In the realm of American pony cars, anything without a V8 engine and a manual transmission is likely to repulse hardcore car enthusiasts. But back in 1994, MotorWeek reviewed, and praised, a pony car equipped with neither one of those go-fast mechanical components. That car was a prototype version of the 1994 Chevrolet Camaro convertible.
That model year reintroduced the Camaro convertible after the 1993 F-Body coupe redesign. According to MotorWeek, General Motors used the BMW 3 Series convertible as its benchmark, and it was said in the video that GM did well in matching the 3 Series droptop’s chassis dynamics.
For a long time in the pony car world, a convertible with a V6 engine and an automatic gearbox was regarded as a wallflower. Back then, V6 versions of American sports cars were seriously lacking in performance compared to their V8 counterparts – not that they were powerhouses at the time. In MotorWeek’s testing, the Chevrolet Camaro hit 60 miles per hour in 9.7 seconds, although the publication did note that opting for the Corvette-sourced LT1 and manual gearbox would drop that time by at least three seconds, which was considered respectably quick back in 1994.
MotorWeek also praised the Camaro’s styling, calling it the most “striking modern convertible we have ever seen.” According to the review, sexy details include the hood scoops and the rear spoiler with its “well-concealed” center high-mounted brake light. The praise continued inside, noting the car’s modern cockpit, ergonomic controls, and revised instrument cluster colors.
These retro reviews are always fun to watch. They’re automotive time capsules, giving us a glimpse at the quirkier features of cars without the mythos. The Chevrolet Camaro introduced new, sleek styling in the early 1990s that the convertible reinforced with its smooth, roofless design. Convertibles pose tons of challenges for automakers, but even 25 years ago, GM tried to beat the standard of the time.