Friday, November 23, 2001

It appears that celebrating a major anniversary in the car business may not be so lucky. Like the sports figures sometimes view their photo appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, celebrating an anniversary in the car business is detrimental to your survival.
The Chevrolet Camaro celebrates its 35th year of providing car enthusiasts the fun of driving big American V-8 power in a lightweight two-door coupe or convertible. This is a combination that has wooed power fanatics since 1967.
To mark this occasion, Chevrolet has issued a special 35th anniversary edition Camaro in both hardtop and convertible versions. I am not sure how this special edition warrants the additional dollars tacked on to the price tag. But, I am sure Chevrolet will sell every one of the 35th Anniversary Camaros they build.
To some manufacturers it seems plenty to just put special ID badges and some distinctive graphics on a vehicle and sell it as a limited edition. But not here with the Camaro, Chevrolet wants the car to go out with a bang.
A “normal” Camaro comes with a large V-8, but the SS 35th anniversary model gets a bump in horsepower to a healthy 325 hp. Couple this with the 6-speed manual transmission and you have a vehicle that makes you very aware of just how hard and fast you move the accelerator pedal. Though it isn’t difficult to ease on the accelerator pedal it is far too tempting to add a little more than usual and feel the power of this rue American classic.
It is hard to imagine not having the Camaro around, since may of us have grown up with this car. But let’s not shed tears just yet. The 35th Anniversary edition combines the SS performance package with added features of the Anniversary edition to put more equipment on a Camaro than I think I have ever seen.
Along with the added horsepower, the SS performance package includes a muscular look of the Forced Air Induction hood. This aggressive designed hood is accentuated by the SS rear spoiler and the 35th anniversary graphics on the hood and trunk lid.
Granted this is an aging design. Both body and chassis have been around for a while, but this platform translates to straight-line power and handling that provides exciting driving. Added to the package is a performance suspension system, which includes stiffer springs and special performance shock absorbers. While the ride may be less than luxurious the Camaro’s superior handling makes for some very interesting country drives.
I took my Camaro out on an extended tour of some mountain roads that I enjoy driving and could tell right away that this car does indeed have a more aggressive suspension system on board. As with most rear drive performance vehicles equipped with a straight axle, this Camaro still has some rear wheel hop under power while exiting corners at speed. It is a characteristic anticipated so is no surprise.
The thrill comes with those corners with the power of that big V-8 at your fingertips (or should I say at your toe-tips). It is exhilarating to feel the power of this engine as you roll into the throttle and the Camaro leaps forward. It is an element few vehicles can add to your driving experience.
It will be sad as the Camaro fades into the sunset. But, the encouraging thing is we have this 35th Anniversary edition to keep us excited and entertained. But I wouldn’t wait long because these cars won’t last long.

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