Dan T

It took a father and son, and made them into best friends.

Some 37 years ago I met Karen and her friends out at the state park in Holland. We started hanging around as a group, and muscle cars were the big thing. One night the group of us decided to go to Grand Haven to cruise. I talked Karen into riding with me in my silver & black '68 Camaro. On the way up there, the others decided to ride side by side in both lanes at 55 mph and not let anyone pass. I was the last one in the right lane, (and letting cars pass me if they wanted) and guess which license plate number got turned in to the State Police. You would be correct, me. On the way back home late that Saturday night, my car quit running just south of Grand Haven. Karen decided to ride back in another car while I waited for someone to come back from Holland with a rope to pull me home. Sunday morning my dad told me he must have really sleep hard last night as he did not hear my car, (it was quite loud) when I came home. They left for church before me as usual. Soon as they left I worked on the car and got it fixed and met them at church. Nobody knew anything about what happened the night before. Well, that was until we got home from church and my mother answered the phone and said the State Police would like to talk to you.

Fast forward 35 years and the Karen I talked about, is now my wife, (sweetie as I have called her all these years, and still do). We have two great kids, but as some parents will tell you, the high school years can be difficult. On most days when our son was a senior, we would bump heads more than we would get along. He started hanging around with friends that were helping him make the wrong decisions in life. This went on for some time after he graduated as well. My wife and I talked many times that he needs new friends. I presented an idea to her. What if I become his new best friend? How do you plan to do that? Him and I do a frame off restoration on that same '68 Camaro we met with that is sitting in the garage. We would be spending a lot of quality time together, plus it would give him a lot of skills working on cars and give him new interests in life. Some day the car will either be his or his sisters, and how cool would it be for him to say someday, that he helped restore the car his parents met with. She was game for it. I asked our son the next day. He didn't take a second to decide and asked if we could start tomorrow? After a couple car shows that I wanted to have my car in that were coming up, we started on it. This coming September will be two years ago we started on it. We stripped it down to a bare shell, no windows no wiring, nothing but steel. It was at the restoration shop for 7 months. After they had 852 hours into it, we got it back. A bright metallic cobalt blue with bright metallic silver striping. We have the job of putting it back together now. We spent way more money than we ever thought we would. But it was worth it. Our son and me are now "Best Friends". We go to car shows as often as possible, watch car shows on tv, and call each other about other car shows and a possible car to restore for him. Andrew and me talked about what to his mother, (my wife) for Christmas. We came up with a plaque to be mounted on the console of the Camaro, thanking her for the thumbs up on this project. The plaque reads, (This restoration project would not have been possible without my wife "Sweetie" & my mother "Karen". Her belief in an idea and diligent savings has taken a father & son and turned them into "Best Friends". It is with our pride that we dedicate this restoration project to you, "Sweetie" & "Mother" and say, Thanks). We are now in the home stretch of finishing this project. We hope to have it making it's debut in about 2 - 4 weeks. The car is nothing rare. It's not an "SS" or "RS" or even a Z-28. But it is the car that brought two friends into a lifelong marriage and took a father and son, and made them best friends. A father could not ask for better memories than to rebuild a car with his son. Thinking about what has all happened with this car, I guess it really is a rare car.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Harold H Southern California July 17, 2014 at 02:12
    Love the car and love the story even more!

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