Welcome to the fleet, Bumblebee!

Here it is, the latest addition to the fleet: My 2010 Chevrolet Camaro!

Yellow Chevrolet Camaro, Bumblebee replica

Bumblebee!

I’ve loved the design of these cars ever since the world was woken up to the concept in the 2007 Transformers movie. At the time I remember thinking “I really hope they make that car!” Whilst the design is now getting on for a decade old for those in the USA, in the UK these cars are still incredibly rare and therefore still look pretty fresh over here. Unless you are at an event with an American or movie related theme, the chances of seeing one on the road are minimal.

The Purchase
I have been looking to purchase a new sports car for some time now – I’m going to be 40 years old this year, so a bit of a present to myself I suppose (midlife crisis? I’ve been having those since my 20’s). Initially I was looking for another Boxster (987 model, still on the to-do list), but after several months I haven’t been able to find one with the spec and colour that I was after, within an acceptable distance of my home and at a price I was willing to pay.

As a car nerd, part of every daily routine involves searching the internet for my next possible car and I happened to do an eBay search on the Camaro. A Camaro does indeed have a legitimate entry on my ‘to own’ list, but previous cars for sale have either not been the correct colour, or too expensive. But, to my excitement, a yellow car was now available for sale, in the UK. It also had the black stripe and silver wheels, replicating the first concept car that was BumbleBee in that first Transformers film.

This car is a complete step away from everything I’ve bought before. Its left-hand drive for a start and an import. I slept on this idea for a few nights, and both occasions I woke up with my first thought being that I desperately wanting to buy the car. I told my wife who was sceptical to start with, until she saw one in the metal at a car show the following weekend and thought they actually looked quite nice.

It turns out that the seller of the car that was ultimately to become mine is someone who I’ve known from the past, when I used to go to meets for those who loved Knight Rider replicas. He remembered me too, when back at the first KR meet, I parked my old Boxster in the middle of all the KITT cars for a photo. A mutual acquaintance also vouched for both the seller and the car, which made me much more confident about buying it. After conversations with the owner, a week followed before a road trip could be organised with a couple of mates who know far more than I do about mechanical stuff to go and see the car.

A few hours later, I was driving home in my new Bumblebee Camaro!

The Drive Home
This was a real exciting experience. Having not driven left-hookers before, it was to be a new lesson in driving – and part of the attraction for buying this car, I’d have to really concentrate on the actual aspect of driving. One of my friends accompanied me in the car and being on the right-hand-side of the car was able to gauge where I was on the road as if he was the driver. I’d recommend doing this for anyone who’s thinking of doing the same as for the first few miles I’d get the instruction “you’re a bit too far over” or “you need to be more on your side”. These minor adjustments helped me with the unfamiliarity of the driving position and prevent me from panning it on the first go. After the two hour drive home, I was more or less sorted with where the car needed to be placed on the roads. That said, I do need to check my mirrors a lot more, just to be sure – but that’s all part of the ‘driving’ experience. There is nothing autonomous when I’m behind the wheel here – it’s an active participant role.

As for the performance and noise, more on that in a future update as I’ve been driving pretty boring whilst I get myself sorted with the left-hooker thing.

My Car
This car was originally a Florida car and had two owners before being imported to the UK last year with around 62,000 miles on the clock. The guy who imported it was in the States for a while beforehand and liked these cars, but upon importing to the UK didn’t like the attention it received and so sold it on to the guy who I bought it from.

I purchased a CarFax report (like a HPI over here, but much more detailed) which came back clean, and then a HPI for the UK element which was also clear. Happy days!

This is a 3.6 V6 model, so the ‘baby’ of the range, but it’s still got plenty of poke with 0-60 coming in around six seconds – and having back seats means it’s a family car, rather than just a solo thing. But the colour was one of the main deciding factors to buy.

The interior is the standard cloth affair and it has an automatic gearbox. These days I prefer autos plus I didn’t fancy a LHD manual car as my first foray into other-side driving. It has a sports option on the gearbox and you can use the flappy-paddles on the wheel. It’s not PDK dual-clutch rapid, but it seems pretty keen on the downshifts and compares favourably to my Tiptronic Cayenne.

Why A Camaro?
As mentioned, this was an entirely new car experience for me. I know nothing at all about Camaros. Before buying the car, I didn’t know where to get them serviced, how to get a USA-HPI done, what things that might go wrong with the car and I’ve never driven LHD up until that point. All of that put together made this an exciting and interesting prospect. It is a car that I’m going to have to research, get to know new forums, local specialists etc – all the things I’ve got nailed for the Porsches that I’ve owned over the past decade, I’d be starting again with this.

And, it is a car on my to-own list. It is also different, and a bit daft.

To-Do

  • The car is in good condition, but I like to have my cars well-cleaned when I buy them. So it’s off to my detailer soon!
  • Fix tyre pressure sensors. These are broken (there is a story behind this for a future update).
  • Found out more stuff about them – servicing intervals etc.
  • Leather interior? Maybe! We’ll see. Quite liking the more practical fabric to be honest.
  • Personalised Number Plate.

Lots more to come on the ownership experience on this one. I’m excited about this car and I’m looking forward to documenting the experience.

Hope you enjoy too!