Scoff if you want, but I need my opposable driving thumbs, so make IROC jokes on your own time… But to answer your next question, yes, the band played Living on a Prayer at the reception.
Actually, Bon Jovi provides a solid rallying cry for General Motors these days, especially considering we all share in the auto giant’s ownership. It was a fair debate as to whether taxpayers should prop up GM, but now that it’s the plan, shouldn’t we want the company to succeed? Rooting for GM’s failure is rooting for our own failure and that doesn’t add up. So everybody now, “We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for…rebuilding a vital American car brand. Let’s give it a shot! Oh-Woah….”
Besides, there’s a silver ice metallic lining amidst all of GM’s turmoil.
The new Camaro.
Good things come in small-engine pony packages. It’s been seven years since the last Camaro, and it is well worth the time and effort the good folks at Chevrolet put into it. It’s a big step up/step back from the T-Top versions favored by the jean-short-and-ribbed-tank-wearing, Busch-drinking, Whitesnake-loving, passenger-seat-impregnating gearheads of so many heavy metal days gone by.
The designers harkened back to the 1967-69 glory years of the original Camaro models, (the GM seat belt insignias and the twin instrument pods, for example) paired with powerhouse modern technology. The biggest letdown I had was driving the 3.6L V6 and not the SS version with its 6.2L V8 and 426hp, but it still mashed. The basic V6 puts out 304hp, which the authoritative Edmunds.com notes is an upgrade in the Cadillac CTS, for some $15K less. The test version I drove came with an option-heavy price tag of $31,485, which is still a hell of a price for 3,719 lbs. of power. The crowded byways didn’t allow for a whole lot of redlining the RPMs, but I can at least vouch for the 0-60 in 6 seconds. The engine roar is guttural and the solid suspension keeps the Camaro from rattling around like a tiny sports car, so it’s possible to consider it an everyday vehicle. Keep in mind though, that with its long hood, short boot, rear spoiler and 20” wheels (sold as an option, but an absolute necessity in the land of the Goomba), the Camaro won’t go unnoticed. Five different drivers flagged us down, including a self-described “BMW guy” who was considering a switch.
Plus, it even gets a respectable 17/29 mpg, so it’s patriotic and a good bargain. The Camaro is our baby, and we need all vehicles born in the U.S.A. to be healthy.
Out on the pothole-encrusted Jersey thunder roads, we turned the station knob–cleverly displayed digitally like an old radio tuner—to XM’s E Street Radio station. In part, because the Boss and the Camaro go together like boardwalks and funnel cakes, but also because we feared being in violation of a lesser-known Garden State statute.
The wedding was near a river, but on this afternoon there were flowers, dresses, walks down the aisle, and wedding day smiles galore, including one from the valet at the Venetian who took the keys with an approving, “Good evening, sir. Excellent choice of car.” And I’m going to go out on a limb and say a New Jersey car-parker at a ritzy reception hall knows from muscle cars.
There are a couple of minor design glitches, the backseats are more than a little tight and the headlamps don’t quite fit into the front grille scheme, but there’s nothing that should keep the Camaro from becoming a hit. Even sitting in traffic after midnight was pleasant enough with an open sunroof, and the soothing blue ambient lighting (the streaks on the inside of the doors are nice touch) to take the macho edge off.
As my wife dozed off with a post-wedding champagne smile, I wished we could take the Camaro out, let ‘er fly through the night, drive until sunrise and feel the romance for the iconic American muscle car all over again.
Not possible. So as we made our way through the Holland Tunnel, I let the Bard of New Jersey live out the fantasy for me.
“I met her on the strip three years ago, In a Camaro with this dude from L.A.
I blew that Camaro off my back and drove that little girl away…” –-Racing in the Street, Bruce Springsteen.
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