Volume III, Issue 4, Page 20

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Max Chevy covers all automotive things Chevy. A new issue of MaxChevy.com is published on the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.

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Jeff Burk

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Jim McFarland
John Carollo
Matt Strong
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WHERE’S MY CHEVY, DAMMIT?

This month I pull a Burk. Just wondering about one thing in particular. We are witness to the ongoing rebirth of performance in Michigan, an event that a great many of us thought would never happen. Yet through the miracle of electronics, here it is again, cleaner, more powerful, and ultimately easier to live with.

Let’s say this all began with the GTO, nee Holden Monaro. Whack! A rear-drive coupe with a V8 and all that good stuff. Could just as easily have been a Chevelle SS. Why wasn’t it? Sure, Chevrolet offered the SSR, a limited-production, pricey beauty that was ultimately a toy, impractical and about 1,000 pounds heavier than it should have been. On top of that, they unwisely dangled it in front us for three years after it was unofficially introduced to the “motoring press.” Forget the Corvette, too. I’m talking about a roomy, practical, flexible sedan that most people could afford.

The author of a story I edited recently makes some attractive body kits for the last-gen El Camino and was adamant about how the next-gen El Camino, were there to be one, would resemble his warmed over G-body. I offered that it would look pretty much like the Holden Ute we featured last month.

The very next day, I saw a blurb for the ’10 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck. Damn. They did it again! First, they trot out a rear-drive, 6-speed automatic, Holden-based 6.0L G8, turning 18-inch wheels and all the rest of the good stuff to tease us. Sometime next year we’ll get slammed again when the G8 GXP comes on line with a 402hp 6.2L engine, a T56 and, holy cripes, 19-inch wheels spinning at the back of the car.  Now, where’s that damn old-school Impala transformed by the ZETA platform? Not. It could very well have been a positive move, kind of a goodwill gesture on Chevrolet’s part, a show of solidarity until the Camaro gets here. Yeah, when’s that supposed to hit? Next year… maybe.

Then a roundhouse punch comes flying out of right field. When did Pontiac ever build or even lend their hallowed name to anything resembling a pick-up truck? If I remember correctly, Chevrolet has always marketed the El Camino, not the Poncho boys and girls. So how come they get to flaunt it? Damn near criminal, I say. All the while the product mix and the PR flack are invariably reminding us that Chevrolet no longer represents high-performance as we once knew it, and that Pontiac and Cadillac are now the bearers of that baton.

Cadillac has been burning up the high-performance agenda with the CTS-V for years and is upping the ante with the monster 550hp CTS-V in ‘09. Never mind about those 470hp supercharged Northstars in the XLR-V and the STS-V. Cannibalism rampant in the company; programmed starvation for Chevrolet; free lunch for everybody else. Certainly, this is a flawed layman’s view but the evidence seems obvious. It doesn’t even have to flop around like a fish to get your attention.

So what have they got that the working man can afford and be proud to drive? Even the old SS 6.0L truck has left the building in perpetuity. How about the highly-likable Trailblazer SS, an SUV to be sure, but a very special one at that. With a little help it’ll run a 13-second quarter-mile. You would want for nothing with the SS. You can buy one for about $30,000. What we really need is a $30,000 sedan. Why in hell don’t we have one?  

For a closer look at any of the cars here, click on the photo.