In part one of our conversation with Scott Settlemire, a.k.a. The Fbodfather, we discussed a wide range of Camaro-related topics, from Mr. Settlemire's early years, in which he developed his appreciation for the Chevy Camaro, to his years spent at GM (nearly 40 of 'em!), and on down the line to cover the exact moment Scott became "The Fbodfather."
In part two we forge ahead, traversing the highways and byways of Camaro legend and lore with the man who's witnessed much of it. We hope you enjoy this continuation of our conversation with Scott, and, for those of you who look to him as a beacon for all things Camaro – rejoice – as we've got some great content from the Fbodfather queued up and comin' down the pipe soon!
Have a gander at part two, below. And don't forget to cruise by our Camaro Forum and chime in with some comments or questions for Scott!
Give us one sentence for each of the following: First generation, second generation, third generation, fourth generation, and fifth generation.
1st gen: Classic style and performance that’s timeless.
2nd gen: European Style that changed everything.
3rd gen: Space ship with styling that suggested $10K more.
4th gen: Performance that still shames cars costing much more – and that I’m so very proud of.
5th gen: What I prayed for and so much more!
As a tried and true American icon, describe for us the special place the Chevy Camaro occupies in automotive lore?
Everyone has a Camaro in their past. If they didn’t have one – their best friend, their brother, their sister, their boyfriend or girlfriend, or a neighbor or parent had one.
I think Pete Estes got it right on June 29, 1966 when he introduced the Camaro to the world:
"The name Camaro means pal, friend, or comrade. Thus it suggests the real mission of our new automobile – to be a close companion to its owner – tailored to reflect his or her individual tastes and at the same time provide exciting personal transportation. Chevrolet has chosen a name which is lithe and graceful, and in keeping with our other names beginning with ‘C’. It suggests the comradeship of good friends... as a personal car should be to its owner.”
And I submit to you that this brand promise is as valid today as it was 46 years ago. That’s exceptional, especially in this industry. And that’s the magic of “Camaro” – as brand custodians, it’s our responsibility to ensure that Camaro remains exactly that.
If you had to choose one Camaro to drive for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
That’s a really hard one.
But see, being that I’m “The Fbodfather," I have special powers – meaning that I can change this or any other question!
Which, incidentally, I’m going to do...
How ‘bout changing the question to “If I had to choose one Camaro from each of the 5 generations, what would they be?”
1st gen: Grandmother Henry’s 1969 RS/SS 350 Coupe in Hugger Orange with a black vinyl top. I loved that car and I don’t think she ever exceeded 40mph while driving it. Yes – the car ‘driven by a little old lady to church every Sunday’.
2nd gen: a 1971 SS/RS in Rosewood Metallic. Aunt Marion Henry had one as a demo. I lusted after it and LOVED washing it… which meant I got to drive it!
3rd gen: One of my company cars, a 1992 Z28 Convert – white with red anniversary stripes and red leather interior. Went to the Jersey Shore many times in it – nothing like a late-night cruise along the ocean in a Camaro convertible with its top down...
4th gen: A toss-up between a 1993 Indy Pace Car and a 35th Anniversary SS convertible, and I include the 35th because I worked very hard trying to get the 35th program approved.
5th gen: “Thor” – my 2010 Captive Test Fleet SS/RS that I got in January of 2009. Talk about stopping traffic! Remember, no one had really seen a 5th gen on the road at this point in time. He was yellow and we converted him into a ‘Transformers’ Edition in June of that year. A young lady in Pittsburgh now owns him and cherishes him as I did. She’s even created a Facebook page for him. As an aside – the car was Christened “Thor” by a group of Camaro Enthusiasts. Who am I to argue with them?!
Okay, we want the F-Bodfather's Camaro road trip playlist! Give us some tracks that would be ideal for rockin' out on the open road?
Wow – who came up with these questions? This is an interesting one… With XM and a Nano, one can listen to just about anything imaginable – which of course I love to do during my “overnight” road trips.
“Rockin’ Down the Highway” by the Doobie Brothers.
“Light my Fire” by the doors – because it reminds me of cruising the main drag of Geneva-On-The-Lake in the summer of 1967 with Cousin Sue in her ’67 RS with that song blasting out of the speakers…
U2. Just about any kind of Jazz; Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady” or “That’s Life”; The Rippingtons – see what I mean?
But the very best thing to listen to? The "music of the car." That unmistakable rumble of a Chevy Small-block V8!
If money weren't an object — what would be the ultimate build?
That’s a difficult one – perhaps a black Suburban or Escalade with an LSX complete package –supercharged – killer exhaust (are ya listenin’ Dr. Jamie???) – I could take friends along – for one scary ride.
Give The BLOCK fans something that no one knows about you. The dark secret is what we're looking for!?!
Hmmmm, let's see… What can I "give up" without alerting the authorities?
I want to learn to play the piano… I wanna bang those ivories in a boogie-woogie or slam and jam a jazz tune with Cousin Tom and his Trumpet – or just quietly play for the relaxation of it – but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to learn right now. Perhaps in retirement? A Steinway, please…
What's in store for the next generation of Camaro fans?
Unfortunately we’re not able to discuss future product plans due to the competitive nature of this business. But what I can tell you is that I’m privileged to go thru GM’s Design Studio now and then – and to the GM Proving Grounds – and I can assure you that GM continues to have some truly incredible stuff coming. While the recently passed fuel economy standards will pose quite a few challenges, I also assure you that there are some very, very talented people within GM – and these men and women have great passion for great products. All one has to do is to examine products like the ZL1 and the ZR1 and the Cadillac CTS-V lineup.
In terms of Camaro, we’re fortunate to have great people like Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser and others such as Tony Roma, Mark Dickens, Aaron Link, Mark Stielow, Cheryl Pilcher, Russ Clark, John Fitzpatrick – I’d better be careful here because I don’t want to offend anyone by leaving them out!
The reality is that it takes hundreds upon hundreds of people within GM – and then thousands within the supplier community – and let’s not forget the men and women at Oshawa and Bowling Green, and Lansing – that build these incredible machines. It takes thousands and thousands of dedicated men and women to bring you cars such as the ZL1 and the ZR1 and the CTS-V. Be assured that we are never satisfied – and that means we’re never finished.
Anything else you'd like to end with?
To everyone out there in Camaro/Firebird Land…
Thank you most sincerely from the bottom of my ‘lil bowtie shaped heart – for “keeping the faith” during the years when Camaro was on hiatus. You kept us going… and I’ll never forget it. You are the reason that the Camaro is back – better and badder than ever!
And, lastly, we put safety belts in our cars and trucks for a reason: They save lives. Please wear them each and every time you drive – no excuses!
Thanks for reading my ramblings, I’m truly grateful.
The BLOCK Crew would like to thank Scott for his time and contributions to this story. We hope everyone out there in Camaroland enjoyed it! Chime in on our Camaro Forum to let us know what you thought of the words of wisdom from The Fbodfather!