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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Classic Car Stories - My Three Camaros, One Good, One Bad and One Great!

1970 Camaro (The Good)
Great looking car that I bought from my friend, Tom.  The picture above is the exact color of mine with the black vinyl top. It was absolutely the best handling car that I have ever driven (the exception being the “Active Handling” 1999 Corvette that I had).  You could almost throw that Camaro into a corner sideways, drift through it and never feel like you were out of control.  Unfortunately, it was way short on power with a small 307 V-8 engine with a measly 200 HP.  It would have been a fantastic car with the more powerful 350 in it, but the heavier engine might have had a negative effect on the great handling.  I sure would have liked to have found out!  There was an LS6 option available that year with a 450 HP 454 cubic inch monster motor in it!

1984 Camaro (The Bad)
The Camaros of the 1980’s in my opinion, left a lot to be desired.  The ‘84 I had was a well used beater that I bought and drove while saving up cash for a Corvette.  If you think that ‘70 Camaro with a 200 HP 307 was underpowered, this had a 305 making all of 150 HP!  It wasn’t a bad looking car, but what a sled it was.  Even brand new, I would not have liked it.  Before the major redesign of the Camaro for the 1993 model year, the assembly lines were so worn out that the factory resorted to glueing some body panels together to keep them from separating after production. What probably made it worse in my mind, I owned a '93 Camaro before the '84 and was able to compare the two!

My 1993 Z-28

1993 Camaro (The Great!)
One of the best cars I have ever owned.  I've often thought I should have kept that car, put some money into making it a super-car, instead of buying the 1999 Corvette.  There were so many aftermarket speed parts available for them. You never seem to know what you've had ‘till it’s gone! The former blog I wrote on the ‘93 is below, Dan
One of the great cars I have been fortunate to own during my life was this 1993 Camaro.  This was the first year of the completely redesigned new model.  Frankly, the previous generation of the Camaro was not very good.  The worn out assembly lines were so poor that Chevy resorted to gluing some of the body panels together.  I started reading about a new model coming out that would use the LT1 Corvette motor in the high performance Z28 version.  And the Z28 would cost many thousands less than the Corvette!

Well, it took quite a few months to convince my wife that we really “needed” this car!  Finally, one day I got her into a dealership to look and at least sit in the car.  Immediately, she complained that she couldn’t see the front of the car and she would be unable to drive it.  I finally wore her down.  After promising her that I would put something on the front end of the car so she would know where it is, she agreed. (That’s what the antennas are for on the license plate bracket!)

Then came my wake up call!  We had gone to a Chevrolet dealer in Green Bay which was a much bigger city than the small town I was living in.  Although our little town of Crivitz had a Chevy dealer, I believed that I could get a better deal in the “big” city.  I walked up to a salesman and asked what kind of a deal he could make me on a new Z28? His response was something to the effect that they were selling every Camaro that came in.  I said “that's fine, I can special order one and wait”.  He then said they were getting about $2000.00 over “sticker” for them!  I said something to the effect that it would be cold day in you know where before I let anyone rip me off like that!  I then turned around and headed out the door.

The next day, I went in to see our small town Chevy dealer, the salesman was also a co-owner of the dealership.  Knowing that they didn’t have any new Camaros in stock, I walked up to him said hello.  I just stated in matter of fact way that I wanted to buy a new Z28 Camaro, I was willing to wait to have it built and wanted to patronize a local dealer.  I then stated that I knew what the invoice pricing to the dealer was and I was willing to give him $900.00 over his invoice.  I about fell over when, without even hesitating, he said “sure”!  We went to his office to spec the car and about an hour later we had a deal.  Ed Banaszak of Banaszak Chevrolet retired many years ago (the dealership has been sold), but he was a good guy to buy a car from and I’ll always be grateful.

Indeed, production was behind schedule and I ended up waiting a couple months for the car.  In fact, during this wait I had decided to transfer out to Utah with Ryder in July and the car still hadn’t been built. The dealer worked with me and we were able to change the delivery point to Salt Lake City with another dealer doing the final setup.  It was a long wait, but it was worth it.  That was a great car and I kept it for 5 years and about 40000 miles!  Had a lot of fun with it and it's a great classic car story.

Other of my car story posts:
Classic Car Stories:1970 Pontiac GTO - Dick Hands me the Keys!
Classic Car Stories: My Buddy's 1968 Plymouth GTX
Classic Car Stories: My Hemi Chrysler
Classic Car Stories: My 1965 Buick GS400
Classic Car Stories: Mopar Man to Chevrolet
Classic Car Stories: My Second Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My First Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My 1993 Camaro Z28

Classic Car Stories: Mom's 1961 Plymouth Valient
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