In 1968, while serving with the U.S. Army in Cholon, Vietnam, I went to the Saigon PX. This time I wasn't buying shaving cream. There was a small wooden shack in the parking lot of the PX which was the sales office for General Motors and other brands. But I didn't care about other brands. I was interested in the new Camaro for 1969.
A few days prior, I had been in Hawaii on R&R and had rented a Datsun 1600 Sports Car on one day, and a plain-jane 69 Camaro the next. My mind was made up. I wanted the Camaro!
As I entered the shack I felt that sensation of "The Butterflys". I was about to make a major purchase at 20 years old and 10,000 miles from home. I was handed a catologue to look through and a check list to fill out. When I was done, the salesman needed $250 to send in the order. My new Camaro would be waiting for me in San Fransisco at Les Vogel Chevrolet on the day I returned to the States.
After six more months in Vietnam, I got to go home, and being a west coast draftee, I was sent to Oakland, Ca. to process out of the service. When that was done, I caught a chopper to San Francisco, and a taxi to Les Vogel Chevrolet and there she was! It was a surreal dream! I took possession and headed down the coast to my home in Redondo Beach. After a lunch stop at small cafe, I went out to continue my trip home. My new car was surrounded by about fifty people who had just arrived on a bus. It was a great feeling to make my way through the crowd to get in my new car after answering several questions.
To make a short story long, I am still the proud owner of that 1969 Camaro SS 350 4-speed in Le Mans Blue and Black standard interior. She is in like new condition with the paint being re-shot in the original color in 1985. She has the original drive train, original interior, and even the original black vinyl top. I won't say there have not been changes over the years, but they are not noticeable. She still competes in the stock original restored class and takes a trophy now and again. We're getting old, but we're both still young at heart.