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Tim M 01-12-2019 08:49 PM

Germany Bound 1LE...
Purchased this 2018 Camaro SS 1LE expressly to take overseas for several year long job transfer to Stuttgart, Germany.

Bought on 2 July for $8200 off sticker - not exactly what I wanted for options - only desired the 1LE and PDR, but also included the gas cap, trunk mat, wheel locks, and a GM Air Intake (this part led to great challenges).

I planned to purchase early to work out any bugs prior to shipping over. This was a good idea as a simple track event (SCCA Track Night @ Palm Beach International Raceway) resulted in power loss, missing, and Check Engine Light which was eventually traced to a programming was not reflashed with the GM Air Intake program during PDI as it was supposed to.

2 trips to the drags, 4 trips to the dyno, 5 dealer visits, 26 days out of service, and 1 Defect Notice (Lemon notification) to Chevrolet resulted in a car that I should have from day one. I'm crossing my fingers damage was not significant to the cats or other parts of the powertrain during nearly 7000 miles of incorrect operation. There is no warranty outside of North America!

See thread here as to not regurgitate the ordeal:


Quick summary can be shown on the dyno chart below...runs with bad program are the low squiggles with the healthy runs reflected in the higher smooth arcs (405 RWHP / 401 RWTQ on a SAE standardized Dynojet).

The best drag time was a 12.8 @ 112 mph...conditions weren't ideal, but quickest I was going to get it to go that night. Certainly closer to expectation for this car.

With that complete...I was down to literally one day to make the boat drop off - leaving no time to prep the car as planned (fluid change, second set of wheels with preferred all season tires just to suit the German inspection, refined full alignment, etc.) I did get an initial/conservative alignment on the front early on, but had hoped to recheck it again before shipping - no chance with the timeline. Additionally, when the car 'greened-up,' I ordered 4 new Goodyears for it from TireRack...only three came the night before the tire installer was scheduled...UPS lost the 4th tire. So I killed the idea of changing only 3 (sticking those in my household goods shipment) and requesting TireRack forward the lost tire to Germany. UPS eventually found the tire and reshipped to my now vacant residence! Sometimes things don't work out...

Nonetheless, 4-hour drive from Tampa, quick car wash, splash gas (must be below 1/4 tank), and drop off was executed at Port Jacksonville, FL. It was not a reassuring process!

The port escort service was out of a trailer in a dirt lot filled with crashed cars...figured I would get a nail in the tires at the very least along with a nice coat of dirt on the hardly dry car. Took a bunch of images and off we went to the port for drop off.

Essentially no inspection was performed in my presence, a hand written sticker placed on the windshield, and a half filled out dock receipt with a stamp stating 'Received.'

This thread may be very short when the car is lost forever!

Boat sails on 27 Jan with arrival on 13 Feb in Bremerhaven, GE. Then it will be trucked to Stuttgart.

Interesting data point: roll on/roll off shipping cost from Jacksonville, FL to Stuttgart is $1584. The escort service (water port is like airport security) ran another $90. My USAA insurance covers the 'marine' insurance (while at sea) so avoided another extra cost. I've learned marine insurance is typically 2.7% of the value of the car.

Registration/safety inspection will be another challenge with worn summer tires (1.6 mm minimum across entire face) installed as well as front tires that extend past the front fenders (German law prohibits). They way the Goodyears are segment of the tread is shallower than the rest - unsure how much they will be sticklers...I'm far away from the 2/32 tread wear indicator on the deeper thread.

If I survive this car, hope to have a few European snaps of the car's travels...the way my luck is going - may just wad the car up on the first lap of the Nurburgring (~3 hour drive from Stuttgart). Either way, should be interesting for someone...

Boost Creep 01-12-2019 09:49 PM


I can't imagine.

Best of luck with the shipping and what ever is going to happen with/to your car in the next month.

I hope it arrives in one piece and inspection is a breeze.

In my head, some dock worker is already out in a 1LE trolling for hookers and bouncing off the rev limiter showing off for his boys.
I was stressed out when my car went to the body shop, and I had the PDR in valet mode.

JeromeS13 01-12-2019 11:39 PM

I'm right there with you, brother. My car is already on a boat on the way to Bremerhaven. It will be trucked down to Spangdahlem Air Base, where I'll be stationed. From what I've been reading, if your car is inspected from October to March, you'll need all-season tires, as well... Please keep us updated with your inspection process, as I won't be doing mine until the beginning of March.

Red Hot ZL1 01-12-2019 11:46 PM

Best of luck, Tim!

karmatourer 01-13-2019 12:10 AM

I remember when I shipped my BMW bike to Mexico from Miami,Customs had to inspect it prior to being placed in the enclosed shipping crate and being accepted for shipment. The forwarder arranged that. Good luck with the move.

Vlad 01-13-2019 12:37 AM

$8200 off sticker is a great price. Don't see deals like that in CA

hotlap 01-13-2019 08:11 AM

Your car is going to be a blast on the autobahn but a bitch to park in the very tight parkhaus and lots. I think you will need to change your side marker lights to non-illuminated clear.

I drive from Stuttgart to the Bodensee early Saturday mornings. Beautiful lake area on the boarder with wide open autobahn in the morning. Check out Kressbronn am Bodensee for a weekend getaway.

Coincidence- I’m going to be in Stuttgart from February 17 to 22 ...right as your car arrives.

Scottyz 01-13-2019 12:22 PM

computer has to be reflashed after the GM cold air intake is installed???
Sounds like they do something with the tune for more power.....

guapo 01-13-2019 01:50 PM


Originally Posted by JeromeS13 (Post 10408851)
I'm right there with you, brother. My car is already on a boat on the way to Bremerhaven. It will be trucked down to Spangdahlem Air Base, where I'll be stationed. From what I've been reading, if your car is inspected from October to March, you'll need all-season tires, as well... Please keep us updated with your inspection process, as I won't be doing mine until the beginning of March.

When you get to Spangdahlem, go down the road, about .4 of a mile down the hill to MOMS restaurant. best food around. I used to live just .2 miles down from there....

Tim M 01-13-2019 11:10 PM

Boost: More disturbing is I sought this car out as it only had 8 miles on it...never test driven as I'm particular about autos. Previous family cars had almost never visited the dealership for instance...this one has been driven by countless folks testing the 'lack of power'...26 days at the dealership.

It would almost be better if the car is lost at sea so I could start over...I agree on the dock hands...

Jerome: I shipped two cars...the Camaro out of my pocket and spouse auto via military routing. The Atlanta VPC was an inspection to the nth could see they were concerned about liability at the other end. This is very good! The Camaro on the other hand was the opposite. Admittedly, I've done this before with a Mini from UK to FL. Same deal...just leave the keys in the car and walk away. It did arrive with nary a scratch 4 weeks later. But 38 HP isn't really fun to beat on...

If I hadn't been so pressed for time, I would have pursued the containerized method...believe it was only ~$500 more and would have minimized folks moving it here and there. The RO/RO was my only option to make the date.

I doubt the car will arrive in STR before nearly March. Nonetheless, certainly concerned on the tire rule. My hope is snow tires are only required during inclement if I attempt to inspect/register during a 40 degree day...I'm not sure how much wiggle room there is. I do know that all season tires used in the inclement (snow) weather are only grandfathered if the date code is 31 Dec 17 and earlier.

My fall back is to order a set of snow tires/wheels from TireRack (at significant cost) for the inspection and likely never install them. I don't plan to use this car in the winter...will buy a sub $3000 car for the cold season.

ScottyZ: I don't know the cold air tune requirement. I do know that the GM cold air setup makes zero HP/TQ improvement - see my other thread where we dynoed a non-CAI car with my nearly identical CAI car...1 WHP/4 WTQ difference - certainly within the machine's error tolerance. It looks to be a good design...but the OEM air box is completely acceptable. I'd spend you money elsewhere...sure wish I did!

Vlad: I've heard of others getting a better deal, not to mention I've had enough challenges with this car due to the bad computer tune...quite nearly offset the 'savings.'

hotlap: Thanks...I hope there aren't other mods required especially wiring. Guess I will start asking questions once I arrive...which is Tuesday.

ParisTNDude 01-14-2019 09:07 AM

Oh, folks are going to be in car heaven having a 1LE in Germany. I've had a number of Corvettes in Europe and I think you may be mistaken about warranty work while there. My 02 Z51 Corvette experienced the steering column lockout issue while traveling from Aviano, Italy to Hockenheim (Frankfurt) for a track day with Corvettes Italia. The car ceased to run near Salzburg, Austria. I had it towed to a GM dealership there and contacted the US GM support division in Germany and they negotiated getting the column lock fixed under GM warranty. However, the dealership drove my car 90km while it was in their possession (several weeks) and from the scuffing of the tires, it was pretty much abused. They tried to deny it, but my towing receipt had the mileage on it when delivered to them. They gave me a free service (big deal), for the privilege of abusing my car.

I did 21 laps of the Nurburgring in my Corvette and it was the best car experience of my life. If you don't know the Nurburgring, get the Forza Xbox game and you will truly learn the track.

There's a road going up to Cortina, Italy in the Italian Alps that's nothing short of a public sports car road course and that was nearly as much fun as the 'Ring. I sure do envy all of you. I spent 9 years in Germany at Bitburg (now closed) Spangdahlem and other places. Awesome! Good luck with getting your car delivered and in good order.

GooseSS 01-16-2019 11:21 AM

Wow, a little nerve wracking! I'm crossing my fingers for you.

Tim M 01-17-2019 04:02 PM

Paris: Great to hear it was such a memorable event. That is a considerable time abroad...lucky! Also quite interesting to hear on the warranty although I had been informed otherwise...Will hope to not cross that bridge when required.

Learned today that summer tires will fail during October to April...still not convinced that is the law, but must go with what the local inspectors say. Likely will process the car on temp tags followed by non-operational status until summer tires are legal. Have no plans to drive the car in the snow.

I may order a ZL1 Add-on's front license plate bracket that mounts from the tow hook area to avoid drilling into the front bumper. The offset may still be a concern.

ParisTNDude 01-18-2019 05:52 PM

I think the American GM representative is located in Frankfurt, but I'm not sure. My Italian co-worker found the number from Aviano italy so it must be something on the web. I remember going somewhere near Frankfurt to a GM dealership and seeing C5 Corvette convertible for sale on the showroom floor for over the equivalent of $100K. Also, there are many military people who shop GM cars to Europe so there must be somewhere for them to get work done. Good luck.

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