My thoughts of the 2014 Camaro and the Z/28......
The past week has certainly been eventful and it’s certainly caused a lot of conversation…..
But before I get to that – let me apologize. I hate lying to anyone. And I lied. I lied when I said to some “There isn’t a Z28” – which, now that I think about it, is a ‘half-lie’ if there is such a thing. You see, there ISN’T a “Z28” – rather, we unveiled a “Z/28” and there IS a difference – quite a big one….but more about that in a minute or two…… Anywhoo – I had to ‘lie’ about there being a Z/28 - -because to talk about it would have cost me my job. If I’d even put a ‘winkie’ after some of your posts, I would have been summarily fired.
We were so security conscious that we had an internal name for the new Z/28….
When we talked about “shooting steve” - -no one would have thought about us taking pictures of a Z/28, now would they?
(….although it may have made a few people in law enforcement sit up and take notice……)
One would think that working on the Camaro CORE team is nothing but nirvana.
To a point, it is – but let me assure you that there are many rough spots and there are long hours and missed family engagements, and weekends are usually non-existent. That goes with the territory. But as to the privilege of being “custodians of the brand”, it’s necessary that we give up a lot in order to ensure that the Camaro and all that surrounds the design, engineering and building of these legendary cars is as is it should be – and we must hit ‘all the targets’ deserved by such a hallowed brand.
Please note: NO ONE within ‘Team Camaro” takes their job or their responsibilities lightly.
Decisions are agonized over – because it’s THAT important to you as a valued Camaro Enthusiast. More importantly – and I think this is something overlooked by many of you: We are Camaro Enthusiasts, too. And we’ve been Camaro Enthusiasts for many, many years -- (in some cases long before many of you could even say ‘Camaro!’)
I use the word “agonized” because we know that no matter WHAT we do or choose, we will be wide open for someone to be critical. That’s just the nature of an automobile that creates such passion. That said, it’s sometimes very difficult to have horrible insults thrown at you – or worse, the insults directed at that “labor-of-love” you’ve worked so hard to make better.
Dateline: New York – Wednesday, March 27, 2014:
Approximately 50 Camaro Enthusiasts were invited to the unveil of the 2014 Camaro at the New York Autoshow. Frankly, there were hundreds more Camaro Enthusiasts there – because many members of the press and other people who work in and around autoshows happen to be Camaro enthusiasts in addition to their jobs.
I wish each of you could have felt the excitement as the SS/RS drove onto the stage – there were cheers and roars of approval and clapping.
I also caught some “looks of surprise” when the Red Rock Metallic SS/RS did not pull onto the turntable in the middle – but rather to the side……it was like “…….what????.......”
And then the excitement grew as the sound of an LS7 V-8 roared to life behind the stage – and then the LED screen exploded (figuratively – not literally) with the sights and sounds of Z/28s of the past – and then from behind the stage came the new 2014 Z/28 – to cries of joy.
I was so happy to be able to watch this thru other peoples’ eyes. That’s just the greatest feeling. I was delighted with the response to both Camaros………..
My Blackberry started to vibrate as dozens of emails landed – nearly all of them overwhelmingly positive. I suspect that was to be expected as a lot of the dyed in the wool enthusiasts happen to have my corporate email account.
(….that can be a double edged sword at times…..)
………..and then I went onto a couple of enthusiast sights that evening and was dismayed at some of the language being used by a few people – and even more upset to see some people bashing our engineers and designers - and even worse, the Disciples.
I continually remind myself that much of this behavior is driven by passion. I’m also not naive enough to believe that it’s all passion. It stuns me to see remarks turn into a ‘contest’ of sorts to see who can hurl the best ‘insult.’ I don’t know when this became proper behavior in our society – but in my book, it’s improper and some people should be ashamed. Frankly, I’m more inclined to take opinions from well thought out posts than one that utilizes bad language and insults.
Now – for my thoughts on the 2014 Camaro:
Everything we do on Camaro is to improve it – make it better – offer ‘more than expected’ and to keep it fresh. The Camaro was first offered to the public in early 2009 – just about 4 years ago this month. We know that styling is one of the top reasons for purchase in this segment. Thus, it’s crucial that we update the styling…if we don’t, the volume will simply deteriorate. Deteriorated Volume doesn’t bode well for any brand…it’s the way brands disappear into the history of the automobile industry…..
The bad news? No matter what you do in terms of styling or content, you’ll be criticized by some. That’s just the way it is.
People complained about the tail-lamps in the Camaro Concept. Not everyone was a fan – but we made the commitment to ensure that the production car looked as close to the concept as possible. Nevertheless, I received some nasty-grams about them……
When it was discovered that the car would have a ‘B-Pillar’ – some questioned if we – the members of “Team Camaro” -- had all just escaped from an asylum.
When people saw the back-up light slits in the rear fascia, some questioned as to whether or not we could even spell the name “Camaro”…..
When they saw the original 2010 Camaro steering wheel, some were certain that we’d time-travelled back in time to cause the Lindberg Baby Kidnapping…….
The SS fascia versus the V-6 fascia? We evidently created the hurricanes that devastated various parts of the world…….
Color changes? Well – according to a few, we simply can’t walk and chew gum at the same time…….
……and yet the new Camaro became number one in the segment.
And people got used to seeing all the things that caused so much uproar. And we continued to ‘wow’ the enthusiast community at large………
….and THEN we changed the steering wheel.
Some claim this caused 50,000 people to become sterile for simply laying their eyes on such hideousness. (some of the very people who HATED the original steering wheel now claimed that it was the most magnificent steering wheel the world had ever known…and that in changing it, we should be hanged by sundown.....how they now forget or try to hide the past posts they made…..)
And then we changed the SS wheels for 2013….. There’s a vicious rumor that this caused peoples’ teeth to fall out…….
And then we discontinued Imperial Blue (….in order to offer Blue Ray Metallic….) Some claim this caused thousands of dear little kitties and puppies to suddenly throw themselves in front of cars, trucks, and high-speed trains………..
(…are you noticing a trend here?)
Fast forward to earlier this week.
The new SS/RS was shown to the public.
The SS hood has evidently caused millions of people to suddenly slap their Mamas……
The rear tail lamps? Spring Flowers will no longer bloom.
And yet I suspect that once 90 percent of the people see the new 2014 Camaro in person, they’ll realize that perhaps they overreacted.
And the sun WILL come up tomorrow……….
The Camaro MUST ALWAYS be recognizable as a Camaro.
It must have Camaro styling cues.
We refreshed the front fascia to make the car more intimidating. We made the car look wider. AND – we made the SS look different than the V6 model. (at your request, by the way….) Further, there’s more differentiation between an RS Camaro and a non-RS Camaro – both in the front AND rear. (again, by your request…)
The tail-lamps are a tribute to the 1969 Camaro. (go study the 1969 Camaro tail-lamps -- both RS and Non-RS and you’ll start to appreciate why we did what we did.)
Remember those ‘poor unfortunates’ who hated the slits in the rear fascia for the back-up lights? Well – we listened to you. Shame on us.
The back-up lights have been moved into the tail-lamp assemblies. For those of you who felt the rear was “too busy” or “too tall” – well – we fixed that…..
For those of you who told us we should have put LED tail-lamps in the car? Well – we did on the RS models….
Some hated the ‘mail-slot’ front fascia on the SS. (some even went so far as to fill the slots on their Camaros in with various types of filler……) Well – we listened to you as well. (off with our heads…) The air extractor on the SS? It’s functional. (you asked for it….) It also just happens to be the same width as the reverse Mohawk in the roof.
And for the record – the V6 does not have the extractor in the hood – once again differentiating the SS from the non-SS.
Somehow, I suspect that Spring Flowers WILL bloom – and that most people in the coming months will say either:
“I LOVE it”
“Well ….that wasn’t so bad after all…”
A few others will still hate something about the front or the back -- Just as there are still Camaro Enthusiasts – however few – that still don’t like the 5th gen, period – luckily they are far and few between as sales figures prove……
So – for those who were disappointed in the changes – I sincerely hope you’ll be able to see the new 2014 Camaro in person real soon – and that you’ll find that the changes are in keeping with what makes a Camaro a Camaro…………