Rob D

Dad's 2nd Gen Gets A New Lease On Life

One of the fondest memories of my youth is of the matching Camaros my Dad and I had while I was in High School. Mine was a '71 6cylinder 3-speed, red with white stripes. Dad's was a '78 LT, 350/4-speed, in Plain Jane Silver. I remember the sound of Dad leaving for work each morning, the glass packs rumbling through the neighborhood. I also remember the enjoyment he and Mom had taking the car on road trips through the Rocky Mountains, and all over the Southwest. Over the years, Dad racked up 130,000 miles on the Camaro before retiring it to his mother's garage, where it would sit for the last nine years of his life.

Dad was a car guy if there ever was one. He thoroughly enjoyed tinkering on all his rides, and also road raced in the SCCA in the 60's and 70's. That's why it was so sad to see chronic depression take hold of his spirit, and eventually lead him to take his life in 2009. I inherited the '78 after Dad's passing, and frankly I was shocked at the condition it was in. Nine years of storage had taken it's toll. Dust, rust, and more door dings than I could count from his elderly mother using the Camaro as a door stop for her Lincoln Continental. But I remembered how much the car meant to Dad, and how proud I was to now own it. So I started on a two year restoration project to make the car better than new. The Plain Jane silver was replaced with Octane Blue, and a Z-28 body kit. The tired 350/4-speed was replaced with a custom built 383 and a Tremek 5-speed. The engine bay was smoothed and painted, and the engine was brought up to show quality with help from Billet Specialties and dual Edelbrocks. The car is now a real head turner with a wall full of trophies to make Dad proud. Most recently, the car placed 5th at The Blacktop Nationals, and I know a Dad was looking down us with his love and approval.

Someday the Camaro will be passed down to one of my five children, and I hope they'll cherish it as much as I do. But in the mean time, it's my pride and joy, and the way my wife and I spend many summer afternoons enjoying the rumble if the V8, and the sense that Dad is still riding with us.

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