THE PROS & CONS
What’s Best: World-class performance and build quality at a fire sale price.
What’s Worst: Retro cockpit layout is old-fashioned with awkward to see secondary gauges.
What’s Interesting: Why GM would want to remove this car from the best plant they have, The Equinox, also built in Oshawa, was just rated highest in initial quality by J. D. Power.
Something old (my driving partner and myself),
Something new (the 2016 Camaro reveal in Detroit),
Something borrowed (a 2015 Camaro to make the trip),
Something blue (blue is how most Canadians feel about Camaro production moving to Michigan).
DETROIT, MI- It was with a sad heart that I drove to the reveal of the 2016 Camaro reveal on May 16 in a 2015 model, one of the last, perhaps last ever, Camaros to be built in Canada.
More than 500,000 Camaros have been sold since it was re-introduced as a 2010 model, making it the best selling domestic performance car every year since then.
For its entire run, the current Camaro was built at the Oshawa Assembly Plant on GM’s award winning “flex line” — one of the most efficient in the world.
The 2015 Camaro Commemorative Special Edition was first shown earlier this year at the SEMA auto industry show in Las Vegas to mark the final year of production of the fifth-generation car.
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The 2015 Camaro Commemorative Special Edition is still available on 2LT and 2SS coupes and convertibles and includes the RS package.
Tested here is the SS Convertible model starting at $50,225 powered by the mighty 6.2-litre V8 with 425 hp (420 lb/ft) and six-speed manual transmission not counting the $1,650 shipping fee which seems a bit much with the factory just down the road from my home.
The Commemorative Special Edition optionally adds $2,195 of goodies (more below) plus $1,765 for the Tapshift six-speed automatic transmission) and other things such as MyLink navigation ($795) for an all-in total of $57,280 – still a performance bargain no matter how you cut it.
Besides the standard six-speed manual transmission there is an optional TREMEC heavy-duty six-speed manual with hill hold assist.
The first Camaro was shown in 1966 and sold as a 1967 model going through four generations until 2002 when production ceased.
Canada and the Camaro have had a bittersweet relationship over the years.
The fourth generation was built in Quebec from 1993-2002 until the plant shut down, demolished and turned into a shopping centre in 2004.
Many thought that was the end of a Canadian Camaro, until it resurfaced in 2009 as a concept car that when went into production in 2010 as the fifth generation that will cease being built in November of this year.
When it was announced sixth-generation production would move to Michigan, many people were surprised that GM will shift work out of Oshawa, which is generally seen as the best and most efficient assembly plant in North America.
The reason given for the move was “lower capital investment and improved efficiencies.”
On SS versions the four-wheel independent suspension is beefed up with four-piston Brembo brake calipers front and rear.
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The exterior features of the Commemorative Edition include unique 20-inch wheels, exclusive stripe, body-color front splitter, ZL1 rear spoiler and Commemorative Edition fender emblems.
Five exterior color combinations are available: Black with Cyber Gray stripe, Silver Ice Metallic with Cyber Gray stripe, Summit White with silver stripe, Ashen Gray Metallic with silver stripe and, as tested, Red Hot with black stripe. SS models receive a body-color hood insert.
The plan was simple, pick up my usual driving partner (the Star’s Jim Kenzie) and drive down to the world reveal of the 2016 Camaro in Detroit’s Belle Isle.
Kenzie and I agree on practically nothing, which always leads to a lively debate especially when the journey covers more than 1,000 km.
With all that power and torque on tap, speed and passing was never an issue. But what was amazing, for the car of that the performance level was the fuel economy.
We gassed up east of Sarnia and drove to Detroit on the American side, back and forth to Belle Isle and then all the way back on Hwy. 401 to Kenzie’s home near Milton on a single tank, where I gassed up.
When I dropped it off later that that day in Oshawa, it still showed a full tank.
This is a car where you can have your performance fill and, if light on the pedal, enjoy mid-size car mileage.
With the 2016 models in the offing, dealers will be motivated to sell off the 2015 models.
For under 60 grand you can buy one of the best performance four-seat convertibles in the world and know it was built but the good men and women in Oshawa who assemble some of the highest quality vehicles in the world.
2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible at a glance
BODY STYLE: Four-seat convertible
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive with six-speed automatic or optional six-speed automatic transmission
ENGINE: 6.2-litre sequential fuel injection V8 (426 hp, 420 lb/ft)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (Regular), 15.3/9.8L/100 km (18/29 mpg) city/highway
CARGO CAPACITY: 289 litres (10.2 cu ft) top up, 221 litres (7.8 cu ft) top down
TOW RATING: NA
PRICE: SS Convertible, $50,225: Commemorative Special Edition, $55,630 not including $1,650 shipping fee