Review: 2017 Camaro SS Convertible

This past weekend I had the chance to take out the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible for a few hundred miles. The Camaro is visually exciting thanks to its bold styling and bright yellow paint, the interior is comfortable and well appointed, but beyond that the Camaro SS was underwhelming. Boasting 455-hp 6.2-liter V-8 I was expecting a bit more grunt, but the Camaro seemed slow off the line, even in manual mode. Afterall, if you are going to be garish and bold, you should be able to back it up with a smokey burnout and a throaty exhaust.

However, my biggest issue with the Camaro, was the tiny trunk, this is a four place convertible with enough luggage space for a weekend, if you pack light. See what I mean and check out more of my impressions and driving the new Camaro in the video review below.

The Mullin at Monterey

The Mullin Automotive Museum will bring rare and iconic vehicles to Monterey in mid-August that showcase the engineering, art and elegance that defined the best French automakers from the dawn of the automotive age through the performance era of the early 1970s.

Eight vehicles will be shown at four events over the course of the famed “car week,” including a 1912 Delaunay-Belleville Omnibus Chassis 3197, a 1927 Delage ERA, a Chapron-bodied 1937 Delahaye 145, a 1938 Delahaye 135M, a Chapron-bodied 1939 Delage D8-120, a 1946 Delage D6-3L race car, a 1950 Talbot-Lago Type 26 Grand Prix car and a new addition to the Mullin Collection – a 1972 Citroën SM. The vehicles will be shown and raced at McCall’s Motorworks Revival, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, The Quail and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

“It’s always a great honor to participate in events during Monterey Car Week,” said Peter Mullin, founder of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “We love to spend time with fellow enthusiasts, exercise the cars and use these iconic pieces of rolling sculpture the way they were intended – on the road and at the track.”

McCall’s Motorworks Revival

The 1972 Citroën SM will be on display at Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival on Wednesday, August 17th.  The SM debuted in 1970 as Citroën’s top of the line grand tourer. It made use of Citroën’s famous oleopneumatic suspension system first introduced on the revolutionary DS and is powered by a potent V6 developed by Maserati. The SM was ahead of its time as a high-speed grand touring car and received many accolades from period publications including Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1972.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

A firm believer that race cars are meant to be exercised on the track, Peter Mullin and his son Tim Mullin will compete at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, August 18-22, in three of the museum’s historically significant Grand Prix cars.

The 1927 Delage ERA, originally ordered by the Prince of Siam (now Thailand), was designed to win the World Constructor’s Championship title under new rules utilizing a 1.5 liter supercharged engine. This particular chassis was a successful competitor but after several teams had campaigned the car, it was eventually repowered by a rare two-stage supercharged ERA E-Type racing engine that made it competitive into the 1950s.

The 1946 Delage D6-3L was developed by Louis Delage’s protégé, Walter Watney, when France returned to racing after the conclusion of WWII. This car was originally purchased and raced by Henri Louveau, who drove the car to second-place finishes at both Le Mans and the Grand Prix of Spa-Francochamps. The car was rebodied in the early 1950s and its true racing heritage was forgotten until it was acquired by Peter Mullin in 2002 and restored to its original configuration by Auto Classique Touraine in Tours, France.

The 1950 Talbot Type 26 features a cutting-edge chassis and a powerful engine designed to compete in a brand new Grand Prix class – Formula One. With rules that stipulated either a supercharged engine displacing 1.5L or unsupercharged engines displacing up to 4.5L, Anthony Lago mated a powerful 4.5L inline six cylinder to a new chassis that Autocar Magazine touted as the “fastest production chassis in the world.” The result was a small, aerodynamic Grand Prix car capable of 166mph that did much to elevate the prestige of French Formula One racing around the world.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

The Mullin Automotive Museum will enter four automobiles at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 21st. The first of these is the museum’s 1912 Delaunay-Belleville Omnibus, a motorcar known at the time for being the most desirable of the luxury French marques. These desirable automobiles were the favorites of royals such as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (who had 7 in his garage by 1912), King Alphonso XIII of Spain and the social elite throughout Europe.

The Mullin will also show its 1938 Delahaye Type 135M with body by Figoni et Falaschi. This example, known informally as “The Star of India” was owned originally by explorer and businessman Casimir Jourde and was delivered to his estate in India shortly after it was built. One of only three surviving cars penned by Joseph Figoni for the Paris Auto Salon featuring the curved arcs later known as “French Curves” that helped establish the Art Deco movement, was eventually found on wooden blocks in a garden shed in Jodhpur before it was acquired by The Mullin and restored to its former glory.

The museum’s 1937 Delahaye Type 145 coupe is one of four originally ordered by Ecurie Bleue racing team owner Lucy Schell to compete in the famous Million Franc Challenge issued by the French government. The Mullin owns three of the four cars, one of which actually won the million franc prize at the hands of Rene Dreyfus. This particular chassis went to coachbuilder Henri Chapron to be rebodied into a touring car in 1939, but after delays due to the war it was finally completed as a two-seat coupe.

Lastly, the museum will be displaying its stunning 1939 Delage D8-120. This sleek car was also bodied by Chapron and is powered by a potent V8 engine. The D8-120 was renowned in its time for its excellent handling and staggering good looks. This particular example has a colorful history, as it was owned by a French general, then sold to RKO Studios in Hollywood where it was used in the movie An American in Paris, where it transported actor Gene Kelly around the City of Lights alongside actress Nina Foch. The car was purchased in 1987 by The Mullin and restored to its original condition.

Part of The Mullin Automotive Museum’s mission is to show and exhibit its cars, sharing their stories and educating the public on the fascinating history of these rolling sculptures. Monterey Car Week provides an unparalleled stage on which to showcase the beautiful French designs that exemplify the museum’s mission. For more information on the Mullin Automotive Museum, please visit please visit or call 805.385.5400.

CHP Charger Pursuit

FCA US LLC announced today that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has placed orders for more than 580 Dodge Charger Pursuit police sedans to replace aging vehicles in its fleet. The vehicles will be delivered over the next two years with the vast majority of the vehicles being delivered next year.

The California Department of General Services conducted a public, competitive bidding process aimed at selecting a vehicle based on price, performance, and payload capacity, the Dodge Charger Pursuit sedan was found to comply with enforcement vehicle specifications for the CHP, the largest state police agency in the nation. The new rear-wheel-drive sedans will replace existing high-mileage patrol vehicles currently in service.  

“Our Charger Pursuit police sedans meet CHP’s stringent payload requirements, and in particular, will accommodate the agency’s radio systems,” said Jeff Kommor, Vice President – U.S. Sales Operations, Fleet and Small Business Sales, FCA US LLC. “The Charger Pursuit also meets CHP’s demand for ongoing fuel-efficiency and its desire to be a leader in fiscal responsibility in California.”

The majority of the Charger Pursuit sedans in this CHP order are powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine which delivers 292 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The V-6 Charger Pursuit delivers up to an EPA estimated 26 miles per gallon (mpg) highway.

The CHP’s order also includes a small number of Charger Pursuit 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 models with Fuel Saver Technology to be used by training instructors at CHP’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Course in Sacramento. The V-8 model delivers 370 best-in-class horsepower for best-in-class acceleration performance.

“The CHP is ordering our Charger Pursuit vehicle to reintroduce the sedan into their patrol vehicle fleet,” said Bick Pratt, head of FCA US government sales and operations. “That’s important to us because it reflects a shift back to sedans by a progressive agency like the CHP. It is also important because other agencies throughout California rely on the CHP’s vast resources and knowledge to test, evaluate and determine what police vehicle meets the needs of the CHP, and in many cases meets their local needs as well.”

Local government agencies have the ability to also purchase from this same CHP contract, a process commonly known as “piggy backing,” Pratt said.

The CHP order includes some Charger Pursuit sedans equipped with the segment’s largest Uconnect 12.1-inch built-in touchscreen that enables a segment-exclusive integration of law enforcement computer systems with the easy-to-use and award-winning Uconnect touchscreen system.

The CHP plans to have all of the new Charger Pursuit sedans in service near the end of the calendar year. Additional CHP orders for Charger Pursuit sedans are forthcoming.

Spotted on the Street

When you are wandering around the streets of Tokyo, you never know what you are going to run across, like this clean Datsun 240ZG. Look for more from Tokyo over the next few weeks and check out some more amazing Nissan cars from our last trip to the Nissan Heritage Collection HERE.

Streetwise Drivers Club

Answer Financial®, one of the largest auto and home insurance agencies in the U.S., announced today the launch of Streetwise Drivers ClubTM, the free mobile app that lets smart drivers earn rewards for beating driving challenges.  Rewards points are redeemable for deals on popular brands, gift cards and restaurants through the Streetwise RewardsTM program. Points can also be used to bid on daily auctions and enter sweepstakes for high-value prizes. New app users get 10,000 rewards points simply for signing up.

“Streetwise is like a Fitbit for drivers, providing feedback after each trip to help people better understand the way they drive,” said Rob Slingerland, Answer Financial CEO. “Most Americans already think they are excellent drivers. The Streetwise app gives them a chance to prove it and earn rewards along the way.”

The Streetwise app leverages the native GPS technology in smartphones to capture driving characteristics such as distance, speed, and how hard someone is braking. This information is provided after each trip to paint a picture of the person’s driving behavior and share those insights to help them become smarter, safer drivers on the road. Streetwise works automatically in the background on the phone, so there is no risk of driver distraction.

“We’ve developed a driving app that values smart driving and allows people to earn rewards for it,” said Slingerland. “In addition to the rewards program, the Streetwise app leverages Answer’s insurance comparison platform to provide auto insurance savings based on your driving behavior.”

To learn more about The Streetwise Drivers Club, visit the Answer Financial YouTube and view the video below:

Currently, top Streetwise drivers in Illinois and Indiana already have the opportunity to save money on their auto insurance with the Streetwise mobile app. Additional states will roll out in the coming months. In addition to auto insurance savings and the Streetwise Rewards program, the app will provide drivers with other relevant offers, such as discounts on tires.

The Streetwise Drivers Club app is available for Android and iPhone devices and can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App Store. For the latest smart driver tips and car technology news, visit, the Streetwise Drivers Club page on Facebook and follow @streetwisedrive on Twitter.

The New Hyundai N Sounds Good

Hyundai has launched it's own in-house performance brand known simply as N. I guess they thought  like M, F, S, R and other letters of the alphabet that denote performance, that adding an N would make their brand more sporty. I honestly had not been paying much attention to Hyundai's branding, but all this buzz about the new N series made me take a look.

Now of course you know if you build any kind of performance car you have go and drive around the Nürburgring. The Ring is partly where Hyundai got their new high performance letter, N for Nürburgring, but according to their website 'N' also means Namyang, which is described as "the heart of Hyundai Motor’s global R&D network and birthplace of all Hyundai cars." Ok so they didn't just pull an arbitrary letter out of a hat, but it still not getting me excited to be part of the exclusive N club.

Hyundai is promising that N cars will feature "Motorsports-inspired Technology, Balanced Performance, and Emotional Delight." Who couldn't use a little balanced, motorsport inspired, emotional delight now and again. But as much progress as Hyundai has made they have a long road to go to tug on the heartstrings of performance automotive enthusiasts, but their well engineered exhaust note may have some willing to at least listen.

Check out the video below to hear the new sound of N and CLICK HERE to visit the official Hyundai N website.