick’s crash, then click the jump and I’ll explain it all!

If you haven’t already watched the Jalopnik video, please do so now – and also, please watch the video above featuring a BMW driver who just can’t seem to remember to use his brakes. The second video was taken by the Performance Data Recorder (PDR) in a 2015 Corvette Z51 I was driving around Summit Point’s Shenandoah circuit last Saturday. In many ways, it’s the same incident seen two different ways. In both cases, the driver fails to slow down enough and then exits the track surface at an angle. The primary differences between Patrick’s video and mine are the Belle Isle circuit is surrounded by walls, and the M3 is going much faster.

What I’d like to suggest is that the cause for both incidents was the same. That cause was what I like to call the “out of bandwidth problem”. This is not to be confused with Iain Banks’ Outside Context Problem. Rather, it’s a product of the way the human mind works.

I frequently tell my driving students they can really only learn one thing per instructional session. They can also really only focus on one problem in any given session. To show you why, I’ll give you an exercise you can do at home, slightly modified from an exercise given to me by Ross Bentley in a driver-coaching class and also demonstrated in his book, Inner Speed Secrets.

Sitting at your desk, take your right hand and place it on your left knee briefly before removing it. At the same time, raise your left leg off the chair a few inches to meet your hand. Then do the same thing with your left hand and your right knee. Then return to the right hand and left knee. Try to do that in rhythm for a moment. Got it? Now, while continuing your alternating hand-and-knee motion, start counting backwards from 100 while you do it. Still good?

Now try counting backwards from 100 in increments of seven.

confused-man

I’ve never had a student who could do it on the first try without some problem. Usually, they say, “100… uh… 93… uh… um…” After they struggle for a few minutes, I show them I can do it effortlessly. I’m not the most graceful or elegant individual, so this is confusing. I then explain I’ve memorized the numbers. 100 – 93 – 86 – 79 – 72 – 65. I’m not doing the math in real time, I’m reciting a memorized series of numbers I already know.

The brain is very good at doing several things at once, as long as all those things are familiar to it. That’s why older drivers aren’t as likely to crash while texting or eating or operating the infotainment system. They have more experience with the primary task (driving) and therefore they have plenty of processing power for secondary tasks.

By contrast, how often have you been on the phone with someone who is driving somewhere and is lost? What does that conversation sound like? There are usually a lot of pauses as the person tries to compute new directions or evaluate their surroundings. “So, I was… uh… talking to Bob, and… uh… he said that the numbers look good but… uh, hold on, I just want to see if this is my turn.” Talking to someone during their daily commute is very different. We all know our daily commute very well, often to the point that we don’t quite remember how we got to the end of it. It’s all handled by subconscious routines.

Those of you who have been on a racetrack before probably remember just how confusing your first time was. There was so much to look at, so many new rules, and so many cars that seemed to appear out of nowhere behind you. To make things worse, your car didn’t behave the way you expected it to, because it was being operated at a much higher speed. This is why I make my novices stay in fourth gear for their first few sessions, and why I “take the mirror away” by adjusting all mirrors so that I, not the student, watch for traffic. Doing so reduces the number of things on which the student has to focus, and allows him to have more success doing the limited number of tasks remaining. When he can remember the layout of the track, and when he has learned the basics of looking around him in this new environment, I’ll let him start shifting before corners, and I’ll let him use his own mirrors – but not until he’s mastered those other tasks.

Sensory Overload

Human beings have a limited ability to process new information and perform new tasks in real time. It’s a bandwidth problem. You can only focus on a certain amount of sensory data. If a small part of that data is unfamiliar – say, a new car on a well-known track – you can deal with that new data. If you have more than that – a new car, on a new track, with traffic around you – then you have a problem. No matter how experienced you are. You still have a problem. Even Formula One drivers often experience difficulty performing at their best at a new track and developing new features of a car at the same time.

In the case of the BMW who went off-track ahead of me, it turns out that he was “driving his mirrors”. He’d been holding me up for nearly an entire lap and I’d been flashing my headlights at him. Instead of letting me by, his ego got involved – That’s some bearded hick in a Corvette! – and he decided to try to stay ahead of me and win the trackday. Therefore, his entire attention going into that hairpin turn was focused behind him, on me. How close was I? Was I going to try a pass? Was I going to tailgate him? He was so busy watching me that his mind had no bandwidth left. Therefore, faced with the necessity of slowing down for the corner, his mind chose the more familiar program – let’s call it Street Braking – instead of the unfamiliar program of Track Braking. In his effort to watch me, he underbraked and drove off the track into the dirt.

Had he been a more experienced driver, with some racing time under his belt, he would have been better able to multi-task between the challenges of operating the car at its limit and watching my position. But although he was a “black group” advanced driver, he still did not have a lot of experience running nose-to-tail at over 100 mph, so he ran out of processing power and had an incident. This sort of thing is monotonously common at open-lapping days, by the way.

What about Patrick? He’s an experienced track rat by media standards, with dozens of lapping days and events to his credit. But listen to his voice as he talks to the camera. Do you hear the bandwidth shortage? In the “uh” and the pauses? What’s going on? It’s as simple as this: he was trying to do all of the following:

  • Operate an unfamiliar car
  • On an unfamiliar course
  • While evaluating that car in the context of its predecessor
  • And describing it to the camera

That’s too much to ask out of nearly anyone. I’ve done it myself, and it’s mentally exhausting. To make things worse, our expectations for in-car videos are set by the scripted, high-budget Top Gear episodes where the actors recite a couple of well-rehearsed lines to their cameramen, interspersed with footage of professional drivers. So Patrick is under pressure to make a one-take video sound as polished and insightful as a million-dollar television episode.

No wonder he can’t focus on the proper line, or he fails to listen to what the car is trying to tell him about available grip. Those two tasks require bandwidth he doesn’t have. By the time the incident starts, he’s already mentally maxed-out.

The YouTube commenters on this particular video like to focus on the fact that Patrick has his arms crossed. That’s the one thing that he does right on his way to the wall. His consistent hand positioning is the sign of a driver who has received some training at least. But let’s analyze the final moments of the crash for a second. He could have avoided the incident by doing one of two things:

  • Reducing steering input and braking input, allowing the car to steer out of the situation
  • Unwinding the wheel to straight and engaging ABS at full strength.

Either would have been okay. The proximate cause of the accident is that Patrick reacted to a loss of steering traction by winding on more steering – first to the limits of his crossed arms, then further by shuffling – while also braking. This overloaded the front wheels. A more experienced driver would have reduced steering and brake pressure and searched for grip. That’s the process that a race driver goes through in every turn: trail-braking until the maximum cornering grip is achieved. When my students make Patrick’s mistake, I reach over and unwind their steering until the car grips and we make it through the turn correctly.

But Patrick had no instructor – he had a cameraman and an assignment to discuss the vehicle with that cameraman. That was the ultimate cause of the incident: bandwidth overload. Too many tasks. In a conversation with me, Patrick readily identified that as the problem, with no prompting from me. I doubt he’ll do it again.

And in the long run, it was harmless. Nobody was hurt. The car that received damage would have been crushed eventually anyway. There was plenty of publicity to go around and everybody will make money as a result. So if a car crash hurts nobody and benefits everyone involved, is it really a car crash? Process that for a moment, why don’t you?

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GM Putting $2,000 on Hood of 2015 Camaro Z/28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-putting-2000-on-hood-of-2015-camaro-z28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-putting-2000-on-hood-of-2015-camaro-z28/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072658 Just after the 2016 Camaro was introduced at Belle Isle last weekend, General Motors upped incentives on the current generation car. The best part? The General has placed the highest incentive amount directly on the hood scoop of the 2015 Camaro Z/28. According to CarsDirect, General Motors has combined two incentive offers: a $1,000 rebate that applies […]

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Just after the 2016 Camaro was introduced at Belle Isle last weekend, General Motors upped incentives on the current generation car.

The best part? The General has placed the highest incentive amount directly on the hood scoop of the 2015 Camaro Z/28.

According to CarsDirect, General Motors has combined two incentive offers: a $1,000 rebate that applies to all Camaros and an additional $1,000 specifically for Z/28. If you are leasing a non-GM vehicle, an additional $500 can be applied.

The car shopping website says the rebate might be due to the Z/28’s availability – currently there are more units in the wild than its supercharged brother, the ZL1 – and limited appeal due to being a manual-only affair with few creature comforts.

While Camaro has typically outsold Ford Mustang since 2010, this year the bowtied offering is struggling to keep up with the blue oval pony car.

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The Sixth Chevrolet Camaro Is Here – This Is What The Fifth-Gen Model Achieved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sixth-chevrolet-camaro-fifth-gen-model-achieved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sixth-chevrolet-camaro-fifth-gen-model-achieved/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070034 While by no means the overwhelming success that the first-generation Ford Mustang was back in 1966 – 417,000 were sold in that car’s first twelve months on the market, according to Ford MoCo – the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro was a hit by most any other standard. Now that the sixth-generation Camaro has debuted with surprisingly […]

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2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

While by no means the overwhelming success that the first-generation Ford Mustang was back in 1966 – 417,000 were sold in that car’s first twelve months on the market, according to Ford MoCo – the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro was a hit by most any other standard.

Now that the sixth-generation Camaro has debuted with surprisingly similar styling to the outgoing model, it’s worth our while to look back at nearly seven years of Camaro sales to gauge the popularity of GM’s Mustang challenger. (Get it? Challenger?)

The main factor for Camaro fans involves the car’s ability to outsell the Mustang. True, the Camaro (and Mustang, for that matter) both put up the kinds of numbers many so-called mainstream cars can’t. But the more appealing measurement is the one which says that in each of the latest Camaro’s complete sales years, from 2010 forward, the Chevy has been the more popular car.

The Camaro outsold the Mustang in the United States by 7,583 units in 2010. In 2011, the fifth-gen Camaro’s best sales year, it outsold the Mustang by 17,811 units. In 2012, the gap decreased to just 1,396 units, but it was still in GM’s favour. In 2013, the Camaro finished 3,381 sales ahead of the Ford. In 2014, as Mustang sales surged in the final two months of the year, Camaro volume jumped 7% to finish the year 3,662 sales ahead.

USA Chevrolet Camaro rivals sales chart 2009-2015

Naturally, early 2015 figures haven’t been nearly as kind to the Camaro. With a brand new Mustang for model year 2015 and the fifth-gen Camaro reaching the end of its term, the Mustang leads by 18,726 sales over the course of just four months. In fact, even the Dodge Challenger outsold the Camaro in the month of March.

(Challenger sales, as an aside, have always increased despite being significantly lower on an annual basis than the Camaro and Mustang. Reintroduced in 2008, Challenger volume doubled between 2009 and 2014 thanks to persistent U.S. sales growth.)

The Mustang and Camaro are not as consistent in their growth patterns, although the Chevrolet has managed to hover above the 80,000-unit annual sales mark ever since 2010. An average of 84,160 are sold per year in the United States. 2014’s 86,297-unit result was the second-best for the fifth-gen car.

Camaro 2015 2016

Maintaining a relatively even keel, even in an industry which expanded every year since the car was brought back from the dead, is a notable achievement for a sporting coupe. Consider vehicles like the Nissan 370Z, which saw its sales plunge 45% between 2009, when the industry was in the doldrums, and 2014, when more than 16 million new vehicles were sold. There’s no surprise in seeing Scion FR-S sales tumble 23% in its second full year of availability or fall 29% through the first third of 2015, just three years removed from its launch.

In their home market, Detroit muscle experiences sustained interest in a way conventional “sports cars” do not.

Any number of issues could crop up to bring the sixth-gen Camaro down a rung or two, from a pricing strategy gone awry to an unanticipated economic crisis to aggressive new competition. What can be seen now, however, is a car that doesn’t look so dramatically different from the last Camaro.

Porsche 911s are evolutionary. Since 2004, revamped Ford Mustangs don’t appear wholly removed from the former models, either. Historically speaking, new Camaros share cues with their predecessors, rather than a striking overall resemblance. Then again, perhaps the distinct resemblance between old and new Camaro will do more good than harm. It works for the Honda Accord.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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While You Were Sleeping: Chevrolet Sub-Camaro, Toyota/Honda Best Supplier Customers and Aston Martin’s Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-chevrolet-sub-camaro-toyotahonda-best-supplier-customers-aston-martins-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-chevrolet-sub-camaro-toyotahonda-best-supplier-customers-aston-martins-crossover/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 08:59:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070074 As I fly down to Nashville to drive Nissan’s latest iteration of their 4DSC (“four-door sports car”) – the Maxima – we will have all the articles you expect on a Monday. Here’s what happened over the weekend. Aston Martin likely to shun Mercedes’ platform for DBX crossover (Automotive News) It seems Aston Martin won’t […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima

As I fly down to Nashville to drive Nissan’s latest iteration of their 4DSC (“four-door sports car”) – the Maxima – we will have all the articles you expect on a Monday.

Here’s what happened over the weekend.

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2016 Chevrolet Camaro – Same Recipe, New Ingredients http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-chevrolet-camaro-same-recipe-new-ingredients/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-chevrolet-camaro-same-recipe-new-ingredients/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 20:22:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069698 “From every angle, you’ll never mistake this for anything but a Camaro,” said Tom Peters, design director for the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro. That’s probably because it hasn’t changed that much, at least visually. Yet, under the skin, the new Camaro drops some 200 lbs thanks to its new Alpha platform bones and gains a new […]

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The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was introduced May 16, 2015, at a special event in Detroit. The all-new muscle car is approximately 200 pounds lighter than the current model and offers more powerful V-6 and V-8 engines.

“From every angle, you’ll never mistake this for anything but a Camaro,” said Tom Peters, design director for the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro. That’s probably because it hasn’t changed that much, at least visually. Yet, under the skin, the new Camaro drops some 200 lbs thanks to its new Alpha platform bones and gains a new base engine – a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec four-pot.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

The new Camaro introduces a turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec powerplant for the first time, bringing with it more horsepower and the same torque figure as the same engine in the Malibu. That puts the new base model Camaro at 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of twist. GM says 90 percent of those torques will be available between 2,100 rpm and 3,000 rpm, making the sixth-generation Camaro good for a 60 mph sprint in under 6 seconds while still returning 30 mpg by their own estimates.

Note that I said “base model” above. Unlike Mustang, the Camaro will offer up their four banger as the economy option instead of a premium lightweight option like in Ford’s pony car.

An all-new 3.6L V6 will join the piston party as well with 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. The most notable addition to the now mid-range engine offering is cylinder deactivation. The system will shut down two cylinders effectively turning the V6 into a V4. While the V6 does offer up more output versus its predecessor (323 hp, 278 lb-ft) and claims best-in-class power, it should also return better fuel economy.

A new-to-Camaro 6.2L LT1 V8 will be the headliner, boasting 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, just 5 lb-ft down from on the Corvette.

All engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission (SS models receive Active Rev Match for downshifts) or all-new Hydra-Matic eight-speed automatic (8L45 in LT, 8L90 in SS) with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, further enhancing fuel economy and performance. Also, unless there’s a change to the preliminary output figures, it seems GM won’t be penalizing customers by slashing engine output for those who choose the automatic transmission in SS models.

Unfortunately, the new platform is so sound dead, all Camaros will have their engine note pumped in one way or another. All four-cylinder models will have active noise cancellation. If you opt for the Bose audio system, you’ll receive the aforementioned faux engine noise delivered by speaker. Thankfully, it can be disabled at the whim of the driver. V6 and V8 models will offer up “enhanced” sound through mechanical means by pumping analog audio into the passenger compartment. A dual-mode exhaust will also bypass the mufflers under hard acceleration for better performance and “better” sound.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Underpinned by the same Alpha platform as the Cadillac ATS and CTS, the new Camaro does shed some unneeded weight, but its dimensions shrink only slightly. Think of the new model as a nip-tuck job over the last generation.

GM claims the Camaro, depending on the model, will lose “200 lbs or more” mass – meaning no matter what the trim, we should expect at least a 200 lb weight reduction. We will see about that when official curb weights are published. The skeptic in me thinks this will not be the case.

The brakes bringing everything to a stop are about the same size in LT (I4/V6) models as the previous generation, but SS models see their brake disc diameters shrink from 14/14.4 inches (front/rear) to 13.6/13.3 inches (front/rear).

With a new platform also comes new suspension setups. Up front are new multi-link MacPherson strut solutions while the rear sees a new five-link independent suspension GM says reduces “squat” during hard launches. Also for the first time, the Camaro SS will be available with Magnetic Ride Control, a much welcomed enhancement over the crashy previous-gen SS suspension.

Another first for Camaro will be an assortment of driving modes, including Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and Track settings. The latter setting is only available on SS models. The following table provided by GM outlines the different settings in each mode.

DRIVER MODE SELECTOR SETTINGS
Snow/Ice Tour Sport Track
(SS only)
Electronic throttle progression SNOW/ICE NORMAL NORMAL TRACK
Automatic trans.
shift map
NORMAL NORMAL SPORT TRACK
Automatic trans. Performance Algorithm Shift N/A N/A AVAIL. AVAIL.
Engine sound management
(if equipped with dual-mode exhaust)
STEALTH TOUR SPORT TRACK
Electric power steering calibration TOUR TOUR SPORT TRACK
StabiliTrak – Competitive Driving and Launch Control N/A N/A AVAIL. AVAIL.
Magnetic Ride Control
calibration (if equipped)
TOUR TOUR SPORT TRACK
Ambient lighting
(if equipped)
ICE BLUE BLUE RED ORANGE

An all-new, driver-focused interior in the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro features performance-optimized ergonomics, including new seats, a new, flat-bottom steering wheel and a new center console designed for easier manual-transmission shifting.

One thing needing as much attention as the “My 600-lb Life” levels of bloat was the incredibly cramped, cheap interior. Judging from the photos, the quality of materials has gone up, but issues still remain.

Those not fans of the dual-pod gauges will be pleasantly surprised. While the dual-pod hood remains, the remainder of the pods are gone. Instead, the Camaro is now available with an optional 8-inch screen in the instrument panel. In addition tonavigation and infotainment details, the screen will also provide a location for new digital performance gauges, taking them away from their previous location in front of the shifter where they were virtually useless. And, as before, another 8-inch screen will sit mid-dash.

Another improvement – and this one is quite ingenious – is a redesign of certain HVAC controls, turning them into rings around the low mounted air vents. This gives driver and passenger an easy way to make adjustments through a physical control while still saving space like the touchscreen controls used by other manufacturers.

However, there are two downsides to the new Camaro cabin. One – you won’t be doing any emergency brake induced drifting in the new-gen car thanks to its electronic parking brake. The other, and more crucial issue, is GM seems not to have done anything about visibility. With a fairly high beltline and even taller rear deck, the new Camaro continues its trend of being the worst pony car for rearward visibility.

All in all, the new Camaro has conformed to the new normal by being a more economical, lighter weight and nimbler offering. However, its execution is still decidedly traditional, providing an American coupe shape that prioritizes style over functionality.

The 2016 Camaro will be bolted together in Lansing, Michigan and goes on sale later this year.

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Autoleaks: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Revealed Ahead Of Weekend Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-2016-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-ahead-of-weekend-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-2016-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-ahead-of-weekend-debut/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:51:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069058 Thanks to CNBC, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was revealed to the world ahead of its global debut Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit. The unofficial unveiling occurred during a segment about the upcoming Camaro on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, AutoGuide reports. The screencaps, captured by forum users over at GM Inside News, show the […]

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2016-Chevy-Camaro-CloseUp

Thanks to CNBC, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was revealed to the world ahead of its global debut Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit.

The unofficial unveiling occurred during a segment about the upcoming Camaro on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, AutoGuide reports. The screencaps, captured by forum users over at GM Inside News, show the front and rear profiles of two 2016 models.

Of the few other details revealed thus far, the new Camaro will receive a 6.2-liter V8 and a possible turbo-four as two options, the latter meant for battle against the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Magnetic ride control will be available for the SS, while handling has been improved thanks to a stiffer, lighter construction. A flush belly pan is said to reduce lift by 30 percent, and optional dual exhaust will come with a number of settings, ranging from roaring track destroyer, to quiet cruiser in the city.

More will be revealed Saturday, where Chevrolet is holding a special event at Belle Isle celebrating the Camaro’s history alongside the debut of the 2016 model.

[Image credit: GM Inside News]

2016-Chevy-Camaro-CloseUp 2016-Chevy-Camaro-Main 2016-Chevy-Camaro-Rear

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Oshawa Camaro Production Ceases November 20, Reduced To Three Shifts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:50:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057122 First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012. Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three […]

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2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at the Oshawa Assembly Plant

First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012.

Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three between the “Flex” and “Consolidated” lines. Currently, the “Flex” line is on three shifts while the smaller line is on one shift. GM Canada will “begin a voluntary retirement canvass” to reduce worker head count before implementing any layoffs. GM Canada President, Stephen K. Carlisle, stated “60 percent of our hourly workforce are nearing retirement” age and the company will offer incentives to eligible employees looking to retire early.

Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS production will continue on the “Flex” line for now. Regal production is scheduled to move to Germany by 2017 while the XTS will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019. Both the XTS and Impala are also produced in Michigan. The “Consolidated” line currently builds the Impala Limited – a previous-generation W-body sedan – and the Chevrolet Equinox, the latter which is also produced in Ingersoll, Ontario.

GM Canada and Unifor are working together to “examine a range of longer-term opportunities and competitiveness enhancements for Oshawa Assembly,” stated the release today. The future of Oshawa will be announced after Unifor national bargaining next year.

On the same day, GM also announced $5.4b in investments aimed at the company’s Pontiac, Lansing, and Warren, Michigan facilities.

The announcement comes after GM Canada committed $800m to Ingersoll and another 100 jobs toward expanding connected car and green technology development at GM Canada’s Oshawa Engineering Centre.

 

 

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Sixth-Gen Chevrolet Camaro To Be Revealed Mid-May In Detroit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sixth-gen-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-mid-may-detroit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sixth-gen-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-mid-may-detroit/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023905 Want to see the sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro? You’ll have to wait until mid-May, when Chevrolet reveals the vehicle in Detroit. The brand is inviting 1,000 fans to witness the unveiling in Belle Isle, which also includes a meet-and-greet with those behind the new Camaro, Camaro-only parking for owners, hot laps in a 2015 Z/28 around […]

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CamaroSix-Badge

Want to see the sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro? You’ll have to wait until mid-May, when Chevrolet reveals the vehicle in Detroit.

The brand is inviting 1,000 fans to witness the unveiling in Belle Isle, which also includes a meet-and-greet with those behind the new Camaro, Camaro-only parking for owners, hot laps in a 2015 Z/28 around the course that will host the Belle Isle Grand Prix in late May, and a display of vehicles from nearly 50 years of the car’s existence.

The catch? One must register online to attend the free event, with priority given to Camaro owners.

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General Motors Cutting Production To Relieve Inventory Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008274 Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand. Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is […]

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2015-buick-verano-model-overview-exterior-938x528-splash-guards_2

Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand.

Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is responsible for the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, while the Flex line handles the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS.

The reduction in production comes amid consumer demand for trucks and crossovers over said vehicles, of which the Sonic and Regal hold the highest inventory levels at 216 and 213 days as of February 1, 2015. The Sonic’s inventory level is the highest since the subcompact’s August 2011 debut, while the Regal jumped to its level from just 96 days back on January 1.

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Autoleaks: Sixth-Gen Chevrolet Camaro Side-Panel Die Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/autoleaks-sixth-gen-chevrolet-camaro-side-panel-die-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/autoleaks-sixth-gen-chevrolet-camaro-side-panel-die-revealed/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003658 The side-panel die for the sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro was revealed via a leak Tuesday, providing the best view thus far of the car’s evolving style. Appearing on Camaro6.com, the die has the roofline entering a more tapered angle than on the current model, with the rear quarter window gaining more distance between itself and the […]

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2016-chevrolet-camaro-leak

The side-panel die for the sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro was revealed via a leak Tuesday, providing the best view thus far of the car’s evolving style.

Appearing on Camaro6.com, the die has the roofline entering a more tapered angle than on the current model, with the rear quarter window gaining more distance between itself and the fender line. The greenhouse remains cozy with the doorline, as well.

Meanwhile, AutoGuide says General Motors hasn’t set a date for when the new Camaro will debut, with speculation pointing toward the 2015 New York Auto Show now that Detroit and Chicago have come and gone without an appearance.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: The Brazil Vacation, Part II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/vellum-venom-vignette-brazil-vacation-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/vellum-venom-vignette-brazil-vacation-part-ii/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987546   Aside from the car-less world of cruise/train travel, my post-CCS Design vacations involve seeing an American on the road only to feel their styling and (more importantly) proportioning are sleeker and prettier. Douchey perhaps, but it’s my benign contribution to American Exceptionalism. Even if this “proper” Chevy is a German Opel (sold alongside many a Korean Daewoo) introduced in […]

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A Captiva audience?

Aside from the car-less world of cruise/train travel, my post-CCS Design vacations involve seeing an American on the road only to feel their styling and (more importantly) proportioning are sleeker and prettier. Douchey perhaps, but it’s my benign contribution to American Exceptionalism.

Even if this “proper” Chevy is a German Opel (sold alongside many a Korean Daewoo) introduced in Frankfurt as the Antara GTC.  Harley Earl may spin in his perfectly-proportioned grave…but I digress.

crossport6

Few Americans shall admit a speck of admiration for the Chevrolet Captiva SUV, but the similarly-Korean Cruze is a respectable machine to most.  Well, colossal DLO fail at both corners notwithstanding. No matter, its suitably upscale: Chevrolet Brasil offers it as their most premium sedan offering. (At R$75,020)

Strangely, the Cruze 5-door hatch is cheaper (R$71,860) than the sedan: usually it’s the other way in the US. Known as the Cross Sport 6, the Cruze Hatchback looks the business against the usual Brazilian subcompact. Here’s one driving past the scenic Vista Chinesa.

onyx

While I have little complimentary to say of Chevrolet’s split plane grille, this Chevrolet Onix wears the face quite well.  Sure, the upper half needs to grow a good 1-2″ to meet the hood’s cut-line. Or better still, drop the cut-line instead. But the look is catchy, nicely proportioned on this small canvas.

Chevrolet Brasil made a fetching machine, but this white one in Leblon was kinda rare. And that’s the problem:

taxi

(photo courtesy: www.simcauto.com.br)

Chevys, at least in Rio, are heavy in fleet distributions.  Rio is nearly as taxi-centric as Manhattan, but the market wasn’t dominated by something Crown Victoria-esque. There’s Renault, Fiat and Citroen hacks too, so perhaps the Bowtie-branded Daewoos sporting that unique yellow/blue stripe paint scheme are a red herring.

And perhaps there’s no such thing as American Exceptionalism in car design. Not anymore, at least.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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2016 Camaro Receives New Architecture, Maintains Retro Looks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/2016-camaro-receives-new-architecture-maintains-retro-looks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/2016-camaro-receives-new-architecture-maintains-retro-looks/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:16:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770770 Due in 2015 as a 2016 model, the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro will be based upon the same architecture underpinning the Cadillac CTS and ATS while maintaining its overall retro looks. Edmunds reports the pony car’s styling will only undergo an evolutionary change in a manner similar to the 2015 Ford Mustang, according to a source […]

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2014 Chevrolet Camaro

Due in 2015 as a 2016 model, the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro will be based upon the same architecture underpinning the Cadillac CTS and ATS while maintaining its overall retro looks.

Edmunds reports the pony car’s styling will only undergo an evolutionary change in a manner similar to the 2015 Ford Mustang, according to a source familiar with the matter, with the revolutionary change occurring under the skin via the car’s new Alpha platform.

Though Chevrolet remains mum on the upcoming car, brand spokesman Mike Albano said the next Camaro “will have expressive design and will evoke the passion the previous-generation Camaros have done.”

The new Camaro will move from Oshawa, Ontario to Lansing, Mich., where the CTS and ATS are assembled, and will make its global debut during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

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Rental Car Review: 2014 Camaro Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/rental-car-review-2014-camaro-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/rental-car-review-2014-camaro-convertible/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706834 My rental car got egged! This was a new one for me. It all began when … I had to fly out for a one-day meeting in beautiful Silicon Valley, Northern California. I arrived the day before my meeting and showed up at Hertz, where I’d asked for a generic mid-sized car and they gave […]

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camaro-egg-door

My rental car got egged! This was a new one for me. It all began when …

I had to fly out for a one-day meeting in beautiful Silicon Valley, Northern California. I arrived the day before my meeting and showed up at Hertz, where I’d asked for a generic mid-sized car and they gave me… (drum roll please) a Jeep Liberty. Yawn. I wandered back to the “Gold Choice” area to see if I could do any better, but nothing seemed worth the bother. But right next door was the “Upgrades” section. As I stood there, staring at the Mercedes and Porsche, a helpful saleswoman came up and started fast talking me. Business or pleasure? Want something really fun? How about the Cayman? Yours for only an extra $300/day. Too much money? How about this Mercedes SLK convertible? Nice supercharger. Only an extra $150/day, such a deal!

What I really wanted was a Mazda MX-5 Miata. I was only staying one night, so I had just one small bag. The mid-60’s weather screamed convertible, and I wasn’t going to be doing anything fancier than driving 20 miles to my meeting. I ultimately zeroed in on this convertible Camaro. For $50/day extra, above the $100/day price I was already paying, it seemed reasonable. Something kinda fun, even if it is the base V6. Sure, let’s do it.

camaro-refuel

I’ve driven a bunch of GM rentals over the past few months, so I’m starting to know my way around the latest in GM parts bin engineering. The driver information screen in the gauge cluster shows up on all sorts of GM cars. The turn signal indicator has a twist knob and press button that lets you scroll through all the viewing options. (Grumble: a Buick Verano I rented last month was exactly the same as this Camaro, but a Chevy Equinox I also had last month lacked the turn-signal twist/press and instead had corresponding buttons non-intuitively located in the center stack below the cabin air controls.)

camaro-instruments+wheel

GM’s Bluetooth these days is relatively straightforward to set up and does all the latest A2DP music and album art. Watch out, though, if you’re on a limited data plan. The Camaro told my phone to start playing music, which then started chewing up my data plan via Pandora, even though I was listening to NPR on the FM radio. Still, GM specified decent speakers. For cars at this price point, it’s safely above average in sound quality.

camaro-radio

I mostly drove with the top down, and I’m pleased to report that the Camaro got something decidedly right: cabin heating. There’s a vent above your left knee that you can point anywhere, keeping you comfortable even at freeway speeds. This is far better than many of the older Mustang convertibles I’ve rented over the years, which would happily cook your feet without doing anything for the rest of you.

camaro-left-vent

I had few opportunities to floor it or otherwise exercise the engine, but I’d say the performance is about what you’d expect from the ubiquitous two-liter turbo fours that are all the rage in the European cars, and the Camaro’s engine runs on regular gas. Overall mileage in mostly freeway, relatively sedate driving, was an indicated 25.4mpg. In comparable driving with a modern turbo two liter, I’d expect more like 27-29mpg.

camaro-mileage

Too many GM cars these days still have tiny buttons that are hard to press, but the Camaro has two big, chunky knobs for cabin air and temperature. Nice! The buttons next to the screen have no tactile feel to them, though, so you can’t press them easily without looking. Bummer.

camaro-center-stack

As you can see, the trunk space, particularly with the top down, is limited. I can somehow hear Jeremy Clarkson intoning, “See this? It has room… for a bag.”

camaro-trunk

But what about that egging? Well, I spent the night at a friend’s house in Los Altos, a nice part of town. The Camaro was parked on the street. In the morning? Eggs. Probably half a dozen of them. Honestly, I’m a bit baffled. Does this represent a protest against the overweight excesses of GM engineering? Would they have left a Prius alone? Did I merely park in somebody’s favorite spot? Are we talking about Los Altos gang activity? Does Justin Bieber live around here? Were the eggs free range, and what’s the effect of high Omega-3 fatty acids on the clearcoat? Did they also stuff my tailpipe with Lululemon yoga pants and quinoa granola?

camaro-front

Parking on the mean streets of Los Altos.

The last thing I wanted was to have Hertz charge me a mint to clean up after Los Cholos Altos, so I took the Camaro promptly to a nearby car wash. To a man, everybody there was grossed out. Clearly, they’d dealt with this sort of sticky muck before. It ultimately took two passes through the machine (including a dude with a high pressure spray wand), but all the egg residue came off. When I returned it, I felt obligated to tell Hertz what happened. The lady noted that the car had an eggy smell (I didn’t smell a thing), but charged me the expected price and I was off for my flight home.

camaro-car-wash

Overall, you could buy a Camaro like this (as best I can tell, it’s a 1LT convertible plus the automatic transmission, although I think the frameless rear view mirror is an upgrade item) for $32,735 (MSRP). A base-level MX-5 Miata is $26,775. Curiously, if you take the top-of-the-line Miata (folding hard top “GT”) and add the “premium package”, you also end up facing an MSRP of exactly the same $32,735. If you need the token back seats, the Camaro is your winner. It’s also apparently a little bit faster in 0-60, but if you care about that, you’re spending the extra bucks and buying the V8 (or souping up a Miata, or buying a used S2000, or…). On the other hand, the Miata gets better mileage, is easier to maneuver and park in tight quarters, and has its own SCCA racing series if you’re so inclined. If Hertz gave me the choice, rental Miata vs. rental Camaro, at the same price, I’d have the Miata every time. If I were shopping for a toy car, along with the fantasy garage large enough to hold it and our daily drivers (sigh), then I’d almost certainly buy the Miata as well.

camaro-rear-mirror

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2013 – 2014 Camaros Recalled Due to… Stickers? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-2014-camaros-recalled-due-to-stickers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-2014-camaros-recalled-due-to-stickers/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 19:02:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=644194 If you’re one of the few, proud owners of the slightly angrier-looking 2014 Camaro, or one of the many to own the slightly less angry 2013 model, you may need to send it back to correct a problem. No, not spiders this time. The recall is about stickers. That don’t stick. The recall involves the […]

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2014 Chevrolet Camaro

If you’re one of the few, proud owners of the slightly angrier-looking 2014 Camaro, or one of the many to own the slightly less angry 2013 model, you may need to send it back to correct a problem. No, not spiders this time. The recall is about stickers. That don’t stick.

The recall involves the air bag warning label on the sun visor coming undone, which warns both drivers and passengers that having an explosive bag of hot air and chemicals designed to save your life could also leave you with a few cuts and bruises upon impact. No word on how many have this particular issue, however (the stickers, that is).

In its letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chevrolet says owners can bring in their defective stickers to their nearest dealership to be replaced with either a much stickier sticker, or a new sun visor. They also state that owners who don’t have this issue — assuming they would notice — can send a note saying all is well with the world, and at least no spiders were involved. This time.

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Camaro Blah Blah Ring Time Blah Blah http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/camaro-blah-blah-ring-time-blah-blah/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/camaro-blah-blah-ring-time-blah-blah/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 01:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=625225 Good news, everybody! The Camaro Z/28 is almost as fast as the Camaro ZL1 on a track that you’d need a 747 Cargo and a spare week to check out for yourself! You can get most of the details at Road&Track but the most important thing for you to know is the final number of […]

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2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Good news, everybody! The Camaro Z/28 is almost as fast as the Camaro ZL1 on a track that you’d need a 747 Cargo and a spare week to check out for yourself!

You can get most of the details at Road&Track but the most important thing for you to know is the final number of 7:37. This is faster than many cars including the R34 Skyline and slower than many other cars including the Camaro ZL1. Chevrolet spent a week of development and logged a thousand miles to get this time; however, they claim the car could go six seconds faster. I recall making a similar claim after qualifying once during a NASA race at Mid-Ohio. I was laughed at by everyone in the vicinity including the nice older lady who runs the concession stand in the paddock.

“Shut up and take this cheeseburger,” she said, “you’ve had two full sessions to run and you haven’t done any better than 1:44.2 in that Neon.” I still maintain that 1:44.2 is pretty fast around Mid-Ohio for a Neon. But I had a full cage in the car, and I was allowed to run any suspension and tire I could get away with…

Oh, yes. let’s look at the video, shall we?

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Chevy Reveals New Camaro Convertible Ahead of Reveal In Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/chevy-reveals-new-camaro-convertible-ahead-of-reveal-in-frankfurt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/chevy-reveals-new-camaro-convertible-ahead-of-reveal-in-frankfurt/#comments Thu, 22 Aug 2013 17:32:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=500479 Chevrolet will be launching the 2014 Camaro coupe for the European market at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, which is probably the reason why Chevy is using the same show for the debut of the 2014 Camaro convertible, rather than introduce it in a few months at the Lost Angeles or Detroit shows.   Making […]

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Chevrolet Camaro convertible (MY2014)

Chevrolet will be launching the 2014 Camaro coupe for the European market at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, which is probably the reason why Chevy is using the same show for the debut of the 2014 Camaro convertible, rather than introduce it in a few months at the Lost Angeles or Detroit shows.

 

Making a big splash about the Camaro in Europe is no doubt part of GM’s plan to grow the Chevrolet brand globally. Since releasing (either by leaks or officially) photos in advance of auto show debuts has become part of the publicity process, you don’t have to wait two weeks for the Frankfurt show to see what the new Camaro ragtop looks like, as Chevy has dropped a couple of photos and a press release. Interestingly, for a brand that is trying to be global, the press release makes a point of the Camaro’s heritage as an American muscle car, saying that it’s “as much a part of Americana as apple pie and baseball.”

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Monday Mileage Midget: 8,193 Miles On A 1997 Chevy Camaro Z28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/monday-mileage-midget-8193-miles-on-a-1997-chevy-camaro-z28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/monday-mileage-midget-8193-miles-on-a-1997-chevy-camaro-z28/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2012 17:27:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470471 Let’s say you had to move out of the country. Forever. There are only so many things you can take with you. A few pieces of furniture. Family albums. Your antique collection of 1970’s beer bottles. The play car you rarely drive… has to be ditched. So you unload it at a nearby dealership and […]

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Let’s say you had to move out of the country. Forever.

There are only so many things you can take with you. A few pieces of furniture. Family albums. Your antique collection of 1970’s beer bottles.

The play car you rarely drive… has to be ditched. So you unload it at a nearby dealership and hope for the best.

It’s hard to believe. But what you see here is the real McCoy. A soon to be 16 year old Camaro Z28 with all of 8,193 miles.

By 1997 these Camaros had nearly caught up with the Mustangs in terms of sales volume. 100k for a Mustang. 95k for the Camaro. Throw in a healthy five-figure sales volume for the Firebird, and it seemed like the F-bodies would indeed endure for the long run.

Then something happened… and that something was nothing. GM more or less let both models shrivel on the vines of cost containment and amortization until May 2001 when, after only about 29k sales, GM finally pulled the plug on the last great cheap Chevy musclecar. Sales were so bad at this point that many of these models had to be badged as 2002 models to remain marketable.

 

Just look at that interior.A cheap, drab, plastic fantastic. I can tell you from personal experience that the dashboard alone shatters with frightening normalcy while nearly everything else just falls apart over the course of time.

Cheap seats. Cheap doors. Cheap dash. It was as if all the old accountants from the Roger Smith era had a party and all the retirees from the finance division were invited as well.  I’m sure you could find some 1980’s parts bin surplus if you looked hard enough.

Which is a shame. Because these vehicles are an absolute blast to drive. I recently got a 1997 Firebird model and to be frank, it offers one of the best powertrain combinations from that era. In a pure bang for the buck calculation, these F-bodies are tough to beat.

Should this one go to a museum? Ebay? A collectors garage? Beats me. However it did sell for quite a price. Feel free to make a guess and share with the Best& Brightest your F-body story du jour. Extra credit if you can associate with my home state of New Jersey.

 

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Shanghai Auto Show: Launch Of The Retro Rockets – Bumblebee Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-launch-of-the-retro-rockets-%e2%80%93-bumblebee-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-launch-of-the-retro-rockets-%e2%80%93-bumblebee-edition/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 22:29:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392267 The fifth generation of that other legendary car was launched on China by Shanghai GM. Ample 50s cues were not spared. Rock’n’Roll and a historic Camaro were on hand that had served as the official pace car of the 1967 Indy 500. The 60s don’t make the hearts pound in a Chinese – unless accompanied […]

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The fifth generation of that other legendary car was launched on China by Shanghai GM. Ample 50s cues were not spared. Rock’n’Roll and a historic Camaro were on hand that had served as the official pace car of the 1967 Indy 500.

The 60s don’t make the hearts pound in a Chinese – unless accompanied by a rendition of “The East is Red.”

What they get are the Transformers. Now THAT works in China.

Like the Beetle, the Camaro will not be built in China. It’s an import with a hefty price of RMB 455,800 (roundabout $70,000) for the 3.6-liter model.

The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy GM The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

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Down On The Mile High Street: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-mile-high-street-1969-chevrolet-camaro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-mile-high-street-1969-chevrolet-camaro/#comments Wed, 16 Feb 2011 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=384017 Since I started the Down On The Street series for some other site back in ’07 (the very first car in the series was this ’84 Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro, of all things), I’ve photographed exactly three first-generation Camaros: this perfect ’67 RS convertible, this purple ’69… and today’s car, a Denver survivor that lives on […]

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Since I started the Down On The Street series for some other site back in ’07 (the very first car in the series was this ’84 Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro, of all things), I’ve photographed exactly three first-generation Camaros: this perfect ’67 RS convertible, this purple ’69… and today’s car, a Denver survivor that lives on the street and doesn’t fear a little snow.

The mercury in Denver now reads about 80 degrees higher than it did a week or two ago, and I can’t swear that this car was driving around when it was 15 below and snowing like crazy. Rear-wheel-drive, 350 power, and a 1960s heater/defroster technology require a bit more concentration from the driver than these newfangled modern machines, but our forefathers managed to drive cars like this in all weather conditions.

I’ve never owned a first-gen Camaro (though I have owned plenty of small-block-Chevy-powered machinery), but I’m old enough to have driven, ridden in, and worked on many, many examples of the breed; you’d never guess it today, but the first-gen Camaro was a common sight on the street as recently as the mid-1980s. I recall a friend of mine in 1983 agonizing between a fairly beat ’68 Camaro with a 327 and a semi-nice ’67 Mustang with a six-cylinder, both priced at 300 bucks (he bought the Mustang, which he promptly wrecked when its parking brake failed while parked on a steep hill). What a dilemma! They drive pretty much the same as their first cousin, the Nova, but most of them have been banished to the golden cage of the car-show/cruise-night milieu by now. I’m glad to see that the owner of this car still drives the thing; I’m bored to death by ’67-69 Camaros in car shows, but one on the street is very welcome sight. I’m going to go back and try to track down the owner, so I can get his or her story about the car.

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The Return Of The Z28 Camaro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/the-return-of-the-z28-camaro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/the-return-of-the-z28-camaro/#comments Sat, 04 Dec 2010 16:44:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=375763 When Bob Lutz came back from retirement for the umpteenth time, one of the first orders of business was to kill the Z28 Camaro. The only thing that was in high gear at the times was carmageddon, electric cars were the wave of an uncertain future, and come on, how more politically incorrect can you […]

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When Bob Lutz came back from retirement for the umpteenth time, one of the first orders of business was to kill the Z28 Camaro. The only thing that was in high gear at the times was carmageddon, electric cars were the wave of an uncertain future, and come on, how more politically incorrect can you get than with an 8 cylinder that makes anywhere between 500 and 600 hp, while producing enough plant food to keep the world’s rainforests lush and green? Rainforests rejoice:

Word reaches us from the Toronto Star that “the iconic Chevrolet Camaro Z28 muscle sports car will make a comeback in Oshawa.” Of course it’s not official yet,  but the Star’s “industry sources” are saying that the strapping Camaro will emerge en masse from GM’s Oshawa assembly complex “late next year or early in 2012.”

The Freep must have similarly chatty industry sources, and reported yesterday that “Chevrolet will revive its high-performance Camaro Z28 as a 2012 model, giving it a supercharged version of the current Camaro SS’ V8 engine with between 500 and 600 horsepower.”

The Camaro, which had come out of retirement in 2009, shortly before Lutz, fills GM with pride. According to Freep figures, GM had sold 71,521 Camaros year-to-date. The Camaro is 7,350 units ahead of the Mustang. GM will add a convertible, and with the rumored big muscle version, it is supposed to leave the Mustang in a cloud of dust.

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Chart Of The Day: Pony Car Wars Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/chart-of-the-day-pony-car-wars-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/chart-of-the-day-pony-car-wars-edition/#comments Mon, 13 Sep 2010 19:23:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=365604 Over the long haul of the Pony Car Wars, Ford’s Mustang has set the standard to which all others aspire. Having handily outsold the old F-Body Camaros (to say nothing of the nearest import-equivalent, the Nissan Z), Ford reigned alone over the declining muscle-coupe segment for much of the last decade. But the Pony Car […]

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Over the long haul of the Pony Car Wars, Ford’s Mustang has set the standard to which all others aspire. Having handily outsold the old F-Body Camaros (to say nothing of the nearest import-equivalent, the Nissan Z), Ford reigned alone over the declining muscle-coupe segment for much of the last decade. But the Pony Car cannot thrive alone, and the Mustang couldn’t keep its sales from sliding ever further… it needed some competition. Now, rather than fighting for pieces of a shrinking segment, the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang have been able to grow their sales together, revitalized by the renewed Pony Car Wars. Though our simple volume projection shows the Camaro on track to take the Pony Car crown from the Mustang, the short-term trends indicate a close battle to the finish this year. Hit the jump for summer sales comparisons…

Comparing the last three months of sales, it’s clear that the Mustang is fighting back. Still, if you break down those three months chronologically, another micro-trend emerges: Mustang won big in June, practically tied in July and slipped behind in August. How the Mustang-Camaro battle will play out through the end of this year is literally anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, the big picture is equally uncertain. The fact that the closest import competitors to the Pony Cars, the 370Z and RX-8, have received no bump from the segment’s revival is troubling. The indication then, is that the rebirth of the muscle coupe enthusiasm is based on a short-term, retro-nostalgia trend rather than a real shift towards coupes and performance cars. For now though, the Camaro and Mustang are locked in the kind of mano-a-mano horserace that this industry goes crazy for, and in the process they’ve revitalized a dead-on-its-feet segment. Even if it doesn’t last forever, this will be one Pony Car War to remember.

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Review: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/review-2010-chevrolet-camaro-ss/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/review-2010-chevrolet-camaro-ss/#comments Wed, 01 Sep 2010 19:23:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=364438 The third-generation Camaro, so much swoopier than anything else on the road back in 1982, looked more like a concept car than a production car. The throaty V8, though pitifully weak by today’s standards, at the time was easily capable of getting a 14-year-old’s pulse racing. Some critics dinged the car for its impractical packaging, […]

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The third-generation Camaro, so much swoopier than anything else on the road back in 1982, looked more like a concept car than a production car. The throaty V8, though pitifully weak by today’s standards, at the time was easily capable of getting a 14-year-old’s pulse racing. Some critics dinged the car for its impractical packaging, size, and weight, but I didn’t care. I wanted one, badly. Never did get one. By the time I could afford a Camaro, I agreed with the critics. From frenzied test drives in the Toyota Corolla GT-S and Honda CRX I learned the joys of high-revving multi-valve engines and agile handling. GM recently introduced a fifth-generation Camaro. What has it learned in the last 28 years?

In form and spirit, the 2010 car’s big, bold exterior is very much that of a Camaro. My 14-year-old self would have loved it. I thought my kids would love it, but instead they seemed puzzled that a car with such exaggerated styling could exist outside of a cartoon. Many people do clearly love the look of the new car, and virtually everyone has a strong opinion about it. GM deserves credit for crafting a shape that is at once current and readily identifiable with its ancestors. The lesson not learned: the racier the styling, the shorter the shelf life. Sales have been strong so far, but where will they be in 2012?

Size remains a big issue. Compared to previous generations, the new Camaro is about as long (190.4”), wider (75.5”) and heavier (3,860 lbs.). The original Camaro was based on a compact car platform. The new one is based on GM’s largest car platform. You’d never guess that gas prices reached record highs during the car’s gestation. Another lesson not learned.

Check out the 2010 Camaro’s back seat, preferably from a safe distance, and as with past iterations you’ll wonder where all of those exterior inches went. Adults who don’t regularly practice yoga simply don’t fit beneath the low roof. My skinny nine-year-old son complained about the lack of room and his inability to see out of the small, high-mounted windows. His comment on the car: “Everything is big except what you want to be big, and that’s small.”

Slide between the widely-spaced bolsters of the front seat, though, and you’ll wonder if the Camaro was designed for giants. You sit low behind a hulking instrument panel. Both the deeply dished steering wheel and shifter are super-sized: Camaro drivers best have big, manly hands. The retro-styled interior possesses some interesting elements, but it’s overly plasticky. The silver-painted trim bits are so thick they come across as clunky. The bulging center stack with its pair of oversized round HVAC controls (I’ll avoid references to the female anatomy) appears more 1990s GM than late 1960s. Sometimes there’s a fine line between retro and dated. The most attractive part of the interior: the door sill trim plates. Too bad they’re no longer visible once you clunk the door shut.

The windshield is much more upright than with the third-generation Camaro, and perhaps even the second—a retro touch I can definitely live with. Sitting low and gazing over a long hood as the V8 rumbles provides a badass feeling you just cannot get in a Mustang. Visibility? It’s as bad as everyone says, but still livable.

When paired with the six-speed manual, the 2010 Camaro’s 6.2-liter V8 puts out 426 horsepower at 5,900 rpm. Years ago GM claimed they could get pushrod engines to breathe well at high rpm, and they’re rightly proud of the peak output they’ve been able to wring from this one. But there are downsides to this approach. With only two valves per cylinder, breathing cannot be optimized separately for low and high rpm. So tune for high rpm breathing and the low end suffers. The 6.2’s torque peak is a fairly lofty 4,600 rpm, so there are only 1,300 rpm between the peaks.

Then there’s the way the Camaro’s engine sounds and feels when racing for the redline. Its raucous roar (with stray mechanical undertones) borders on violent, with much of this violence seemingly directed towards the engine’s own internals. Put another way, under hard acceleration at high rpm the big V8 sounds like it wants to tear itself apart. At the other end of the spectrum, the idle is a bit lumpy, which is typical of a cammy old-school V8.

Shift feel is similarly unrefined. Throws are moderate in length, but can feel clunky, and in casual driving it takes conscious effort to shift the car smoothly. Go too easy on the throttle in first and the shifter will take you straight to forth, an old GM trick to bump the EPA rating. The V8 is torquey, but shifting into fourth so early still lugs it. Even if this feature is avoided—and I didn’t encounter it at all the first few days I had the car—the gearing feels too tall. Fuel economy ranged from 13 in hard driving to low 20s on the highway. Figure 16 and change in moderately aggressive driving around town—nearly the same I observed in an Altima Coupe.

Then there’s the chassis, which seems to have received all of the refinement the rest of the car did not. The nicely weighted steering doesn’t communicate much, and the Camaro handles like the large, heavy car that it is. But body roll is restrained without killing the ride quality, and the precision with which the car can be steered with the right foot (a trait shared with the late, lamented Pontiac G8 and the Corvette) should serve as an example for other manufacturers. (Nissan, I’m talking to you.) Add in good balance and very grippy tires, and you’ll rarely come anywhere near the Camaro’s limits on public roads.

In the final analysis, outside of the chassis GM hasn’t learned much in the last 28 years. Some things they didn’t need to learn. The driving position might compromise visibility, but without it the Camaro wouldn’t be a Camaro. And a Camaro should be boldly styled and chock full of big, vocal V8. But the fifth-generation car is at least a half-size too large, a few hundred pounds too heavy, and far too unrefined. Sure, a Camaro should be raw, but not raw all over. Like hair that has been painstakingly styled to appear disheveled, rawness must be carefully distributed. The bits that enhance the driving experience should be retained, even amplified—as raw as it is, the Camaro could feel more visceral. But the other rough edges, that cheapen the car and disrupt the driving experience, should be excised. The good news: the chassis would be the hardest thing to fix with the refresh that needs to happen before the styling goes stale.

Chevrolet provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data.

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Alaman Left: The Camaro Comes To The UK. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/alaman-left-the-camaro-comes-to-the-uk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/alaman-left-the-camaro-comes-to-the-uk/#comments Fri, 02 Jul 2010 10:03:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=360103 Auto Express reports that GM is going to sell the Chevy Chevrolet Camaro in the United Kingdom by May 2011, with a convertible version later that year. It will only be available in the top level Gestapo SS trim, and will have the 6.2 litre, 426bhp V8 engine. Unfortunately, GM couldn’t be bothered to respect […]

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Auto Express reports that GM is going to sell the Chevy Chevrolet Camaro in the United Kingdom by May 2011, with a convertible version later that year. It will only be available in the top level Gestapo SS trim, and will have the 6.2 litre, 426bhp V8 engine. Unfortunately, GM couldn’t be bothered to respect local driving customs and will sell the car in left-hand drive only. That’s right. Pricing is yet to be confirmed as exchange rates are sensitive at the moment, but GM is aiming to keep the pricing in line (I thought it was a V8?) with the Nissan 370Z, which starts at £28,345. Now while there are many American-philes (probably located in the North of England) who are doing a “dosey-doe” around their living rooms at this news, there are a few of problems (and here comes the pessimistic part).

Problem number 1: The UK is under pressure to meet Kyoto protocols and environment standards, which means higher taxes on more polluting cars will be brought in. Hence, the rationale behind the £5K subsidy for electric cars. A car which is 6.2 litres and enough power to fell a bull elephant, will probably fall afoul of these taxes.

Problem number 2: As I mentioned before, the UK, over the next 5 years is going to experience a severe economic storm, possibly culminating in 600,000 jobs being lost. Which means a lot of belt-tightening. Justifying purchasing a car like this will be that much trickier. Though to GM’s credit, they are only planning to sell 100 car per year as a “test the water” venture.

Problem 3: This is the biggest problem in my eyes. Whilst in the United States you get cars like the Chevrolet Malibu, Equinox and Impala, in the UK, Chevrolet’s line up is nothing more than a bunch of re-badged Daewoos and other Korean engineered econo-boxes. The Spark, the Matiz, the Aveo, the Lacetti, etc. Now Chevrolet wants to stick the Camaro into a line which hosts these paragons of mediocrity?

Yee-ha(!)

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GM Alpha Platform: All Things To All Enthusiasts? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/gm-alpha-platform-all-things-to-all-enthusiasts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/gm-alpha-platform-all-things-to-all-enthusiasts/#comments Tue, 20 Apr 2010 17:20:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=353379 First developed by Holden in 2004, GM’s Zeta platform now underpins vehicles as diverse as the Statesman/Lumina/G8/Caprice sedans, and the Chevy Camaro. Originally designed for full-sized , rear-drive Australian sedans, Zeta was downsized as far as it could be for the Camaro, which reviewers largely view as overweight and rather too ungainly for true sportscar […]

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First developed by Holden in 2004, GM’s Zeta platform now underpins vehicles as diverse as the Statesman/Lumina/G8/Caprice sedans, and the Chevy Camaro. Originally designed for full-sized , rear-drive Australian sedans, Zeta was downsized as far as it could be for the Camaro, which reviewers largely view as overweight and rather too ungainly for true sportscar status. Accordingly, GM has been developing a new rear-drive platform known as “Alpha,” which will form the basis of GM’s performance and luxury RWD models for the considerable future. Last we heard about Alpha was last August, when Bob Lutz swore there was no development underway of the platform he compared to BMW’s 1-/3-series. According to Motor Trend, work on the Alpha platform has begun… but there are already signs of trouble.

MT’s big scoop is that GM is “flexing” the Alpha platform. So what the hell does that mean in Ed Whitacre industry-novice-speak?

we’ve learned that the platform is being “protected” for a variety of engines, including four-cylinders, supercharged or turbocharged V-6s, and the small block V-8. By “protected,” we mean the bodies are designed to allow for proper fitting of the various engines, whether they are offered with all the engine choices or not. You don’t “close off” the design to make it impossible to add a different engine or transmission initially unplanned. While four-cylinder engines are smaller than sixes and eights, of course, the cars also must accommodate active engine mounts to account for less inherent refinement and smoothness in the fours.

On the surface this seems like a hefty dollop of awesome. By building flexibility into its new platform, GM will be able to offer cheap, efficient four-bangers in budget enthusiast models (the next-generation Camaro will be based on Alpha) and big V8 power in extreme V-series versions of the Alpha-platform Cadillac, known as the ATS , as well as the next-gen CTS which will also be based on Alpha. Scratch a little deeper though, and some of the problems with this strategy reveal themselves.

The major issue with making Alpha capable of a full engine range is the perennial bane of the Zeta platform, namely weight. In fact, weight concerns were the very reason Hyundai decided to ban V6s from its new Sonata sedan. As Hyundai NA president John Krafcik explains in this video, by not having to engineer V6 and four-cylinder hardpoints, Hyundai’s developers were able to trim significant amounts of weight and mass from the Sonata. And with recent breakthroughs in direct-injected, turbocharged engine technology, they’re giving up little to nothing for the added lightness.

The problem for GM is that it’s invested so much in its power-mad Cadillac V-Series badge that it can’t develop the platform that will underpin the next CTS-V without at least leaving room for a “breathed-on V6.” Which, as MT explains, means they might as well just make it capable of rocking a small-block V8 as well:

Breathed-on V-6s need engine bay accommodation for the blowers or turbos, and for intercoolers. This makes it easy to protect for a small block — overhead valves are more compact at the engine’s top than dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder. Therefore, they fit more easily than the breathed-on sixes.

Meanwhile, there’s another problem:

These plans are fluid. GM is said to be in a quandary over the transmission designed to accommodate these cars. It’s developing an eight-speed automatic for its V-6s. The question is, will the eight-speed be designed for front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive?

Before you say, “both, of course,” be aware that new transmissions are very expensive. Adapting an eight-speed for both FWD and RWD can double the already healthy cost of doing it for just one configuration. And while BMW and Lexus eight-speed automatics so far serve only RWD-based cars, if GM decided to design it for transverse mounting, it would serve a much higher volume of cars and trucks.

If it designs the transmission for RWD to better compete with BMW and Lexus, it probably would have to add the transmission to trucks and big SUVs in order to get enough volume

Weight and expense problems? Trying to develop a single platform that’s capable of competitively executing every RWD application across several brands? Compromising mainstream variants in order to justify the insane engine requirements of low-volume halo versions? Does any of this sound like a new day for GM’s RWD reputation to you? Don’t get me wrong: a sub-Zeta RWD platform is a great idea (in Cadillac’s case, probably an existentially necessary one), and my inner enthusiast thrills at the idea of both budget RWD treats and tiny, loony supersedans. But the last thing I want to see is GM spending taxpayer money developing a platform that tries to fill too many niches, only to end up a dud of a compromised-to-death mess. Sure, platforms are becoming more flexible but so are engines. With the Pontiac Solstice GXP’s Ecotec DI four-pot already making 260 horsepower, and with downsized, direct-injection turbo engines poised to become the short-term future of the car industry (to say nothing of CAFE), GM could make the Alpha platform four-cylinder-only and make up the performance difference with the reduced curb weight and engine technology. Too bad it probably won’t.

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Order Your 1967 Camaro With A Bench Front Seat To Go With The Column Shifter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/order-your-1967-camaro-with-a-bench-front-seat-to-go-with-the-column-shifter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/order-your-1967-camaro-with-a-bench-front-seat-to-go-with-the-column-shifter/#comments Tue, 20 Apr 2010 16:07:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=353348 Chevrolet made some interesting choices when it introduced the Camaro. The base model had an interior more worthy of a taxi cab, especially the steering wheel, to ensure buyers would more likely check of the Custom Interior package. But where the Camaro really deviated from the Mustang interior formula was with its column shifter for […]

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Chevrolet made some interesting choices when it introduced the Camaro. The base model had an interior more worthy of a taxi cab, especially the steering wheel, to ensure buyers would more likely check of the Custom Interior package. But where the Camaro really deviated from the Mustang interior formula was with its column shifter for the Powerglide automatic, and an available “Strato-Back” bench front seat. Why? Did you have to ask?

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