There’s always a point at which you see your first unglamorous example of a newer generation of vehicle that you had seen up to that time in only good-to-great condition. It was utterly jarring the first time I had seen a current, tenth-generation (2014+) Chevrolet Impala with a busted front bumper cover that was attached, haphazardly, to the front of the car with what I had presumed to be automotive adhesive tape. (Thank goodness the color of the tape matched the car’s black finish closely enough.) Still, I was aghast. In my mind, this car seemed far too nice and new for its owner to have resorted to the kind of third-rate repair solution on display, which looked semi-permanent.
With all of that said, I had attended the 2010 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place Convention Center with a bunch of friends, back in February (Sunday the 14th) of that year. There were too many of us (two carfuls) to all try to stick together as we wandered around, sat in the vehicles and collected brochures, but I remember wanting to go to the General Motors section toward the beginning of our time there. Just seven months earlier, in July of 2009, I was sitting in a diner in my old neighborhood in Flint, watching in real-time on television the historic moment when it was announced that GM had successfully emerged from bankruptcy protection. Being home in the birthplace city of General Motors to witness this gave me goosebumps, as I wolfed that hearty breakfast.
The return of the Camaro to Chevrolet’s product portfolio for model year 2010 was huge, and in my mind, the fifth generation cars still look new-ish designs to me. Subsequent models have looked like evolutionary takes on the 2010’s rebirth (which resembled a modernized take on the ’69). I was a huge fan of the redesigned 2005 Mustang (still am) which had no direct, domestic competitors at the time of its debut. However, it’s no fun to be the best at something with no challengers. (How else would you know you were the best?) The reborn Dodge Challenger would arrive for model year ’09. Still, I had lamented the demise of the beautiful, fourth-generation Camaro after 2002 (even if I would not want to be a passenger in one), and was thrilled to see this model’s return, albeit in a totally different shape than what had directly preceded it.
The above example at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show was an absolute stunner in its Synergy Green metallic paint, and the standing queue to sit in it was long. I suppose that if I had been by myself and not with friends who weren’t quite as gung-ho over GM as I was, I might have waited in that line, but I didn’t. It was even trickier to get a clear photograph of this car, as it was swarmed (and probably covered with fingerprints), but I did manage this one shot of one of its nicer angles with my point-and-shoot.
Fast forward to 2019, and I recently saw this example of a same-generation Camaro near Wrigley Field with dent-free body panels, but with a paint job that could have been from a used-up, fifteen-year-old ’77 Cutlass in my high school parking lot. I’ve seen a few of these 2010 – ’15 Camaros in less than pristine condition, but this was the first example of one that legitimately looked on its way to beater-dom. It was then that it came to the forefront of my mind that neither I, nor the earliest examples of this generation of Camaro, are spring chickens. Or, perhaps, could this be a kind of “beater tribute”, with a paint job like this one deliberately applied to intentionally un-prettify its looks? Whatever the case may be, I do hope this Camaro and its owner live long lives – and can eventually decide on one exterior color.
Lakeview, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, July 28, 2019.