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When it comes right down to it, there aren’t many "classic" American cars on the roads today. No, we’re not referring to a 1930 V-16 Cadillac here, but a nameplate that has been in continuous use for at least 30 years and has retained substantially the same shape, style and mission in life as it had in the beginning.
It seems only a handful has had that kind of appeal and staying power. In fact, you could probably count them all using just your fingers: Sedan de Ville, Eldorado, Cherokee, LeSabre, Bonneville and Corvette, plus the three pony cars - Firebird, Mustang and Camaro.
The list would have been longer as recently as January, but we’ve now lost the Mark VIII, Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile 88. The previous year, Roadmaster (an old name, but not used continuously), Caprice/Impala and Fleetwood were pushed aside to make way for more Suburbans. Thunderbird and Cougar also bit the dust, but not for long. The Cougar was reintroduced this year, while the T-Bird is slated to return next year.
However, as a result of the drastic shakeups at GM, two more are reportedly on the "endangered species" list, namely the Firebird and the Camaro. We figured that was reason enough to revisit the Camaro before it, too, becomes extinct.
Alas, the only model available for December testing was the Z28 Convertible (typical of GM decision-making). But miracle of miracles, summer returned, allowing plenty of open-air motoring. Whatever. The car looks equally good top up or top down.
Chevrolet introduced the current body style in ’93, the convertible in ’94, and a revived Camaro "SS" version in ’96. A redesigned dashboard and daytime running lights found their way aboard in ’97, then a more assertive nosepiece in ’98. And in the seventh year, God…er…GM rested. So there's nothing truly different for ‘99.