July 30, 2009

Vroom Vroom

When I was a kid, I had subscriptions to Car and Driver and Road and Track. I had posters of sports cars adorning the walls of my room and owned encyclopedias packed with every make and model of car that was ever rolled off a production line. Yet some strange set of coincidences combined to prevent me from becoming a car guy as an adult. I went with music instead. As a result, I drive a VW that I bought used and is now paid off. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be driving it until the doors fall off and even then I hear duct tape and plastic sheeting work miracles. I know rudimentary things about cars but looking under the hood is something best left to people who aren't me. People who wear grease-stained overalls, have dirty fingernails and call everyone Mac.

Of course none of that stopped me from getting more than a little excited when GM - or, more specifically, the really cool people who handle their PR - decided they wanted to give me a car to drive for a couple days. It wasn't just any car. It was, instead, a 2010 Camaro. And Camaro is apparently Latin for rocket with seat belts and a killer sound system.


I'll spare you the technical details primarily because I don't know them and making them up would probably just make me sound stupid. The Camaro is big and fast and handles like a dream. A really good dream. It also has more buttons and dials than you can shake a stick at. I have no idea what half of them do but they look cool. And the sound system rocks. I turned it up so loud that...well...I might not need that vasectomy anymore. Speaking of kids, in case you're curious, two car seats do manage to fit into the backseat. It's snug but the kids didn't mind. Mia told me that she enjoyed riding in the race car, loved going fast on really big roads (we took it up to a whopping 50 mph) and I should really get one because she liked it better than my usual car. My kid is smart.

Honestly, the most interesting part of the whole extended test drive were the reactions I got. The car attracted a lot of stares. And more than a few virtual high-fives. Quite a few thumb's up. I know there are more than a few pictures of the car floating around because I spotted at least two people snapping them with their cameraphones. I got a few interesting looks as well. They were thinking one of three things.

- Wow, cool car!
- Huh, he looks a little young to have a midlife crisis.
- So sad. Small penis.

American cars are not known for being exciting. It's been a long while since I've owned one myself, something I'm mildly ashamed of. Did the Camaro change my mind? No, not really. It's a great car and a hell of a lot of fun to drive but it's one exciting car in a long line of boring products. Would I buy one? If I listen to Mia I should. But I'd accumulate speeding tickets at an alarming rate and I'm pretty sure I'd wrap it around a tree. As hard as it is for me to admit, I think I'm more of a VW kinda guy. But a boy can dream, right?

Do you drive American? Why or why not, and what would change your mind?

A brief and probably unnecessary disclaimer. I have a blog. I get free stuff. But for what it's worth there were no post-for-car deals made. I'm posting because I want to. That said, there's definitely a benefit from being on the internetwebosphere.

Posted by Chris at July 30, 2009 6:39 AM

up until the 70's i owned ONLY foreign... spent my wedding money on a 64 porche 356c... with a leaky head gasket... had a triuph tr3A, 90%bondo... drank a can of brake fluid a week... ran over a macdonald's cup and it stuck! that's how low it was... LOVED THEM BOTH!!! an mg midget that quit running if it was too humid out... then a fiat 124 sport spider... and a 79 1/2 924 porche that i sold for gutters on our new money pit home... i guess it was time to grow up??? nah... i was with a ford man... who insisted that i drive a ford... you know Found On Road Dead.... got rid of him... so now... i'm back to ogling them foreign cars again... maybe a little more sensible... maybe not... nothing sounds like a porche at the turn of a key...

Posted by: the unicorn at July 30, 2009 7:10 AM

Yes, I drive American. My car is a Cadillac Deville 2004. I love it and talk about power!!! Hubby has a Jeep and a Ford Taurus station wagon. This is great for carting his ski gear in the winter.
We have always tried to support US auto makers, but it gets harder and harder in a bad economy.

Posted by: Maribeth at July 30, 2009 7:27 AM

My boyfriend is a bit of a car nut. We went to a car show a few months back. There were many vcool cars (something called a Stryker??) but the crowd was all around the new Camero. It is a very nice car. I'm glad you had fun.
I drive a Honda. Love it! I've had one thing break in 3 years, not too bad. (And it was an AC problem, so really not necessary to drive the car....)

Posted by: Rose Winters at July 30, 2009 8:15 AM

We go both ways - a Ford truck and a Honda Accord. But I will tell you that my husband will be really jealous of you when he reads this. He's a '69 Camaro buff and when he first saw the 2010 model, he went a little craaaazy. If the money fell into our laps, I have no doubt that we would own one. For now, though, we are also driving ours until the doors fall off.

Posted by: Karen at July 30, 2009 8:22 AM

I, personally, have never driven an American car. My first was an -89 Mazda 929, then I had an Infinity and now I drive a Honda Element. I know everyone says that the Japanese cars can be driven into the ground and it has become so banal but it's definitely true! My husband's Ford Explorer crapped out way before any of my Jap cars. I wouldn't switch unless there was a darn good reason - or really awesome gas mileage.

Posted by: Claire at July 30, 2009 8:27 AM

I drive a 2007 Toyota Camry that is paid off and my husband drives a 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser. We bought them because our last Toyota Camry we drove until a tumbleweed decided to go thru our radiator (the car was 12 years old at that point). My husband had a Ford Bronco II that he drove for 21 years...talk about driving the doors off. But we went with the FJ because he wanted a bigger SUV type but with good gas mileage and that was what fit. We looked at trucks by GM and Ford and at the time gas prices were insane and that made our decision.

Posted by: daisy at July 30, 2009 8:28 AM

I have always had American cars: first was a Dodge Colt. Second, a year later, was another Dodge Colt (neccessitated by an old man in an old truck deciding he should make a left turn directly in front of me while I was going 50 mph). I'm now on my second Saturn which I bought in 2001. Hubby and I bought a Dodge Caravan last year to replace the pre-me CRV he had, and love it. When it is time to replace the Saturn (please dear car god(s) not until daughter is out of daycare and goes to school) I want something American. Husband, who is British (not that that matters here), would rather have a Honda, but I probably won't agree to that. I don't know why I'm so insistent about buying American with this one thing...guess maybe it's because of my dad who constantly bad-mouthed American cars (we were a VW family followed by a Porsche, which is a whole other story - and since this is your blog, not mine, I'll save it ;)). Whew, sorry about that, I'm a chatterbox this morning!

Posted by: Elizabeth at July 30, 2009 8:44 AM

I have an American car (a Saturn) because it's what we could afford. If I had my way, I'd be driving a Honda.

(Also, I'm ridiculously excited for you that your car is paid off. God, I'm old.)

Posted by: Fraulein N at July 30, 2009 8:50 AM

My wife drives an 04 Dodge Durango - bought used a few months ago after the 05 Durango was totaled in an accident.

I drive a 97 Mazda 626 - but it was assembled in Ohio, and Ford owns a big chunk of Mazda, so it's at least as American as Obama is :)

My wife's car when we were dating was an 84 Z28 Camero, with T-tops. Fun car to drive when it wasn't in the shop. American car quality has come a long way since the early 80s.

Posted by: COD at July 30, 2009 9:11 AM

We both drive American cars. My husband drives a 2009 Silverado, and I drive a 2007 Dodge Charger. Love them both!

Posted by: Kristy at July 30, 2009 9:39 AM

That's so cool! I admit that I drive American, only because right now it's the best I can afford. I'm hoping our next car will be a smoother-driving Honda or Toyota or VW, though - but don't tell my "buy American!" dad that!

Posted by: SpaceCase at July 30, 2009 9:51 AM

At this point I only owned four cars.

A 1993 Geo Metro, we paid it 7,995$ (that's Canadian dollars too) that we drove until it fell apart in 1999 (But I still got 1,700$ for it!), so we then got a 2000 Toyota Echo that we loved way too much for a car. Unfortunately we had to change in 2003 for a 2004 Toyota Corolla because the family was getting bigger and the Echo had no AC which is not cool (ha!). The Corolla was the worst car I have even driven, the interior was sad to look at, the plastic would creak and crack, the breaks wouldn't last 20,000km, there was always something wrong with the car and I think in the 3 years I had it, it spent more time getting fixed than being driven. It was a piece of crap that made me swear I would never ever again buy a Toyota - even if most people I know swear by them. I traded my Crapolla in for my current vehicle, my 2008 Nissan Rogue.

I'm not married to any brand / make. I'll basically drive whatever I can afford new (I hate second-hand cars with a passion) that looks cool, is cheap on gas and might possibly hold my attention for 3-4 years. But no Toyotas. Ever.

Posted by: leSombre at July 30, 2009 10:00 AM

I drive a Mercedes 2005 CLK 320. It's sweet! I'm not much of a car person, but my husband is...before that it was a MB ML320 SUV but then my son's crappy Pontiac crapped out and we sold him the SUV and traded in his Pontiac. Before that it was an Audi A6 wagon - that's when we went foreign.
I get looks when I drive it. I'm sure it's at the car and not me :)

Posted by: NancyJ at July 30, 2009 10:02 AM

I love foreign sports cars. Sue me. It's my dream to own a McLaren. That said, the Camero is pretty sweet. I *love* the interior so much it's disgusting. Like I said on FB, it looks so buttery. And butter is delicious.

OT: a few years ago while I was living in California, I rented a car for a trip down to SoCal. We got a new Mustang. It was FAST (in fact, when we got near Anaheim, I looked down and we were doing 90 in a 55 - and getting our doors blown off, btw - and it felt like we were going about 60) and beautiful but had horrible blind spots and didn't handle as well as I thought. In fact, a few times it skidded around on dry pavement when I was going a reasonable speed (70-75).

/random car story

I drive an American car (Saturn) and it isn't fancy or anything, but I love it to death. My Vue is roomy and good for road trips and gets impressive gas mileage on the highway!

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at July 30, 2009 10:11 AM

Seriously...could anyone blame you if you DID post for a Camero? I am not a car kind of person (it always flummoxes me that people spend so much money on things that could get squished in a wreck, I mean like Mercedes, etc.) but I think Camaroes are pretty sweet. Enjoy the ride!

Posted by: Sam at July 30, 2009 10:14 AM

I currently drive American, and I don't really care for it. I've had more Hondas than anything else. I trust them. I love everything about them. They FIT me. I drive an Edge because I could afford it. I had to make a quick decision, and at the time, it was the best candidate. Do I like it? Sure. I guess. It has some good points. Is it as awesome as my Accord? Hell no.

Posted by: Emily at July 30, 2009 10:20 AM

Holy good freebies, batman!

I love camaros from childhood... Dad, uncles, they had camaros. The boys in high school had firebirds. I think Tom Petty wrote a song about me.

Posted by: alektra at July 30, 2009 10:30 AM

i knew it wasn't a true post-for-car deal the minute you mentioned the small penis.

Posted by: kati at July 30, 2009 11:09 AM

We visited my brother and his family last week. His 2010 Camaro had been delivered 2 weeks before. The car was pretty cool, but like you said, it was the reactions to the car that impressed me. No matter where we went people from all walks of life would crane their neck to look and/or comment on his car.

Posted by: Anna at July 30, 2009 11:32 AM

We stick with Nissans primarily and sometimes Toyota. They seem to be the only ones that don't break down. We have a 2001 Sentra that my husband drives and outside of oil changes that car hasn't been in the shop once. Same with our 2004 Pathfinder.

Posted by: Sarah at July 30, 2009 11:45 AM

I prefer Japanese car for the fact that it seems to run forever. My first car was an Acura Integra 2-door which was fantastic until it was stolen. I've been driving my 96 Corolla for almost 10 years now with no issues.

But if I can have any car in the world, I'd like to have the Lotus Elise AND a pimp'ed out original VW beetle-original shell, all new interior, engine, etc. :)

Posted by: oakley at July 30, 2009 11:49 AM

I used to own a Ford. After I hit 100K miles, it became a money pit. I had the trannie rebuilt and a few months later, my engine threw a rod while I was driving and cracked my drive shaft. The blue book was 5K, the repair estimate was 5K. I sold it to the service manager and bought a Toyota. Said Toyota has over 100K miles on it and I've never had to take it in for a serious, drive-preventing problem. I'll probably never go back to American.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at July 30, 2009 12:01 PM

I've done two loans on new camaros already- one of them has a $791 monthly payment. Still cool?

I drive a Ford Freestyle- a station wagon. My husband's family are all Ford lovers so I suspect that so long as we can't afford anything else we'll have Fords. Ideally we'd buy a Volvo, either the station wagon or the little SUV. We DO need 4wd or awd here and Volvos are safe. I secretly want a early 70s VW Beetle for my everyday car.

Posted by: Lisa at July 30, 2009 12:34 PM

WOW. I am totally jealous. What did you do to get that car for a few days?! I was wondering if you guys bought one when Beth posted on Twitter that she was putting a car seat in the back of one. They are incredible cars, coming from a car girl (yes, we do exsist and no we do not have grease under our finger nails). Tremendous horsepower, incredible styling and looks - the full package, but a few years late. Had GM not sat on it for 3 years while Ford was going all out with the Mustang they might be in a better place right now.

As for me, yes, all American. My whole family, the trucks at their business, the many cars my dad is restoring. All GM with one Ford tossed in. GM is the heartbeat of America, well they used to be, and is what I've been raised with. I would never buy anything else and especially never anything foreign. Just me and my personal opinion. (Bummer you're not in a meeting and reading my little book here to keep you awake...!)

Posted by: Dianna at July 30, 2009 12:35 PM

I've never driven American. I had a series of VW busses in my 20's & early 30's, which, while very cool, didn't go fast, and broke down expensively a lot. On a whim (after the engine rusted out of the last bus) I bought a very used, very loved 240DL Volvo Wagon. It was a tank. A big steel tank with a two mile long hood. I loved that car. It died of some mystery ailment at 285,000 miles. I turned to eBay, and a bought a newer 240DL wagon, (for 1200 bucks) which I liked less, but it was still a good beast, it's sitting in my driveway with 198,000 miles on it, in need of a total makeover. On a whim, I got an 850 Volvo wagon, and hate that car with a heated passion. It's plastic. The only good things about it are the sunroof and the heated mirrors.

Volvos have many merits, but the best is that they deflect radar. You can go 80 in a 'wagon, and nobody knows it because they're shaped like bricks. I heart my Volvos. If anyone knows of an 80's 240 DL wagon in or near central PA for sale, let me know.

Posted by: Amy at July 30, 2009 12:38 PM

Boy, I need a blog like yours to get to test-drive things.

That said, non-American. My first two cars as a teenager were a 1972 Maverick and a 1985 1/2 Escort. I guess the 1/2 meant it was really only half a car because it sucked.

First college/adult car - Honda Civic. Then an Accord upgrade. Can still tell a Honda engine a mile away.

Upon divorce, I decided I really didn't need a 12-year-old car, since well, I'm like you - hood? What's a hood? And I went trendy - a Jetta - but hey, it's a six speed!

Really, after the crappy American cars and the great experience I've had with imports, imports all the way.

Posted by: Heather at July 30, 2009 12:40 PM

Holy crap that car is HOTT! I've seen one tooling around our little city and I CRAVE it!

I drive American because of medical issues (hips were shot.) I needed a vehicle that sits up higher off the ground and has a ton of knee room. The smaller, foreign made SUVs just didn't have enough room for me. I love the Chevy Trailblazer and am really glad that's the way we went.

Don't get me wrong, I'd take an Audi or BMW if someone gave it to me, but I love my American-made Trailblazer.

Posted by: zanie at July 30, 2009 1:11 PM

If I could, I would drive a Jeep for the rest of my life... but I won't. I adore my Grand Cherokee, but it has cost me upwards of four grand to fix in the last year. I will never purchase another Chrysler product again. Next car will be a Honda or a Toyota, unless GM can convince me they manufactured their cars with quality in mind.

Posted by: Erin at July 30, 2009 1:33 PM

I am a sucker for muscle cars of the 60s and 70s. LOVE THEM! My dream car...matte black 67 or 68 Camaro. Yum! I actually had three dream cars growing up, the 68 Camaro was one, an early 60s british racing green Jaguar and a MINI - red, with the british flag on roof.

We are a car family - it's kind of a family business! We have a 72 Challenger in the family (my father-in-law's car). My husband has a Dodge Shelby race car. Our family car is a Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon (which is lots of fun) and I drive one of my dream cars...a 2002 Red MINI Cooper S with the british flag on the roof.

I wasn't sure I was gonna like the new Camaro...they really messed up the Camaro in the 80s and 90s before they stopped making it. But man, is it ever hot! It comes close to my dream Camaro and I am very jealous you got to drive one!

Posted by: cyndy at July 30, 2009 1:43 PM

My first car and the car love of my life was a 1966 Mustang convertible - baby blue with a white top. Drove it for 6 years - had to sell it when I was in law school. Broke my heart - but I will have another one some day.

Since then - except for one brief, unfortunate time with a Dodge Colt and a Dodge Shadow (husband had it when we got married)- we've had a Mazda Protege - no major repairs (9 years), a Honda CRv - no major repairs (9 years and counting) and a Corolla (4 years and counting). There was 1 more car in there - it was foreign too. Have totally forgotten what it was. eep.

Posted by: Sue R at July 30, 2009 2:09 PM

NYC subway everywhere!

Posted by: jessica at July 30, 2009 2:09 PM

Dude I so hate you right now... No one ever offers a mom running a forum for other parents of older kids cool shit.. dude they don't even offer me a freaking piece of candy.. I hate you right now.

LOL keep rocking man, what perks!

Posted by: Angelia at July 30, 2009 3:14 PM

I drive American, mostly because my dad worked for GM for 43.8 years. (Yes, 43.8 -- don't ask, I don't know.) Once I started driving and was able to get my own car, if I wanted to park it in the driveway, it had to be American. Not necessarily GM, but American... and why would I want to buy a Ford or a Chrysler if I didn't get a discount on them?

Now that my dad is retired, and with GM's woes, his retirement and health care are in jeopardy... and he really isn't pleased with the company and what they've done, so he tells us that if we can get a better deal elsewhere, to go for it.

However, I think it'll be too damn hard to get the Chevy out of my blood. I now drive a 2006 Chevy HHR and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it, and I am looking forward to getting a 2009 or 2010 HHR when I turn in my lease next spring. I still get a (small?) discount, since my dad worked for them, so that will help me get another HHR. At least I *hope* that discount will still be there in the spring...

(An aside -- I have yet to find a foreign car that I really like the design of... I just think many of them are ugly. I have to be seen cruisin' around town in something good lookin'!) ;o)

Posted by: ironic1 at July 30, 2009 4:05 PM

I am not a big fan of American cars right now in general. Which makes me sad. But yes, the Camaro is pretty hot. I just wish we could make some more inventive environment mass market cars blah blah blah, then I will start coming back to thinking about American.

Right now, we have Honda and Subaru in the driveway.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at July 30, 2009 6:54 PM

I've done the foreign car thing and didn't care for it. I've driven a Ford since about 2000. I've got a 2005 Ford Escape (V6) now, and love it. My son drove a 2005 Ford Escape (V6) and was hit head on and survived with only a broken hand. The car was of course, totalled. But he now drives a 2008 Ford Escape (V6). I can't say enough good about the vehicle. And Ford makes some really great choices now -- the 2010 Taurus is really nice!

Posted by: coolchick at July 30, 2009 9:00 PM

my boyfriend wanted me to tell you that he would volunteer any day to be a test driver...and if they would give him a camaro OMG i can not repeat what he said but damn hed be the best spokesperson ever...i have lived breathed, slept ate walked etc camaros for the last two years plus!! he also said you are a lucky guy...

Posted by: becky at July 30, 2009 11:46 PM

I'm SOOOO JEALOUS!! Ever since I saw one of these on the road a few weeks ago, it has gone straight to the top of my coveting list.

My husband and I both drive foreign cars because they are reliable, and they fit us better than a lot of domestic cars-we are not giant American people, but I would be willing to give domestics a shot again to try out the new Camero!

Posted by: Dreamybee at July 31, 2009 2:50 AM

I do drive American, yes. However, it's not an exclusive thing for me, I've just like their style in trucks and SUVs. The ferners hadn't quite caught up when we bought these 9 years ago.

Not sure what's coming up next for us. We're buying next year probably for one of us... so I'll let ya know then.

Oh, and please tell me you peeled some rubber at least once. Lie to me if you have to.

Posted by: Brad at July 31, 2009 4:50 PM

And you didn't go around picking up all your friends and taking them for a ride? Bad Cactus!

Posted by: Zandria at July 31, 2009 9:52 PM

My first car was an Eagle Talon and then a Grand Am. I loved that car, but it failed to run effectively during my hour commute (ugh). I then moved to the Toyota Yaris and in a few days I will have my new Liftback Yaris. The car is an amazing car, and other than paying extra cash to get it to support my ipod/iphone I have had no problems.

My Fiance has the Smart ForTwo and we tend to fight over it. :D It is a blast to drive!! We figure we should enjoy it while it is just the two of us.

Posted by: Jennie at July 31, 2009 10:33 PM

I have a similar interest in cars in that I care only about how cool they are/feel and not necessarily about the technical aspects. I drive a Honda. I probably wouldn't drive an American car as most of them are kind of ugly, but you can never go wrong with a Mustang or apparently a Camaro.

Posted by: Richard at August 2, 2009 11:58 AM

My DH has dreamed of owning a Camaro since he knew what a Camaro was. So when the opportunity came to buy an 02, (the last they made before this new one) he did. He LOVEs it. I drive a 96 Toyota 4WD Rav 4. I love it! It is a mommy mobile and off road dream and I own it. Alas it is currently out of commission and I have been driving the Camaro. It definitely has the tendency to go to fast and for some reason everyone in a mustang wants to race. I will be so happy to be in my Rav once again but the DH will never go back.

Posted by: AS Novus aka mamacita Caliente at August 2, 2009 3:00 PM