THE WAY WE WERE

Re­liv­ing the Jour­ney From Day One to Day Two

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Larry Weiner with Steve Tem­ple Pho­tos by Steve Tem­ple and Larry Weiner

Re­liv­ing the jour­ney from day one to day two

Afa­mous writer once claimed you can’t go home again, re­fer­ring to all the changes that take place in the un­fair pas­sage of time. Well, that might not al­ways be true, at least in the case of my 1967 Camaro SS350.

As a life­long mus­cle car en­thu­si­ast who came of age in the mid 1960s, I can per­son­ally vouch for the fast-grow­ing trend to re­store clas­sic mus­cle cars in au­then­tic day-two style. The fact is the vast ma­jor­ity of us who pur­chased a mus­cle car ei­ther new or used in the 1960s and early 1970s mod­i­fied it as soon as pos­si­ble. We couldn’t wait to re­move the stock parts and re­place them with af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories as fast as our bud­get al­lowed. Since many of us were still in high school or re­cent grads, with lim­ited funds and of­ten­times equally lim­ited me­chan­i­cal knowl­edge and tools, we found ways to add parts and ac­ces­sories like those we saw in car mag­a­zines. Adding these parts not only dif­fer­en­ti­ated our pride-and-joy from gar­den-va­ri­ety cars, but also showed that our cars were cool and, by ex­ten­sion, so were we.

Cus­tom wheels (we called them mags); larger, wider tires; trac­tion bars; and even cus­tom hoods were rea­son­ably af­ford­able and didn’t re­quire spe­cial­ized tools or tal­ent to in­stall, so they were pop­u­lar mod­i­fi­ca­tions, es­pe­cially since they made such a strong vis­ual state­ment.

Un­der the hood, finned alu­minum valve cov­ers, cus­tom air clean­ers and chrome ac­ces­sories, and brightly col­ored spark plug wires were sure­fire ways to gain real street cred in the eyes of our peers. For hard­core per­for­mance, head­ers, alu­minum in­take man­i­folds, and larger carbs were proven ways to in­crease power. And no self-re­spect­ing mus­cle car would have been com­plete with­out a set of Cherry Bombs, Thrush Turbo Muf­flers, or glass packs.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that in many cases, these ac­ces­sories were added in­cre­men­tally, one or two at a time. We had to save the money be­fore we could pur­chase parts and ac­ces­sories, so most day-two cars were a con­tin­u­ous work in progress.

The Jour­ney Be­gins

My day-two jour­ney started in earnest when I pur­chased a Tuxedo Black 1967 Camaro SS350. A very early Nor­wood, Ohio, car built in Au­gust 1966, the Camaro was bone stock when I bought it from the orig­i­nal owner in the spring of 1969. It didn’t stay stock very long. As fast as my mod­est bud­get al­lowed, I equipped it with many of the same parts and ac­ces­sories that Nickey, Yenko, and Bald­win-Mo­tion used on the cars they built.

I had a lot of good times with my Camaro, but like many of us dur­ing the Viet­nam War who got “welcome let­ters” from Un­cle Sam or had the mis­for­tune of draw­ing a low draft num­ber in the lot­tery, I had to sell it prior to leav­ing for ba­sic train­ing in the Army in the fall of 1971. Talk about seller’s re­morse! I knew that I had made a mis­take let­ting it go as I watched the new owner drive it away.

n Here’s my first 1967 Camaro, with which I sadly parted ways when I was called up for duty dur­ing the Viet­nam War. But I was able to find a suit­able re­place­ment decades later.

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