Chevy Camaro Convertible

Since this blog (and blogging generally) seems to be dying, this will probably be my last post. Anyway, I went car shopping yesterday. It’s not that I really need a new car, my current car, a 2003 Honda Civic Si hatchback, is running fine even with 200k on the clock. Still, I will probably be moving back to California soon, which means a convertible would be nice. Plus, reliable as my current car has been, it’s time for something new. Unfortunately, there aren’t many convertibles presently available, and fewer still that meet my basic requirements.

Actually, the only other firm requirement, besides the convertible top itself, is a manual transmission. Automatics are for girls, real men drive sticks. At the bottom end is the Mazda Miata. A fine car in its day, it just hasn’t kept up with the times. 25 years ago, a 0-60 time in the 8 second range was still pretty sporty for an inexpensive car, but I’m not driving something that can be blown away by a mom in a Dodge minivan with a V-6. Somewhat more impressive is the Honda S2000, sort of a halfway point between the Miata and the much more expensive BMW 3 series convertible, but Honda stopped making them about 4 or 5 years ago.

So that has me shifting gears (so to speak) and looking at domestic models. For one, you can still get a big V-8 in an American car without spending a fortune, which nicely solves the lack of power problem. And if you want a convertible, a V-8, and a stick shift, that pretty much leaves you with either a Ford Mustang or a Chevy Camaro. A friend (who lives in Southern California) recently bought a Mustang so configured, and loves it. But I’ve never been keen on the Mustang’s styling, indeed, even going back to the late 60′s, the Camaro was always the better looking car. Also, the Mustang still (still!) has a solid rear axle whereas the Chevy has an independent rear suspension. The latter almost always makes for both better handling and ride, the only excuse for putting the former on any car (and especially one intended for performance/sporty driving) is because you’re too cheap to put a proper suspension on the back end. So the Mustang is out.

So you can get a Camaro with a convertible top, a V-8, and a stick shift. The only remaining question is: which engine? The standard V-8 puts out 426 hp, and yields 0-60 times in the 4.7 second range. Not quite Corvette territory, but pretty impressive still. This will net you around $45,000, which, considering what you get, isnn’t bad at all. Or you can spring an extra $10-15k and get the version with the Superman engine and trick suspension, which gets you a 580 hp V-8 and is still available in both a convertible version and a manual transmission. However, according to both Car & Driver and Chevy’s own brochure, this only lowers 0-60 times to about 4.0 seconds and you pay for it in extra fuel consumption. So why spend the extra money for so little apparent gain? Not to mention the supercharged V-8 in the faster model is likely to be less reliable and more expensive to repair?

Anyway, food for thought. The only other possibility that fits my basic requirements would be a BMW M3 convertible, which can also be had with a manual, but is much more expensive, both to buy and to maintain. And, since I haven’t even begun to research those, no point in writing about that option yet.

13 Comments

  1. Actually Eric, I’m a car nut myself and always have been. You name a car and I’ve probably owned it from a Volkswagen to a Rolls Royce. BUT! You mentioned the one real, true sport convertible, Corvette, and skimmed over it. Why settle for a Camaro when one can drive a real car, a Corvette? Hell, if you’re moving to $6.00 a gallon Cali either car will be a guzzler so why not opt for the performance and prestige of the Vette? Another option would be the Jaguar XK. My wife had one before the Bentley and I gotta’ tell you, I loved it! You seem to be the type of guy who keeps a car a long time so the Vette will pay for itself over time (not really but it sounds good). Besides, a Camaro in Cali is impressive as a 1996 Caddie in North Philly. The Camaro is a nice ride, I’ve had several of them, but I always went back to the Vette. I own a Vette now and I love it. Matter of fact I’m taking Mrs. Hoagie out for brunch in New Hope in it on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, top down, music blaring.

    Now, on a much more serious note, why did you state: “Since this blog (and blogging generally) seems to be dying, this will probably be my last post.”? Do you really believe this blog and blogging in general are dying? If so, why? Since blogs like this are some of the few ways conservatives can get their message out and communicate with other conservatives, that would be a real shame. It may signal the leftist, commies have won and our country and the future of the world is lost to a negative, evil, debasing philosophy of fascist tyranny.

  2. If you’re going to be in Southern California, you’ve willing to pony up, and want a stick shift convertible with panache, I’d look into a Cobra replica car or the new F type Jaguar. Me, I drive a full dress six cylinder Camry automatic with a moon roof, but my all time favorite is the ’57 Ford flip-top box.

  3. Hi Hoagie;

    Since you brought up two different subjects, I’ll answer in two different posts. Anyway, first subject:

    Why settle for a Camaro when one can drive a real car, a Corvette?

    Main reason is price. Yesterday, when pulling into the Chevy dealer, there just happened to be a Corvette convertible sitting right out in front. Problem is, they want $72,000 for the thing while, as mentioned, a Camaro convertible with V-8 (similar size and power) can be had for $45,000. The latter would be within my present budget, the Vette would, OTOH, really be pushing the limit. Also, the Camaro is more practical, has a back seat, and is, IMHO, the better looking car. The new ones have that classic, aggressive retro muscle car look whereas the Vette is rather generic looking, especially the convertible version. Finally, for some dumb reason Chevy only puts its base engine in the Corvette convertible, if you want a more powerful verion you have to buy a coupe whereas the Camaro offers all its engine (and transmission) options in convertible form. You can, if you want, get a Camaro convertible with the 580 hp supercharged engine, that’s nearly 150 more hp than you can get in the Corvette conertible, and for over $15k less to boot!

    Finally, if I was going to spring that kind of dough for a Corvette convertible, why not spend a bit more and get a Viper? Then you get a true supercar with a monster 600 hp V-10. Plus, you won’t have any problem getting one with a stick, since Dodge doesn’t offer the thing in a wimp-O-matic!

  4. As for blogs, they seem to be becoming passe as everyone is migrating to Facebook & Twitter. This blog is, sad to say, almost dead. On a good day you might get 10 posts, an average day 5, a bad day one or two. Booting the two lefties no doubt cost Dana message traffic, but at the benefit of preserving basic civility. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of regulars left: Dana, York, Hoagie, DNW, Hube, Ropelight, and maybe one or two others.

    I sometimes peruse other blogs that Dana links to and, if anything, they are doing even worse. Part of it is they are becoming repetitive. How many different ways are there of saying that Obama sucks, that Obamacare sucks, that left wingers are lying, arrogant, power hungry swine, etc., before the endless repetition becomes boring? Even when the two lefties were here, you could, after a while, pretty much predict how they would respond to any given issue. At most, dealing with them became an exercise in how to best insult them, which was fun for a while, but ultimately pointless as far as either persuading them or even learning how to make more effective arguments against them. So why waste the time?

  5. We’re back. New Hope was a damn mess. There were so many people there we drove into Jersey just to eat. However, the drive was wonderful.

    First I’d like to address Dana. Love the T-Bird, had a ’57 and the new re-do 2006 ( in yellow w/2 tone gut). Love the car. Good choice.

    Second I’ll address ropelight. My wife is Onamental (pun intended) , therefore, anything which is a “replica” will never cross our threshold. Second a Jag F equipped the way I like is about $105,000. For that amount I have other choices even though I love British (I know, but they still are) cars. In fact, I’d consider a Aston Martin or a Maserati at that price. My cousin has an Aston and even though he’s a douche bag the car is “brilliant”.

    Now to Eric. I understand budgetary restraints and respect your choice of Camaro. Dollar for dollar the Camaro is a better buy. I can’t dispute that. But man, over a Corvette? You are mostly interested in power while I’m more centered on style. There is the difference. Retro Camaro’s are cute, but a Corvette is timeless. Remember a retro is a throw-back because they couldn’t come up with something better.

    I priced out a Viper a year ago and unless something’s changed, with the equipment and options I wanted it cost $147,000. Again, we’re in Aston territory. I understand the difference in performance but …….ah crap, you’re right! But I do have one other thing to consider. Mrs. Hoagie does not drive a stick and has absolutely zero desire to learn therefore, I must get automatics or nothing. Even my “toy” Corvette is automatic. If there is an emergency she must be able to drive the car.

    Finally Eric, don’t ever make a statement like: ” Also, the Camaro is more practical, has a back seat,”. Practicality has nothing to do with a damn car! That’s what is wrong with leftist’s. They look for “practical” auto’s and deal with politics with emotion. They’re back asswards. Cars are emotion, love, desire, impression and style. There is no room for practicality unless you’re buying a John Deere. A car tells the world who you are and you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

  6. Now to Eric. I understand budgetary restraints and respect your choice of Camaro. Dollar for dollar the Camaro is a better buy. I can’t dispute that. But man, over a Corvette? You are mostly interested in power while I’m more centered on style.

    Actually, as mentioned, I think the current Camaro is a better looking car than the current Corvette. My main beef with Corvette styling going back at least ten years is they have a back end as big as Michelle Obama’s ass. Maybe that makes for more space for a trunk and gas tank, but sleek looking it most certainly is not! In contrast, the new Camaros have a lean, aggressive, muscular look about them.

    Finally Eric, don’t ever make a statement like: ” Also, the Camaro is more practical, has a back seat,”. Practicality has nothing to do with a damn car!

    It is if it’s the only car you own!

    Seriously, in early 1991 I went shopping for my first new car, seeing as how 1) I had my first real job out of college and could finally afford one, and 2), my existing car, a 1980 Toyota Tercel I had bought right out of the Navy for $1,200 was falling apart. It sometimes ran on only 3 cylinders and burned enough oil to almost qualify as a diesel. I wanted a car that was small, economical, reliable, but also fun to drive. My final choices boiled down to a Honda Civic Si, a Honda CRX Si, and a Miata. I really wanted the Miata, but the trunk was tiny and there was no space at all behind the seats. The CRX also had only 2 seats, but a lot more room under the hatchback, so it had some practical value. But the Civic Si had the same engine and chassis as the CRX, but 4 seats and FAR more space, and was almost as much fun to drive, so I bought it. I could, after all, stuff an entire mountain bike in the back of that Civic, something that, in California, I did often. So, until I reach a point where I can afford two (or more) cars, practicality has to play some role in my choices.

  7. My main beef with Corvette styling going back at least ten years is they have a back end as big as Michelle Obama’s ass.

    Now you have my attention. You are correct, the Corvette needs redesigning and attention. They ( GM ) figured they could get away with ignoring redesign. Wrong! They need to upgrade, update or forgetaboutit. But comparing a Corvette to a Butt is just wrong. Specially hers.

    Now, car wise, the best line ever is: “It sometimes ran on only 3 cylinders and burned enough oil to almost qualify as a diesel.”

    I love you man. You are a real car guy!

  8. Hoagie, I thought that the reintroduced Thunderbird would do better than it did. I was disappointed to see it fail.

    So di I, Mr. Editor. The car was beautiful and full of contemporary features. It drove great, handled great and rode great. It was the quintessential re-make. The son-of-a-bitch turned heads everywhere I went. But…..nobody bought it! I’m a capitalist so I guess if there is no demand…..good-bye. Now listen to me. If you have about 17-30 grand and can find my old T-Bird..buy it! We’re talkin’ future classic or future collectable. Frankly, if I had the garage space I’d buy one today! (Who am I kidding? I have an off-site (read June don’t know) location where I can skunk away a car or two). And yes, I’m looking at a T-Bird. I’m also trying to grab a Prowler (purple, of course wit the trailer ) and a 1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III. And maybe a Jensen Interceptor if the price is right. I can’t afford my dream car, a 1936 Duisenberg Dual Cowl Phaeton. At 3 million I’m out of the running on that baby. I know I come of as PW’d but June is “practical” and sees a car as a ride. I see a car as sex.

  9. <blockquote I know I come of as PW’d but June is “practical” and sees a car as a ride.>

    After I read that I realized how crazy it is. June drives a Bentley Continental V-8. That ain’t practical at $267,000. All the while I’m stuck with a Lincoln, a Vette and ….get ready….a KIA Soul (business car). Still the best car I have is the Vette. The Bentley is lovely but it’s not a Rolls (which I love) and it can’t perform like a Vette .

    I’m in limbo Eric. Help me. I need to get a new car. The good news is it’s April so guess what? It’s time for a new car. The bad news is I won’t pay 400 grand for a Rolls so what should I do? I could get a used Rolls? Please say yes. After all a Rolls is a Rolls is a Rolls. And I do love the Seraph.

  10. I’m in limbo Eric. Help me. I need to get a new car. The good news is it’s April so guess what? It’s time for a new car. The bad news is I won’t pay 400 grand for a Rolls so what should I do? I could get a used Rolls? Please say yes. After all a Rolls is a Rolls is a Rolls. And I do love the Seraph.

    What about a top end Mercedes, an AMG model, even? I just drove my Mom’s E350, which is only a midsize model, to Florida and back, and it was a very nice long distance ride. The 7 speed automatic can be shifted manually by two paddles on the steering wheel, it is supremely quiet and comfortable yet corners like it was on rails. Also, the in-dash GPS nav system is great, and kept me from getting lost several times.

    Now, if you’re looking to spend $100-150k, you can get all this and much, much more, including just about any V-8 and maybe even a V-12 engine. It might not have quite the prestige of a Rolls, but in terms of engineering quality, you probably get a much better car.

  11. “As for blogs, they seem to be becoming passe as everyone is migrating to Facebook & Twitter. This blog is, sad to say, almost dead. On a good day you might get 10 posts, an average day 5, a bad day one or two. Booting the two lefties no doubt cost Dana message traffic, but at the benefit of preserving basic civility. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of regulars left: Dana, York, Hoagie, DNW, Hube, Ropelight, and maybe one or two others. “

    Well, not commenting here was theorized as a way (by myself and some others, probably) of negatively assisting Dana in the rebuilding of new traffic and introducing fresh un-intimidated faces. It was my opinion, in part, that the ongoing flame wars and having a couple of highly opinionated conservatives sucking up all the oxygen, was not helping.

    However traffic seems to be drawn to controversy and emotion, action and reaction, strike and counterstrike; and Dana’s admirable desire to have a civil discussion forum centering on policy arguments looks to be a wan hope from my perspective. Because, as we all know, when aims and goals are radically divergent, there’s little point in discussing the best and most efficient way to get there.

    All that’s left for those sharing the same political space is “war by other means” over what shape the future will take, and how much freedom will have to be sacrificed to get there.

    That said, it should also be noted that the clowns over at the old Iowa Liberal site, despite all their vitriolic and spittle dripping attempts to cultivate and whip up a like-minded audience, ended by shouting to themselves in an empty room anyway. Lucky for them that “crafting” those crack-brained diatribes supposedly took up so much time that was otherwise demanded by pressing family matters, that they just couldn’t any longer afford the 10 minutes a day that it must have taken to fabricate their raving mini-jihads.

    Dana might have had more success engaging those Hubert Humphrey style liberals with whom he at least shared some basic values and an understanding of reality, if they still existed. The new values nihilist, will-to-power left however, is not even committed to “human existence” in the sense we have known it heretofore.

    I think that after discussing the problems, refining our formulations, and arriving at more precise definitions of the problems ad nauseam, many of us have concluded that we now know well enough what the problems are, who is the problem, and how they operate and think in that way which makes them problematic as civil associates and moral fellows. And that the next step is not further definition, but some kind of more aggressive activism; even if it is online.

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