2013 Camaro ZL1 Convertible: First Drive (Technically)

Illustration for article titled 2013 Camaro ZL1 Convertible: First Drive (Technically)
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You always remember your first — and in the land of automotive firsts, they're few and far between. But today, I was the first automotive journalist to turn the key, push the clutch in, and rev up the most expensive production Camaro ever: The $54,995 — hey, that includes $900 shipping — 2013 Camaro ZL1 Convertible here at the LA Auto Show.


Oh yes, that's 580 horsepower burbling at my foot and under that beautiful carbon fiber hood insert affectionately known as "the mohawk."

I was also the first journalist — and by firsts, I was told no other journalist has had this opportunity — to turn off the traction control of the ZL1. Oooh! How exclusive!


We're talking an unbelievable beautiful vehicle with the visibility of a German bunker with the top down, no one should ever turn off the traction control. (However, I do think Chevy is actually doing a good job of dressing up that dash with a slick suede insert.)

So now, the car is started, the engine is revving and I'm going to be the first person to pick up a woman, as I give the blonde a nod of my head and she jumps into the passenger's seat. (OK, so she's a colleague, and by pick her up, I actually meant, asked her to get in and check out the car.)

So all there's left to do is drive.

Clutch in, give it a little gas and feel the power start to surge. Top speed is 184 mph — there is no electronic limiter, just gravity and air. I asked a few people at the Chevy event in Los Angeles, the day before the LA Auto Show, if the ZL1 can go faster in places like Denver. They weren't sure.

Illustration for article titled 2013 Camaro ZL1 Convertible: First Drive (Technically)

So I grab the suede-covered steering wheel and back up a good six, maybe even eight feet.


Then I'm told to get out. Workers were getting ready to take it over to the big show tomorrow.

So I wasn't the first journalist to get shorted on a drive. But I will return. Oh yes, I will. And right now, I'm the only one who can say that.


Scott is the auto critic at The Detroit News. He is ridiculous. Follow him on Twitter: @autocritic

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At an altitude of a mile, you'd be at roughly 80% of your SAE corrected power based on J1349 (which I should say is not even remotely applicable at the kinds of corrections you'd see in Denver), and the power required to cut through the air would scale down proportionally with the air density (density being the rho in Power=0.5*rho*v^2*Cd*Af). Air density at 5280 feet would be about 80% of sea level density. So you'd have 80% of the power you would at sea level, but you'd only need 80% of the power to achieve the same velocity, so you wouldn't go faster, but you wouldn't go slower either.