COAL Update, 2016 Camaro SS2: So Long Friend, I Hardly Knew Ya!

Saying my goodbyes at the salvage yard

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.

Car Partially Disassembled to Assess Damage

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.