- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2002

This report on the 2002 Chevrolet Camaro is painful to write. Yet there is an upbeat side so I won't bog you down with the sadness just now.
Emblazoned on the dash panel is a red-and-white emblem stating: "35th Anniversary Chevrolet Camaro." Similar acknowledgement is on each front fender. Thirty-five years is a milestone for an unpretentious, down-to-earth sports car at its best. Other sports cars might outperform the Camaro, but not by much.
My tester, the Camaro Z28 two-door coupe, weighs in at $22,295. Options brought the bottom line to $32,780. Even at that price, nothing compares with the performance and fun this sports car produces. Incidentally, besides the Z28, there are three other Camaro models: two coupes with or without a removable roof panel and a convertible.
The appearance of a Camaro is sleek and mean. Especially this anniversary edition with snazzy white stripes flowing down the hood and ending at the rear spoiler. One glance and you know this is a genuine sports car. It has very attractive polished 17-inch aluminum wheels, accompanied by a long hood with an air intake on the top, low (removable) roof, and spoiler on the rear.
Appearance isn't the only clue that this car is built to rumble. The tone from the large pipes of the dual exhaust provides evidence of the mighty power under the hood. The Z28 has a 5.7-liter V-8 engine producing a whopping 310 horsepower. The engine gets 325 pounds-foot of torque, and links to a Hurst short-throw six-speed manual transmission. The fuel economy is listed as 19 city and 28 highway.
But there is a downside to this beauty. It's not easy to get in and out of, and those assigned to the rear seat require lots of luck. Behind the rear seat is storage space, but four persons with luggage would be a problem.
The reason for the limited space is simple: the Camaro is a sports car made to get a person's pulse moving. Touch the accelerator pedal and the excitement begins. Steering is easy and the car tracks with precision. Handling on turns is firm and true. There are no surprises in the performance; the Camaro delivers exactly as expected.
This is a driver's car from start to finish including a rough ride. The monotube shocks do the job of giving the Camaro great adhesion to the road, but every ripple can be felt through the frame.
Options included fog lamps, a power door-lock system, remote mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, body-side molding, and a theft-deterrent system with an alarm system. The tilt steering wheel and six-way leather power seat allowed me to find the perfect position to enjoy the ride. The 17-inch wheels and the rear spoiler were also part of the option package, as well as the Hurst short-throw shifter.
Standard equipment includes a Monsoon 500-watt AM/FM stereo with a CD player, plus eight speakers and sounds great, but in all candor, my ears were tuned to the tone coming from the exhaust system.
If you get the impression that driving the Camaro is thrilling, then I have conveyed to you my feelings about this car. So why is this report painful to write? The people at Chevrolet have decided to cease production and close the plant in Canada next September.
No more Camaro compares to doing away with Santa Claus. But Chevrolet is going to stop production just because the sales of sports cars in the North American market have declined thus the demise of a genuine American classic now celebrating its final year of existence.

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