NO ONE FORGETS THEIR FIRST CAR HOW I BECAME THE OWNER OF A 1967 CHEVY CAMARO I recently learned that during this month in 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T to the world for the very first time. Can you imagine what it must have been like for drivers of that time to adapt to a change as big as that one? When you drive along Californian roadways now, you’ll lose count of the various makes and models speeding past. But, if you tried to explain this vehicle variety to early 20th-century drivers, they would likely shake their heads in disbelief. Whenever I think about the impact of Ford’s invention, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the very first car I ever called mine. Many teenagers tell horror stories of their first vehicle, remembering days filled with broken heaters and no air conditioners. But my experience was entirely different, and I feel so lucky because of it. Growing up, my family had a next-door neighbor named Henry. He was an older bachelor who was extremely kind to my brothers and me. From the time we were kids all the way through high school, we’d always stop by Henry’s house to say a quick hello, and he’d greet us with a smile and a handful of candy. By the time I was 16, Henry sadly started to lose his eyesight, and his doctors said he’d be completely blind before long.
of his garage — a gold, 1967 Chevy Camaro. He walked over to me and said, “Matt, I know you’re just about the age where you can get your driver’s license. Any chance you’d be interested in my Camaro?” I was baffled by his offer. I’d spent years riding around in the back seat of my older brothers’ muscle cars, and, while Henry’s Camaro was a base model with a straight six-cylinder engine (which made it a definite anti-muscle car), it was a classic beauty. I knew I’d love to have it, but I probably couldn’t afford it. When I asked Henry how much money he wanted for it, he shocked both my parents and me by saying he just wanted to give it to me. In the end, I paid exactly one dollar to cover the transaction fee, and I was the official owner of an exquisite ‘67 Camaro. In the years that followed, it became a fun project car for me. After some initial body work, new tires, and replacing the hub caps with nice mags, I found a family friend who offered to cover the gold paint job with a bright Porsche red.
college with it. I had some long-term plans of putting in a new engine so it wouldn’t just look like a race car but actually drive like one, too. But when it started to have some transmission issues, as a broke college student, I couldn’t afford to fix all that needed fixing. After years spent admiring my old car, I unfortunately had to sell it. While I still think about my old Camaro today, I’m so grateful to Henry for taking a chance on a teenager and giving it to me all those years ago. Not very many people can say they got their first car through such an inspiring, kind, and amazing gesture. I grew up with that Camaro, and it carried me through a lot of important life experiences. In fact, my wife still makes jokes, claiming one of the reasons I won her over in college was because I had such a cool car! As I drive to and from work every day, I make sure to keep my eyes peeled for any and all cars that resemble my first. Maybe someday I’ll be able to relive those fun teen years and buy another one.
One day, I was out mowing my parents’ lawn when Henry backed his car out
I happily drove the car all through high school and eventually ventured off to
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