2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: Cue Ball vs. Pistol Grip
June 17, 2010
Now that the Camaro's Tremec TR-6060 transmission has been repaired, I'm once again reminded that this transmission represents a big leap forward over the original T-56 found in the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
More people have noticed the bolt-action style with short throws and relatively high-effort gear engagement that the TR-6060 and T-56 share. Of course the TR-6060 works like something from this century, while the increasingly stubborn linkage of the T56 is starting to bind as if it had come from a rusty hunting rifle of the last century.
But everyone still hates the Camaro's shift knob with its rounded top surface and flat sides.
My guess is that it depends on the way you hold the shift lever.
If you want to hold it with your hand on top as if the knob were a cue ball, the oddly shaped knob feels awkward and the stitching of the leather cuts your hand. If you push the knob forward with the heel of your hand and bring it back with your fingers, letting the spring preload in the linkage find the next gear (which it will do, reminds Danny McKeever, the racing school instructor who gives the Edmunds staff a refresher course every fall at his Fast Lane Racing School), the knob works fine. And if you like to hold the gear lever from behind, reaching around it as if it were the shift lever in an open wheel racing car (which is what I prefer), then the flat sides help it fit your hand perfectly.
My guess is that the Chevy designer tried to combine the traditional cue ball with the Chrysler-style pistol grip. There are plenty of people who like one or the other, but no one seems to like this attempt to combine both. Of course, no one seems to have been able to ask the GM designer what he was after in the first place.
What's interesting here is that the way that you interface with the controls has so much to do with the quality of the driving experience. Sometimes the trouble lies with the car, and sometimes the trouble lies with you. It just depends on how you hold your hand.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 18,443 miles