Cars Archive

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Camaros in the snow

After the light snow fall last weekend, I went out at night and took pictures of a few of the Camaros that I always see in Howard Beach. I’m sorry about the poor picture quality; I intend to get out soon and take a bunch of pictures of all the Camaros I see in Howard Beach during the day. For now, I find these bad boys awfully pretty to look at.

A fifth generation Camaro SS, parked just four blocks down from my house.

A third generation IROC model parked on the same block as the fifth gen.

Another fifth generation Camaro SS parked a few blocks in the opposite direction.

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The three production models of the DeLorean: Telling one from the other

If you haven’t read up on the history of the DeLorean and DeLorean Motor Company, you can read my previous blog post here: “Live the dream

For those of you that know your DeLoreans, it’s time to take a step away from all the historical facts and talk about how to tell one model from the other. John DeLorean didn’t exactly believe in different production models every year (he thought they were a money-making gimmick), so what follows are the most common changes in each of the three production years. The DeLorean was only built in 1981 and 1982, but it had three production years (1981, 1982 and 1983). Some of the changes actually happened mid-production, so this is just a generalization of models.

The first production year, 1981, had a few key features: side grooves and a gas flap in the hood, a door strap that was attached to the pre-existing door handle, a stock Craig radio system and an individual clock placed in front of the drive shaft. Some of the first DeLoreans ever made had poor alternators and window-embedded antennas, and these were both changed about halfway through the 1981 production run. New Motorola alternators were installed which helped the battery hold its charge for much longer time periods and made the horn louder. As for the antennas, some 1981 models had a bouncy antenna installed on the front hood, which remained there permanently. Since it looked pretty odd on the car and detracted from the stainless steel look, motorized antennas were installed on all models after that.

The 1982 production model is pretty easy to spot. It’s key feature is the DeLorean badge on the lower right part of the front hood. The grove lines and gas tank access panel were also removed from the hood. Other than that, the car is aesthetically the same.

As for the 1983 production model, it looks about the same as the 1982 model. The defining difference is the Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN) in the front windshield. In 1982 models, the VIN plate was bolted down, where as in the 1983 models, it was pasted down. Other than that main change, very few alterations were made. There aren’t many 1983 models in existence today.

Now again, some of these changes actually occurred in the middle of a single production year, so a few of the cars from one year may show adjustments that were mainly seen on another year’s model.

One other type of DeLorean worth mentioning would be the right-hand drive models. Only 16 right-hand drive production models were ever made out of the DMC factory, mainly for the European market. However, since the main country the DeLoreans were built for was the United States of America, very few were ever produced, and since the company went under within about two years, they didn’t have a chance to build more.

So now if you ever spot a DeLorean, you’ll know how to tell ’em apart!

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Live the dream.

Although Camaros are the main car I’m interested in having later in life, there’s one car in particular that I’d like as soon as possible. That car is a DeLorean.

Some of you may know what this car is. Others might not. Some might be thinking of Back to the Future. Others might be thinking: “Why would he want such a failure of a car!?” Please, sit back and allow me to explain the history of the DeLorean and why I feel the way I do about this car.

John Zachary DeLorean was an Austrian/Romanian man of many talents. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he grew up to become an executive with General Motors. DeLorean was responsible for developing some of the first historic muscle cars cars like the Pontiac GTO, Firebird and Grand Prix. After holding just about every position in the automotive industry, DeLorean left GM and founded the DeLorean Motor Company in 1975 (it was originally called DeLorean Motor Cars, but was later changed).

DeLorean began searching for a location to construct the DMC manufacturing facilities. Among the candidates were the Republic of Ireland, Puerto Rico and Northern Ireland. The British government gave DeLorean a last minute offer to build in Northern Ireland, and DeLorean took it. The government believed that this would reduce violence and protests by reducing unemployment (providing people with jobs).

This is where the actual car comes into play. DeLorean started production of his car with the same name (originally named the DMC-12 because it was supposed to cost $12,000) in 1981. In 1982, the company began having a multitude of financial problems. Due to problems ranging from the $25,000 price tag (equivalent to over $60,000 today) and the small storage space to the limited visibility and mechanical failures, DeLoreans weren’t selling well. Many people bought them, but not enough to keep the company profitable.

On top of that, DeLorean got tangled up in a drug-traffiking scandal in July 1982. It was an attempt to gain the money to save DMC, but undercover FBI informants revealed his dealings. He was tried for drug trafficking in the United States, but was found nout guilty due to entrapment by the FBI. His attorneys said: “Without the government, there would be no crime” (Wikipedia, Arrest and Trial). DMC went bankrupt later that year, and the production facilities were closed. John DeLorean retired in New Jersey and died from a stroke in 2005, when he was 80-years old.

A DeLorean with its famous gull wing doors fully opened.

 

As for the DeLorean cars, they were purchased (along with the thousands of parts and blueprints) by the new DeLorean Motor Company of Texas (based in Humble). This company acquired the distribution rights to all the parts and had them shipped in from Columbus, Ohio (the place where they resided since the factory closed). Today, this company specializes in restoring old DeLoreans, building NOS (New Old Stock) models and modernizing the car for the always-changing 21st century.

Technically speaking, all of the parts the company owns are brand new, but they were built in the early 80s. This makes them New Old Stock.  A New-Build Program is in the works for interested buyers to order a custom DeLorean built to their specifications. The pricing for a “new” DeLorean starts at around $57,500. However, pre-owned DeLoreans can be purchased all over the country and on auction websites like eBay. Depending on the quality, mileage and stability, they can range anywhere from $12,000 to $40,000.

What makes the car so special, in my opinion, is the overall look (on the inside and outside). The stainless steel body plates (the car only has stainless steel plates, not a stainless steel frame) and gull wing doors are definitely its most notable external features. New DeLoreans have been built with surround sound audio systems, touch screen navigation panels and iPod hookups on the inside.

A lot of people feel it looks dated and ugly, but I think it’s about as futuristic as it gets. And the main reason I’d like to own one while I’m in college is because it’s not a very practical car for use in later life. It has a very limited trunk space under the front hood of the car, it only seats two people and it gets anywhere from 19-22 highway miles per gallon. This makes it a car to have while you’re young, free and not restricted by a family (unless of course you’re a rich collector).

This past October, the DeLorean Motor Company announced their intent to produce electric-powered DeLoreans in 2013, with a base price starting at around $90,000 to $100,000. Obviously, that’s an expensive car, so it would take a lot of time and money for me to be able to buy one.

In the end, my main goal is to own one in my early 20s. To see people’s reactions to the car would be worth it alone. So one day, I hope to “live the dream,” just like the tagline of the original DeLorean commercials said. To have a car that’s like me, something that’s old-fashioned and very retro with a strange history that really turns heads, would be amazing. So here’s to you, Mr. DeLorean. I’ll see you in another life, brother.

And yes, I plan on hitting 88 MPH with the car one day. When I do, “you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

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One Camaro, Two Camaro, Red Camaro, Blue Camaro

Whenever I meet up with my car-loving friends, we always end up talking about some new flashy coupe or convertible. Something that always seems a little tricky to us is telling different editions / generations of the same car apart. Since this section of the blog is about Chevy Camaros, I thought it would be fitting if I help people understand the differences between all five generations of the American muscle car.

THE FIRST GENERATION (1967 – 1969)

The first Camaros debuted in 1966 for the 1967 model year. They were two-door rear-wheel drive vehicles (which is what all Camaros are) that could be purchased as coupes or convertibles. The RS (Rally Sport) models included appearance alterations such as hidden headlights and exterior rocker trim. SS (Super Sport) models included different appearance alterations and a 5.7 liter V8 engine. It was possible to purchase a RS/SS model which included all appearance alterations.

A first generation Super Sport Camaro.

 

Z/28 models were much harder to come by originally, since they were meant for Trans Am racing. They included a few visual modifications (such as either ‘302’ or ‘Z/28’ badges on the bumpers and sides of the car) and a smaller engine. Z/28 RS models combined both packages for a unique look.

The ZL1 models were built specifically for drag racing. Only 69 were made, and Chevrolet recently announced the production of 69 fifth generation ZL1 Camaros. The ZL1s are the rarest of the rare.

THE SECOND GENERATION (1970 – 1981)

Also known as “Super Hugger,” the second generation Camaros were less powerful than their predecessors. However, they were longer, sleeker and more refined. Z28 models had badges without the slash between the Z and the 28. My father owned a normal second generation Camaro, maroon in color.

A second generation Z28 model.

 

THE THIRD GENERATION (1982 – 1992)

Third generation Camaros are most notable for being the  first ones to feature hatchback bodies. These are bodies that have two passenger doors and one hatch on the sloping rear of the car.

Besides various changes that occured under the hood, there were a few notable editions of the third generation Camaros. They included a 20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, a 25th Anniversary Heritage Edition and the IROC-Z. Named after the competition entitled “The International Race of Champions,” IROCs were introduced in 1985 and came as an addition to the Z28 package. They had lowered springs, Corvette tires and special decals.

A third generation IROC model.

 

THE FOURTH GENERATION (1993 – 2002)

Fourth generation Camaro sales declined until the final vehicle was produced on August 27, 2002. General Motors announced that sales couldn’t sanction the creation of a newer model, so a 35th and Final Anniversary Edition was created. It was only available as either a convertible or T-bar. Besides the final edition, the California Highway Patrol division also purchased special edition Camaros in 2002 with police decals.

A fourth generation SS convertible.

 

THE FIFTH GENERATION (2010 – present)

 In 2006, concepts were created for the fifth generation Camaro coupe model (the convertible concepts were drawn up in 2007). This generation was modeled after the first generation with similar detailing and build work. Production began in March 2009 and was availble to the public by mid-April.

The fifth generation Camaro has the greatest amount of editions to date, most of which were released in 2010. From February to May, the Synergy Special Edition green Camaro was available (with various upgrades to the base package such as improved transmission, special design and components of the RS package). 295 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Limited Edition models were produced, and their most notable characteristic was the official paint job of the Indy 500 pace cars along with Indy 500 Camaro badges on the sides of the car.

The most notable edition is the Transformers Bumblebee Special Edition. This model was feature in the Michael Bay Transformers films, and movie and car fans alike rejoiced when these yellow devils hit the market. Owners have made their own special tweaks to the model, but the base package comes in yellow with black racing strips and over 8 Autobot logos all over the outside and inside of the car.

A fifth generation Camaro in "Bumblebee form!"

 

2012 is going to be a great year for Camaros with the release of both the new ZL1 models and the 45th Anniversary Edition models. The ZL1s are throwbacks to the original first generation ZL1s. Besides the massive improvements under the hood (which put the new ZL1 at over 550 horsepower), the ZL1s will have a completely unique build and set of badges. A very limited number will be produced and the price will hover around $47,000.

Currently, not much is known about the 45th Anniversary Edition models except that they’ll come with a special appearance package. It includes badges, dark silver wheels and jet black interior with red, white and blue stitching.

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The Camaro hunt is afoot.

This section of the blog must definitely seem weird to those who don’t know me! Please, sit back and allow me to explain.

About halfway through high school I had a talk with my father about cars. Many of my friends were beginning to enter driver’s education courses, and I wanted to be part of that group. Driving had always seemed like an art to me; It seemed like something you had to learn and practice rigorously.

My dad told me about how to start learning and even helped get me into a driver’s ed course at my high school. He also told me about his history with driving and cars (this is where this part of the blog starts to make sense). It turned out that my father’s first car was a 1979 Camaro, maroon in color. He showed me a picture of him standing next to it, looking really cool and all that. My dad said that he didn’t expect to leave the used car lot with that car the day he went in. It just happened.

Since that moment, Camaros have been my favorite all-American vehicles. From generation one to generation five, Camaros never cease to amaze fans like me in countless ways. In future posts I’ll go into much more detail about the inside and outside of the car, but for now just understand that this is why I dream to one day be able to walk into a Chevrolet lot and leave with a brand spanking new Camaro. Since the price tag hovers around $30,000, that dream is going to take some time to become a reality. Until that moment, I’ll do my best to record information on all the Camaros I see around the boroughs of New York City.

I guess the only thing to say now is that I’m off to follow those Camaros!

The 2012 Chevrolet logo (from cartype.com).