NOVEMBER 1, 2012: 1968 CAMARO—THIS IS TRULY A RECREATIONAL CAMARO

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There’s a split in the car hobby but it’s far from a 50-50 split.

 

This is the one where the pro “drive the wheels off it” guys far outnumber the “never drive it” trailer queen guys.

 

This 1968 Camaro SS 350 is a classic example of how a “drive the wheels off it” car guy rolls with his vintage iron.

 

 

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Doug Katalka is far from a rookie in the old car hobby. He’s owned collectible iron since the early 1980s when he drove a ’74 Ventura and a 66 Ford short box.

 

Doug’s urge to drive classic iron never left him and it culminated over four years ago with this 1968 Chevy Camaro SS350.

 

These first Gen Camaros were the last guest to arrive at the pony car party in 1967 but they were an instant hit. Chevy joined the game late but these clean and extremely well designed cars were a best seller from the start of production.

 

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You could call the ’60s Camaro following a cult except for one factor…cults are typically based on small numbers. Camaro fans could form a mid-sized country.

 

Doug’s ’68 Camaro represents everything that its fan club loves about these cars. It’s an SS model so this Camaro was all business on the street but it also has that bulletproof small block 350 under the hood.

 

Doug admits, “It doesn’t pull like a stroker but it goes alright when you ask it to”. Camaro purists will agree that Doug’s loyalty to the stock block under the hood is a big asset even if a 383 stroker would have added steroids to the game.

 

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Doug didn’t keep the Camaro entirely stock, “It came with Ralley rims but I tore them off pretty fast”.

 

The key phrase in this car and owner equation is “driver” so Doug spends most of his spare time behind the wheel, “I drive ‘er lots. This car doesn’t sit in a garage and get polished because it’s not a trailer queen. There’s no way I’d do that. The only time it gets left behind is when I have to go to work”.

 

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Time behind the wheel of classic iron is a massive learning curve as most old car hobbyists know and this ’68 Camaro is definitely no exception, “It’s got 4:10 gears in the back so they’re pretty short trips between 30 and 40 miles because it burns fuel like crazy”. Mileage wasn’t a factor when gas was 30 cents a gallon.

 

Doug added another feature to the Camaro that simply didn’t exist in the Swinging Sixties, “It’s got a big sub woofer that’s louder than the motor. I couldn’t even hear it running the first time I fired up the new sound system”. That kind of firepower back in ’68 would have made Jimi Hendrix wear earplugs but it’s a big part of the 21st Century “old ride” experience.

 

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This is the perfect relationship despite the non-EPA friendly gas mileage of this old Camaro because Doug welcomes every minute he drives this classic. He summed it up this way, “It’s my recreational Camaro”.

 

Spoken like a true anti-trailer queen guy…

 

Jerry Sutherland

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