1997 Chevrolet Camaro Base 3.8 Series II from North America
I have had a few issues with this car, but it should be noted that all repairs were done in my own driveway with basic tools, and all of them cost less than 50 dollars in parts.
+ The transmission mount cracked and needed to be replaced upon purchase of the vehicle from the previous owner.
+ Two coil packs have gone out since I purchased the car, but were GM originals, and only cost between $20 - $40 to replace, depending on where you shop.
+ The BCM had to be removed from the dash, and have two connections re-flowed with solder to prevent issues with the stereo turning on and off. Easily done by anyone who can use a soldering iron. Costs nothing.
The 3800 powered Camaro really is an unsung hero. This outrageously affordable car delivers the supreme reliability of the GM 3800 series II that we have all come to respect, along with sporty styling, impressive road manners, and acceptable performance.
The V6 isn't what you would call a "tower of power", but offers more than enough power to have a good time blasting away from the general population at the stop lights, while still returning an easy 29mpg on the highway. Figures I have found put the stock sixers somewhere in the low 7 second area to sixty, and in the low 15s in the quarter. My car with open intake and exhaust easily makes these figures, even with all the years of service.
Perhaps the best part of owning the V6 version of the F-body cars is the ride and handling combination you get. Because the v6 is lighter and seated further back in the engine bay, the car can use a softer, more comfortable suspension setup rather than the "lumber wagon" stiffness of the V8 beasts. The V6 actually rides comparably to a Monte Carlo SS from the early 2000s, but because of a near 50/50 weight distribution, still feels incredibly nimble in the corners.
All in all, I would recommend this car to anyone of any age. It has been reliable and comfortable, but most importantly, it has been quite entertaining.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th February, 2012
Like your trick of re-flowing the solder to address the ECM issues.
The 3800 has become a good engine, despite a rocky start in the early-sixties. Road tests of Camaros/Firebirds with this engine show 0-60 times of 7.1-7.7 seconds, with 1/4 mile times of 15.4-15.9 seconds with trap speeds of 86-88 MPH - good numbers for the mid-nineties when you consider the average fuel economy hovers around 20 MPG.
Good point about the handling given the lighter engine that is seated further back in the chassis. Just wondering if the spark plugs are easier to get to than the V8?