When I was 12 years old my dad told me I'd better start saving for a car. His rules: He would pay half the car insurance, but the car would have to have a 4 or 6 cylinder engine due to the insurance being cheaper. My salary was from a paper route, mowing 14 lawns, and delivering printing twice a week for the Print Shop where my dad worked. Needless to say, I purchased a 64' Rambler American (6 cylinder) for 50 bucks! I used to tell my dad that one day I'd have a REAL CAR!! No offense to the AMC fans out there, my Rambler was a good car and I never had any trouble with it.!!
Once I graduated from high school in 1973, I sold my little Rambler and joined the US Navy. In 1974 I reported for duty at NTC Bainbridge, Maryland. (base closed in 1976) It wasn't long before I was car shopping!! I found a 68' Corvette and a 69' Z/28 for sale on base. The vette' was nice, but once again, the cost of insurance, even in 74', was too much for my salary !! Once I met the fellow selling the Z and took the car for a ride, I knew this was the car I wanted!!! The owner was selling the car due to his wife being pregnant and was in the process of buying a Saab. I called home and my parents tapped my savings account for $1400.00 and the Z was mine!!! That was in May of 1974 and I was 19 years old!!! I still own the Z today!
This car and I have been on many journeys together!!! I grew up in Coshocton, Ohio. We've been to the local drive-in theater (now a housing development), the local root beer stand (now a funeral home), and many nights cruising Main Street 3 or 4 times before heading to the highway to "blow the carbon out." A local group of high school students have started a "cruise" on Main St. again in June. Cruisers are asked to bring a canned good that will be donated to the local food bank. For fun the three local high schools compete to see who can get the most food. Cruising Main St. again brings back a lot of memories!!
In 1977 I took the Z down to bare metal and any rust (below back window) was taken care of by the late Glen Winters. His art was using lead!! The restoration has held up very well, but I would like to have it repainted in the future. The car is blue with white stripes. The 302 is still running strong!! It has 82,000 original miles on it.
This car was a part of our wedding 33 years ago, my 3 sons all have enjoyed it, and 4 of my 5 grandchildren have experienced a ride around the block! Four years ago my Z actually had a baby car seat in it for the first time!! One of my grandsons and I went to a local cruise-in. Unfortunately, they no longer have that one.
My Z has a lot of sentimental value, which would make it difficult to ever sell !!! My dad even got to enjoy this car. I stored it in a ladies garage I used to deliver papers to for $9.00 a month. This was when I was deployed on a ship. My dad would take it out once a week. From what my brothers told me, it brought the kid out in him!!
The worst thing I ever did with this car was take the stock exhaust manifolds off and put headers on! This was 3 weeks after I bought the car!!! Everyone knows that headers will give you an extra 600 horsepower!! The stock manifolds went in a dumpster on base!!! Hey, I was 19 and stupid !!
The best thing I did was put an electronic ignition in, no more points!!! Runs great!!! AND......I kept the stock distributor!!! I still enjoy going for rides in my Z!!! I'm hoping it always stays in the family!
Thanks for letting me share a little about my 1969 Z/28, my first real car!!! Jeff Dobbins