It’s 1976. A young high school student and his
friend sit at a stoplight in his sisters 1968 Camaro equipped with a 390hp 427
engine. They had been cruising at lunch time with different friends exchanging
seats for a cruise around the school.
Next to them pulls up a guy in a 67
small block Camaro. The 67 was nothing to look at, aged silver paint and rear
tires sticking out from the wheel wells, just a rough car overall, but from the
rumble of the exhaust and the revving of the engine , it was obvious it should
not to be dismissed as a weak puke of a car.
The drivers eyes met and nods
exchanged. They both knew what would happen next. The light turned green and
the two cars launched with a trail of smoke behind. Side by side the two cars
accelerated down the East Lake Avenue. The traffic was clear as
they passed the Dairy Queen on the left at 50+ miles per hour. But on the right
was one of the local black and whites waiting for such a display of power. With
lights rolling the “City Kitty” began pursuit.
The 67 turned left and the 68 broke right at the
next intersection. The cop was in the right lane so naturally he followed the
68 427 car. With the police right behind me, thoughts of making a run for it
down Trafton alley flashed through my head but were quickly replaced with
images of going to jail and impound for the car. I pulled to the curb and
Now at this point I’d like to say I calmly
removed my license and waited to the approaching officer, but the reality was I
was shaking so much I don’t think I could even find my wallet let alone
retrieve the license.
The officer approached my window. “ License and
registration please” A short pause, then the phrase I never really understood.
“ Do you know why I pulled you over sir? “ Yah I think I know why. (I was
thinking to myself.) I kept silent still looking for my license and
shaking in my boots.
After fumbling for the requested paperwork
and listening to a good butt chewing, the officer noticed my friends name on
his license. “Hey kid I think I went to school with your mom.” The officer
said. My eyes began to dry as I watched my friend work us out of a
ticket. “Yea that’s my mom” my friend responded followed by more small talk. At
the end of the conversation I heard the words we all want to hear from an
officer of the law. “ I’m giving you guys a warning this time , but don’t let
me catch you doing anything like this again”.
I don’t know if the officer had
pity on me because of the state I was in or the story my buddy was
giving him that led to the grace that was shown to me that day, but that didn’t
matter. I was just was grateful to be able to drive back to school in “The
Fast forward 34 years later. July 4th 2010
the same Camaro was entrusted to me once again. This time the pink slip was
signed over. The Camaro was my sister’s daily driver 29 years then it was
stored in our mom’s garage. There it sat for the next 13 years being started
periodically and cruised up the block a few times a year.
My goal is to restore this special car
with the help of my sixteen year old son and my friends, enter it in car shows
and also to honor my sister and brother in law who purchased it new. When
finished I would like it to be considered as a featured car in Hemmings Muscle
We have been doing the restoration in
stages so we could enjoy driving and entering it in local car shows. The
highlight so far was taking two laps on Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey Ca. as
part of the Cherry’s Jubilee car show last year. The most fun I ever had in a
So far with the help of friends we have
rebuilt the engine, resealed the transmission, repainted the engine
compartment, fire wall and sub frame. We also have rebuilt the front
suspension/brakes. Did the interior and trunk. At the time of this writing, we
have the rear differential; leaf springs, fuel tank and exhaust system removed
and are painting the chassis.
Hopefully we will be able to have the car
exterior painted before July this year. We will be doing as much of the prep
ourselves with a skilled person doing the painting.