Chris 2 1967 Chevrolet Camaro 2dr Convertible

Denis the Menace to the Rescue

Back in the late summer of 1982, I was traveling from VT. back to central New York state in my '67 Camaro ragtop, the first car I ever owned. My girlfriend had just dumped me, and I was heading down to Albany to pick up my buddy to head back to Oswego. I had'nt traveled too far when I noticed the headlights dimming and the radio fading in and out. Sure enough, the alternator was dying. After spending the night sleeping in the car on the side of the road, I found a payphone and called my friend with the bad news. He told me to sit tight (what choice did I have?) and that his dad would drive him up with a new alernator. Alright, things are looking up I said to myself. Well, a few hours later my buddy and his old man showed up with the alternator and a toolbox. "Sweet," I said, "this should take ten minutes tops!" Well, of course the big bolt on the bottom of the alternator, you know the one that the whole thing pivots on, was not coming out. "No problem," says my buddy's old man, "we brought a hammer!" On the third swing, the face of the hammer went right through the radiator, about 5 inches from the bottom of the thing! So here we are, we have the new alternator in, but coolant is puking all over the parking lot of the local NAPA store, and I've only got about $20 to get back to NY! Thats when it hit me. I remembered a Denis the Menace cartoon where Denis saved Mr. Wilson's leaking radiatior with a wad of chewing gum! Well my buddy Bill and I chewed up I can't tell you how many packs of Hubba Bubba on the way back home, but we made it. What should have been a 3 hour ride turned into a six hour affair, stopping every 50 miles when that engine would boil over and we would have to let 'er cool down, pack the hole full of bubblegum, and fill 'er back up with water we would scrounge from whatever ditch, brook or gutter we could find it in! Not long after that, that tough little six cylinder finally died for good. I replaced it with another six from a '66 Impala, and sold it for what I had paid for it 5 years earlier. Before I let it go, I pulled the Cragar GT rims and tires off it, replaced them with some steel rims and basic Chevy hubcaps, and kissed it goodbye. I used the money I made from the sale of the Camaro as a down payment on a '69 Firebird convertible, put the Cragars on, and I still have that ride after 29 years. But I will never forget how Denis and his bubblegum trick saved the day!

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