So here I am, Mr. Hotshot driving an arrest-me-red 2011 Camaro Convertible in downtown San Francisco on the hottest evening of the spring, and I look in the rear view mirror and see a guy in a 1969 Camaro Convertible tailing me, taking a picture. We pull over and have a chat -- mostly so I can tell him how cool his car is. And thanks to the miracle of camera-phones, I was even able to snap a couple of pictures of the cars together. They're separated by 42 model years, but it was a trip to see a modern Camaro next to the car that inspired its design.
I'm not a muscle-car kind of guy, but I can definitely get wrapped up in the appeal of the Camaro. In fact, I love it. But I confess: my love for the badass Chevy is skin-deep. It took a week together for me to realize that if the Camaro didn't look so damned incredible, I wouldn't like it much at all.
The reality is that the Camaro's styling promises a sports car that the rest of the car doesn't deliver on. It's only when you take a step back and notice how huge this muscle car is that you realize it's not a sports car; it's a big, bad cruiser. Yeah, it handles well, but like the Dodge Challenger (and my waist), the Camaro is a size or six larger than it should be.
If I look at the Camaro through the lens of objectivity, it doesn't hold a candle to the Ford Mustang. (And it's not even on the same planet as the Mustang Boss 302). The Camaro's steering is way too slow. The mechanical noise the engine makes is 1960s thrashy. (Obviously, the V-8 exhaust music is delightful.) It revs so slowly it feels like it's half asleep. And worst of all, GM neutered the big V-8 with what must be the longest gears in the history of the automobile.