Posted for Fbodfather---- he wrote while we were in the meeting........
Our Camaro Disciples are at the General Motors Milford Proving Grounds this morning – and I’ll try to give you a ‘taste’ of their first few moments…….
After an evening spent with GM Design and Engineering personnel – over food and drink, everyone retired for the evening -- I think it fair to say that no one wanted to sleep – and could hardly wait for the 8am bus ride thru the hills outside of Milford, Mich. They had the opportunity to talk to people like Tom Peters – from GM Design – Brett Vivian, who is the Camaro Vehicle Line Director….and Al Oppenheiser who is Camaro North American Chief Engineer. Of course, Cheryl Pilcher is there – wearing, of all things, a Houndstooth blazer in Black and white. John Fitzpatrick is there to act as master of ceremonies.
An exciting evening that holds great promise.
The shuttle leaves the hotel – and the skies are clearing – blue with broken white clouds…….temperatures in the high 50s………..
The shuttle makes its way along interstate 96 and exits at the Milford Road exit. A few miles later, it turns onto “General Motors Road” – and the main gate is just ahead.
Upon entering the main gate – a bus transfer takes place at “Lundstrom House” – and the incredible ride starts – past building after building – past a guard that checks packages and people. Funny thing is that no one remembers the buildings – simply because of the staggering number of cars and trucks surrounding the buildings – many with cammo. – and that’s because many of them are from the 2010-2011 model years.
The bus takes our disciples over many hills and valleys – all cris-crossed with various road surfaces. Your first reaction to the Milford Proving Ground is: “Wow – the landscape……” The proving grounds has woods and forest – lakes and streams – dirt lanes – superhighways – rough pavement – and lots of wildflowers. You’d expect lots of macadam – but you’re struck by the beauty of nature.
A Corvette passes the bus going the other way – followed by several Chevrolet Traverses – which are going thru final validation tests prior to production late this summer. Soon we see what appears to be a very low-slung sedan – covered with front and rear bras and lots of cammo paint……. – when suddenly someone shouts “LOOK!!! HERE COMES ONE!” – and behind the bus – like a couple of wild cheetahs – two black and white IVER Camaros come up at a high rate of speed – turn signals come on --- and they howl past the bus – and our disciples gasp.
This is gonna be a GREAT day…………….
The bus pulls up to Building 106 – which overlooks ‘black lake.’ Black lake was given this name by airline pilots who would fly over the Milford grounds – because it’s a rectangle that measures just under 70 acres of asphalt – and this rectangle looks like a lake from 20,000 feet……..
As our disciples exit onto the tarmac, they hear the unmistakable ‘howl’ of tires in the distance. “Oh my GOD – HERE THEY COME AGAIN!!” – and in the distance the cheetahs reappear –
They keep gaining speed – and as they blow by the group, the unmistakable growl of a small-block V8 – and then they’re gone behind a wooded island at the end of black lake…………………..
No question about it – this is gonna be a GREAT day………..
The Disciples come into building 106 -- located on the ‘shore’ of black lake – there is a large screen set up – and a U-shaped table with refreshments – and a black fabric backwall. Everyone gets a beverage and sits in their assigned seats – a few ‘goodies’ are there for them to take home………
John reviews the agenda – and notes that there are some very special Corvettes outside – such as a
“Cor price” – a 1989 ZR1 (no, that’s not a mistype) an Active handling 1990 ZR1 – the first C5 Hardtop built – and a ‘Beta’ C5. We invite them to come outside and look at them – but we bring them thru the black backwall –
…………..and sitting there are FOUR production intent Camaros – (OK – I’ll share that one was Black and one was Red -- ) -- and capturing the Disciples’ facial expressions on tape is a video crew.
No one says a word – lots of gasps -- and their eyes bug out. – and suddenly there are tears – both from the Disciples and from those of us on the Team. One disciple says to me “oh …..oh……..it’s been such a long wait – they’re --- they’re – they’re – ohmygod………..I love them!”
it’s not unlike a Christmas morning – but much better!
The disciples went from car to car – climbed in and out of them – opened trunks – opened hoods -- and asked a million questions.
It was a chore to get them out of the cars and back to the meeting room so that we could have Brett and Al speak to them about Camaro Development.
It really IS a GREAT day………….
Time to drive a couple of cars!
The black and white IVER Camaros return to Black Lake – and each Disciple takes them for a drive with one of the Camaro Team members riding shotgun. They have V8 engines and automatic transmissions. The interiors are quite primitive as they’ve been thru tests for several months.
The video team captures reactions from each Disciple. We also have ‘stills’ taken.
Suddenly – a fighter jet swoops down – completely unannounced – and buzzes Black Lake – everyone jumps and gasps – and watches as the jet does a barrel roll – steeply banks – and buzzes us once again. Wouldn’t you know – Maximum Bob! – he comes back once again – gives us a ‘bow’ with his wings - -and takes off on a final barrel roll…………
Incredible. Can this day get any better?
We allow the disciples to drive a V6 with the manual transmission – and I’m sure they’ll have something to say about this -- this may be the real surprise!
One of our durability drivers then takes one of the V8 Black and Whites out onto black lake – and does some high speed maneuvers -- the tires howling the entire time – and after this performance he receives a standing ovation from the crowd.
Time to go back inside and hear some REALLY secret stuff…………..and at the end of the day – a debrief and then dinner.
WOW………what a day.