2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible unveiled with 432 kW engine

October 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With its all-new 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible, General Motors has just announced that it has built the world’s most powerful roofless production model ever. The new high-power drop-top will be officially revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

The convertible Camaro shares its underpinnings with the upcoming Camaro ZL1 Coupe and is scheduled to reach showrooms from late 2012. Powering the convertible is GM’s 6.2-litre supercharged LSA V8 engine producing 432 kW and 754 Nm of torque.

General Motors was quick to point out that its drop top Camaro ZL1 has more power output than Euro performance models like the Aston Martin DB9 with 350kW and the Porsche 911 Turbo with 395kW. However models like the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport were conveniently forgotten about.

“The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas.” Continue reading “2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible unveiled with 432 kW engine” »

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI convertible – a customisation crime

March 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The car tuning scene must work a little bit differently over in the States. Here in NZ, if we owned a brand spankers Subaru WRX STI we would love it and cherish it and probably knock a bedroom wall down in our homes so we could sleep next to it. Would we chop the roof off it and ruin its rally-bred dynamics while making it look totally rubbish? No we would not.

But over in the States they have a huge population so there must be a few people with loads of cash and absolutely no taste. For that small crowd, Manchester Subaru in New Hampshire has created the monster you see above – a WRX STI convertible. You could also call it a ‘rag-top’ if you’re Vanilla Ice, or want to be.

This tale of automotive woe isn’t a total hacksaw job, but it certainly isn’t pretty. The roll bar looks like a picnic basket handle but may offer some rigidity. Everything else is all bad, there’s a poorly fitted tonneau cover for the roof, chopped door pillars but they have left the STI wing on the boot to clutter the vehicles odd lines even further. Don’t expect Subaru to be inspired and put the WRX STI convertible into mass production.

But the worst part is the price which is apparently $75,000 USD that’s $101,000 of our money or the same price as a brand new WRX STI ‘hardtop’ and another standard WRX as well. Continue reading “2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI convertible – a customisation crime” »

Officially Revealed: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible (+video)

November 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Heads up all you Camaro fans out there, General Motors has just released official details and images of the drop top version of Chevrolet’s retro-styled muscle car.

The upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show will play host to the long-awaited 2011 Camaro Convertible getting revealed for the first time  before going on sale in the States from February of 2011 with an estimated starting price $30,000 USD.

Chevrolet’s newest convertible has been in development ever since the introduction of the coupe version but was constantly delayed due to the firm’s financial troubles.

GM says that converting the coupe to drop top requiredf four strategic reinforcements to enhance the body structure including, the addition of a tower-to-tower brace under the bonnet, a transmission support reinforcement brace, underbody tunnel brace and, front and rear underbody “V” braces. The overall goal was obvious – to match the coupe as closely as possible in ride quality, handling and overall performance.

The convertible uses a folding softtop built by the same makers as the unit in the Corvette, it will likely use the same centre-handled locking mechanism. GM says that the top stows away in about 20 seconds. When up, the top uses composite knuckles instead of the traditional convertible roof ribbed look.

“To compensate for the reduced structure of an open car, engineers often will make the suspension softer, making the convertible a boulevard cruiser,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “Instead, we took the more difficult, but better path of bolstering structure rather than softening the suspension. We didn’t change a strut, bushing or spring rate from the Camaro coupe.”

GM is claiming that the result of the structural changes to the convertible body give it greater torsional stiffness than the BMW 3-Series convertible.

The soft-top four-seater will be offered in a similar model range as the Camaro coupe, meaning buyers will have a choice of two engines. There’s a 312HP 3.6-litre V6 mill and for V8 fans there is a 6.2L V8 producing 426 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with al six-speed automatic box available as an option.

Check out a video of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible below and images in the gallery. Continue reading “Officially Revealed: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible (+video)” »

Rumours that Honda has plans for a CR-Z convertible

September 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Some heavy rumours hit the motoring world recently hinting that Honda may be intending on building a new droptop sports car to revive its sporty image for dedicated fans. Sources have suggested the new model is likely to be a convertible version of the CR-Z. To achieve this the platform would retain its front wheel drive layout, however a drivetrain with a bit more power would be needed to coincide with the extra weight needed to reinforce the convertible vehicle.

If this new convertible were to leave the workshop it would be up against established roadsters like the Mazda MX-5. Theoretically if this convertible were to be successful, Honda’s next step would be to build a more powerful rear wheel drive hybrid sports car. Now that’s something worth gossiping about.