Ryan M

Born to drive this baby

In 1971 my father purchased a beautiful hugger orange 1970 Camaro that was 6 months old off the car lot. Having not been born yet, I wasn't there to witness the excitement, but I got to add my own excitement to the car 4 years later. My mother was pregnant with me at the time in the Seattle area, and my father in Ohio on his way back home. I apparently was anxious to come greet the world and was insistent I don't wait for his return. My mother was home alone at the time when she went in to labor, and with no one else to drive her, she hoped in the Camaro and drove herself to the hospital. I am certain that I was trying to reach the accelerator peddle even at that time, and we were fortunate to have both arrived to the hospital safely so that I could be delivered moments later.

Over the course of the next years, the Camaro was always my favorite car to ride in, with it's inline 6 that could easily fool you that it was an 8. But as years went buy, new cars came to the house and the Camaro began to collect dust in the garage, then parked on the side of the house to watch grass grow up around it. as it was forgotten how fun it was to drive. It wasn't until I turned 16, that the Camaro would get it's re-emergence into the world. You fix it - and it's yours were all that a new road warrior needed to hear to get started. I started with a new battery and some fresh gas - and bam - it was ready to go have fun again. The tires were old and hard so there was virtually no wet weather traction (not great in Seattle), and there were primer spots all over it from where I learned my non-existent skill at bodywork, but I loved it. The Camaro got many upgrades over the years, including paint, carpet, everything Clifford had to increase the HP on inline 6's, and of course new tires. I even took it with me to WSU for four years of college, where it frequently was driven through snow high enough to bend the front license plate under the car.

Sometime around when I turned 30, I came to the conclusion it was time to convert the Camaro to classic hobby car vs. my daily driver, and with that came a whole new set of upgrades including retiring the bulletproof inline 6 with 287K miles on it for a 383 stroker engine with 470lbs of torque to play with. The stock powerglide tranny almost lasted around the block once with this upgrade, and then I swapped it for a 700R, and still the original 2.73 rearend. It catches a lot of thumbs up and waves, and a few scowls from old ladies not appreciating a good burnout.

And now, I have a 1 year old of my own, and wouldn't you know it, his single greatest thing to do is to "hop in daddy's car" and have me start the engine and drive it up and down the driveway while he grins ear to ear :)

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