I’ve had my 2016 Camaro not quite two years and is the subject of a COAL I wrote about earlier this year.
Making a long story short, I’ve owned my 2016 Camaro SS since late October, 2017, While I’ve enjoyed the experience of owning an honest to goodness muscle car, my first, there was some ambivalence surrounding whether I loved it enough to keep it. Fate would intervene to make the decision for me on what I would ultimately do with the Camaro on the morning of Wednesday, July 24th.
I can count the number of times I’ve driven the Camaro to work on one hand. But it so happened that we were down a car and it was pressed into service one morning for commuter duty. I was making good time on my way to work in downtown Detroit. I was going westbound on the Davidson highway and was at a complete stop waiting to merge onto the Lodge Freeway, left lane, in neutral, thinking of nothing in particular. Out of nowhere, I heard brakes screech and I was blindsided. The impact was strong, and both side airbags went off. I was thrown around and momentarily disoriented. The car stalled and I crept to the side of the road.
Behind me was a scene of automotive carnage. There was a mangled Taurus in the middle of the highway…
And a brand spanking new Dodge Challenger RT with the front clip caved in and fluid leaking. Debris was everywhere and all lanes were blocked. Gratefully, all of us emerged unharmed. I felt nauseous, the airbag powder was unpleasant to inhale, but I was otherwise fine. EMS checked all of us out at the scene.
The Camaro wouldn’t start, but once I cleared the airbag code, it fired right up and drove. I thought it was just a bad rear end hit but when I finally looked the car over, it was far worse. The passenger door was caved in, and everything to the rear of that was badly damaged. The State Police sorted out who the offending driver was, and the officer curtly excused me. I’m still not quite clear on who hit whom. I drove the Camaro to the collision shop. The butchers bill came back in a 4-page estimate, and it was a whopper: $22,000.
The exhaust system was bent, and that alone was $2,400.00 but that was just the tip of the iceberg. There was substantial rework on the body, all airbags and related sensors needed replacement and a tremendous amount of man hours to set the car right. To make a long story short, after about a week it was determined that the Camaro was a total loss. Someone is going to buy that car and fix it at auction and sell it, that’s for sure.
I’ve been in several fender benders over the years, but nothing close to this. I was impressed by how the Camaro protected me, and how the collision systems protected all of us really, including in the old Taurus. Makes me think how many blunt force trauma injuries there must have been a generation ago in much heavier cars . We were all very fortunate to walk away from the accident, and for that I’m very grateful.
As far as the losing the Camaro goes, I’m certainly disappointed about it. GM is apparently going to drop the model completely in a few years and I got to own a true American automotive icon. While not everyone loved the lines on this generation of Camaro, I think I owned the finest and most evolved of the breed in terms of performance and handling. It was loud and proud and it put a smile on my face.
If it was ultimately going to be sold, I wish it would have been on my terms and at a time of my choosing. I’m in a good equity position on the car and am awaiting word on the monetary settlement. We’re not sure if we want another fun car or want to take the settlement money and put it to much better use. As in my COAL article, I stated I had no regrets about buying the Camaro and am glad I had the experience of owning a car like this, if only for a short time.
Glad your alive and not injured. Even IF it did get repaired, it would never be “right”
Looks like the Challenger rear-ended the Taurus, which subsequently hit you.
Don’t know if it would be worth the time and money to fix the Camaro. I don’t see much profit in flipping it. Say someone pays $10k for it. Add the $22k to repair, and they’re into a salvage title car for $32k.
A smarter move might be to part it out; someone would definitely like to have that drivetrain, maybe in an older V6 model with a messed-up engine or transmission.
Ouch!!!! Yes, with a hard hit like that it is probably best that the insurance company take it off your hands and hand you (or maybe your lender) a big check. It is good that you are OK – you’re right, that kind of impact in the kinds of cars we feature here most of the time would be a bad deal. And you were being careful, stopped even. And it still happened.
At least you had something of good value and that was easy to appraise. Those of us who have been hit in really nice older cars – it is hard to get a reasonable appraisal when your car is in the top 5% of conditions represented under the Bell curve. Because all of the numbers come from cars in the lower 2/3 of the curve.
But there is a silver lining – Car Shopping! 🙂
This! Glad you’re OK and probably better to take the “hit” this way rather than the depreciation on this model. Assuming the insurance co. treats you alright.
Well, glad you’re OK and that you’d had a good experience up to that point. I hate being stopped on the highway, I got clobbered once in my teens and my neck is still sore sometimes.
Cars can be replaced, but you cannot be replaced.
Echo most of that. Lot harder to fix people than cars.
Glad that no one was hurt. That is the most important item!!
I have been in a similar situation, but I was the Taurus. And driver of the Dodge had no driver’s license & no insurance and it was not his car. The owner of the Dodge refused to respond to inquiries by her own insurance company concerning the accident.
I had collision coverage on my car, but I was trying to avoid any type of claim under my insurance. I went thru 45 days of headache and aggravation before the insurance carrier of the Dodge finally agreed to repair my car and the Camaro.
Since it was an SS, chances are good it could end up at Cleveland Power and Performance in Columbia Station, Ohio.
That’s a damn shame! It would be interesting to know if “distracted driving” was the culprit.
For 2020, Chev is going to make a standard sports coupe model Camaro with the SS power train, a sleeper of sorts….could be tempting.
Glad that you survived that unscathed.
Ooh, that was a hard hit, glad you’re fine. Looks like when our Outback was totally a few years ago. The car will be fixed, it’s too new and worth too much not to be. Maybe not in the US but by someone, somewhere. While the insurance estimate of $22k is a starting number and a retail number, any number of skilled people with access to a shop will figure out a way to “fix” it for a fraction of that and then resell it.
Full air bag deployment usually means the car is a write off,as most of the interior needs to be replaced, panel and mechanical damage just adds to the bill, cars here and I presume also in the US have to be repaired to as new spec, that usually costs more than the car is worth,
people are more difficult to repair so its great you werent hurt,
Never stop when merging. Never. Ever. You are lucky to be alive. Cars of a lifetime don’t happen by accident, (pun) but rather by situational awareness and careful planning.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice. If the people in front of you aren’t moving, you can’t do anything but stop also.
First of all, at least here in IL, some onramps literally have stoplights. You kind of have to stop before merging.
Second, what do you do if the highway is bumper to bumper? Just keep driving down the shoulder?
Was only stopped because I was waiting in a line of cars to exit….didn’t have much choice.
Okay, maybe I am in defense mode and perhaps there was nothing you could’ve done.. but guys driving old cars should be aware that even in stopped traffic you can::
Stomp your brakes multiple times
Turn hazards on
Rev your mufflerless engine to near redline
Dodge to the shoulder or at least make a crazy exaggerated move to the side
Mount a third brake light with pulsation effect
Survival is sometimes (but not always) to the fittest….
I’m not saying I’m an expert & always do this myself, but every Driver’s Ed/Defensive Driving class teaches you that if there’s a line of cars on the off-ramp, and they start to back up onto the highway itself, you take the next exit. Don’t create a line back onto the highway if traffic is moving at a normal speed.
Happily the Camaro did its most important job…protecting you.
As for fault, absent other evidence, it would appear that the Challenger driver will be taking a big hit on his driving record and (unless he is in a “no-fault insurance” state) on his insurance premiums. His brand spanking new Challenger is very likely a total loss, too.
It is hard to tell from the photo, but the Taurus may have been in better than average condition; if so, its owner will probably be victimized by the insurance “system” which won’t pay out what the car is worth.
This has happened to a few friends of mine. The book value isn’t enough to buy a vehicle of comparable quality.
You can argue that, I have (twice), both times I got replacement retail price.
Events like this are why I don’t drive old cars any more. Parse that however you will, and you’ll probably be right whatever you might think I mean.
No disagreement. Just recalling that 1959 Chev vs the current year Chev where they crash into each other mostly head on – the carnage in the older one is obvious.
“the carnage in the older one is obvious”
All that was missing in that video was blood…
I drove not long ago in a mate’s beltless and largely brakeless early ’50’s Holden, and got very clammy very quickly.
Also, the odds of pranging in an old car must be a lot higher because of the inherent deficiencies in braking and slow (and heavy) steering and tyre size, not to mention lighting and screen clearance and even stuff like driver weariness from the greater wind racket on a long haul.
To mix two things They say, the past is indeed another country, and it’s nice to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.
A very abrupt end to your rather short lived Camaro ownership. For its final act, it provided you the protection you needed most in this emergency. Good on the engineers who designed these safety features. Good on you for coming out of this in one piece.
We love our cars, in this case, your Camaro loved you back for its untimely finale.
Having been hurt in a bad wreck (don’t get hit head on at speed) I can tell you that the ONLY thing that matters is that you are OK. Sad to see the car go, it will probably live on in parts. Years ago an accident like this would have send somebody to the hospital, or possibly the morgue. Fortunately cars are much safer than they used to be, now you have a Car Of A (saved by it) Lifetime.
Wow. A sad ending, indeed. But yeah, not worth fixing with a bill like that.
Eek, that’s quite a story.
It’ll be interesting to figure out where this car (or its parts) end up. Last year after I sold my 12-year-old Crown Victoria to CarMax, I would occasionally Google the VIN, hoping that at some point it would get a hit.
After a few months it did… it wound up at an easy-credit used car dealership 900 miles away for the eye-popping amount of $11,000. And my guess is that the things that were wrong with it (like the non-functional a/c) weren’t fixed. Just a guess.
Since you were unscathed, as were all others, I can make the joke.
There’s only one way to be hit in a 6th-gen Camaro, and that’s to be ‘blindsided!’
…you’re not wrong.
I call them Bunkermaro for the slitesque visibility.
The LS engine is the number one choice today for engine swaps. Guys are dropping them in everything that is rear wheel drive. This Camaro will be snapped up quick for it’s drivetrain. As an aside, don’t be to quick to sign off on the insurance claim. My wife got rear ended by a kid on his cellphone. The pain didn’t start for about two weeks after the hit. She went to physiotherapy for almost a year to get over it.
You will likely get more from the insurance company than you would have when you flogged it as a trade for your next car. Hopefully you suffered no long-term injury!
That Challenger had to be going at least 35-40 to cause that much damage to your car with a buffer between you two. Have your lawyer check his cellphone records. The unibody damage evidenced by the door being caved in means the body is borked. No amount of presses stretching it back and sledgehammering will fix that. Plus there are sensors that have damage that will pop up later, not to mention the myriad electronics faults that will rear their ugly heads when they see fit to do so. The best use of this body is to part it out.
I’ve been in your position. My 18 month old Acura RSX was hit by a driver who, per his wife ,” Had never had a seizure in the day time.” He hit 8 or 9 different cars at three different sites.
I have a degree in insurance and 30 years experience in property and casualty. Therefore, I went through my own carrier, which I always suggest. A not at fault accident should never raise your premium. The first adjustor was a rookie, and wanted a deductible. My policy has an endorsement waiving a collision deductible when hit in the rear by an identified driver.The rookie was low on the value of my car . I soon got a senior adjustor and we settled as a total loss in less than 2 weeks during the X mas season.
Remember everything is negotiable. I would much rather deal with my long term carrier than an unknown. I am glad you are ok, and good luck.