The `67 Camaro Comes Home

A week ago, I did something uncharacteristically impulsive…or stupid: I bought a 1967 Camaro Sports Coupe at the 33rd annual Owls Head Transportation Museum auction in Maine.

The 200 cars up for auction were going for short money. A mint 1989 Jag XJS convertible with a V-12 and only 34k original miles went for $13,000. Many, many deals and I am hoping I got one of them…no sense in hiding what I paid because you can look it up on the auction’s web site (mine was car # 135). The good news is that it was appraised, according to it owners, for $36,000. I paid about a third of that.

As for impulsiveness, I totally got caught up in the moment. After a desirous 1967 and 1968 Chevelle SuperSport 396s went for well above my budget, I still hankered for a car. The Camaro came up and I prevailed against two other bidders. It pays to come to one of these auctions as a spectator, but I didn’t exactly follow that advice. It’s very easy to get caught in the moment.

I agonized all last week because I had never driven or sat in it before I won the bid for it. I had never even heard it run except from a distance. All I knew if that it made it onto stage on its own power and that it was in excellent condition in appearance.

On Friday, I picked it up after the usual rigamarole getting insurance and tags. It far and away exceeded my expectations. It ran like a top. The first 60 miles from Owls Head to Bath were no sweat and it wasn’t bad on gas despite a 355 CID V-8 (350 bored) with a lots of racing components. It turned out just like the owners said – the car had been lovingly restored.

It sounds like a hot rod with a deep throaty sound. Puts my wife to sleep, but she’s been great about this latest acquisition.

I took several side trips in beautiful weather around Bath this weekend and brought my 81-year-old aunt and 86-year-old uncle home from a cocktail party last night (see photo). It was a fun evening and we had to stay over with them as we could not return from Birch Point to Bath because someone didn’t make a curve and took out a utility pole blocking the road until 3 a.m. the following morning.

I drove the car 110 miles back to West Newbury, Mass. this morning without a hitch – down I-95 all the way cruising at 60-65 despite the former owner’s wife telling me last week that I should shift from 3rd to 4th at about 90 MPH. No thanks…not yet anyway.Uncle John and Aunt Ruth in the Camaro.

The 1967 was the first year for Camaros and was GM’s answer to Ford’s wildly successful Mustang which had been introduced two and a half years earlier. Ford apparently spread the world that Camaro in Spanish means “tiny little shrimp” or “loose bowels.” Regardless, GM sold 220,000 of them that year.

This is not a 100 percent original car. It has a newer engine and can run on unleaded regular. But other than the engine, it appears to be original. For me who turns 61 tomorrow, 1967 seems “so close…yet so far away” as the song goes.

GM made a Sport Coupe and a Convertible in 1967 and mine is the former. It’s easy to tell it was a 1967 because that was the only model year that had fly windows.

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