When I was just a tike, every Volkswagen Beetle I saw was a Herbie. It didn’t matter the colour, whether it was sedan or convertible, or even if said Beetle was missing the signature #53 atop the hood.
As I see original Beetles today, I’m always brought back to the Volkswagen character car Lindsay Lohan almost ruined. Thankfully the car had far superior acting ability, overshadowing the horribleness of TMZ’s favourite redheaded diva.
There’s now an entirely new generation of kids who grew up not knowing what life was before the Internet. They also don’t know Transformers originated in a place far removed from Michael Bay’s Hollywood explosionfests.
Bumblebee, too, was a Beetle during the formative years of Transformers. But, the current generation of children don’t know that. What they do know is Bumblebee is a Camaro.
EVERY KID UNDER THE AGE OF TEN KNOWS BUMBLEBEE IS A CAMARO.
And this, my friends, is the character car of a new generation of kids.
How do I know this? Try driving a Bright Yellow (official name of paint and oh-so descriptive) Camaro with black Indy stripes up the hood and down the trunk. Every child who sees it has the following reaction:
1) Stares in wonderment for somewhere between three to five seconds.
2) Mouths the word Bumblebee.
3) Grabs the hand of parent/grandparent/friend/whoever is close.
4) Points at the Camaro and says very loudly: “LOOK! BUMBLEBEE!”
5) Continues to aggressively point and shout “BUMBLEBEE! BUMBLEBEE!” over and over again.
6) Parents pull their kids away in utter shame because their offspring don’t know the real Bumblebee is a Beetle.
If you want to bring joy to the hearts of children under the age of 10 wherever you go, a yellow Camaro is the car to drive. You will not get a stronger reaction out of the rug rats with any other mode of transport. I’m sure they wouldn’t even bat an eye at a hoverboard (though we would go ape if someone swooped by us Marty McFly-style).
But, this very-yellow Camaro SS Convertible will make you miserable. Let me explain.
When it comes to drop-top domestic muscle cars, you have two choices. You can have the Ford Mustang, with a V6 or V8 (and soon, as of 2015, with a blown four-pot), that’s been continually produced since 1964. Or, you can have the Chevrolet Camaro, also with a V6 or V8, enjoying steady sales since it was reintroduced in 2010 after a short hiatus since 2002.
From the outside, both cars exude a presence of power and feelings of “things were so much better in the olden days”. Both of them produce a symphony of V8 brutishness when the driver stomps on the loud pedal. And neither of them, at least until recently, could make their way around a corner.
2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible, driver’s seat. Click image to enlarge
Even from the inside, the Mustang and Camaro show off some seriously cheap looking pieces of plastic that could only originate in a bankrupt American city (though the Mustang is much better at hiding them).
It’s the driving experience – or lack thereof – that really sets the Camaro and Mustang apart.
Under the hood of our Camaro SS tester sits a 6.2L V8 L99 small-block producing 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque (the manual model makes 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque from the LS3 V8). On paper, that’s a fair amount of power, and definitely more than one might need. But, thanks to the six-speed automatic transmission, delivery of the power is lacklustre, void of all the theatrics usually provided by a V8.