The Allnew Explorer Gr.inccll I |ust placed an order for a Ford Explorer, I love the seat belt air bags, It will keep my family safe.

♦Availableearlv2011. Drive One.

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'ords scott evans • photographs evan k/ein

I U I 1 bj ye armchair engineers. Tell us that removing a stressed member as important as the roof is bad. Regale us with stories of chassis flex and cowl shake. I

We will listen. Then we will politely disagree and point to the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible as evidence. Counterintuitive though it may be to the number crunchers, cutting off the roof has made the Camaro a better car.

(cover story) 2011 Chevrolet camaro convertible

2077 Chevrolet camaro convertible

GOOD TOGO The v-8-powered SS vaulted from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and hit a quarter mile in 13.2. It's slightly slower than the coupe, but with the wind in your hair, you won't care.

Of course, Chevrolet didn't simply Sawzall-off the roof arid kick the Camaro to the showroom. If you'll recall, the original Camaro Convertible Concept debuted four years ago, a year to the day after the onginal Camaro Concept. A topless car was always in 'he cards, but then, so was bankruptcy.

After multiple delays, sun worshipers will finally be able to buy Camaro Convertibles right about the time you read this And what a happy crowd it'll be, because the convertible takes everything good about the Camaro and amplifies it. It looks better, sounds better, and is a better car to drive, all of which is directly attributable to the new hat.

Sure, the engineering business is difficult, but really the hardest part of designing any convertible is making it look good. We all remember the old Nissan 350Z and Audi A4 convertibles, cars that were obviously not originally intended to be seen without their roofs.

Getting the roof of the Camaro Convertible to look righ: was a massive undertaking given the car's eccentric design, and Chevrolet puled it off. In fact, it looks better than the coupe. Where the coupe's roof is pulled in tight over the big, flat rear fenders, the convertible's roof meets the haunches more naturally and better fills the space on the rear deck. Folded, the cloth roof hides nicely below the Coke bottle fenders ar.d can be covered by an optional tonneau that, frankly isn't worth the effort or the estimated $2DO price tag. (To be fair, though, it's marginally beter than the Mustang's cover.) Hiding the AM/FM

antenna in the new rear spoiler is a neat trick, and the effort put into keeping the roof looking smooth and not like an emaciated horse is noticeable and appreciated. For now that roof is available only in black ar.d tan, but Chevy hinted to us that other colors could be offered down the road.

Naturally, ridding yourself of the roof greatly improves outward visibility. What's more impressive is that, even with the roof up, the Camaro Convertible is easier to see out of than the coupe. As you'd expect, the rear window is far smaller on the convertible, but you'd be hard-pressed to notice the difference in actual visibility.

It's simply more forgivable since it's a drop-top. Over your shoulders, the deletion of the thick B-pillars makes lane changes a far less panic-inducing endeavor. Rear-seat

BlwSMgs & [Fajoiamu. iVk^cdiias ifoo* Ml

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