Almost any automotive nameplate has its band of fans, but we can’t think of any brand that can boast of two nameplates inspiring as much passion and loyalty as the Chevrolet Camaro and the Chevrolet Corvette. Hundreds of Camaro and Corvette owners were invited to drive their cars to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) the night before this year’s Indy 500, to enjoy a picnic dinner with their fellow sports car lovers and some of the Chevy team.
Unfortunately, a rain storm cut short the festivities and while we didn’t get a chance to see many of the cars up close, we did get a chance to talk to some of the owners about why they love their Camaros and Vettes.
Rick Scheidt, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet, says “Chevrolet is a diverse brand. We have people who are buying everything from small cars to performance cars to trucks. What they all share is love for their vehicles.” Rick says the Camaro and Corvette are “halo cars” that provide “excitement … that performance car, that link to racing,” and that’s why people love them. He says Camaro and Corvette drivers “are really car enthusiasts.”
The people at the Indy event were able to enter the picnic by driving on the fabled track. Most of us can only dream about what it must feel like to drive on the same oval where A. J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, and so many other legends of racing set records. But, for the 100 or so people who showed up, it was real – and it was fun. Camaro owner Dan Jones said, “we did the track … a little fast. It was great!” Ann Miller loved the lap on the track, but “I just wanted to go faster.”
Nina Brock is a typical Camaro owner because this isn’t her first Chevrolet. She owned a Chevrolet van previously that was a dependable work vehicle. When she wanted a “cool looking” car, the Camaro was her first choice. “It’s very exciting. It’s a fun car to have.”
James Reed and Ann Miller have his-and-her Corvettes. James says it may surprise people to learn “they get great gas mileage. We get 29 miles a gallon out of our Z06s … we get to shift gears and listen to it and drive it and get good mileage. It’s wonderful.” Ann says the sight of the Corvette encourages people to talk to her at stop lights. “They say: ‘Rip it’ or ‘Light it up.’ They want you to get on it. And I check my mirrors and sometimes I will light it up.”
Seeing a Corvette or a Camaro on the road grabs the attention of most car enthusiasts and encourages them to want to offer a salute or a challenge. Either way, it indicates a special place in the pantheon of automotive passion for two of Chevrolet’s most recognizable nameplates.