The year is 1979, the last year of one if the greatest decades in history. A woman walks into a local Chevrolet dealer, looking for the one to take home. After much searching and pondering, she decides her car is not to found. Never the less, a salesman is able to accommodate her request. "A basic, base model 2 door coupe, with absolutely no extras. So bare bones that even the A/C vents are blanked off...because there's no A/C. The plainest body style they can make, with the base model rims, and base model tires. Not even a spoiler. You want all of...well, lack there of car....with one exception. It must have a Z/28 drive train. The 350, 4 barrel carb, with the 4 speed manual transmission....in a base model....sure we can order that, just sign here!" I can imagine from my fathers stories this is what was said that day in that showroom, which still exists under a different name to this day.
My father to me is the greatest man who has ever lived, and part of the greatest he bestowed upon me as a child was a love for cars. He grew up drag racing at the local strip where he turned up quite a few trophies with his 72 Plymouth Duster. One fateful day that wonder piece of American muscle was totaled, leaving my father in between cars and probably heart broken. Eventually the Camaro and he crossed paths shortly after it's arrival to the dealer. His best friends sister had ordered it in its lack luster special order package. She offered to sell him the car because it was too expensive of a payment, and my father decided to own it. Now having the Z/28 drivetrain made it what it was and wasn't, but regardless he decided not to race this one.
My father is one to take care of the things he owns, yet another thing I got from him. This 79 Camaro was maintained to the highest. Now with his cool car, mustache, and Italian charm in hand, he stumbled across my mother in the early 80's. He pulls up in said Camaro, mustache and charm in full throttle, and asks my mother to hold the door because he's coming in that house too. The rest is history.
They spent hours and hours in that car together. They would drive up and down the east coast in search of adventure and a good time. To this day my father can tell you exactly how many gallons of gas it takes to get to Maine and back in that car. Somewhere in the middle of the 80's they decided to settle down, get married, and start a family. This is where I come in.
The Camaro had been in faithful service from 1979 to 1991. It was parked in a spare garage when I was 3 years old and there it sat. Growing up I remember starting it with my dad a few times, blowing the dust out of it, and re-parking it for later. Eventually the times between turned into trying to go see it, which lead to...there it sits.
Fast forward a few year to my coming of age auto purchase. I begged my dad for that car, but to no surprise the answer was no. I did need up with a 94 Camaro so I was kind of satisfied. One day my dad decided, after years of procrastinating, to go start the old girl up again. "Probably won't even run." he said, "it's been sitting a long time.". We drove to that garage and I could hardly contain myself. When that door opened it was like I had seen a room full of gold bars. As it lay there, flat tires, and covered in dust, it was glorious. We pushed it out and threw a battery in it, dumped a little gas in the carb, and hoped for the best. When that key was turned, she roared to life for the first time in 12 years. We were awe struck. So much so that we decided to take her home.
Getting back to what I said earlier about my father taking car of things...he hand me a rag and says "just start wiping everything off." Seemed pointless at that moment but okay sure dad. As we wiped, the car came back to life. Under all of that dust and dirt, was a heavy coat of wax that my dad decided to add before parking it. When the wax came off, what was left was the heart and soul of the beautiful aging process of a vehicle. It was showroom new, but in my eyes and his it might as well have been. We took her home and decided to restore her back to original quality.
Around the time the car was parked, my mother whom they spent hours together in that car, had passed away. To me being a young child and seeing the world through my eyes, I couldn't understand much. Once I was in front of the Camaro wiping the dirt and wax off, a wave of emotions came over me. We HAD to do this car. My father and I got a good jump start on it together, but as soon as it started, it slowed down and she sat for 2 more years. One day he approached me and said "I'm thinking about selling the Camaro. I need a new truck and I think it would bring me a couple bucks to go towards it. I don't have the time or money to restore it right now anyway." This couldn't happen...ever! I offered to buy it on the spot, and I did just that. Once I had the title, the restoration went into full swing.
As of today the car is completely original to it's former self, with the exception of adding the factory spoiler. The paint color is from the original paint code, and the interior is the same as the day it was purchased. It resides with my wife and I and get driven whenever we feel the urge. I know it would make my mother proud to see it. My father is amazed at how it turned out. Every time he drives it he always gets out with a big smile followed by "I can have it back now right?". From 1979 to 2015 this car has been in my family, from father to son, and not a day goes by that I don't think about how it all came to be.