1967 Camaro just prior to my Southeast Asia Adventure

First new car I owned was a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Took a while to find what was wanted: V-8 (had trouble mentally with this one - had a string of old Jaguars befor this culminating is a truely awsome Devin Jag - had this belief that 3 - 4 liters was "enough" (Devin would smoke the Dunlop RS-5s going into third close to the ton) and Pontiac had this new overhead cam 6...).

Fortunately it would be the next month before Pontiac announced the Firebird and at the time I was not as wired into Pontiac as I am now. So the 327 small block was the best choice available.

At any rate my Jag heritage required things like disk brakes, heavy duty everything, full instrumentation (in the dash, no add-ons for me & my favorite article of all time was "How I learned to stop worrying and ignore the oil pressure", but then the vital sign of life in a Jaguar 6 was 40 psi at 3000 rpm. Drop below and expensive sounds ensue shortly.). In muscle car country, a four-speed and positraction was not hard to find but air conditioning on top of everything else was (factory evidently figured anyone wanting a/c *obviously* wanted an automatic.

One thing I did NOT want was the SS package with the fake chrome stacks in the hood. Thought it looked rediculous (ones on my Judge are real and feed an under hood cold air induction system). Just as well since that first year 350 cid engine was plagued with crankshaft failures.

As I was about to give up and take the 12 week hit for an order (and at 19, 12 weeks was an eternity), I found one in at a dealer in Lake Worth Florida with everything almost.- didn't have power steering but being strong in body but not mind, I didn't care. Did not realize what a toll the five turns lock to lock would take in an autocross. Did later and and fitted Corvair "quick steering" arms. Three and a half turn lock to lock but you did not try to turn the wheel while stopped - great for upper torso development though.

Was in the USAF and stationed at Cape Canaveral (Kennedy to those of you who do not remember Idlewild either) and had an equally insane friend with a 1966 GT-350 Mustang - real one - who was also into autocrossing. Back in the bad old daze we were both in A sedan class which was generally for people who really did not know what they were doing or knew how to do it in a straight line only. Then Joe and I would show up.

Do know that it is amazing what yout and competion can do and we would put on a show (after a while it got so that A sedan ran last to keep the crowd for the trophy presentation. Something about my habit of crossing the finish line while rotating...)

One thing led to another. Parts were plentiful. Joe got to know Caroll and I found Vince Piggins. He put on an inline dual quad, I produced a cross-ram setup. Both of us added rear wheel disk brakes and better wheels/tires (in the picture it has American Racing wheels and 10.45x15 tires on all four - really filled the wheel wells). Improve the engine and the transmission would break. Put on extra-sticky Goodyear Blue Streaks and the differential would go. It was really funny, these two full road race cars showing up at every autocross around (AF stated that real road racing was too dangerous for government property - us). Even funnier were the jokes I used to get about the air conditioning.

Almost visible are the exhausts which exitted right in front of the rear wheels - free exhaust helped achive enough speed to hold the high bank at Daytona. Is also the reason for something else: At the time ADDCO was probably the biggest supplier of sway bars in the country. I needed "more" and went up to Riviera Beach to have some custom made to my specs - if I could carry the inside tire over the base of a pylon, the arc of the turn was increased by almost six inches. In an eight foot gate this was important.

Mine was the first Camaro the people had seen so they used it as a model and they put the rear bar in the most accessable space. What they did not know until after the dies were made was that the bar occupied the same space behind the rear axle as the stock muffler. Oh well.

However the end result was not so wonderful. Since I was under 21, at the time the car could not be registered/titled to me (could be sent to Vietnam but not legally own a car), was in my mother's name instead. While in SEA, my sister needed a car. Being unable to handle the Camaro, it was sold and when I returned the family '66 Caprice Powerslide complete with plastic flowers everywhere was presented to me as replacement. Such a deal.