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volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/3/19 8:54 a.m.

"How much is enough you ask
I'll ask the man when I get a chance
All I know right now, there's somewhere else I'm suppose to be"

Ever since I heard the Drive By Truckers' "Shut your Mouth and Get on the Plane", this song runs through my head whenever I'm en route to the airport.  A project at work has had me in the air a bit more than usual this year, and this entire week I'll be doing a vendor visit in south Georgia.  I'm in National Car Rental's Emerald Isle, so when I head out of the terminal I get my choice of vehicles.  And yesterday, tucked amidst a sea of Malibus 'n Minivans at Jacksonville International, I found a real gem.  The seat was still warm; it must have just been brought out to the lot.  Tossed in my bags, adjusted my mirrors and seat, found a decent classic rock station, and headed North to the GA-FL line.

South Georgia is big pine farming country, and there's lots of fun sand roads that criss-cross US-301/ US-1 and GA-15 on the way up to Waycross.

Due to the magic of modern exhaust tuning, I had no real clue as to what engine resided beneath that red ribbed hood.  Throttle response was great and the noises were muscle-car enough.  As it turns out, this is indeed a "hair dresser's Camaro", being a V6 automatic convertible.  I do not care.  

The thing flat scoots, and the 10 speed "transmission by Schwinn" is nearly invisible in doing whatever trickery it's programed to do.  There's flappy paddle shifters, but I never felt the need to use them.  I can barely keep track of the 6 speeds in my Mazda's manual gearbox.  

The biggest gripe I seem to read about the Camaro is the driver visibility.  I figured this car, being a convertible, had to be about the worst of the worst.  But I have to admit, it's not bad- certainly better than I'd expected.  Even the gunslit-thin rear window offers enough of a view of what's going on back there.  I haven't put the top down- yet (and I think the rental company installed some sort of a blank-out plate to prevent it from going down; I need to see about removing that..) but it's also been in the low 50's here so not really convertible weather anyway.  

Road noise is surprising for a modern car, but pretty good for a soft-top.  I was able to have a conference call on Bluetooth driving from JAX to Waycross at 65 mph.  

Once I got accustomed to them, the radio/HVAC controls were pretty intuitive.  The trim pieces around the center vents control the temperature and fan, which took me a second to figure out but it's really pretty neat.  The dash design is great, too, if the materials are a little bland.  

Trunk space is limited with the top up, and looks to be almost non-existent witht he top down- perhaps large enough for a single gym bag.  The back seat....I would not want to sit there.  Or put groceries back there.  In fact, I won't even acknowledge it's existence.  There's _something_ behind the front seats.  It may be a space.  It may have padding on the bottom and back.  Let's forget all about it.  

Despite having 9000 horsepower and the ability to go "naught to sixty" in less time than it takes to sip from my hotel coffee cup, it's a superb cruiser and seems content to hold 60 or 70 mph without getting into "Holy E36 M3 I'm Going to Jail" speeds.  And it looks terrific in "Arrest Me Red".

Chevy definitely has a winner here.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/3/19 9:01 a.m.

That V6 puts out more HP than the V8, LT1 equipped 4th Gen Camaro.

The earlier 5th Gen Camaros had even smaller side windows. 

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
12/3/19 10:47 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:

but it's also been in the low 50's here so not really convertible weather anyway.  

 

False. Put the top down, put the heater on high, point the vents at your body, turn on the heated seats and go.

The only time it isn't top down weather is when it is raining, and even that's negotiable if you drive fast enough.

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
12/3/19 10:50 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy :

Or snowing. 

Daylan C
Daylan C PowerDork
12/3/19 11:08 a.m.
Brett_Murphy said:
volvoclearinghouse said:

but it's also been in the low 50's here so not really convertible weather anyway.  

 

False. Put the top down, put the heater on high, point the vents at your body, turn on the heated seats and go.

The only time it isn't top down weather is when it is raining, and even that's negotiable if you drive fast enough.

Can confirm. I think 47 degrees was the coldest I ever ran top down on the Mustang.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/3/19 11:10 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy :

I realized after I wrote that I was dealing with a modern car here with an actual heater. My own convertible is a 64 Corvair whose heater struggles to keep the interior warm with the top up.

I shall borrow a tool this afternoon and see about defeating the top defeater...

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/3/19 11:26 a.m.
Daylan C said:
Brett_Murphy said:
volvoclearinghouse said:

but it's also been in the low 50's here so not really convertible weather anyway.  

 

False. Put the top down, put the heater on high, point the vents at your body, turn on the heated seats and go.

The only time it isn't top down weather is when it is raining, and even that's negotiable if you drive fast enough.

Can confirm. I think 47 degrees was the coldest I ever ran top down on the Mustang.

I've run my Miata in the mid to low 40s. Just put extra jackets on. Honestly, I would much rather have the top down on a 45 degree day than a 90  degree day.

Stampie
Stampie UltimaDork
12/3/19 12:15 p.m.

If you have time I can meet for lunch or dinner before you head out.   If not that's cool. There's a old junkyard on 23 south of Waycross. I've always wanted to go check it out. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/3/19 12:51 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

Junkyard run and food sounds fantastic. My schedule's flexible. PM me and I'll give you my mobile # 

My flight out is Friday evening from jax

EDIT:  Is this the place you're talking about?  Looks....dangerous.  In a good way.  devil

ebelements
ebelements Reader
12/3/19 2:44 p.m.

I've never heard of a rental car company renting a convertible and keeping the renter from using it as such. 

IIRC you can put the top down from the keyfob. At least I was able to when I rented a '17 Camaro SS.

Saron81
Saron81 Reader
12/3/19 2:45 p.m.
John Welsh said:

That V6 puts out more HP than the V8, LT1 equipped 4th Gen Camaro.

 

Yep... just like the new base 4 cylinder Mustang makes more HP than the Cobra from that same era. Crazy how far they have come! The base model pony cars aren't slow anymore! 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/3/19 3:19 p.m.

In reply to ebelements :

I played with it some more, and finally got it to work.  Somehow.  

There is a keyfob button for the top, but that doesn't seem to work.  At least not with the car off, anyway.  I fiddled with the rear cargo divider and eventually the top did its thing, after getting rid of a few error messages.  The owner's manual might have been helpful, though there wasn't one in the car.  

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/3/19 3:44 p.m.
Brett_Murphy said:
volvoclearinghouse said:

but it's also been in the low 50's here so not really convertible weather anyway.  

 

False. Put the top down, put the heater on high, point the vents at your body, turn on the heated seats and go.

The only time it isn't top down weather is when it is raining, and even that's negotiable if you drive fast enough.

Correct. In the NC, the top would stay down until down around 35. The "knee" vents in the NC were brilliant for top down weather, hot or cold. 

But I also used to ride my sportbike to work when it was WELL below freezing. I even drove my '90 NA track rat to the track one morning, 24 when we left the house on RComps. Not too bad right? I didn't have a hard top yet and had already removed the heater core and soft top. It took awhile to thaw out once we made it to Hallett. 

Stampie
Stampie UltimaDork
12/3/19 5:38 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

That's it. Sending a PM. 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
12/3/19 6:14 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Sometimes they stash the owners manual with the spare tire.

 

bmw88rider
bmw88rider UltraDork
12/3/19 6:32 p.m.

There is a divider in the trunk on the new Camaro convertibles. If that divider is not up, the top does not come down. It's easy to overlook but you know if the trunk space is almost 0 then the divider is up. 

 

I get these as rentals all of the time in FL. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/4/19 6:58 a.m.
bmw88rider said:

There is a divider in the trunk on the new Camaro convertibles. If that divider is not up, the top does not come down. It's easy to overlook but you know if the trunk space is almost 0 then the divider is up. 

 

I get these as rentals all of the time in FL. 

Yep, that was the error message I had been getting, and I tried putting up the divider originally which didn't work.  I'm still not 100% sure how I fixed it, but the top seems to work now.  The drive back to the hotel last night was a little crisp- the dash said it was 55 degrees- and my car didn't have heated seats, but I was generally pretty comfortable.  Anyway, it's snowing back home in Maryland, so I can't complain too much.  wink

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
12/4/19 7:53 a.m.

I had a rental spec v6 Camaro in California about 3-4 years ago.  It was way better than a low option car should ever be.  I took it into the mountains and drove and drove instead of eating dinner with colleagues.  One of my best memories from a business trip ever. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
12/4/19 8:07 a.m.

Is there a glitch in the matrix?  What is happening here?

 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/4/19 9:36 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

I'm not sure, but two strangely-dressed men, one of whom appeared to have a rabbit bone stuck into his beard, and a Chesterfield sofa, appeared at the moment I was taking this picture, and then were promptly chased off the premises by a constable.  

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
12/4/19 9:46 a.m.

I love the Emerald Aisle. I showed up to grab my sub-compact once and they were fresh out. The guy says "oh, well you'll just have to grab something from the next aisle, sorry about that." I got a Jaguar for the price of a Yaris.  The next time through, I grabbed a Lincoln and told the lady at the exit booth that they were out of midsize cars and I was told to take a premium car. She shrugged and waved me through without a cost increase. (they have caught onto this trick FYI) And one time in Phoenix, they were out of cars altogether, the NBA was in town or something. All they had left was a 4-door Jeep. I put the top down and pulled the doors off and headed into the desert for the price of a subcompact!

 

 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/4/19 12:11 p.m.

In reply to pinchvalve :

I always put in for a "standard" car when I reserve, and they give me the pick of whatever. One trip I came down with 3 other guys and all they had in the Emerald isle was Sparks and Cruzes. The attendant saw us looking at cars and trying to figure how this was going to work, and pointed us over towards a Traverse a few rows over. They're pretty awesome.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/5/19 8:52 a.m.

I have to admit, I'm loving this car.  A lot of it is the powertrain- the V6 sounds great, barks on a hard 1-2 shift, and the chassis handles totally predictably.  I don't even mind that it's an automatic.  Seriously, GM- take the Camaro body off and make this thing a Malibu wagon and I'll buy one.  30 mpg and 0-60 in 5 seconds.  

EDIT: And no, the Buick Tour-X doesn't count.  I don't need nor want AWD nor Buick fanciness.  16" wheels are _plenty big_.  I also want a wagon that doesn't try to be sleek and stylish.  I want it to fit stuff.  More Volvo 240, less Honda Civic hatchback.  

D2W
D2W HalfDork
12/5/19 10:14 a.m.

A couple of months ago I flew to Portland for work I told my secretary to just get me the cheapest car available. At the rental office the gal gave me a set of keys and said enjoy your Mustang sir. I thought I was getting a base model 4 or 6 cylinder car which was perfectly fine. Nope, bright red GT convertible. That thing went like stink, and I drove it hard all day long.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/5/19 12:18 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

So what you want is this:

I find no fault in that!!

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