Road trip diary with a new Chevy Camaro

Car critic Bill Griffith did some sightseeing with a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, and allows us to see the trip through the eyes of the impressive sports car.

Correspondent Bill Griffith does some sightseeing with a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Correspondent Bill Griffith does some sightseeing with a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS. –Bill Griffith

If you watch TV, you’ve likely noticed Chevrolet’s company-wide “Find New Roads’’ marketing campaign. Well, as a new 2016 Camaro SS, I’m a big part of that.

They’ve assigned me to be one of a dozen or so Camaros to be driven all over the country by, of all things, journalists. The goal is to have at least one of us driven in 48 states before the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.

Today (Oct. 19), we’re all starting out together in Detroit, and I’m a bit nervous about who’ll be at my wheel.

Day 1

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These journalist types are drawing their keys out of a hat (actually an old Crown Royal sack). They’re all hoping to draw one like me—a 455-horsepower V-8 SS model with a six-speed manual transmission. All I can say is they better know how to handle my clutch and keep my revs up.

Hmmm. I see I’ve drawn a couple from Boston (he’s wearing a Red Sox cap and calling her Mrs. G).

Chevrolet has “suggested’’ a whole lot of “points of interest’’ for them to visit, but these folks aren’t staying with the program.

They’re programming my navigation system and saying these places will be “new roads’’ for them.

I guess someone named Dinah Shore used to sing “See the USA in your Chevrolet.’’ I guess that’s what we’ll be doing.

And what’s more about the USA than baseball, hot dogs and (yes) Chevrolets?

Maybe I’ll at least get a bumper sticker out of this.

Wait a minute. They want to get to Niagara Falls. Today? Don’t they know the sun sets about 6 p.m.? We’re just leaving Detroit, and it’s already 10 a.m. How are we going to cover 400 miles and make all these stops by dark?

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Well I guess we’re going to try because they’re using my OnStar advisor to make a B7B reservation in Niagara Falls for tonight.

Story continues after gallery

Touring the USA in a Chevy Camaro SS:

9 Hours Later

What a day! We ARE in Niagara Falls, though it could be anywhere because it’s so dark and rainy. But I sure hear the roar of the falls.

I gave those Boston folks a sensational drive for 7 hours. It was sunny and 70 degrees. I heard them say it was almost convertible weather. Well, my convertible version won’t be available until next year.

When it got dark and ugly with rain and unfamiliar roads, my stability and traction control gave them some confidence, as did the OnStar directions.

We had a lot of fun running through the gears, even though that @MrAutoWriter guy sometimes had trouble hitting second gear smoothly.

Maybe my favorite moment was when that trucker got out of his 18-wheeler at a rest stop on I-90 and came over to admire me, saying I was “a really neat successor to the Gen 5 Camaros and he spotted me instantly when we passed him on the highway.’’ That meant a lot to me because back in Detroit those GM folks put a prime example of each generation of my ancestors in the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education for all those journalists to admire.

It made me proud to know my family history.

But back to our trip.

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Those Mud Hens (and what kind of name is that for a baseball team?) have a really nice park in downtown Toledo, and I think we were the first of the Camaros to reach Ol’ Tom Edison’s birthplace in Milan. That’s pronounced ME-lan, not Milan like the Italian city.

Cleveland was cool, too. We were rollin’ and a-rockin’ with ‘The Boss’ on my XM radio as we pulled up in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I only wish cars could go in. That’s a lament I repeated in Niagara Falls when I had to sit in the parking lot and missed all the sites. I really wanted to take a “selfie’’ of me by the Falls for this story.

These drivers were goofing around, I think, when they parked next to a Ringling Brothers van in Cleveland and took my picture. I’m no Clown Car, but driving me surely will make you smile.

They must be sports fans because we stopped at Progressive Field (Indians), Quicken Loans Arena (Cavaliers), and even Ralph Wilson Stadium (Bills) in Buffalo.

Day 2

These driver folks are relentless. After they—not me—saw The Falls, we were back on the road.

They had me posing in front of some dive bar in Buffalo that claims to have invented Buffalo Wings back in 1935. The place wasn’t open yet so I couldn’t see if their wings were as nice as my wing (actually the spoiler on my rear deck).

Speaking, ahem, of my backside, I think one of my nicest features is my re-styled rear end. Don’t you think it’s cool? And I have a great exhaust note, too.

Maybe my biggest disappointment came at Watkins Glen. I got all excited when my drivers programmed that as another “waypoint’’ on the trip and took me over back roads to the track.

I think they said it was located out beyond hellandgone.

When we got there, it turns out all they did was take some more pictures. They wouldn’t even let me on the track. Boy, could I have showed them a thing or two about what I can really do with my stiffer and lighter body structure when I don’t have to obey all those traffic rules!

My drivers thought they’d have lots of time to explore Cornell University and some Finger Lakes wineries, but who’d have expected that traffic was far worse in these places off the beaten track than it was in Cleveland?

Anyway, we had a fast run to Syracuse where I put them on a plane, but boy, did I take them for a ride!

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