Somewhere Monsieur Chevrolet is rolling over in his grave


In the Wall Street Journal today, a review of a new Chevy Super Sport, which to my 1960s memory was a Chevelle, part of the Malibu family. But this article refers to it as a four-door Camaro. All I can see is that this new car is butt ugly, no, make that ugly ass. It has ZERO character to it. It could be a Volvo or a Kia even – the only distinguishing Chevrolet aspect is the logo. Otherwise, no way.

In case you come up against the WSJ pay firewall trying to read the article, here’s what the reviewer rode.

Price, as tested: $48,570

Powertrain: Naturally aspirated port-injected 6.2-liter overhead valve V8; six-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel drive with limited-slip rear differential.

Power/torque: 415 hp at 5,900 rpm/415 pound-feet at 4,600 rpm

Length/weight: 195.5 inches/3,975 pounds

Wheelbase: 114.8 inches

0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds

EPA fuel economy: 14/22 mpg, city/highway

Cargo volume: 16.4 cubic feet

The ONLY redeeming factor I can tell of the new car is that it has a six-speed MANUAL transmission. I know Mr. EOS is verklempt that no truck manufacturer today makes a manual transmission and that’s all he’s EVER driven.

I learned to drive on my father’s four on a tree 1963 Mercedes manual transmission but my own first car was automatic. And we gave our kids no choice – they HAD to learn how to drive a stick shift – it was mandatory if they wanted a driver’s license. Of course, their children won’t know what a stick shift is, or the cool accessories guys bought in the day. My guy friends had gear shift knobs made out of wood, out of metal, somebody had an 8-ball. It was what defined your car in so many ways. Am I right?

But getting back to the Chevy Super Sport. One of my best friends in high school (and still today) left Wilmington in late August of 1966 headed for Palo Alto, accepted at Stanford. Ginger was not only brilliant, but gorgeous and an award winning athlete. ANYWAY, her father gave her a car to drive out to California and all he could get off the lot at Diver Chevrolet was a crazy huge engine Chevelle Super Sport convertible. Manual transmission, and guys help me here, could it have had a 4-something engine in it? Or 396? That thing took off like a scalded hog.


Even though I could drive a stick shift, before she left for Cali, Ginger needed me to drive the car from someplace in downtown Wilmington to her house. I don’t remember the reason just that I was scared to death because of this hill. Now, I know it doesn’t LOOK steep in the photo, but when your knee is shaking, your foot is on the clutch, you pray you can get it into first gear, the hill felt like Mount Everest.

I think I can. I think I can.

All this is a long way of saying that the idiot who bought the 2016 faux four door Camaro ought to be punished to a life of driving only classic old cars to know when a car was a car. I don’t remember what Ginger did with her Super Sport – I’ll have to ask her soon, but I do remember she said she was awfully popular on campus riding into town with Delaware plates on a car whose engine you could hear miles away. I’d take it today in a heartbeat. It was really sweet.

22 thoughts on “Somewhere Monsieur Chevrolet is rolling over in his grave

  1. $48k for a fake Chevy that won’t even be built anymore once they close the plant next year?

    Love your SS story. I had a piece of shit car as a kid but it was a stick shift and I had a metal SKULL gear shift knob with eye sockets that glowed in the dark. Man, I thought I was the coolest dude on the planet. It was a real chick magnet too.

    What do you guess the SS cost new in 1966?

    1. Skull. Now that’s classy, or maybe it’s klassy? But to really be a cool dude, you also had to have an 8-track player.

      I don’t know what the car cost new. I know my dad paid about $3500 for my new 1964 Corvair Monza convertible so the SS must be one and a half times more, at least.

    1. The Best Line: There shoulda been a light to tell us we were moving.
      The Best Fashion Statement: Bob’s short sleeved two tone bowling shirt.
      The Best Flashback Moment: That’s how I used to drive. :-).

      Great video but man do I ever feel old. Was 1969 that long ago??????

      1. Yes.
        Dan Neil may be the big deal reviewer at the WSJ (I can’t stand him), but, this guy reviews the cars that the bitter clingers drive:

        1. Just as well. I had to preview a number of them just to find one that kept the scatological at bay.
          Your boy, Matt Leblanc, is getting mixed reviews on the new Top Gear (severest criticism is rightfully going to that twat, Chris Evans). Most of the recent videos are just teaser clips and not worth much, but, here’s a little history lesson:

          BTW: My BMW 5 wagon has a 5 speed and it’s tons-o-fun.

        2. I haven’t seen any of the new Top Gear shows with Matt. I haven’t even tried to find when it airs here to record it. I think the romance is over, Matt or not.

          Can you buy a 5 speed on a BMW or Audi today? I know Audi has the fake shift but I don’t think they have the real deal. Correct me if I’m wr-wr-wr mistaken.

        3. I’d love to know how many manual transmissions BMW sells. I bet its dwindling. I’m trying to decide what the profile is of the stick shift buyer. 99% male but not sure which age group. Maybe 50% geezers who are remembering the old days and 50% young guys who see themselves as Mario Andretti.
          Without getting too personal, may I ask why you chose a manual transmission? The obvious answer is because that’s the best but beyond that…. Just curious.

        4. I learned to drive with a manual and if I can find that option on the car I want, I’ll take it. A manual transmission is just more fun because it engages you in the driving experience – but, I know I am dwindling minority.

        5. Mr. EOS and I agree with you on all counts. The only time a stick shift is a pain is when I’m stuck in a multi mile traffic jam, which happens a lot on the Merritt and I-95.

  2. My recollection is that Chevy put the SS designations on models other than the Chevelle. I’m pretty sure the Impala had that as well as the Nova/ChevyII. High school buddy had the Chevelle and it had the 396.

    I learned to drive the “three on the tree” on my father’s 67 Chevy Biscayne. When I first got stationed in Newport, the chief asked my watch section who knew how to drive a column shift and it was me and a guy from Oklahoma who learned on a GMC pick up. We were immediately designated “duty drivers” and never had to stand a gate watch my entire year there.

    1. Great story and lucky you!!!! You’d think back then more guys would have had stick shift driving ability! There wasn’t a guy I knew who wasn’t weaned on it. Girls, not so much, unless they had brothers, or like in my case, a car junkie dad.

  3. I learned to drive in a 1972 Dodge Dart Sport. Three on the floor. My parents told me if I could drive that, I could drive anything. They were right. They also made me demonstrate changing a tire before I tested for my license. Very empowering skills for a young lady, for sure.

    1. 1972 Dodge Dart!!! Wee ha, that’s one classic car. Your parents were right. Question: have you owned a stick shift car since then? Or would you buy one if you could?

      1. I have always owned a manual transmission car — until last year when I sold my 21 year old Honda Civic 5 speed. I sobbed when it was backed out of my driveway for the last time (that was my first new car, purchased with no M&D help) but it went to a loving new home. I don’t have a day-to-day shift car any more but I do drive my husband’s 6 speed Audi TT convertible when I’m going somewhere that it won’t get dinged in the parking lot. I doubt the TT is what my parents were preparing me for with lessons in the Dodge Dart, but it sure is a fun car to drive. I’d buy another daily use standard transmission but they’re getting harder to find…

        1. TWENTY ONE YEAR OLD HONDA CIVIC???? Wow! How many times did the odometer flip over? Congrats on such fine care of her. You must have known a good mechanic, which today is as hard to find as a manual transmission car! Lucky new owners to inherit a car so well maintained. Brava!

  4. Anyone looking for a great mechanic in Westchester should see Bob (owner) at Briarcliff Classic and Imported. He’s tucked in behind Mrs. Greens at the intersection of Rte. 9A and North State Road.

    1. That’s great information. I still have my mother’s 1988 Mercedes SL560 convertible/hardtop that needs some mechanical work. Thanks for the tip.

      1. Your Mercedes will fit in perfectly there with all the other classic cars. It’s a treat just to visit and see what he’s working on. Make sure you tell Bob his CT TT customer sent you.

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