tom s

40+ years of kickin' myself

It was nearing Christmas in 1970 and having just returned from Vietnam I was feeling a serious urge to purchase a car with plenty of sporty appeal. Yes, I had other urges too, but this is a car story. So, my Dad and I set off for the Tacoma/Seattle car lot strip and there I saw "the one". A red over red Camaro RS complete with white nose stripe! Though I can no longer recall many of the equipment specifics, it was V8 and automatic and so after some quick negotiations on price (around $1600.00 I think), I was driving this beauty home. Well, four or so months later I was settling into my next military assignment in California. It came to my attention that I needed to register the Camaro in California as it was much less expensive than in Washington state. Well, back in the day California required something called a smog certificate prior to registration. Well, he__ you say. I found that this would run around $250.00 at a local "certified" shop. That's cheap, right. Not in 1971 military pay it wasn't. So, after a few days of thinking about the smart thing to do, I made the decision to just buy a new car and be done with it. The following Saturday I made my way to South Bay Chevrolet where they gladly gave me $700.00 for that old smoggy RS plus the remainder of my saved combat, etc. pay in order to put me in a brand new 1971 Vega fastback. In truth the Vega served me well as competent transportation yet as the years progress I recognize that like so many others who came of age during the muscle car years I must still figuratively kick myself in the tail for not thinking ahead way back then.

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