Don’t worry, the title of this post isn’t going to fall foul of Middle East censors. We’re not interested in hunks with no shirts on, we’re talking convertible muscle cars. Having just spent a few days with this roofless Chevrolet Camaro, we’ve been ruminating on the attraction of this genre of machine, of savouring brawny V8s with the wind in your hair.
In essence actually, the appeal is just that – big, dumb power and a literal connection to the elements by way of their ruining your coiffure. Taking the roof off is a natural step for muscle cars, in a way that it isn’t for sports cars.
Sports cars are finely tuned pieces of machinery, set up for stiffness, handling, cornering and a acute dynamic performance. Muscle cars aren’t. They’re made to make a cool noise and accelerate in a straight line, in as visceral fashion as noise legislation allows. The Camaros, Challengers and Mustangs of this world are designed to make us feel we’re operating something mechanical, rather than insulating ourselves into a gently humming luxury box on wheels.
So what better way to improve this experience than to expose yourself to the outside world? If driving a muscle car with the window down is good, cruising along with the roof gone is better. Arm on the door, V8 burble floating over the windscreen and scalp-fur waving free. Sure, whipping off a large structural part of the car doesn’t do much for cornering, but be honest; no one buys a muscle car for its prowess through the bends.
While we like hustling hairpins and sliding coupes around as much as the next man/woman, there’s a lot to be said for some gentle cruising, enjoying the benefits of a roofless piece of Americana.
|Chevrolet Camaro SS|
|Engine:||V8 / 6162cc|
|Power:||426hp @ 5900rpm|
|Torque:||420lb ft @ 4600rpm|
|Transmission:||Tremec TR6060 six-speed automatic / rear-wheel drive|
|Front suspension:||Double-ball-joint / multi-link strut / direct-acting stabilizer bar / progressive-rate coil springs / fully adjustable camber / caster and toe / 27mm solid stabilizer bar|
|Rear suspension:||4.5-link independent / progressive-rate coil springs over shocks / stabilizer bar / fully adjustable camber and toe / 28mm solid stabilizer bar and specific half-shafts|
|Brakes:||Four-wheel disc w/ ABS / ventilated front and rear rotors / single-piston front calipers and single-piston alloy rear calipers (LS, LT) / four-piston fixed Brembo aluminum front and rear calipers (SS, incl. 1LE) / 355mm x 32mm (front) / 365mm x 28mm (rear)|
|Wheels:||20in front and rear|
|Tyres:||245/45 ZR20 (front) / 275/40 ZR20 (rear)|