Lamest Classics: Practice your Parade Wave from a 1995 Mustang or Camaro

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.

Lamer? More lame? Which is correct? Ah, yes. Merriam-Webster tells us that it’s lamer.

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.

The Score

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.

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16 responses to “Lamest Classics: Practice your Parade Wave from a 1995 Mustang or Camaro”

  1. neight428 Avatar

    There are vehicles that are made for people that want a car that is “sporty” that have no real objective idea of what constitutes “sport” or “car”. When these people make their way into a car company, they make the Cross Cabriolet. The 4th gen F-body is one of the most compromised designs to ever have a 10 year model run. Even the Z28 with an actual roof was born to disintegrate. Take the most successful engine in history and wring some more out of it by reversing the cooling system. And since you’re jacking around with the water pump, try putting the distributor underneath it, good idea.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      As the previous owner of a 1996 Z-28 convertible, I can agree with all this.

      1. neight428 Avatar

        Mine was a ’94 hard top.

    2. 0A5599 Avatar

      The pictures illustrate otherwise, but the text specifies that only the V6 versions count.

      I tend to window-shop Craigslist every couple of days and “favorite” cars that might be interesting to own and could be quickly parted out for more than the purchase price if something is unrepairable. Typically my list of favorites stays about a dozen cars deep; some find buyers or the ad expires at about the same pace as I become interested in new listings. My list currently includes a 4th gen z28.

      1. neight428 Avatar

        The V8’s are not without merit, mine was legitimately fast, but take the power out and add 20 years at the bottom of the depreciation curve and it would be one plastic compromise shattering under your fingers after the next. The V6 convertible versions were made to receive all the love the buyers at Avis had to give.

      2. P161911 Avatar

        Unless you have a shop with a lift, avoid the 4th gen F-body. Most now have over 100k miles. To replace the rear spark plugs you have to drop the engine out the bottom. For not much more money, get a C4 Corvette LT1. Having owned both, the Vette is 10x better.

        1. 0A5599 Avatar

          Understood, but see my comment about parting out. The Z28 has 3 pedals, but I have a B-body that only has 2.

  2. Victor~~ Avatar

    Bring back the Craigslist crapshoot !

  3. 0A5599 Avatar

    FWIW, you don’t need a leaky convertible top to germinate the previous owner’s pot seeds. A coupe with a sturdy top but rust around the back window will do it, particularly if the seeds are underneath the rear floormat.

    Or so I’ve heard.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      First thing a sketchy used car gets is a very thorough cleaning/search. Last thing I want is to get busted for something that isn’t mine.

      1. Lokki Avatar

        Yeah I told my wife I must got that stuff from a dirty car seat but she wasn’t buying it.

  4. P161911 Avatar

    Story time. I got married in 2004. I had a 1994 Corvette and the wife had a 1999 Honda Civic coupe (automatic). Fast forward about 5 months, the wife has quit her job and is wanting a new car. The Corvette is starting to show its age with about 150k miles and will need some big repairs soon. As a bribe to get her to go back to work, I agree to get her a new 2004 Trailblazer. Her grandfather had the GM discount and a $1500, plus they had really good rebates going at the time. So for the first time in my life at 32 I purchased a brand new vehicle. Now for the first time since I was 16 I was without a muscle/pony/sports car (81 Buick Regal Turbo, 1977 Corvette, 1992 T-Bird S/C 5-speed). I drove the Civic for about a month (it took me only a week to fix a loud exhaust leak that my wife had dealt with for a year). Decided to sell the Civic and get a car with proper power. I really wanted one of the mid 1990s Mustang Cobra convertibles. They were rare and just out of my budget. I found the Z-28 convertible, it was an automatic, wife can’t drive a stick. Sold the Civic and got the Camaro for only $900 more than the sale price of the Civic. I figured it had the LT-1 engine just like my beloved Corvette, shouldn’t be THAT different. That Z-28 was the biggest pile of crap! Had to have the transmission rebuilt, had to replace the distributor and water pump. By the time I got rid of it there was a very loud growling noise in the rear end.
    It is the ONLY car that I have had that I have no regrets about getting rid of. Three or four years later I ended up trading it for a 1987 BMW 325 5-speed sedan and some cash.

  5. Maymar Avatar

    YMMV, but I’d award the Mustang an extra half point of lameness. I quite like the Camaro’s styling, and they don’t punish you with ugly wheels and trim like Ford did on V6 SN95’s. I don’t want to fool people into thinking I have a GT or Z28, I just don’t want an ugly car if it’s something kind of fun but slow.

    Then again, with GT’s and Z28’s bringing such a small premium over the V6 cars makes them an easier choice.

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    Now we’re talking really horrible…but the Lamestain Index? You can’t weasel out of it and need to put a random scientifically calculated number on previous candidates.

  7. P161911 Avatar

    Fun fact. By 1995 the Camaro V-6 was the GM 3800 with 200 HP. The Mustang GT only had 215-225HP at this time.

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      The 3800 was available as an option, yes, but the 3.4 was still the base engine.

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