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On The Road Again - Thunder Road

Thoughts on Test Driving the New Chevy SS Sedan and '14 Stingray Convertible

Jim Campisano Mar 4, 2014
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One of the coolest parts of my job is one that often causes the most angst in my house. When you have two teenage boys, the wife usually needs help—or a referee—which is where I come in. Except being editor of Super Chevy requires a lot of travel. Most of it is scheduled, but some, like a trip I took to Palm Springs on two week's notice, require the purchase of flowers before I can tell the lovely Mrs. Campisano about it.

I had the tough job of flying to California to test drive the new Chevy SS sedan and the '14 Stingray convertible. This required me to eat a calorie-filled dinner at Frank Sinatra's old Twin Palms house, then drive two of the Bow Tie's finest on some of the most challenging, fun, roads I've been on in a while. Mind you, I had to fly to Indianapolis for a trade show the following week, returning home the night before we entertained 40 people at our home for a Christmas party. You can say my wife puts up with a lot. I'm sure the tradeoff of me walking through the door in a horsepower- and handling-induced daze is a bit one-sided in my favor.

Loved just about everything the SS had to offer except the styling. It simply doesn't match the vehicle's outstanding overall performance. I mean, here's a sedan that'll out-accelerate a stock LS6 Chevelle at the strip, and top out at over 180, while going step-for-step with an M-series BMW in the corners—and it will do so for the price a well-equipped Traverse. Yet, it comes in a wrapper that guarantees you'll blend into traffic unnoticed. Maybe that was the point. Certainly, it fits in the classic sleeper mode, but it leaves me wanting more. It doesn't look like a performance car.

As for the Stingray ragtop, well, let's just say it's as good as the coupe, with the only penalty being less luggage space. The folding soft top is fully automatic—you don't even have to unlatch it. Just hit the button and when the chime goes off, you've got open air motoring at its finest. The top can be put down while traveling at speeds up to 30 mph if you're really in a hurry. You can order the Z51 suspension package (a must) and competition seats, plus there's no weight penalty or loss of structural integrity. You can read about both these cars at

Chevy Ss Sedan Rear 2/2

About Those Awards …

Interesting responses to my February column about the awards at Super Chevy Shows. The question was, would more awards per class be a better thing? Some of our favorites thus far:

"I totally agree with the gentleman who said that cutting back on the awards has had a negative image for Super Chevy Shows. I live in St. Louis and for years I would get a group of 8-10 cars to go to Memphis for the Super Chevy. When the awards were cut from 3 to 2 (per class) no one wanted to make the trip any more. Here in St. Louis I go to 8-10 car shows a year. I have been going to shows and judging myself for 12 years. Every show in this area gives out three awards for every class. I have talked to car friends in Kansas, Illinois and Oklahoma and the all concur that their shows give out three awards per class. No one in my group expects to win anything but adding that third award does open the possibility for an award."—Howard

"Why don't you just have a few boxes of tissues as they just come through the gate and offer them one just in case they don't get an award? I just can't understand why just because you don't get an award you would not show up for another car show."—JT

"I have always believed that if you are going to a show just to try to win an award, you have missed the point. It is a chance for you to see what others have done and also to show others what you have accomplished. You would be surprised how many great people you can meet at these events by just showing up for a good time! That being said, whenever I take my `55 to a show, I make sure I have prepared it to the best of my ability to compete at the highest level so that if it is recognized I know that I did my best to earn that award! Either way we always make some new friends and have a great time with like-minded people doing what we enjoy. Your judges are professionals and see thousands of great cars and you are right about feeling like you have accomplished something to earn an award at a Super Chevy Show. Thank you for giving this opportunity to compete to all of us who make the effort to build, show, drive and enjoy the cars of our dreams!"—Chris

"Just read your article on awards at the shows. I enjoy showing my cars for many reasons. I also hear in the crowd guys bitching because they didn't win anything. I attend the Maple Grove, Pennsylvania, show each year and I close out the season with an indoor national. For seven years I haven't taken home an award. Just being in attendance, I feel I have won." —Mark



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