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Old 11-05-2013, 12:35 AM   #1
rocknroll_jeph
 
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Drives: 11 Camaro 3.6 RS, 07 Tiburon, 03 Z4
Join Date: Oct 2013
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The most challenging way to purchase a Camaro. pt 1.

So here is my long story… I hope someone has time to read it all...

But first, let me introduce myself-

I’ve been lurking on this sight for a while and other than Jalopnik I am not registered on any other websites. However, I really liked the sense of community and companionship that I see within the members of the Camaro5 forum so I am joining up with my first official post and the story of how I got to be here. Maybe you will find it interesting, maybe you can’t be bothered to read. Either way, here it is.

So since I was a kid growing up in the 80’s I loved Camaros. I remember my babysitter’s son had a black 3rd gen IROC that I actually got to look at up close. That is my first memory with a real Camaro, but I had tons of Camaros toy cars in various sizes to keep me occupied when he wasn't at that house. Besides, in southern Michigan, Camaros weren't exactly a rare sight.

But then I left the states in the mid 90’s with my family and American cars sort of fell off the radar. We lived in the mountains north of Taipei, Taiwan for a few years so I got used to seeing a lot of tuners running through the hills and wrapping themselves around light posts and trees on my way to and back from school. A few years later we moved to Hong Kong where I saw a lot of high end sports cars and tuners as well. Then in 2000 I moved to Beijing, where there was no car scene to speak of. After 3 years in Beijing, I started riding street/ sport bikes- Yamahas, Hondas and eventually I bought a Ducati. In 2007 I bought my first car, which is still my daily driver: a Hyundai Tiburon… not the best car, but a fun and practical car to own in the city. In 2009, back in the states I picked up a used BMW Z4 to road trip when I am back in Michigan for the summers.

Now I've had the Tib for a while and was looking for something interesting to drive, but it had to be rear wheel drive and only have 2 doors. In Beijing, the car scene is getting better and there are more and more choices of what to drive. However, my wife is very particular on what I am allowed to own. She only allows me to pick a small selection of cars. All Japanese cars are forbidden- no BRZ, 370’s… so sad. Also I wasn't allowed to get another Hyundai… that leaves European and American cars. Ok. There are still quite a few out there in Beijing for me. However, I am just a Kindergarten teacher/ punk rocker-not some millionaire playboy- so I need to get something I can afford. That leaves second hand cars.

Well, around May of ‘13 my wife and I were strolling around the used car lots here in Beijing. We just like to go for fun sometimes, no one hassles us and the vendors are all kind of lumped together with everything from Aston Martins to Ferraris to see scatted among the pos BYDs and VW Passats. On the way out we see a clean BMW Z4, like the one I have in the states but with the hard top. In Beijing the convertible isn't too practical anyway. So we ask about it. It’s not a bad deal, low miles, very clean condition and all the options we want (except it’s an auto, nearly all imports have and automatic transmission- not fun, but not a deal breaker and traffic sucks anyway. I don’t want to ride a clutch when I go anywhere) so we start the paperwork.
In China, nothing is easy.

First, I am only allowed to have one car in my possession, so I have to get rid of my Hyundai. But I really don’t want to. I have put a lot of upgrades into it; I have a connection with my first car and its worth practically nothing anymore. So there. But I really want a new car so we think of options. My father-in-law has a very practical and reliable but old Citroen XM which will have to be mandatorily crushed in about 1 year. So we hastily arrange for him to sell that car so I can put his car’s license on my car, therefore we are able to keep my car and get rid of the car that would we have to have disposed of soon anyway. This all happened very suddenly and we really didn't get a chance to say our goodbyes the Citroen, but we were happy to be adding a slick 3.0l fastback Z4 to our family.

The car lot that we have been dealing with is across town. For someone like me who grew up in rural Michigan, across town is like a 10 minute walk. However, across Beijing is more like a 1 hour drive on a good day. By this time in the process I have gone to that dealer about 3-4 times over the course of a week. I have sold my father-in-law’s car to a stranger from west China, “sold” my car to my father in law and started the paperwork and bank loans for getting my Z4. At this time, I have no car to my name but a non transferable piece of paper that gives me the right to car ownership with an expiration date of November 3, 2013.

So the bank works out well (but another hour drive and time off work) and the loan goes through. The next day we drive back out to the dealership in my old Tib, with a new license plate, registered to my father in law, which was another day of paper work and running around I might add- for it to be registered I had to revert it to stock condition- CAI, big brakes, wheels and tires all had to be changed back to original and additionally I had a traffic ticket I had to pay off as well. And then I start the process of un-registering the Z4, releasing it from dealership and registering it in my name. It all went quite well except for the hassle of everything involved, but at least we were getting somewhere. The last step after getting the car checked out and released into my name was to take my paperwork and the cars paperwork to the foreigner’s traffic police office to get my plate to put on the car, and that is where it all came to a crashing halt.

When I bought my Hyundai, it was before the Olympics were here, before the traffic jams and pollution were making headlines on CNN and life was simpler. At that time I just walked up to the dealership, picked out a car, gave them some cash and drove off in a car. Putting a license on it was just a matter of waiting in line and picking up a plate. They didn't even look at my driver’s license I think. That day I discovered how much changed and how the process wasn't as easy as I though it should be. In retrospect, I should have done my homework first.

Actually, everything that we did was right except that I had overlooked my visa situation. My current visa was only valid for 5 months. I had just visited LA and got a new visa stamp in February and remember the visa officer telling me that because my passport had less than a year left, she could only issue me a 5 month visa. I didn't think anything of it because my plan was to get a new passport over the summer anyway. That memory came rushing back to me when they told me that I need a visa with a stay of 6 months or more in order for me to register a car in China. Because of that one small detail, the whole deal fell through. I got a full refund but my father in laws car was gone, and my tib was still in his name, and I was stuck with a non transferable piece of paper that says I can register a car…

There was nothing to do until school got out in June. Our two families managed with just one car and a bike between us, after all, there was a time when none of us had a car, but we were used to the convince. During the summer, we went back to my old house in Michigan, got a new passport in Detroit. A few weeks later we went to the Chinese consulate in Chicago to get a new shiny visa in my new shiny passport. Things were looking good again! We spent a day in Chicago while the visa was being processed. When we got it back I was happy to see that I had been issued a 2 year visa. But on the second look the duration of each stay is only 90 days… which means that nothing had changed in my situation. I still needed a duration of 180 days or more to get a plate and time was running low. There was nothing more I could do in the states at that time, but we know when you get a visa in China, they will give you a year visa with a year duration… My wife is from Beijing, so that makes it easy for me to get a visa in Beijing, however, we were married in the states, so we needed to get our marriage certificate officially translated and notarized for it to be valid in China. That’s not too hard, just mail it to San Francisco with a addressed and stamped return envelope, paperwork, photocopies, originals and payment. I sent this off on one of the last days of our summer vacation before we returned to Beijing knowing that it would have to be then forwarded again to China. We waited for about 3 weeks then we got the package… everything was there… but nothing had been done. The form of payment I had sent was not accepted. I had sent a check and they only accept money orders. So… I sent it back to the states, had a brother of a friend make out a money order and then he sent it to San Francisco again. This time we waited for a few weeks and the last week of September it arrived! It was all in order! The next day I went to the visa office, submitted all of my paperwork and passport. She stamped approved and sent it down the line. Bad luck strikes in more that threes for me. The next week was vacation and for my type of visa they have a long waiting period, and the office had the whole first week of October off. My one year visa would be ready on October 23rd. 10 days before my car license paperwork expires.

During the October holiday we walked around the used car lot and I didn't see any Z4 Coupes but we saw a nice looking Porsche Cayman S that was in our price range as well as a pair of Camaros. One looked like it had a hard life in Beijing. There were go fast parts stuck to the inside and out and the tires and seats were pretty worn down. The other, only 2,000RMB (or about US$ 330) more was nearly factory fresh, with only 16,000KM (just under 10,000mi). With a close inspection I found that the iPod cable was still wrapped in plastic, the engine bay was clean enough to eat of, I plugged in my computer to the OBD port and found nothing strange and while inspecting the trunk I discovered a happy surprise, a K&N CAI… oh, this is the one I want… still, I had about 3 weeks until I got my passport back. I went back nearly every weekend to just look at it. The Cayman S disappeared, some other Camaros popped up but “mine” was still there. Finally, that Wednesday came. I took the day off work to do the following: pick up my passport down town, back to my local police office branch to get my registration, across town to see if the Camaro was still there- it was- start to process again… We negotiated a price, they had some paperwork to do so my wife and I went to the traffic police to recheck our paperwork was in order then back to the car lot again. After getting home that day I saw that I used half a tank of gas during the day. The price we negotiated to was reasonable for a Camaro in Beijing. They were asking 36,000RMB, with no effort my wife got them to knock 10,000 off the price. We should have asked for more of a discount! So I put the down payment on a Silver 2011 RS Camaro V6 A6. In USD this car costs about US$ 57,500 -which isn't bad when an SS is going for about $100,000- if you can find one. V6 Mustangs about the same at just under $100,000 and GTs… the price is too frightening to even think about. Still, I hope to be fulfilling a lifelong dream to own a muscle car and to keep a bit of ‘Merica with me in my travels and life in China.

Now it is Sunday. I’m at my wife’s parent’s house tucked away in the alleys of Beijing, waiting on a call. Our shared Tiburon is out in the hutong under a dust cover for the weekend. I’ll drive it back to my house for and commute 10min to work the rest of the week. I still have a few days before my tags expire. I have given a down payment, sent my information to the bank and am waiting for the bank loan to go through. However, the place where I bought the car from has never needed a loan before so they have to go through a process to get bank authorization first. When all of that that goes through it should only be a day or two until I can drive my Camaro for the first time! There are no test drives in Beijing sadly. It has been a rough 6 months; I just hope that this wait is worth it. At least I test drove a Camaro in the states and was happy with it. I hope to be sending updates on what it is like to drive on the roads in China. If not, I guess I’ll register on the Tiburon forums and hang out there, cause this is my last chance at getting a “new” car in China.

Jeph

October 27, 2013
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:25 AM   #2
lscamaro


 
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Wow, that's a crazy story! I would've gone insane if I had to go through all that! At least it'll make owning the car that much sweeter! So if this weren't to have worked out, you could never buy another new car in China again?
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:57 AM   #3
rocknroll_jeph
 
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Drives: 11 Camaro 3.6 RS, 07 Tiburon, 03 Z4
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Originally Posted by lscamaro View Post
Wow, that's a crazy story! I would've gone insane if I had to go through all that! At least it'll make owning the car that much sweeter! So if this weren't to have worked out, you could never buy another new car in China again?
Stay tuned for part 2! If this didn't work out I would have had to reenter my name into the Beijing license plate lottery where they choose about 2000 names a month. I could own another one, but it would have been difficult and I don't know how long it would be until my name is chose. My wife and I nearly did go crazy.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:06 AM   #4
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Damn! That's quite the story there, I hope it all works put for you and you get your piece of America with you in China!!
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:32 AM   #5
rocknroll_jeph
 
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Drives: 11 Camaro 3.6 RS, 07 Tiburon, 03 Z4
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Part 2: The most difficult way to purchase a Camaro. The Epic Conclusion!

Where I left off… I had put my deposit down on the Camaro of my dreams… I only had a few days to do my paperwork before my license plate expired… If it expired I would have to enter my name in a lottery with a low chance of having my name drawn. If that happened everything I had done would have been for naught and I would have to do everything all over again when I was chosen. Still, I was on the right track. At that point I just had to wait for the bank and the shop I bought my car from to get their ducks in a row and contact me. A few days after my Wednesday’s frantic dash around the capital, on Saturday night at around 7pm a representative from the bank called us. As banks in China are more or less 24/7 with real people manning the phones it is quite often a pleasure to deal with matters like this over the phone, oh how I dread doing banking when I am in the states  The band called todouble check that I was in fact the one who wanted to buy the car and they confirmed the details with us. Success! That was one more roadblock out of my way. But it was just the first step on the long journey to car ownership in Beijing.

The next day the shop called me and asked me to come in on Monday to start the process of changing ownership of the vehicle. Unfortunately the license plate on my Tiburon ends in 2, which means for this part of the year I can’t drive on Mondays… so I had to wait until Tuesday to get it started. I still had until Friday of that week before my paperwork expires.

Tuesday comes; I take the day off work. First thing my wife and I go to the bank as soon as it opens to get my loan paperwork there wasn’t much for us to do, answered some questions, signed my name a few times and that was it- just about an hour. By the time I get to the shop (on the other side of town) it is about lunch time. They are eating in the office and I hadn’t had anything to eat all day, but I am too anxious to even think of eating! After a few times running back and forth between their central office and their management office filling out forms, paying small fees, printing and photocopying everything the car is in my name at least. If you read my first post that is exactly as far as I got with the last car I tried to buy in Beijing. I was pretty nervous then! Then came a very uplifting moment- The paperwork was finally processed and we could take the car off the lot to get it checked out. Wow. So the guy at the shop bundles up all the paperwork and files and pictures and documents and we drive again to the other side of town. That is actually the first time I got to sit in my Camaro and actually go somewhere in it. However, I didn’t do the driving. The rest of the day the guy who works at the place where I am buying my car from shuttles us around and waits in lines and basically does all the leg work while we just hang out in the back.

After a 30 minute drive across town, we get to the “car being transferred to foreigner or non-Beijing residence administration and car check place”. Sorry that I couldn’t think of a better name for it, and it’s not like the states where there is just the DMV, which by the way, I will never complain about the DMV after living in China for this long. The DMV rocks! Back to the story: So we park “my” car with about hundreds of other cars that need to be reregistered outside of Beijing. There are about 6 lines of cars waiting with about 15 cars in each line. I think I was the only Caucasian there that day. We pulled the car up and start to wait in another line. I was still on edge, but at this stop they are just checking the car’s paperwork to make sure everything is as it should be. There were mostly crap cars but there were a few really nice ones there too. A neon green Jeep wrangler caught my eye and my father in law spotted an all black Maserati 4 door. Interestingly enough the only car being checked out by the other drivers was the Silver Ice Metallic Camaro which was going to be mine if the stars aligned.

I am a shy person, but I still like attention. When I first moved to Beijing in 2000 I was into old school punk rock, so I had various colored Mohawks, black leather jacket with patched and studs and worn out shoes. I got stared at a lot at that time. Standing by that camaro I got that same feeling, and I kind of liked it.

After nearly two hours of standing around having my car slowly inch its way to the inspection plaza it was finally OK’d for being road-worthy. Interestingly enough, in that parking lot is the first time I actually got to drive my car. I didn’t use the accelerator at all, being and automatic, but it was feeling more and more like my car. The next stop was to go to the traffic police station where I would submit my paperwork and receive a license plate. Before we got there, we had to navigate the random back roads leading out of the complex, which is also on the same road as a car parts market and some bulk commodities markets. That road was swarmed with bikes, electric scooters, gas scooters, busses, vans and all kinds of cars. It was supposed to be a two lane road but it grew to about 4-5 lanes by the time we got to the nearby intersection. After turning the corner at said intersection we were just in front of a bus and near two vans filled with goods. One of the vans was driving more erratic than others and my wife and I had a bad feeling about that guy. Fortunately the guy from the shop driving my car also saw this and gave the van guy a wide berth. Not long after turning that corner the guy in the van guns it around the Camaro and rubs against a black VW pinning them together in the middle of the road. (which was supposed to be 2 lane and swelled to 4-5) right in front of us. If it wasn’t for the bus behind us we would have been in trouble. We were lucky, we just squeezed by the accident and went on our way. Because of the high volume of traffic bottlenecking at that point, the bus that was behind us and the accident blocked off all cars behind ours, but we were on our way, no one behind us could have said the same!

When we got to the Chinese equivalent of the DMV it was just around 4pm we were just about the only ones there, we went to the front of the line, gave the man our paperwork legally saying that the car was not in possession of the car salesman and then went to the next office (in the same building) which was the special office for foreigners. In that office we were once again the first in line and the moment of truth was upon us. This was finally the moment I had been waiting for. The past 6 months of worry, planning, running around came to an apex in this office, with this officer and the paperwork I had in hand. As great of a moment it felt to me, the excitement, worry, anxiety… everyone just went on doing their routine jobs. All the hurdles we past, bridges were crossed and burned to the ground.

The officer then looked at my paperwork typed out my information, input the inputs, and told me to choose a license plate number. My head was swimming, my body was shaking. That moment… as trivial as it seems to most- the police officer doing his job, all day long he gives out number plates, to you all in the states, just walk in to the DMV and wait in a few lines to get a plate… but to me buying a muscle car was something that I have longed for since I was a kid, and that moment, it became a reality. Now I’m 30 years old, just about as far away from Michigan as you can get and still, with the help of my wife, her family and my mom my dream is becoming a reality. It was 4:30pm. The car was in my name. I had a license plate to attach to it. We walked outside into the surreal fall sunshine, it was a rare beautiful day in Beijing, no pollution, and clouds in the sky- it didn’t seem real. We walked to the car, screwed the number plates on and drove back to their office.

There was still one more thing to do.

The last part of the process is getting the car insured. No big deal. Call that animated gecko or that rockabilly chick on US tv.. right? Oh, if it were only that easy. Normally it takes about 2 hours after the new car’s registration and information is entered into the system for the insurance to be processed. It was entered in the system just after 4. The insurance office closed at 5. We got there just before 5. The car was mine at least, and for this I was relieved, but I really didn’t want to have any more hassle. If I couldn’t get that step finished, it meant taking another day off work, driving back out and doing more of the same tedious red tape and bureaucracy that we had been going through every week for the past 6 months.

We went into the office and as it had been with us all day long, luck was still on our side. We seamlessly paid for the insurance and got that paperwork all finished.

Then I was thrown for a loop.

The thing I didn’t know is that once the car is registered and insured, I still couldn’t drive it off the lot. I had bought the car with a loan. The bank then needed their time to check through everything. Most people it only takes a few days. They told me because I am foreign it may take a month.

A month.

That was unexpected. There was nothing I could do. That Tuesday seemed to be going on forever and it was still just after 5pm. I hadn’t eaten all day, I smelled pretty bad by then, my nerves were shot. And I would have to wait a month. I looked out the office doors. My Camaro sitting on the side of the street. The sun going down, the car just waiting for me to take it home. On the street people walking to and fro, passing by the car, not knowing why the car sitting there, not caring probably, not knowing the frustration I was feeling- I’m sure many of them had problems bigger than mine at that point, but my mind still focused on myself, my car. There was nothing I could do. I said thank you to the guys that helped me out all day. Thanks to the insurance people, it’s not their fault and they worked over time to assist ne too. I gave them my passport, paperwork and hoped that this was not some elaborate scam and went home. At least the car was mine.

Back to work the next day. Just like nothing happened. Wednesday the weather was foul. Thursday was Halloween. I teach Kindergarten and am the activities coordinator for our school so I was kept busy with planning of trick or treat and a Halloween party. I didn’t think of the car much, life had returned to me, I had pressing matters, stuff needed to be planned, taken care of, my mom’s birthday was that week. Then, my wife asked me a question after work one day. She said I have something to tell you, but if I tell you, you need to buy me a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes next time we are in the states. I buy stuff for her all the time, and my brain was fried from that week’s incessant business, so I said fine, tell me. She said that she called the bank, and talked and talked and they agreed to release my car on Friday.

Mouth agape… don’t know what to say…

Hooray, I guess! But because the number plate I choose ends in 1, that means I can’t drive on Fridays. Haha! I can wait another day. Right? Saturday. What’s one more day!?
I remember reading in some early posts on Camaro5 that many commenter’s say that you will be sleep deprived in the days leading up to getting your new Camaro. Well, I can attest to that statement and agree with it fully. I was unusually up by 7am Saturday and I had even gone out the night before to see a band play the night before. Usually I don’t even open my eyes until 11 after a night like that, but I had caught Camarovitus and couldn’t sleep any more. It was a torturous morning. I needed to wait for the family to eat, pack and prepare before we head over to the car lot.

So my wife, mother and father-in law, their doggie and myself all squeeze in to the Hyundai and drive over to get the Camaro.

That’s not the end… But that’s the end of the story. The most difficult way to purchase a Camaro. I didn’t make any of it up. Hopefully these posts may help another person out some day.

I now know that I will never take my Camaro for granted. It was a special car to begin with, but after all this it means so much more. It’s not a status symbol, it’s not a tool, it’s my car, its apart of me now and a part of my family. I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of my wife, who always just wants me to be happy. I couldn’t have done it without her parents, who even though are from a different culture and generation treat me like I am their own son, and of course my mom, who lives in Beijing too. Even though she didn’t want me to get a Camaro (because she remembers them being terrible on the ice and snow in the Ohio winters during the 60’s and 70’s) she still helped me in her own way. I gave her a ride today. She changed her tune quickly… ohh, heated seats!
I’m glad I can share this story with this community too. It seems like a genuinely great place to be a part of. Thank you all!

Jeph
11-5-13
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:35 PM   #6
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Wow, congratulations on now owning your Camaro! After reading everything you had to go through, I don't think I'll ever complain about what we have to do to own a car here in the states. Any plans to mod? Post some pics! Btw, you're a great writer, had me wanting to keep reading the whole way through!
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:54 PM   #7
Behic2320
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holy crap now thats a story!!! A much needed congrats and i know u will enjoy her my friend
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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Wow! What a crushing bureaucracy! I feel a little guilty about driving a few minutes down the street with my old Grand Cherokee and driving away 2 hours later with my current car. Congrats!
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Drives: 11 Camaro 3.6 RS, 07 Tiburon, 03 Z4
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Originally Posted by lscamaro View Post
Wow, congratulations on now owning your Camaro! After reading everything you had to go through, I don't think I'll ever complain about what we have to do to own a car here in the states. Any plans to mod? Post some pics! Btw, you're a great writer, had me wanting to keep reading the whole way through!
Thanks a lot for reading all the way! It started as a rant to myself and after some editing I decided to post it. I think I posted pics, but I'm new to forum use... Not sure if they went through!

I'm looking into future mods, but the China government doesn't like modifications much. Every two years the car gets checked, I will have to revert it to stock for that process, so if I do, it will just be bolt on stuff, brakes and maybe suspension too. By the way, I love the look of your ride. My other car has similar rims, great look!
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:55 AM   #10
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holy crap now thats a story!!! A much needed congrats and i know u will enjoy her my friend
Thanks, it will be a week tomorrow that I've had the America-mobile and haven't stop smiling yet. I had my Hyundai since 2007 and still have feelings for her too, but the camaro is truly a dream come true!
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:21 AM   #11
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Its been a while since I added anything to my car's journal. It has been over 100 days of ownership and so far I can't find any fault with my car. I'm as happy as I have ever been (in a car, at least).

In no particular order, recently I've installed an RX catch can, my wife put on the rally stripes for me (she's more artistic and she just thought I'd mess it up. The best thing was the whole graphics package only cost us about $20 and was delivered in one day!)

I gave it a set of EBC redstuff brake pads and have put in but not have time to wire the afterburner tail lights. The car is non-US spec and had amber tail lights on the outside which I didn't like. I replaced those with standard red lenses. Also it has a red fog light on the back in place of one of the reverse lights. Interestingly I don't think it's actually plugged into anything because I have never seen it light up. Yesterday my friend came back from the states and brought me a package of goodies- a replacement clear reverse light, a Hurst paddle shifter kit as well as my Camaro5.com hoodie and sticker. The hoodie I haven't taken off yet and the rest of it should be installed soon.

After the initial hassle of buying the car, everything else has been real easy. Upgrades are taking me longer to buy than most people because of me living outside the US, but in a way I am saving money buy not buying everything I see that could improve my car and make it more into the car that reflects who I am. Besides, having a Camaro in Beijing in unique enough, let alone being a white guy driving a Camaro in Beijing. I can hold off a bit more. I am also being more focused on what I want to install because I can't just put everything that I see on my car.

Who would have know that living the Camaro life would be this swell?
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #12
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So it has been a long time since I have entered anything into my journal. Life with Camaro has been great. It is everything I thought it would be and even more.

Just today I finally got my LED fog lights installed and wired to come on with the headlights. Also I installed a Hotchkis strut brace. I am very impressed with it! From driving it into the shop and driving it back out a few hours later it seemed like a completely different car. The whole drive home I was just blown away at what a difference it made. For control and stability, this should definitely be a priority! The install is a bit tricky and in Beijing there are no specialty shops for American muscle cars sp it took them a while to figure out how to install it. (Oddly enough there was a Mustang at the shop I was at. Mustangs are even more rare in Beijing than Camaros because Chevy is smart and imported Camaros to China. Ford is not smart and has yet to do that)

Also, all you guys in other countries are going to be jealous- between installing the strut brace (which requires a partial dismantling of the suspension and drilling holes) and completely fabricating a new electrical path running from the fuse box to the fog lights the shop only charged me about $50 for 6 hours of work, and they bought me an ice cream too! I love the shops in China!

I am going to put on drilled and slotted rotors next. I just like the way they look and I have noticed a difference in stopping feel on my other cars. I also have a carbon fiber spoiler in the mail as well as a front splitter that I will be adding soon! I wonder how many HP that will add? I will also be heading back to the states for about a month in the summer. I am already making a list of small things that I can't get here. I wonder if a ported throttle body can go in my carry on luggage? Any ideas what else I need to do to my car?
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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So it has been a long time since I have entered anything into my journal. Life with Camaro has been great. It is everything I thought it would be and even more.

Just today I finally got my LED fog lights installed and wired to come on with the headlights. Also I installed a Hotchkis strut brace. I am very impressed with it! From driving it into the shop and driving it back out a few hours later it seemed like a completely different car. The whole drive home I was just blown away at what a difference it made. For control and stability, this should definitely be a priority! The install is a bit tricky and in Beijing there are no specialty shops for American muscle cars sp it took them a while to figure out how to install it. (Oddly enough there was a Mustang at the shop I was at. Mustangs are even more rare in Beijing than Camaros because Chevy is smart and imported Camaros to China. Ford is not smart and has yet to do that)

Also, all you guys in other countries are going to be jealous- between installing the strut brace (which requires a partial dismantling of the suspension and drilling holes) and completely fabricating a new electrical path running from the fuse box to the fog lights the shop only charged me about $50 for 6 hours of work, and they bought me an ice cream too! I love the shops in China!

I am going to put on drilled and slotted rotors next. I just like the way they look and I have noticed a difference in stopping feel on my other cars. I also have a carbon fiber spoiler in the mail as well as a front splitter that I will be adding soon! I wonder how many HP that will add? I will also be heading back to the states for about a month in the summer. I am already making a list of small things that I can't get here. I wonder if a ported throttle body can go in my carry on luggage? Any ideas what else I need to do to my car?
Car is looking great! Quick question, did your car come with the SS bumper or did you replace that?

As far as your next mods, what kind of modifications do you want to do? Performance, cosmetics?
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:41 PM   #14
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The previous owner put on the SS bumper. I really like the way it looks. I am
Mostly interested in performance modifications. But I'm not against cosmetic change. Thanks for the reply


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Old 04-02-2014, 10:23 AM   #15
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The ported throttle body is definitely a nice upgrade. Id do a little research on the vmax black isolator and see if the install is for you. Thats another mod thats not that hard to install at all and provides great gains. The iceolator is also small enough that you could fit it in a carry on lol.

Whats the process for inspection that you have to go through?
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:17 AM   #16
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The ported throttle body is definitely a nice upgrade. Id do a little research on the vmax black isolator and see if the install is for you. Thats another mod thats not that hard to install at all and provides great gains. The iceolator is also small enough that you could fit it in a carry on lol.

Whats the process for inspection that you have to go through?
Thanks, I will defiantly look into that. My wife spends money on high end bags and shoes, I spend it on my car! Anything that will make me smile even more is usually worth it.

As for the inspection, they check to see that all of the measurements are correct for the wheel size as well as light brightness and level, they check the exhaust gas (don't really know what that is called) and see if the engine bay has correct components. I will have to put on the stock air filter when I get it inspected. Basically, any kind of modification isn't allowed, but usually they don't care or don't know what has been changed. Especially in a car that there is only a handful of in the country. In the past I have had to go back a few times because I didn't revert the car to stock at the inspection.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:32 AM   #17
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Very cool story. Keep enjoying the Camaro!!
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:59 AM   #18
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Today's update. I am on vacation! I'm a teacher, we need spring break as much as the kids do. That is why I have been so active with my Camaro lately. Anyway, today I had my lower splitter installed. I don't think it will do much for downforce but it looks good, and that makes me happy. I have ordered a rear spoiler to match but that hasn't arrived yet. I think that will be all for cosmetic changes. I'm very pleased with the way my car looks and drives now. I just hope that I won't have to take it all off when it comes time to get the car inspected. My last car I didn't modify nearly as much.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:32 PM   #19
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I finally installed one of the last exterior modifications that I have planned for my Camaro. A carbon fiber spoiler... installation wasn't too difficult- thanks to reading through some build threads I found on this site. Others have complained of incorrect fit when buying cheap parts. Here in China we don't have much of a selection when it comes to getting parts for our cars and I went with the cheapest one I could find anyway! It was just over $120, which included shipping. The fit was a bit tight, but over all once I got it aligned it went right into place. The hardest part was getting the stock spoiler off. There is a very annoying retaining tab which was a challenge to manipulate. In the end it took me about 45 minutes to start the process, realize I should have looked online for directions, read directions, find tools and then actually do the work. Oh yeah, and it was my birthday. Being along and working on my car was a good present to myself.
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:04 AM   #20
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Road trip pics

Recently I have been going on some fun roadtrips. This weekend I went up to the great wall. It was hard to get a pic with the wall in the back but I'll attach what I have. Has anyone else taken their car to interesting places? I wouldn't mind seeing other member's cars as well.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:44 PM   #21
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Recently I have been going on some fun roadtrips. This weekend I went up to the great wall. It was hard to get a pic with the wall in the back but I'll attach what I have. Has anyone else taken their car to interesting places? I wouldn't mind seeing other member's cars as well.
Damn, your camaro looks super clean. I read your story and have to say car ownership outside the states suck. i am originally from Colombia, and an imported car there usually cost 3 times what it costs here.
Would def like to see pics of your car in more places in china. its very interesting seeing a muscle car in places where small cars seem the norm.
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Old 08-24-2014, 12:14 AM   #22
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Well, it was bound to happen. My car was rear ended... the lady driving the Kia SUV said she thought she could make it around me (but obviously couldn't) when I was waiting to make a left hand turn. She was extremely kind and appolegetic, as well as being the manager for an insurance company so I didn't file a report. The damage was very small at least, and her insurance covers everything. I don't know what it would be in the states, but it is costing over $1200 just to replace the bumper. It has been nearly 2 weeks and I don't have my car back! It is difficult to get parts in China, eventhough the car was offically bought (non-gray market). Hopefully I will be back terrorizing the roads soon!

Having already waited 2 weeks, the initial shock of being in my first accident has already worn off and looking at the damage now is laughable, still at the time it felt like my car was totaled!
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