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On February 14 when I was 15 1/2 years-old, my parents were in the driveway of our neighbor’s home and called me over. When I got to the driveway, my mom clicked the garage door opener and revealed a Rally Green 1968 Z/28 Camaro with a sign on the windshield saying Happy Valentines Day. I was overwhelmed with excitement as it was exactly the car I had been longing for. The only problem was I had to endure seven months until I was sixteen and able to drive. My dad put the car under a cover and placed it in our backyard. I would come home from school and start it daily, and I even washed it at least three times a week.
Finally, the day came when I got my driver’s license! On my way home to drive it I had an accident and severely broke my left ankle and clutch foot. I ended up in a soft cast for three weeks with my leg elevated before I was finally fitted with a hard cast and crutches. That weekend my dad was doing yardwork when I hobbled out to my car. He asked what I was doing and I told him I just wanted to start the Camaro. He said that I knew I couldn’t drive it. When I sat in the car, I lifted my leg and placed my cast on the clutch, I told myself I think I could do this. I waited until my dad turned his back, and then I took off for my first drive.
He wasn’t happy when I returned, however let me show him how I could drive. To make a long story short, I got into nothing but trouble. After two exhibitions of speeding, one drag racing ticket and a very minor accident, my parents took the car away and sold it in 1973.
In 1985 my dad was restoring a ‘57 Chevy Bel Air and was trying to get me to buy a ‘55 or ‘56 Chevy, I told him the only car I wanted was to have my Camaro Z/28 back. He got a real laugh at that and told me after twelve years I’d never find it again. He would be wrong. During a DMV visit, I had a car loving employee give me a printout on the car. I followed it and ended up in places in LA I never should have been. Finally, I found the car in Bakersfield where it had been purchased by another car lover for his sixteen-year-old son.
The car had been stored for twelve years, there were only 42,000 miles on it and it looked exactly the same as when my family sold it. By 1987 the son wanted a truck instead of the Camaro, and after fourteen years I bought my car back –at a price a bit higher than the $1,300 my day had sold it for. For the past thirty-six years my car has remained in my garage and only sees occasional car shows, usually with my son usually taking it. The Camaro is unrestored and, if I do say so myself, looks incredible for its age. Now we’re on the third generation of those who love it as my grandson is now four.
–Randy R., California