Author Topic: This is the story of my first car.  (Read 2488 times)

cook_dw

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This is the story of my first car.
« on: December 09, 2016, 01:16:50 AM »
While talking to a few buddies the other day and telling them about some memories that I had of me, my dad and my 69 Camaro it prompted me to dig up some old pics and to tell the story about my first car...

This is the story of my first car..  We got it back in 1989 from a little old lady which at the time was in her 70s.  The car sold new at our local dealership of Wilson County Motors by her neighbor across the street.  After a few years Mrs. Brockett bought the car from her neighbor and drove the car daily for many years.  Sadly in 1978 she and 2 of her friends were T-boned and the car was parked surprisingly enough at her neighbor’s house across the street in their garage.  11 years go by and the car is forgotten about by many.  My father being the Camaro guy of Lebanon and always looking for cars to buy, sell and trade heard from another gentleman that he knew where a 79 Camaro was  that had been sitting for many years..  Now at the time I didn't have much of anything money wise as I was just 11yrs old but I had saved up a couple hundred bucks from chores around the house and mowing years, birthday money, Christmas money etc..  Dad came home that day and told me about the car..  I have to be honest when I heard it was a 79 I wasn't that excited and honestly didn't even want to waste the time to go over there to see the car..  But after agreeing we decided we would go look.  The next day which was about a week or so before Thanksgiving; dad gets with the guy to find out where, when and who we needed to get in contact with to see the car..   While getting all the info the guy would say 79 and then a few minutes later mention something about a 69..  Dad said wait a second; is it a 79 or 69..??..  The guy admitted he couldn't remember but he knew it was one or the other.  So that weekend we headed over to Mrs. Brockett's house in our '76 Nova SS with another buddy Flynn just in case we needed an extra set of hands or driver..  When we got there this frail little lady came to the door and we introduced ourselves and she said "Oohh yes so and so said you wanted to come look at and maybe buy my old car!!"..  As we walked across the street and got the neighbors garage I was boiling over with anxiety and excitement..  Remember I was only 11 and a young Camaro nut that was taking after his father.  Mrs. Brockett made the comment; as we stood there in front of the garage door waiting on the keys, well I hope you boys know what you are doing as my insurance back then said that the car was totaled so we just brought it back and put it this garage and honestly forgot about the ole thing..  At that point I didn't know what to expect but as the garage door swung open it was like we were archaeologist opening the tomb of some fallen king or great warrior..!!..  Well it definitely wasn't a ZL1 (king) or L78 or Z28 (warrior)...  But it WAS a 1st gen Camaro!!  After looking it over and seeing the damage we agreed upon a price and we began process of rolling her out into the daylight.   Once we got the title in hand, the logging chain tied to the frame of the Camaro and to the bumper of the Nova, dad hopped in the Camaro and tossed Flynn the keys to the Nova and said take it easy as I don’t know how good these brakes are..  As we tore outta there with the Camaro in tow Flynn looked over at me as he grabbed a pair of my mom’s flowery sunglasses (he had forgotten his in his car at the house) and said; "hey you wanna mess with your dad??"  Of course I wasn’t much on pissing off the old man but for some reason I thought it would be funny so I said; Sure!!..  Flynn matted the gas and we were doing 70 in no time..  Now remember this was the weekend before Thanksgiving and it was colder than a well diggers ass that day and the passenger side door & quarter glass on the Camaro was busted out and it had sketchy brakes at best..  As I looked over the back of the front seat I see my dad holding his arm out of the window shaken his fist at Flynn I knew that I wasn’t gonna be the one in the cross hairs when we got home..  Needless to say, we made it home safe and after threatening to whoop Flynn's hind end; we all got a good laugh about the adventure of the day..   

 
The 76 Nova that serviced as the tow vehicle for the day.




The 69 as we saw it for the first time in the neighbor of the owners garage.
 

Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

cook_dw

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2016, 12:38:00 PM »
Thanksgiving Day 1990, Bodywork and Paint

A year had gone by and not much of anything had been done to my Camaro but today was the day and while mom was inside doing her thing with making the feast and preparing for the rest of the extended family to arrive; dad and I were busy out in the garage looking over and inspecting my car..  Looking back on it now, I had spent my childhood up to that point in the garage, junk yards/salvage yards working on cars (or in my case being the wrench monkey or “hey hold this”) but this was something different..  This was gonna be MY car..!!.   As we changed the oil, coolant, replaced the plugs, cap & rotor and drain & refilled the gas tank; it was time to fire this beast.  With a new battery set in ready to light the spark to the “mountain motor” of a 307, I stepped on the throttle several times while turning the key.  And then all of a sudden with a belch and a fart the engine roared to life but I quickly realized this wasn’t as cool as sitting in dads 68 when he would start it up and we would head out to a car show or cruise-in..  Even though the experience was short lived as fuel was spraying out of every orifice of the mighty 2bbl the engine was alive and I had myself a running, almost driving ride..  Oh yeah, to say I had a shit eatin’ grin on my face the entire day would have been an understatement.. 

     As the year came to an end, I quickly realized that we had a long way to go with getting my car presentable and ready for the road.  As many have done, this was not the only project that was going on in the Cook household.  Dad was working on the first pace car during this time as well..  So it was expected that my car was taking a back seat but we would work on it from time to time.  This was fine by me as I was completely out of cash and didn’t have the income being a 12yr old kid as what money I did save was gone from the purchase of the car or at least the majority of the payment.  But dad being the great father picked up the slack and helped me with whatever was needed, which was a lot as the car had to be put on a frame machine and pulled back out.  It was funny to hear the guys in the body shop of Wilson Co Motors.  The main frame guy was concerned as he said that ole frame machine was ah poppin’ and ah moanin’ and making sounds they had never heard before..  Thankfully it all worked out and the frame and body was back into its somewhat original shape.  It also got a GM quarter on the passenger side and  GM fender on the driver.  Once the car was back and the carb rebuilt it was time to hang a good used passenger door on the car.  With a little persuasion and a little luck the door was on and everything looked good. 

     Next on the check off list was the paint..  Being that the car was originally Frost Green with dark green interior; I like many at the time, was not a fan of the color..  Regret it now but what’s done is done.    I wanted to go with a blue and wanted to swap the interior to black and from the words of my dad;  “that interior is too cherry to pull it out and swap it and until your ass gets a job, Im not paying for it!!”  Needless to say the interior stayed green..  Although he tried to persuade me that Frost was would be pretty color in a base clear; I knew what I wanted and if I couldn’t have it then I wanted Rallye Green..  Looking back; I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground and should have listened to the old man but what did he know..  I was almost a teenager now and I KNEW what was and what WASN’T cool…  We are in 1991 by this time and we are taking the car over to the paint and body guys house occasionally on weekends so we would do the prep and work with him looking over to make sure we are doing everything we needed to do correctly or at least in this eyes since he would be the one laying the paint.  This helped with the cost plus we learned a little bit about that side of the restorations.  But before we started doing the sanding, blocking, filling and priming we needed to get it down to bare metal and a fresh surface to see what we were working with here..  You have to realize that Lebanon being a small town there were a lot of things done; like in many small towns across America, that most today would think as environmentally damaging or dangerous.  The local Walmart had a small little self-serve car wash in front of it and to the right and just behind the Hardees..   So with $20 bucks in hand we venture off into said Walmart and get us a couple gallons of aircraft paint stripper..   And you guessed it rolled on over to the very back of the car wash stalls and began pouring out and spreading the stripper onto the cars paint..  Then with a few quarters and a putty knife we spatula’d that old lacquer paint off the car and pressure washed it into the drain.!!.  Which btw just happened to dump off into the local town creek..  Yeah we were dumb but we didn’t know any better!  After running out and sending me back to Walmart to buy the last of their stripper I come walking up to dad talking with a man that seemed a little concerned as to what we were doing..  Come to find out one of our local “good Samaritan” tree hugger types called the owner of the car wash to tell them that someone was washing toxic chemicals down his drains.  As I walked up I asked dad who was that?  Thinking it was a fellow car guy curious about the car.  He said that was the owner and he’s giving us 30 mins to finish up and make it look like we were never here.   Needless to say the stall was spotless and everything was diluted down so that no living creatures were harmed as a result.

     Since I was at the age that sports were a major part of my past time and since most of my games were on Saturdays; dad would do the majority of the bodywork so I could continue with my sports..   Obviously Im not in the Hall of Fame or a multi-millionaire retired athlete but the fact that he sacrificed his time and energy so I could try new things and expand my abilities was to say the least, amazingly generous.  Now it’s time to lay the paint and we found a another local paint booth that we were given the ok to use but the problem was the heat in the booth was down and it was 40° outside so we ended up bringing a kerosene heater to try and warm everything up past 70°..  As one would imagine the old kerosene heater trick didn’t work out so well and we ended up with a butt load of orange peel..  So that set things back a couple months but finally in the spring of 1992 we got a clean coat of base clear and back to the house to finish up..  Now remember this is gonna be a teenagers first car so this wasn’t a top shelf A+++ paint job but for a couple of rednecks from Tennessee it turned out pretty good!!  Of course later that summer the car was finished and back to looking like a kickass Camaro..  The major problem with all of this was I was only 14!!!  Argghhh..  I did however with dad riding shotgun would drive that beast every chance I got..  My parents even took it on vacation the following year because..  Well..  They could!!  That and it had A/C and it was a Camaro obviously.  Another memorable moment was when we took the car over to Mrs. Brockett’s house to show her what her old car looks like now.  As she came out of her front door she looked it over and said, “ see you boys put one of those humps on the hood and that little flip on the trunk”..  You could tell her seeing her old car even though it wasn’t exactly as how she remembered it gave her joy and happiness to see it back on the car again..  Sadly though not long after that Mrs. Brockett passed away.  Later that year we entered it into the Lebanon Christmas Parade and I watched as they (mom & dad) cruised it down West Main Street with a big red bow on the front and rear bumpers; I must say it looked pretty dang good and I know Mrs. Brockett would have been proud..!!.


This picture was from that Thanksgiving Day after we had put it back under the shed.  Remember that shit eatin' grin..?.





Pop's workin' hard on getting that fender nice and smooth...





Finally to have some visual progress of all the hard work and to get some shiny paint!!





All the trim and chrome are back on.  Also notice that I knew early on that the mighty 307 would not stay between the fenders forever..   8)





Christmas Parade!  With mom just ah wavin' and a smilin'.   ;D

Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

cook_dw

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2016, 02:07:40 PM »
The day I turned 16.

It was; like every kid at the age of 16, a day that will never be forgotten.  I begged my mother to run me over to the driving center so I could take my test and get that prized possession of the driver’s license..   Nervous as hell and white knuckling the steering wheel at the 10 & 2 positions we ( the instructor and I) made our lap around town and within an hour I was at home with my fresh off the printer license in my wallet and the keys to my 69 in my hand and the door handle in the other..  I swear I blew every dollar I had that day and night driving around town, going to buddies houses and taking every back road I saw just because I could and I was lovin’ it..  I must have put a thousand miles on it that day..  lol  Not sure I mentioned but my birthday is in the middle of summer so I did a ton of driving..  One weekend several friends and I all piled into the Camaro and headed off as we had our sights set of downtown Nashville!!  We are cruising down I40 enjoying some left handed smokes we roll up on an early 90’s Ford Lightning..  As dumb kids would do we rolled up next to him and I hear him throw the hammer down so I do the same..  I was quickly reminded that the mighty 307 was a mighty pile of dog turds when it came to performance..  That was the first time I had been in a “race” and was given the big “L”..  I was embarrassed but screw it we had smoke and we were gonna have a good time!!  I think we finally made it back home around 3am..  I will say this about the 307..  It was dependable as could be as it never left me stranded and it was also stealthily quite..  I could slide into the house undetected..  At least I thought so..  I was awakened 3 hours later by my dad telling me to get up we are going to a swap meet!!  I rarely turned down the opportunity to go scouring for parts with pops as I called my dad..  He just made every trip whether it was to a swap meet, car show or to the dump an adventure..  Needless to say I didn’t go out that night and slept from the minute my backside hit the door to the following morning when I had to get up to go to work..


This pic was from very first car show..  Yeah I didnt place..  lol





Another shot of the car after one of the weekly car washes I would do after I turned 16..

Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

69Z28-RS

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2016, 03:03:59 PM »
.....

All the trim and chrome are back on.  Also notice that I knew early on that the mighty 307 would not stay between the fenders forever..   8)




nice story....
.. :)  So those '350' emblems for your front fenders were your FIRST PERFORMANCE UPGRADE...  :)
Gary W / 09C 69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood tint
69 Corvette convertible, silver/black 350 hp,
60 Corvette white/red, 72 Corvette coupe, '70 Mach I 
90 ZR1 red/red #246, 90 ZR1 white/gray #2466
72 El Camino, '55-'56-'57 Nomads, '55-'57 B/A Sedan

cook_dw

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2016, 03:30:29 PM »
Im still working on the rest of the story..  The next chapter is the first performance upgrade and parts swap section of the story.
Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

janobyte

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2016, 09:00:46 PM »
Nice story. Keep it coming. Yea, I grew up in the garage also.
68 Z/28  born with: 302, drive line, etc..

cook_dw

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2016, 04:09:27 AM »
Time for More Powahhh.!!.
Now at the age of 17 and being young dumb and full of….   Well you get the idea..  I wanted and needed more horsepower..  I was quickly becoming a junkie of power and speed.  After spending the summer of ’94 & ‘95 working my butt off saving and buying parts and when off work;  and of course when I got the blessing from the old man I would get his black 68 SS/RS L34 Camaro out for a night of “cruising”..  This wasn’t a numbers car as the original engine was long gone and dad had built a fair strong L78 that was in it.  I cut my teeth sorta speak with that car and street racing..  Although it didn’t last but one summer as he ended up selling it; not on purpose might I add, when he shot off that he’d sell it for X amount of money and the guy showed up the next weekend with trailer in tow and cash in hand; the car went to Alabama..  To say that I was crushed was an understatement..  Ok back on track now..  So where was I..  Oh yeah, bustin’ anus and savin’ mucho dinero..   By this time I had found my niche of work in the auto parts world at Advance Auto Parts..  I would use my parts knowledge by buying rebuilt master cylinders that just so happen to have 307 & 346 castings with the bleeder screws and stampings of WT & US..  Yeah those GM guys go nuts for stuff like that..  I was able to flip them for a decent price and at the same time use my employee discount on performance parts like my camshaft  and my super badass roller tip Comp Cams rockers!!..  Hey don’t laugh..  It took me 2 pay checks of summer work (almost 40hrs a week) to pay for those bad boys..  As I continue to source parts and collect everything I need I am able with the help of “pops” score a sweet M20 trans, 12 bolt and 3.55 posi, 010 standard bore block, a set of 186 heads; which the local machine shop screwed me on by charging me $300 labor for doing the work but that’s another story..  That winter was spent building the engine..  It was awesome!!  10.5 to 1 pistons, 280 hyd Comp cam, Edelbrock Performer intake and a Holley 600 carb..  Also went through the trans with dads help as this was the first for me..  As winter began to slowly become spring in the early part of ’96, the first thing we done was swap out the limp pecker of a 3rd member that was under the car which was a 10 bolt with 2.73 gears..  Yeah it was a turd..  So much so that it wouldn’t even turn the tires over unless it was wet..  Trust me, I tried!!  It was amazing what a gear change would do to that tired ole 307 & powerglide..  It went from not being able to pull a greasy string out of a cat’s ass to a tire smoking, rubber layin’ mouse motor..  Ok maybe it wasn’t that great but considering I was now able to do a burnout I was excited..  After about a month of this it was well into spring and it was time to break out the surgical gloves and get to work..  As the engine was lifted out of its compartment for the first time in its life I had a lot of pressure washing and scrubbing that needed to be done..  As many people of that era spray paint satin or semi-gloss black was your best friend and that was how you’d dress up a tired engine compartment when you were installing a fresh-n-shiny engine between the fenders..


This was the black (actually originally Ash Gold) L34 car.  M21 & BU coded 12 bolt







The 350 in all its glory!  I know what you are thinking..  That kid was straight ballin' with those sweet Comp roller tip rockers!  Yeah at least I thought I was at the time..
 






Behold the mighty 307 and its tire smoking, pavement shreddin' strenufff..  With just a little help from the newly installed 12 bolt and 3.55 posi.

Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

camaroboy68ss

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2016, 05:08:35 AM »
super awesome story! I can relate since my 68 was my first car at 8 and restored over the next 7 years with my grandfather. Wish we used the paint stripper. My grandpa handed me a long board and some sandpaper and pointed to the door. lol.
Young gun with a Camaro or 3.
1968 Camaro RS L30/M20
2000 Camaro SS Convertible
2017 Camaro SS

cook_dw

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2016, 02:20:42 PM »
Thanks..  Next installment.

The Maiden Voyage
After a long week and week of the install; mainly due to the shitty Hooker Comp headers I had bought at our closest Super Shops in Donelson..  Hey everybody remembers Super Shops!!  The place you went to get your performance parts..  I mean I went all out on those headers too..  I stripped them down to bare metal and bought the high dollar VHT and sprayed them down and like many they were rusted in a month..  So the headers are on, the engine has fresh oil and the coolant has been filled..  Im in the driver’s seat with dad working the distributor and timing light..  Now this was a work night; Tuesday night as a matter of fact, and it’s about 8:30-9:00pm at night.  I reach up with my hand, start pumping the loud pedal with my foot and turn the ignition..  Suddenly I have a quick flashback of the first time I had done this several years before but all of a sudden I am jolted back into reality when this little mouse motor ignites those gases in the chambers and this thing with its open headers roars to life and Im getting chills!!!  I hop out and watch and learn as dad sets the timing at 35° of total timing..  I reach in and hit the kill switch and stand back as smoke and steam are rolling off the headers from the oils from our hands of the install and the smells of that shiny fresh paint start to bake in..  We hurry and throw the hood on it and as we tighten up the 4 bolts and check to make sure its aligned we close the hood..   It’s around 9:30 or so by this time and I look at pops and say; “let’s try it out..”  He smiles and says “I know that’s right!”  As he starts walking to the passenger’s side I say where you going..  He looks at me a little confused and I say, “You’re driving!”  We get in and he hits the key and all I hear is the vibration in my head from the open exhaust.  We back out of the driveway and as we stop for that few seconds as he goes from reverse to first; I’ll never forget this for the rest of my life btw, he says to me; “Its either gonna go!!  Or its gonna blow!!..   Before I could fully process what he was saying that engine rev’d up to what seemed like 9K and he side stepped the clutch it was like I was kicked in the ass and on a rocket!   As we blasted off down the road with the tires begging and screaming for mercy all I could see down that dark night road was the headlights dancing as he was bangin’ gears laughin’ and ah grinin’ the whole way.. 


Shortly after the removal and during the cleanup.





The old heart after serving its host for over 110K miles.





This shot was over at a high school buddies house not long after the engine swap.

Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

69Z28-RS

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2016, 04:20:42 PM »
Your dad believed in the same 'break in' method as I've always followed, as it goes back to what I'd heard from my own 'Day 1'...  ie.. " Break them in the way you are going to drive them!"   ;)
Gary W / 09C 69Z28-RS, 72 B 720 cowl console rosewood tint
69 Corvette convertible, silver/black 350 hp,
60 Corvette white/red, 72 Corvette coupe, '70 Mach I 
90 ZR1 red/red #246, 90 ZR1 white/gray #2466
72 El Camino, '55-'56-'57 Nomads, '55-'57 B/A Sedan

z28z11

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2016, 05:28:34 PM »
Great story, Darrell. At the very least, now we know why Town Creek has six-legged frogs, and two-headed fish with no tails, colored slightly Frost Green -

Just kidding, of course, but an inspiring story for all of us. Too few of those kind of memories being generated by the current generations - I'm afraid we are starting down the Jurassic path in terms of car fiends and fanatics.

Regards,
Steve
1968 Z28 M21/U17 BRG/W
1969 Z28 X77/M20/VE3 LeMans/W
1969 L78 X66/N66 Cortez/BVT
1969 Z11 L48/M35/C60/C06

janobyte

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2016, 08:45:46 PM »
Very nice.
Not much excites me anymore, maybe it's an age thing. I do remember/miss that in your gut excitement going for a "test ride" with Dad when I was a kid.
68 Z/28  born with: 302, drive line, etc..

cook_dw

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2016, 10:06:32 PM »
Your dad believed in the same 'break in' method as I've always followed, as it goes back to what I'd heard from my own 'Day 1'...  ie.. " Break them in the way you are going to drive them!"   ;)

Yes he did..  He always told me; "there is a fine line between hot rodding one and raw doggin'..  Once you figure that out you will be in good shape.."  Sadly I have known many that never have found that line..

Great story, Darrell. At the very least, now we know why Town Creek has six-legged frogs, and two-headed fish with no tails, colored slightly Frost Green -

Just kidding, of course, but an inspiring story for all of us. Too few of those kind of memories being generated by the current generations - I'm afraid we are starting down the Jurassic path in terms of car fiends and fanatics.

Regards,
Steve

So right Steve..  Back then no one (i.e. us) didnt think anything about it being harmful.  Also I am afraid you are correct in your other comment..  Less and less are having that passion and excitement for these cars..  Sadly that is just the way it is going..  Hopefully it'll turn around at some point.

Very nice.
Not much excites me anymore, maybe it's an age thing. I do remember/miss that in your gut excitement going for a "test ride" with Dad when I was a kid.

Jano, Id be lying if I said I didnt still get chills when driving these cars..  Granted its just not the same without dad around but yesterday I went and fired the ole green machine and took it for a short drive just to move the fluids around and get it warm and I have to say I still get that same feeling I did the very first time I drove it..  That is another good memory and story I have that I might share at some point..
Darrell Cook

Contact me if you have a 68 L78/L89 Camaro to add it to my database.

camaroboy68ss

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2016, 05:54:38 AM »
Jano, Id be lying if I said I didnt still get chills when driving these cars..  Granted its just not the same without dad around but yesterday I went and fired the ole green machine and took it for a short drive just to move the fluids around and get it warm and I have to say I still get that same feeling I did the very first time I drove it..  That is another good memory and story I have that I might share at some point..

Usually the "short drive" to move the fluids with my grandfather usually involved squaking the tires, hitting triple digits on a old back road and laughing the entire time, lol. Learned a lot during those times riding passenger as a kid. Like how a 67 427/435hp corvette with side pipes is the greatest sounding thing at 6-7k rpm! I agree with you I still get chills when I hop in one of the old cars as well.
Young gun with a Camaro or 3.
1968 Camaro RS L30/M20
2000 Camaro SS Convertible
2017 Camaro SS

aerialpacer

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Re: This is the story of my first car.
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2017, 11:15:39 PM »
Nice read. Thanks for sharing your story.