Black Amid The Foliage
By Ron Amadon
GROTON, MA. – Incorporated back in 1655 this little town of about just under 11,000 is a must stop on any tour of New England, and it becomes even more appealing when Mother Nature pulls out all of the colors in her fall foliage palette.
The historic old downtown buildings have been lovingly restored – such as the 1755 vintage First Parish Church and the Groton Inn that once served as a meeting place for St. Paul’s Masonic Lodge, where Paul Revere was Grand Master, according to Wikipedia.
In a way it felt that my steed, a black Camaro, was out of place on streets that were once the home of horsepower, for sure, but of a different variety.
For a short pilgrimage back to my New England roots the rental company offered me a choice of vehicles, but how could I turn down something fun to drive?
This was a base model with the 3.6L V-6, 335 horsepower @ 6800 rpm and 284 lb-ft of torque @ 5300 rpm. It worked extremely well with the 8L45 eight-speed automatic transmission.
While the Camaro has been around for a spell, its exterior styling still captured the attention of two local police officers during my back roads journey through central Massachusetts. But it would be shear folly to go racing through these old colonial towns for you would totally miss their understated grandeur.
And do pop into the many family run shops these towns offer to get a chance to meet some of the locals – an experience not to be missed!
Okay, back to the car.
I enjoyed the lack of complicated controls, buttons, etc. in the Camaro with key ventilation, audio adjustments a short reach away. Well the ventilation was a little different. One simply moves the big ring around the rather large vent to gain the desired temperature. That might be an excellent idea when Old Man Winter returns to these parts and Yankees are wearing their tough old L.L. Beans gloves.
Getting in and out is not as bad as you may have been led to believe if there has been a sports car or three in your past. The mere action of getting in and out will also keep you limber.
But visibility in every direction except straight ahead was, in a word, horrible. Merging on to highway at a sharp pointed V-shaped intersection is a test of one’s faith. Interested parties in a Camaro should not leave the dealer’s lot without blind spot detection and rear view camera options. (Hmm, visibility was excellent riding a horse.)
Like so many sports cars that have gone before it, the back seat is for cargo and not humans but overall cargo space was still on the small side.
Yet the lack of visibility and cargo space faded away quickly during my two days behind the wheel, the second of which was a nearly 9 hour stint. The multi-adjustable bucket seats were comfortable, and power from the smooth six was more than acceptable in real world conditions, (read that outside of your local race track).
Quick passing moves around slow moving old pickups was actually something to look forward to. The 8-speed automatic helped the cause with quick downshifts especially in the Sport mode.
Handling was confidence building traveling through the woods on some old back roads that I have not traversed in decades. It is during drives like this that you leave the audio system in the off position and enjoy the throaty Camaro generated sounds.
I marveled at how little much of the passing scene has changed over the years along little old highways that I once traveled on a nearly daily basis. That resistance to change in the areas that matter is a New England Yankee tradition.
Yet things do change here and there for the better in certain locations, like the very modern commuter train station just completed in Westminster, Mass. where the accompanying pictures were taken – a more apropos locale for this sleek sporty car to pose for its portrait.
Change like that in the city of Boston where high rise development is flourishing but one can still walk the Freedom Trail along narrow streets that once hosted the familiar names prominent in your high school history books.
It made me think that the updated version of the old Paul Revere warning would be, One if my by land, two if by sea and three if by Camaro.
The Camaro LT base mode is offered with a standard 2.0L Turbo or available 3.6L V-6 engines. Go for the six.
The car is offered in LT (1LT and 2LT), SS (1SS and 2SS) and ZL1 models – all available as a coupe or convertible. Not to overlook the high performance ZL1 1 LE.
MacPherson-type strut with dual lower ball joints, twin-tube struts and direct-acting stabilizer bar;
Independent five-link with twin-tube shocks and direct-acting stabilizer bar.
Four wheel disc brakes
Weighs in at 3454 pounds
For 2018 Chevy will offer the first-ever 1LE package offered on Camaro LT, featuring track-tested Camaro SS components including FE3 suspension, Brembo brakes and heavy-duty cooling – and enabling an estimated 0.97 g in cornering grip. Available on 1LT and 2LT with 3.6L V-6 and manual transmission.
Chevrolet MyLink with a 7-inch-diagonal color touchscreen is standard on 1LT.