2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible SS: Topless and orange

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible SS

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible SS

Here’s the nub:  Any person whose soul is turned by the Camaro and whose fancy turns to convertibles,   2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible will be a birthday party that doesn’t stop. Except, of course, with no bouncy house or piñata, and it’s there whenever you open the garage. Even if it seems like it took forever to finally arrive.

As one would expect, this 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible birthday present has much the same configuration, options and measures as the Camaro coupe.  It’s available with either the surprisingly potent V-6 or the almost Corvette-worthy 6.2-liter V-8. However, the V-8 is tuned to produce 400 hp with the six-speed automatic , but opt for the six-speed stick for  426 hp.

The Camaro convertible’s underpinnings are also unchanged. Chevrolet boasts that it didn’t change suspension settings on the convertible because it didn’t need to. Carmakers commonly soften the springs to compensate for rigidity lost when the hard top was clipped. Chevy says however that it planned the Camaro to have a convertible version from the outset and therefore didn’t need to remediate flaccidity but rather implement planned-on reinforcements.

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible SS

Shock tower brace is one of only a few modifications needed to stiffen the chassis of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible SS.

All that was needed, says Chevrolet, was a shock tower-to tower brace under the hood, a transmission support reinforcement brace, underbody tunnel brace, and front and rear underbody “V’ braces. The body is strengthened further by a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements in the rocker panels. The Camaro Convertible also adds roll-over strength with hydroformed tubes in A-pillars and a reinforcement bracket in the windshield header.

Chevrolet asserts that the Camaro convertible has “nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro coupe.” We’ll concur, almost completely. Even hammering on the 2011 Camaro Convertible SS with the 426 horsepower and fast, hard shifts didn’t set the car all aquiver.

Not having to tend to a galloping chassis meant that we could tend to horsepower and the application thereof. While our test 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible SS didn’t have the backroads nimbleness of, say, a Mazda Miata—the greater width of the Camaro a major culprit—the Camaro Convertible and 6.2-liters of Chevy V-8 can make marmalade of the asphalt.

And then there’s the calculated cacophony.  “Full throttle” becomes a great pair of words with the Camaro’s signature exhaust in play, and closed throttle on the overrun will give those three little guys from Rice Crispies a fit with Chevy’s over version of snap, crackle and pop.

It’s all the more reason to have the convertible instead of the coupe. As Goldilocks said to the Big Bad Wolf, the better to hear you with, even if the effect is muffled with the top raised. The roof is made from a thick canvas with an acoustical headliner material. Chevrolet claims the Camaro convertible has “a quiet, coupe-like ride” with the top raised. Not quite. It’s a long way from the single-ply fabric roofs of yore, but if quiet is a priority, stick with the coupe.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.