Sherman Says: It is not a midlife crisis; it’s a blue Camaro with racing stripes
Monday December 9, 2013 | By:Dave Sherman | News
HAMBURG — The lease on my Chevy Malibu still had a few months remaining before it was set to expire, when offers to escape from it early began arriving in my mailbox.
As had been the case three years ago, dealerships were willing to make the last few payments for me, so I could take possession of a new vehicle. I found the suggestion difficult to ignore.
I am now the proud lessee of a 2014 Camaro 2LS Coupe. It is not the top of the line, but it does have a 3.6-liter, 323-horsepower V6 engine; six-speed automatic transmission and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Too many people are saying I am having a midlife crisis. Had I opted for the high-performance version, my car would have featured a massive, 6.2-liter aluminum engine and 426 horsepower.
What the Camaro does not have is a spare tire. It is equipped with a tire sealant and inflator kit, but that’s another topic.
The Camaro was initially produced in 1967, with more than 220,000 cars’ coming off the assembly line. It was chosen as the official pace car for the 1967 Indianapolis 500©.
That was a historic year at Indy, with Parnelli Jones’ driving Andy Granatelli’s blood-red turbine engine car, sponsored primarily by STP motor oil treatment. Jones led 171 of the 200 laps, before the failure of an inexpensive ball bearing cost him the checkered flag.
The Camaro is a sports car with an American feel. After I acquired mine, I saw an interview with Wesley Woodyard of the Denver Broncos, in “Sporting News.” The magazine’s staff asked Woodyard several questions, including whether or not his Camaro was his dream car.
“No, my dream car was a Range Rover,” he said. “I’m from the South and we pride ourselves on American muscle. My dad had a ’69 GTO. My uncle had a ’67 Camaro.”
Woodyard is clearly into the speed and performance of his Camaro. “It says it goes, with the new improvements on it, a little over 200,” he said. “But the fastest I’ve had it is 140, and it still rides smooth like it’s going 70. But you didn’t hear me say that.”
The dealership allowed me to take my Camaro home for the weekend. When I ascended the entrance ramp to the eastbound Youngmann Memorial Highway and accelerated to merge into the driving lane, I honestly thought the car was going to soar straight up in the air.
Deliberations within my head had me leaning away from the sporty Camaro back to the more cautious, traditional Malibu. The cost to lease either vehicle was as close as two pages in a book.
The Camaro had virtually no back seat. The Malibu had a full back seat and four doors. The Camaro came with a free three-month subscription to XM radio. The basic Malibu is not enabled to receive XM.
Just for the record, at least 25 motor vehicles are featured in the film “Fast & Furious 6,” including a 1967 Camaro. Not one Malibu.
With all of the cost projections spread out before me at the dealership, it was inevitable that the Camaro had the inside track. It has a small trunk, but I no longer need one that will accommodate a hockey bag and a couple of $200 composite sticks.
There are drawbacks to my new lease, however. I can no longer reach the ATM at my favorite bank branch from the driver’s seat. Mirrors are critical to the process of backing up, because the back window is about the size of a shoe box.
Yet it just might be my dream car, after all. The 1967 Camaro pace car was a convertible. Now that would be a midlife crisis.
David Sherman is the managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York, a group of community newspapers. Opinions expressed here are those of the author. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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