Luke, also known as “pharmer” here at TTAC, has a story to tell about his ’94 Camaro. Give him a warm welcome! — JB
Let’s get something straight before we even get into this little story: I don’t live in a trailer, rock a mullet, work the swing shift at Burger King, or street race on the weekends. These are the ugly stereotypes applied to owners of Camaros and Firebirds, and they are not fair, true, or particularly funny. Nevertheless, I have heard these stereotypes thrown out as jokes from a lot of different people, and I am none of them.
I am, however, in a long term relationship with a 1994 Camaro Z28.
My inclination for such impractical affairs started early. There has been never been a time in my life when I was not a car guy, and specifically a Chevy guy. I was brought home from the hospital in a Camaro, and slept in my crib cuddled up with a stuffed dog and a stuffed Corvette. My parents bribed me through doctor visits, church services, family events, and several years of school with Hot Wheels cars. I lost two baby teeth to the unyielding dash of my great-grandfather’s 1963 Impala during a panic stop, and could tell you the model year of any Chevy from 1930 through 1975 before I understood simple math. I am a Chevy guy.
My love for the 4th-generation Camaro started like many great relationships: through my family, specifically my Grandpa Wally. He loved cars and subscribed to literally all of the major buff books, and one day I spotted the January 1993 issue of Motor Trend sitting on his coffee table. In blazing bold yellow text it said: FIRST FULL TEST: ALL-NEW CAMARO! And there was a HOLOGRAM of the car too! I sat down, started reading, and was hooked.
Inside were many pages of detailed information about the new Camaro Z28. It was a big deal — the last time the Camaro was new was over a decade prior, in 1982. It was also the beginning of Detroit’s long era of ever-escalating cheap speed, and the new 4th generation F-body was widely viewed as the first “real muscle car” that GM had made since their heyday in the late 1960s. The technical specifications were certainly exciting — the LT1 engine from the Corvette, a 6 (!!!) speed manual, 4 wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and 50-series Goodyear GS-Cs.
But what really struck me was the styling. It was just SO COOL: dart-shaped, clean, with recessed headlights, a dramatically sloped windshield, a beautifully integrated rear spoiler in the rear deck, and the Z28-only black roof that balanced everything out so nicely. The design was so cohesive and smooth; it looked like a fighter jet – athletic, powerful, and elegant all at once. I don’t think I put that magazine down for 2 solid months. David Kimble’s beautiful fold out illustrations rivaled Elle MacPherson’s swimsuit issue in its ability to hold my attention. I burned for that car, and promised myself that when I was an adult I would certainly have one.
I grew up, left home, and turned my attention to the things that all young men love; specifically college, co-eds, and Coors Light. But I did work hard and committed myself to a path that led to a career that I love, a beautiful woman that could put up with me, and enough financial stability to buy myself some toys. A beautiful red Camaro Z28 would eventually come into my life and make me complete, but I had to make a few mistakes first. We’ll leave that for part 2…