Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Z28 Camaro vs. 2003 Accord

It's an interesting thing, this. Over the past 8 months my Honda has been giving my some trouble with the back brakes. First, I had the back brakes repaired. New rotors and pads. Later I had to get a new back rim. Yes, a rim. It had a hairline fracture that got there somehow. Now, I'm looking at having to get a new caliper, rotor and pads on the back driver side (the caliper piston is stuck out). What the heck, man!

Anywho, with all of this I've had to jump in to the 1986 z28 out of necessity. It really is a whole new ball game when you have to do that, when it isn't just for fun. When you do this (I'm not sure many have had to) you realize stark differences.

First off: Well, it is a 24 year old car. You think that every part is going to fall, fly and rip off. Not that it will, but just the fact that you can't really fall back on anything heightens your sensitivity to all the creaks and moans, which this generation of Camaro has many.

Next up: Winter in Ohio. All Camaros have rear wheeled drive. The third generation sported the largest back windshield you will ever see yet have a trunk that is the size of a kitchen cabinet. The car is heavily weighted to the front, meaning; no weight to grab the road. Ohio roads in the winter are always covered in some form of white death, so thats not a good thing. Getting it moving after a snow is not fun.

Another big difference is just getting the car warmed up. You feel like you are sitting on the snow covered pavement because it is so low. The seats are not nearly as comfortable as the Honda and the vents down blow much. The worst thing about warming it up as well (and this is in large part due to age) is that with leaks around that huge back windshield and the t-tops you have frost forming on the inside of the car. Awesome. My commute is only 9 miles to work. The whole ride there I felt like I was driving a solid block of ice. Yeah, that is getting fixed in the Spring.

Next up now: Just starting the car. It takes attention. I'm sure most people out there have had older cars and may remember starting in the winter. It'll get going but you have to baby sit it till it warms up. I'd like to chalk this up to being 'an old car' but one flip down of the visor tells a different story. Out of the factory, the visor actually has cold weather start instructions. Yes, that is right. No legal jargon, no air bag deployment info, not fancy logos or warnings. Cold weather start. In bold text.

Driving: This is an area of preference. My Honda Accord Coupe has all the modern safety features out there. I feel very safe. Which is something not to be taken for granted. My Honda also has more HP. It is rated at 245, which a bit more then the Camaro. The Honda also has traction control and all that. But it's all so controlled. The steering is overly controlled. The acceleration is controlled. The braking, controlled and it's quiet as a whisper. The Camaro? None of that. It's loud. It rattles, you smell fuel, the steering is out of wack, and it drinks gas. But you know what? I adore all those things. When I hit the petal, I feel like I'm driving a machine. Owners of older cars from the 60s and 79s may laugh, but I do.

Lastly: Just plan old safety. Some call the interior of these beasts a "plastic tomb", which, in the winter, I'm going to agree with. With every vehicle on the road now sitting up so high (even my Accord sits higher at the seat level) I just feel like some giant SUV is going to run over me and not even know. In warm weather this is not such a big deal, but when you are on snow covered roads and look to your left and see door panel... well, kinda gets to you.

So... what's with the z28? Why do people want it. Why do people come up to me and ask about it? Nobody asks about the Honda. Well, there are lots of answers to that. Most have to do with a light car with a V8 dumped in it that can pin you back if you punch it. It also has something to do with the fact that honda's don't get names or nicknames like "The Beast" or "Rock". Also, the stying of it, to me, is aging very well. It's a pony car, plain and simple.

But how would I answer the question of why get a 1986 Camaro? Well. I could get into a lot of things, but mainly it just hearkens back to a time where all cars stunk and GM pulled out it's most legendary trick... "We like it, it goes faster then your Trecel, go f**k yourself".

Sorry for the language. But after all I've read recently on American motor companies it's what GM was. Maybe if they went back to that a bit we wouldn't all be driving shoe boxes and jelly beans.

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