There’s little less exciting in the motoring world than the car your mayor and local beauty pageant contestant wave and throw candy from at 3 miles per hour.
I’m not saying these vehicles are unnecessary. They’re perfect for their purpose. The police chief and her husband shouldn’t necessarily exude high class — it’s not the right image for a public servant to cruise around in a Rolls-Royce drophead coupe any more than it is for the Pope to ride in a bulletproofed Mercedes aquarium on a gold-trimmed white leather seat — but rather attainable success. A bit of patriotism is a nice added touch.
This is why, if you wanted something a little bit more interesting than a LeBaron for parade duty in 1995, the obvious choice was a pony car.
For the purposes of this piece, the Mustang and Camero Camaro are interchangeable. That’s partly because we’re only looking at the especially terrible V6 models and we’re not pretending like these things will actually see some sort of competition use. Unless competitive parading is a thing.
Which it kind of is. But it’s not for cars.
The Mustang’s was an especially pathetic later-to-be-sold-as-an-industrial-engine V6 shared with the Taurus, displacing 3.8 liters but producing a paltry 145 horsepower. It may have been a workhorse, but it was unsporting even with its lighter aluminum heads.
The Camaro had a more efficient 3.4-liter V6 making 160 horsepower, but who are you going to brag to? Nobody cares.
Sure, they had V8 convertibles, but droptop chassis aren’t known for their rigidity. You don’t need your burnout transmitted to the ground by a wet noodle.
Speaking of Noodles
These weren’t ground-up redesigns that might benefit from better chassis technology either. The Camaro’s F-body platform last got a clean sheet for 1983, and the SN-95Mustang is marginally older. It’s a refresh of the Fox body, which dates back to the late ‘70s.
That’s not to say that you can’t have fun in a lame classic. Some of my favorite memories were made in a bendy ‘90s convertible. But that was in spite of its faults, not because of them.
Introducing: The Lamestain Index
Something I meant to initiate in my last installment was a zero-to-10 scale that would make it easy to compare just how lame these cars are. It might seem counterintuitive, but a higher score indicates a bigger stain and therefore a lamer car.
Does lameness make it more desirable? Less? That’s for you to decide.
Expect to see this in future installments, and I encourage you to look back at previous ones to see where your favorites stand. The criteria are made up and it’s completely subjective. I made up the metric, and therefore I’m the only person so far who’s been properly trained to issue it.
You might disagree, but you’d be wrong.
V6 convertible pony cars from 1995 get a 6 on the Lamestain Index.
So get yourself a clapped-out Mustang or Camaro that’s been leaking for a decade from its duct-taped top. If you want to get frisky, find a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, because those exist too. With any luck, the marijuana seeds that fell between the seats will have benefitted from said roof leak and are sprouting from the thin carpeting.
They should be ready to harvest in a few months, which will not only help pay for the repairs to the power top motor but also your antique vehicle tag. Make sure to get a custom plate that reads PARADER, just for that extra bit of zazz.
If you succeed in cornering the car-grown pot market, you could maybe even afford upgrading to white leather upholstery with gold trim. But don’t bother bulletproofing the glass, because the canvas is the obvious weak point. And your shame.
The shame might just kill you.
I hope you’ve been practicing your parade wave by changing light bulbs, washing windows, and doing whatever long-long short-short-short twirl is. It’s guaranteed to make you lamer still.