Custom Cruise Friday
When people think of collectable cars, the mind generally jumps to models that are at least 30 years old or more. But collectors being the way they are can see something that they know is special and have to have it for themselves. This week’s Custom Cruise Friday blog features a 2002 Chevy Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition, owned by Len Wildeboer of Edmonton, Alberta. Wildebor already owns a 1967 Camaro SS, marking the first year the car was built, as well as a 2011 Camaro SS Pace Car convertible. When the news came about that General Motors was going to be shuttering production of the Camaro nameplate, Wildeboer began his search for the car.
His initial shopping trips to various dealerships around Edmonton, Alberta were met with frustration. Every dealer that had a 2002 35th Anniversary Edition in stock had already taken a deposit from a like-minded buyer. Once Wildeboer caught wind of where he could finally reserve 2002 model, he quickly beat the competition to the showroom and placed his deposit. Upon taking delivery, the Bright Rally Red 2002 Camaro SS was kept under lock and key.
“For the first two years I didn’t drive it,” Wildeboer said. “Then I thought I better driver to keep it in good shape.”
One of the reasons Wildeboer had so much trouble finding this model of vehicle, is that just over 300 were allocated by General Motors to be sold in Canada, with the rest going to the United States and likely limited export.
This 2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition features a 5.7-liter, V-8 under the hood that is rated for 325 horsepower. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. In addition to the striking Bright Rally Red paint scheme, the car also has high contrast white racing stripes that transition into checkered flags at the top of the hood and over the rear deck lid. All 35th Anniversary version have this same paint color as well as a black leather interior with special emblems built into the headrests. Additionally, the wheels are also specific to this version of the Camaro.
In the years that Wildeboer has owned the car, he has only accumulated 5,200 kilometers on the odometer. And like so many other collectable car owners, only takes the 2002 Camaro SS for short trips around town to get coffee and to the occasional car show. Also, he only drives it on days with acceptable weather; Wildeboer wryly notes that the Edmonton weather has probably contributed to the car having so few kilometers measured.
There is no doubt that Wildeboer is a major Camaro enthusiast. He initially bought the 2002 Camaro 35th Anniversary Edition as a kind of an investment. Cars released in anniversary livery tend to be sought after, and of course, this was supposed to be the last year of production for the Camaro. Obviously, the Camaro made a comeback in 2010 and has gone on to become one of the bestselling high-performance cars of all time. During the interview Wildebor dryly mentioned that GM lied to him and that he may be owned some compensation for being led to believe his 2002 was going to be the last Camaro built.
Even though Wildeboer enjoys the driving experience provided by a V-8 engine, producing more than 300 horsepower and the thrill of going through the gear progression, if there is another Camaro that catches his eye enough to be added to his collection, he said he will probably opt for the automatic transmission offering.
“My wife would like one with an automatic so she can drive it,” Wildeboer said. “They are a lot of fun to drive, but the older you get the less you want to push the clutch in.”
If you have a special, classic or customized vehicle that you would like to have profiled in a Custom Cruise Friday blog post, please send some photos and pertinent information to Don Wheaton Internet Manager, Melina Kawecki by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.