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Old 09-16-2009, 10:25 PM   #1
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Talking My Camaro Experience...a good read, but long.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce myself to all of you. My name is Joe. I live in a very rural area of Western New York, I am 20 years old. My Dad bought a 1979 Camaro Z28 brand new, and he still has it in the garage. I’ve grown up with that car – the memories surrounding it are invaluable to me. I’ve been a member on for about 2.5 years, and a moderator for almost two. Most of you know me as an overly diplomatic person…and I hope you all think I’m some sort of kind, usually unbiased and fair.

The next thing you need to understand is that I am ashamed of myself. I’ve spent the last two and a half months deluding myself into not wanting the Camaro. I’ve exacerbated every flaw that a magazine or Joe Somebody has mentioned. The “cheap” interior, the visibility, the handling, the steering, the size, the weight, the aerodynamics…I’ve looked for every “flaw”, and cited it to myself as a reason not to want it. Gtahvit can attest to this, since I wasted a few hours of his life over the length of the summer, and I hope you do, bud – because I can’t explain this part very well. But I am ashamed.

Because of the above, I have notched a very many cars in my belt as having driven and/or sat in for at least 20min-1/2 hour examining…The 370z, the Genesis coupe (both version), the Mustang, the Challenger, CTS LLT, the G8 GT, and the LS3 Corvette. My friends have had suped-up BMWs, Subaru’s, older Camaros, Firebirds, Cobalt SSs…needless to say, I am no stranger to performance, and I’m not out-of-tune on how a sports car should feel and act.

Why am I writing this? Because I’ve realized the very passion invested in every single Camaro put out of Oshawa. And I wanted to give you all a glimpse of who is writing this, because that is what I did today when I test drove a 2010 Camaro for the first time ever.I am going to write the following as truthful and unbiased as I can. My goals all hinge on you believing me in that, or else nothing I’m about to say matters.

First of all, I want to shout out to Paddock Chevy in Kenmore, New York. They are in the running for the #1 Chevy dealer in the country. They have been #1 on and off for a few years, competing with a dealership from Texas. So thank you so very much, Joe (454chevelle71)!!!!

Today I took out a Inferno Orange 2SS/RS with black racing stripes; automatic transmission. First of all, it looks fantastic in person, and the orange is most DEFINITELY different than red (even in overcast like it was today). Words, pictures…they cannot capture the style of this car. If you have somehow not seen one, yet – GO to your local Chevy dealer ASAP…the Camaro’s design is genius, it will blow you away. I realized today, that it’s the subtleties that make it “uncapturable” in pictures. You MUST see it in person. It was right next to a few Corvettes, and I honestly like its design better.

Next, the sound…upon ignition, it literally growls to life, as though telling you “back away, I’m getting ready to move.” The tone has a serious depth that the regular Corvette’s exhaust does not. After ignition, as it idles, the car gently purrs like a sun-bathing Lion, very quiet, very tame. When you step on it though, it roars like nobody’s business. I understand folks’ desire to modify the exhaust, in fact I might as well…but it is an absolutely beautiful sound from the factory, don’t make plans until you hear it for yourself. That first acceleration run gave me goose bumps for the rest of the drive.

On to the ride quality, it rides like a high-end luxury car, that’s about as well as I can put it. To say the roads in the area are sub-par could be considered charity work. The roads, especially in the city, SUCK….BAD. As I drove the Camaro, we hit a few pot-holes, but the car…bumped. That’s it; no erratic displays from the suspension, no side-stepping, no body-jolting movements. It just…bumped. The rest of the roads felt as smooth as silk – I was very, very impressed.

The handling? A-Class. You can’t compare numbers, and tell me that one car handles better than the other because it scored 2 one-hundredths of a G better on a skid-pad. Sorry, but to be blunt, shove it where the sun don’t shine because that’s asinine. Did you know that the 'fabulous' GT500 is only one second faster around Leguna Seca than the Camaro with all its understeer? The car felt like it was on rails. Now granted, I didn’t go racing in the car, but we took a 90° on-ramp at speed, and the Camaro just went there. I turned the wheel, and it went. Fantastic. Now, I’ve read that when racing, the car displays a lot of understeer…fine. But that’s fixable, and if you intend to go racing to win, you should have been planning to modify it in the first place. I did the same thing in the Vette…and though the Corvette (non-Z51) was mildly more precise, I found them to be in the same league…believe it or not. And this is a double-shocker when you consider how comfortable the ride is…

Steering…this was a big one for me, because I’d heard bad things about it. Too loose, too detached-feeling, over-assisted…we all have our opinions, I suppose, but I thought it was perfect. The steering wheel, for one – is the perfect size, and if you’re tracking the car, you’ll find those bumps at 2:00 and 10:00 to be very handy. Thick, but not too big…very nice. The steering feel was very similar to the Vette, only it was a little easier to turn when sitting still. Something we ALL will appreciate when/if we end up in a parking lot. Very performance-feeling…stiff, but not hard…and precise -- the car reacted the minute I twitched the wheel.

The weight…I had a friend tell me that the car felt lighter to drive than a Corvette. I laughed at him. Look, I come from a 2700lb Cobalt with steering so boosted, I can turn it lock-to-lock with my pinky when sitting still. I know “light”…I drove the Vette…and it felt noticeably heavier than my Cobalt, but not “heavy”, in the modern sense of the term. Well guess what…It does feel lighter on its feet than a Corvette. I cannot explain it well enough for any of you to understand. But the Vette’s steering is so stiff, imo, it adds an illusion of weight when you’re driving it. The Camaro has a tight suspension, hiding some of its weight, but the added bonus of lighter steering (compared to the Vette), removes even more weight. I was just floored.…ask Gtahvit what the first thing I said to him on the phone was…. The bottom line? The car does NOT feel heavy, like…can’t-get-out-of-its-own-way heavy, or has-lots-of-power-but-has-to-fight-against-its-weight heavy. It just doesn’t. You know there’s car underneath you, but it isn’t hindering anything, if you can follow what I mean.

Visibility. Hear, ye; Hear, ye…if ye has an issue with the visibility…put on some glasses!!! (I’m only half joking.) First of all, if you are basing your opinion of the visibility off of only sitting in the car, I’m sorry, but you’re not going to have an accurate gauge. I remember I was sitting in a Red SS at another dealership about a month ago…I closed the door…it was sunny out, too…and I looked forward, sideways, and in the back – I still think my interpretation of the visibility felt constricted, and compromised. It was a totally different story in the SS today. Driving around, I got to experience it…I got to use it with other cars around…It’s FINE…and you know what? I would venture to say that It actually has improved side-to-side visibility than my Cobalt, because right now I have a stinking B-pillar in my face when I look to the left, the longer door in the Camaro allows me to see more along side of me. Look, when you’re driving a car, you are going to be looking out of it along a flat plane. There are no midget-cars below the glass-line…and you aren’t sharing space with airplanes, so you only ever look side to side, forward, and rear. Never up or down (excepting traffic lights – in this case, just don’t pull all the way up to the white line). I also knew exactly where my corners were on the car for parking purposes, and I did have to squeeze into a tight spot, so I’m not assuming this. It’s something you need to get used to, but it’s not a problem after about 5 minutes of driving. So visibility is FINE. I think, when people refer to bad visibility…they are really talking about a closed-in feeling they get, because there is relatively little glass. That’s there, no doubt…but banish all these false notions of dangerous visibility.

As a side note, did you know that the hood of the Camaro dips down a little bit on either side of the cowl, and then comes back up to meet the fenders? It’s one of those subtle things that make the design genius…check it out next time you get a chance, it’s a really cool view out of the front.

The interior…is FANTASTIC!!!! I like it better than every car I mentioned at the very top. And I didn’t before, just sitting in it. I thought it looked a little awkward…and the plastic was overpowering. When you drive it, it’s a totally different story, though. The gauges light up, and I could read them (I was afraid of not being able to). The LCD screen in the middle is neat, and you never notice the plastics, because you’re too busy driving to fondle the dash. The buttons and knobs were very direct, and solid. A stark contrast to the flimsy switches in the Colbalt (I love my car…but c’mon, knobs should NOT wiggle…). Everything was within reach, and very useable. And the BA audio system was….WOW. Clarity, absolute, unabashed clarity. It may not have the raw volume capabilities of, say…a Shaker 1000 system, but boy – the bass was beautifully thumping, and I could hear every little note that played, a must-have if you have the chance to get the option. The interior also wraps around you, hugs you almost. You may have heard that before, but it’s very true, and again…I didn’t fully realize until I was actually driving the thing.

The seats deserve their own paragraph. They are HEAVENLY. The most comfortable automotive seats I’ve ever sat my bottom in. And they ARE supportive, very supportive, in fact. Something you can’t measure until you drive it. They are, however, NOT racing seats – so don’t confuse “supportive” with “I can track this car at eleventy-billion lateral G’s and stay in my seat without bracing myself. You can’t, and that’s an exaggeration, but you get my point, and it’s silly to think so. Finally…I’m very curious as to where some people get the opinion that the seats were made for “larger America”. I disagree profoundly. I am 5’11, and 185 pounds, mostly muscle (no, I’m not ‘ripped’). I am definitely not overweight or “large”. And I fit very well; almost as though it was made just for me. I don’t understand this comment…I don’t think I ever will.

Finally…I want to say that if the Corvette is a 10 out of 10 as a whole car? I consider the Camaro to be a 10 as well. I drove a Corvette LS3 a couple weeks ago…and I hammered it a couple times…I told myself, foolishly, that if the Camaro couldn’t replicate 90% of that feeling, then I wouldn’t get it. It did more than that…I was absolutely shocked how very similar to the Corvette it felt, again – I am trying my absolute hardest not to exaggerate here…It felt like a comfortable Corvette. I---…I really can’t say much else about it in that respect. I know Corvette owners will hang me, and Mustang owners will laugh at me…but I have me and my butt-dyno…the damned thing felt like a Corvette, and I was absolutely shocked. Ask Joe…I think I spend a full minute stuttering about it in the car.

And the LS3 Camaro is better than this?!?!? WOW. You V8 guys are lucky as hell, I’ll tell you what. And you V6 people are also very very lucky. All of you Camaro owners be officially put on notice: I’m stupid-jealous of you! The Camaro is absolutely wonderful. I tried to imagine how much fun you all are having, but I was so way off. In and out, just an A+++. I went in there expecting the car to feel as detached and “soft” as I thought the G8 GT was. I drove home still shocked and awed by how much this car felt like the Corvette…I really cannot believe it. Thank you Joe, once again, for doing what no other dealer in the area would do. Thank you Paddock, thank you GM for this fantastic car, and thank you; members of for providing a place where I can spout this “non-sense”, and have fun with you all.

If anybody has any questions -- I'm not an 'expert', but I'd be happy to share, elaborate my experiences.

When driving the Camaro…when you looking at it from inside and out…I could feel the passion of the folks who designed, engineered, and built it just ooze out of it; the spirit behind Camaro. The Corvette didn’t do that…it just felt wicked fast and a helluva lot of fun. You know those stories of Native American tribes who go into the woods for a month or so to “find themselves”. Well…I think I can relate…after a full summer of researching, test-driving…and bugging the crap out of poor gtahvit…I’ve finally found my center, and returned ‘home’. I am a Camaro guy, this car f’n kicks a$$…and there ain’t nothin’ that can change that.

Scott Settlemire…you often speak of this thing called a “perma-grin”. I couldn’t say until today that I knew what that felt like…Well, I test drove it at 2:25 PM today, It’s been close to nine hours and I’m still smiling!!!!!!
"Keep the faith." - Fbodfather
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:30 PM   #2

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awesome Dragon
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:35 PM   #3
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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Great write-up and I'm glad you were finally able to take one for a drive and realize for yourself what so many of us have experienced and conveyed. I get comments about how beefy the rear looks but never in a negative tone. I've had mine for 6 weeks now and I still have that grin when I think of how lucky I am to own this beautiful car. I'm not disappointed at all in the design (interior or exterior) handling, power or comfort. Once again, congrats on your "moment of clarity".
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:51 PM   #5
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I am seriously never serious vv V vv Next order of business
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:56 PM   #6
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Very well written!
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:00 PM   #7
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I told you sir. That comparison was for naught. =P
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:03 PM   #8
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I agree that after seeing the Camaro in person and driving one (LS3 myself) it is a wonderful car all around.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:20 PM   #9
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Nice review but man, were you on 'X' when you took that test drive? After I read the part about the blind spots I had to scroll back to make sure this wasn't an old post from April 1st.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:21 PM   #10
Mr. Wyndham
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Originally Posted by dursin View Post
Nice review but man, were you on 'X' when you took that test drive? After I read the part about the blind spots I had to scroll back to make sure this wasn't an old post from April 1st.
I don't know what you mean...'X'?
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:35 PM   #11
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Awesome write up
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:36 PM   #12

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Nice writeup man. I can only dream of the day I can drive one.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:38 PM   #13

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im sold

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Old 09-16-2009, 11:46 PM   #14
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great write up, totally agree
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