2. July 2014
A friend has a 1969 Camaro. Way back when, in the days when cruising Telegraph (for those of us who are Detroit Westsiders; Woodward, as in “Dream Cruise,” was for the Eastsiders) was not only an adolescent obligation but a nearly evolutionary imperative, he had a ’68. Then, he drove the you-know-what out of his car. Today, he has a kit full of polishes and sprays in the trunk, keeping the car pristine for showing it at various Camaro events. Sure, he drives the ’69. But not as a daily driver.
So I took the ’14 over to his house for him to see. His eyes grew wide, and he rattled off stats associated with the car.
Camaro people are like that.
But my friend is over 60, which begs the question as to whether younger people would be interested in a car like the Camaro SS.
One of my neighbors is in his mid-20s. He drives a Wrangler.
I had him check the car out. The roaring growl emitted from the exhaust was one factor in the car’s appeal to him. Another was the heads-up display. Almost polar opposites.
He was also impressed with what he reckons is a most-reasonable MSRP, $36,855. But having that throaty exhaust added $895 to the sticker—yet the heads-up display is part of the base package.
“I think this is the first GM car I’ve liked in years,” he concluded.
So the car has legs.
(We’ll assume that if there is traction with those with an age that is measured in single digits, it will be predicated on Transformers viewing.)
There are two potent points about this car. One is the sinister styling, which is based, primarily, on the optional HID headlamps with LED halo ring in the front and LED taillamps around back. Coming or going, this car makes a statement.
And that statement is punctuated by that aforementioned engine rumble. It has a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 that puts out 426 hp @ 5,900 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm. With the TREMEC TR6060 manual six speed, it gets up and goes with alacrity. There are Brembo brakes to take care of the slowing-down and stopping portion of the drive.
(Want to know what the biggest cause of diminished interest by semi-hard-core people will be for muscle cars going forward? Manual transmissions. While both of the people I showed the car to know manuals, they were surprised that the car had one. I must confess that I would have been surprised if it didn’t, but there you go.)
One option that is essential in my estimation for the Camaro SS are the Recaro Performance Seats ($1,995), which keeps your seat where it belongs. Even if you don’t throw it around a track (I didn’t), the seats provide comfortable, secure support: You sit in them, not on them, which pretty much tends to be the way seats are in general.
As this is not some sort of throw-back car, it is full of contemporary tech, ranging from power seats to the rear-vision camera; power outlets to steering wheel-mounted controls.
The first Camaro SS appeared in 1967. Forty-seven years ago. This is a Camaro. It is not that Camaro. But the DNA is unmistakable.
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 426 @ 5,900 rpm
Torque: 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Materials: Aluminum block and heads
Transmission: TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual
Steering: Electric variable power steering
Wheelbase: 112.3 in.
Length: 190.6 in.
Width: 75.5 in.
Height: 54.2 in.
Seating capacity: 4
EPA: mpg city/highway/combined: 16/24/19 mpg