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Author Topic: Camaros  (Read 2440 times)

Nightcrawler

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Camaros
« on: August 18, 2013, 08:54:55 pm »
My fiancee is a nut for the Chevy Camaro.  I have to admit, the newer ones are really mean looking, my general loathing of Government Motors notwithstanding.



(The Chevy Spark rental car I'm stuck with is not helping this matter.)


Actual size.

 :vomit

One of these days, I want to surprise her and bring one home.  I'm not Richie McMoneybags and can't just go buy a brand new one (making a donation to the DNC at the same time). But poking around on KSL cars, there are tons of used ones for sale, in varying condition, from the 1970s to brand new.  There are some good prices listed on some fairly recent ones ($20,000 for a two year old car doesn't seem too bad to me). But I don't know anything about cars in general or Camaros in particular.

So, when I'm ready to pull this off, what should I look for? The idea is to get the best, funnest-to-drive Camaro for the lowest price possible.  It doesn't have to be brand new. It doesn't need the latest bells and whistles. She won't care if it has satellite radio, big speakers, or head's-up display as long as it runs well, hauls balls, and starts up every time.

I'm not a motorhead, so I can't fix up cars too much, but she and her dad are, so something that needs a little TLC shouldn't be a problem. Gives it character maybe.

If I do this, I want to do it right.  What years are good for the Camaro? What's a good price for a given year/condition.  Let's say $20K is the top end of the price range, but less is more. What years were lemons and should be avoided?  What problems do older ones develop that need to be addressed?  What are some warning signs I should look for?  Who can I go through to get a good deal? (Utah/Idaho/Wyoming area.)

Thanks guys.
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    Avenger29

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    Re: Camaros
    « Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 09:32:47 pm »
    South Carolina
    I don't THINK I'll ever have to face down routers in the streets.

    I should hope not. Mobs of rogue woodworking tools would suck to repel.

    Chrissmitty820

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    Re: Camaros
    « Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 09:34:20 pm »
    I love my 98, even though it's been parked in my folk's garage for the last 12 years. (Lousy kids, needing space and such.) It only has a 6 cyl 200hp 3.8L motor, but it gets up and goes pretty good. Got the 'performance package' when I got it, so the gearing was a bit different from the standard 6 cyl. It was about 20k new in 98.

    However, the new 6 cyl motors (2010 and up, I believe) have 300hp right off the assembly line, and the SS model hits about 450 hp. That's a bunchaton of power for the bucks. If you can get a used 'Bumblebee' model for 20k, you're ahead.
    Texas

    Chrissmitty820

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    Re: Camaros
    « Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 09:36:09 pm »
    Oh, and I'd avoid the the 80's models. Not horrible, but not great.

    Texas

    Il Rob

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    Re: Camaros
    « Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 09:43:29 pm »
    OK, Camaros, where to start? In the begining......

    It all started in '67 during the Muscle Car Wars. All of these first generation cars are high dollar items now, and probably not what you are after.

    The second generation cars started in '70 and ran all the way to '81. They were born during the Muscle Car Wars and died during the Great (horsepower) Famine. During the course of this generation, the Camaro lost a lot of power and most of it's good looks. Early cars are still high dollar, and the later ones in nice condition are actually worth real money due to misplaced nostalgia.

    The third generation cars started off during the Great (horsepower) Famine but gradually gained power throughout it's life span. Eventually they had up to 245 hp, which was pretty impressive in 1988. Trust me, I was there. These cars never had the rep for speed the contemporary Fox bodied Mustang had, mostly because they were quite a bit more expensive and actually were slower.

    Things got a lot better in the fourth generation. Mother GM moved production to a new facility in Quebec. Fourth gen cars are noticeably better built than its predecessors. They were also more powerful, with a 275 hp "LT1" 350 V8. Later on, they upgraded to a 305 hp all aluminum LS1 V8 (this was about '98).

    I had the Pontiac version of this car, a 2000 Firebird Formula with an automatic. It was typical GM. The drivetrain was incredible; powerful, surprisingly economical (if you stay out of the gas), durable, reliable. The rest of the car......well, let's start with the packaging. Do you want to drive yourself and one close friend? Then you are golden. Is your luggage just a duffel bag? Still golden. Do you have real suitcases? Nope, not happening. A rifle case is a tight fit. And for the love of God, do NOT actually put passengers in the back seat. That should be considered a war crime.

    Reliability, as I said, the drivetrain was fine. Mine used a little oil, but it had 100k on it. The rest of the car though, well, the pwer windows would not go up, making trip to the ATM particulary fun in the rain. Lots of squeks. Lots of rattles. The power antenna wasn't. The radio would quit randomly. Just lots and lots of niggling problems that Toyota owners never have to deal with.

    Anyway, the fourth gen cars ran from '93 to '02, then died a mostly unlamented death. Then new 5th gen cars didn't come onto the scene until '10. I have no personal experience with them. They are quite heavy, I understand they are hard to see out of. Even the 6 cylinder cars have 300 hp, so you don't necessarily have to step up to the V8 to win the stoplight derby now.

    Honestly, a SS with the 6 speed manual should be everything I ever wanted in a car. But I have a deep unrequited love for Dodge's retro Challenger, so that will probably be the direction I will go when my midlife crisis hits (I turn 40 in 15 months  :shocked )

    Rob   
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    johnnyboy83

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    Re: Camaros
    « Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 01:01:44 am »
    I have a 99 Z28 LS1 and a 2009 Pontiac G8 GT based on the same Zeta platform as the Camaro 2010+. The G8 GT is about 3950lbs and it is a 361hp 6.0 V8. The 99 is 3500lbs and has roughly 370hp (its got a few upgrades). As far as an actual 2010+ goes, I haven't driven one, but since my car is a very close cousin, I'll try to give you a rundown on what I know.

    The 99 has been an alright fun project car, it has plenty of move and a surprising suspension for a Detroit relic with a live axle and 140k miles. I came to it from a 350Z, so I was pleasantly surprised that the suspension wasn't total poo. Almost, but not quite. It's no canyon carver at all but it is competent enough to be fun within the realm of sanity on public roads but I would not recommend pushing the stock suspension too hard. Traction control is a must. Mine did not have it and started life as a 6-speed manual. It would smoke down my 295s easily. Now that it is converted to an auto, it seems to have lost the ability to roast the tires, but I think a little tuning could fix that. Automatic cars were relatively weak if you were too hard on them and the stock 10 bolt is a left over corporate axle from the 4-cylinder S10 (kinda) so they are ok for basic use but they aren't much to write home about. Car makes more noises than I care to think about. I sometimes wonder if it's my imagination or if I might be leaving parts of the car along the road. Also it bottoms out sickeningly fast even with brand new shocks and rear springs. With the M6 I was getting 28-31 hwy and 18 mixed. With the auto conversion I am getting 21hwy and 18 mixed. Last 1/4 was only a 13.6 though so I need to talk to my tuner and see what he forgot to tweak in my fuel and spark tables as that is slower than a stock car is supposed to run.

    Now, my G8 was built in Australia, not Canada. It has the 6.0 L76 and the 6L80 auto. I have a cortex tuner and a CAI on it and I have dropped the 0-60 down to 5.01 seconds. Standing 1/4 is 13.48 @107. My RT and 60ft could use some work. The car has 115K miles on it and is as quiet as a mouse. Traction control makes it the most predictable car I've had in the rain and helps manage the scratch on 1-2 shift. It is not a tire roaster with 2.92 rear gears but it gets 24hwy and 18 mixed. Four adults fit comfortably and the trunk is big. It is a whopping 4inches longer than my 99 Z28. The fit and finish on the car is excellent and I cannot gush about how nice it is compared to anything else I've driven that was American made in the last 10-15 years. It reminds me of my 350Z in build quality. Handling is very precise and confident for a heavy car and the suspension is very friendly when it isn't being pushed and I have never bottomed it on the bumps that torture my Z28. I have also raced a 370Z to a dead draw from 20-90 and 70-130. Very impressive for a heavy sedan. The brakes are insane, with a 109ft 60-0 stopping distance. The auto has a manual shift mode that isn't as great as I'd hoped and my car was not available in an M6 unless you stepped up $10k more to the GXP, which also had an LS3. I paid $15K for mine vs $33K for a used GXP.

    How does it relate to the 2010 Camaro? I would figure the Camaro should handle at least as well as the G8, which means for an average driver within the realm of sanity, it should be really fun. Cargo/passenger room will be limited because of the back seat and layout. The SS has a 3.27 rear gear for the auto and a 3.45 for the manual so you should see considerably better performance even ignoring the 425hp 6.2 V8. As I understand it, they are capable of 13 flat in the 1/4. The traction control system is nearly the same as mine so it should keep you alive in inclement weather. I am leery of the first 2010s because they seem to have been hastily finished since GM slated something like 50K cars (20% more than the 2002 model year) and ended up selling 80K. I have heard of dashboards being installed with a slight angle. The seats are sportier so they may be a tad firm and maybe not perfect for long trips but probably adequate. The SS also has Brembo 4 pot brakes front and rear, which match the G8's stopping distances even under track conditions. The 3.6 V6 base model is adequately powered to get you around 14 seconds in the 1/4 and provide good fuel economy if you are on a budget and can't get the V8. The stoppers are identical to my G8 brakes so it's only a downgrade if you fancy autocross or canyon driving frequently. The V6 has very limited potential compared to the V8 so if you have any intention of tweaking it, you had better save for the 6.2 now or be ready to trade out later. From what I gather you can get 26ish from both engines on the HWY. If you aren't afraid of miles, I'm sure you can get one close to your price range. I have seen 2010's in V8 with 50K miles selling for $22-24K locally.

    All 83-2002 F-bodies have leaky pinion seals on the differential. They seep slightly so usually no one notices, but a 15 year old used car may never have been checked and the level may be low enough to have caused excessive wear. It's usually not that bad but it's worth keeping in mind. Older than 82 will not only be prone to have rust but also pull a classic premium price if it doesn't. A 67-68 may cost as much as a used 2010 and a 69 may cost as much as a new one. 70-82 will be more reasonable, but a shining example will probably set you back $10k or more. Immaculate LS1 cars from 98+ also tend to pull $10K or more. The less expensive ones are almost always project cars. LT1 cars are around $5-7K but aren't as easy to mod because the LT1 is a slightly different SBC. That's not a big deal if you just want to step in and drive. Now if you want a V6, I've seen a lot of 93-02s sell for as low as $2000.

    I really I think the 5th gen 2010+ is the best choice overall for a civil daily driver and if you can swing the V8 you'll be much happier. If you find a steal on a V6/manual, a set of really sticky rubber and a tuner will give you a pretty fun car. I have lurked the 5th gen forums though and a 3.6 V6 camaro with exhaust, tune, intake and 150lbs less weight only paced a stock 361hp G8 like mine, so I would consider the V8 a must for the car. If the GF and her dad wanna tweak on the car, they still can. The 6.2 sees 360 hp at the wheels and an intake, exhaust, headers and tune can easily push that to 400+.
    LouisianaGuns, cars and women...I only have enough money for two... wait, scratch that... I only have enough for guns and cars OR a woman...

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