by Cathy Droz, Founder – HER Certified
There are a number of features I enjoy with regard to hard cover books. I look forward to viewing the beautiful color photos, the slick shiny paper that allows one to turn the pages easily, and the “hot off the presses” aroma, similar to a new car “smell.” Last but not least, I like the bold lettering on the spine of the book so when placed on my book shelf the title and the author’s name boldly stands out.
Well, hot off the presses and sent to me for review is CAMARO 2016 authored by Larry Edsall. It possesses all the elements and “feel” I described above.
This well written and colorfully paged book describes how General Motors was caught off guard when Ford unveiled the first pony car in 1964. GM took the fight to Dearborn in 1967 with the introduction of its Chevy Camaro, and for the next 35 years, Mustang and Camaro waged an intense battle for “gear heads” hearts and wallets.
For Camaro fans… you won’t be able to put this book down. The excitement builds with the pending introduction of a new-generation Camaro. In anticipation of the Camaro’s 50th Anniversary, GM has prepared a significantly revised, sixth-generation car which Larry portrays with over 300 behind-the-scenes color photos that take you through that journey. It appears the Mustang/Camaro competition will never go away, which is fine, as I believe that is the reason each generation of make and model gets better and better.
I wanted to find out more about the author of CAMARO 2016, Larry Edsall, and how did he get to be so lucky to write this book?
If I asked you what you did for a living what would you say?
I’d say I write for a living. Well, report and write. So far what I’ve published has been factual, based on reporting, although I’ve also written a few chapters that I supposed could someday turn into a novel. Oh, and I also have written a children’s book that just needs an illustrator and a publisher to be finished.
Who will buy this book?
I hope everyone who buys a new Camaro also buys this book, to learn more about the design and development and assembly process of their car.
When you are not doing everything I listed in your bio, what are you doing?
(Laughter). There is no time for much else! But I feel very fortunate in that I get paid for my hobby, for my lifestyle. It was the same when I was a sports editor for daily newspapers. As a journalist, I have traveled to Europe and Asia and South America on assignments. Lately, I’ve been driving around the United States reporting on classic car events and writing books. I think the Camaro book is my 17th or 18th, and I’ve already started on my next project.
But you asked about passions and hobbies. I guess one of them is teaching journalism at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School, where I get to help prepare the next generation of reporters, writers and editors.
I’m very fortunate in that my “jobs” allows me to travel and that includes visits with my children and their children. I loved being with my grandparents when I was young and I love my time with my grandchildren now that I’m not quite so young.
I realize the Camaro was part of the pony-car showdown. I owned a ’68 Mustang my girlfriend had a Camaro and another friend a Cougar. Which one do you feel was designed or marketed to appeal to women?
I think car companies make a mistake when they try to design a vehicle to appeal to a specific demographic, be it age or gender or whatever, and there have been several examples of the failure of such a strategy this through the decades. I think the Camaro always has been designed for people who like to drive, people who see a car as much more than a mere transportation appliance, people who want a sporty car but one they can drive comfortably every day.
List three things the public would be surprised to know about the Camaro?
1. Just how good — blending power and fuel economy — is the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine
2. That the new convertible top can be put up or down while the car is in motion (at less than 30 miles per hour)
3. The amazing light show in the car’s interior.
If you could take a Camaro for a road trip which year and model would it be and where would you go?
Well, I’ve sort of done that. In May, I borrowed a new Camaro convertible from Chevrolet to take part in the ELK Charity Challenge. ELK is short for Everyone Loves Kids. The challenge is a week-long driving event with stops along the way to complete certain tasks, from finding specific artifacts in a museum to doing a synchronized swimming routine (perhaps the most embarrassing moment of my adult life, but for a worthy cause; each day we raise at least $10,000 for a children’s charity).
This year the route went from Dearborn, Michigan, and The Henry Ford museum to Lake Placid, New York, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics (USA! USA!). I drove a new and bright yellow Camaro convertible with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. And had a blast doing it.
Oh, and after the ELK Challenge ended, I kept going, taking back roads to Maine, to visit two car museums and to eat my first lobster roll. On the way back to Michigan, I detoured to Rhode Island, to visit yet another car museum but also to visit my 49th state. Only one more to go, so it’s time to plan a road trip to Alaska!
Who is Larry Edsall
Larry was a sports editor at a daily newspaper in Michigan but left to become the motorsports editor at AutoWeek magazine, where he spent most of a dozen years as the managing editor. He left Detroit for Phoenix in 1999 to help modernize one automotive website and then launched another, iZoom.com. He is a freelance contributor to automotive and lifestyle publications, writes regularly for the Detroit News “Drive” section, contributes to the New York Times “Wheels,” and is part of the adjunct faculty at the journalism school at Arizona State University. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona.