Cars I’ve Loved and Hated:
Michael Lamm’s Unauthorized Auto Biography, Chapter 12: Chevrolet Camaro

Lamm bought his 1967 Camaro just after New Year’s in 1969. He owned it for 31 years, and it served as his daily driver for 17. Text and photos copyright Michael Lamm 2012

I stopped smoking on New Year’s Day, 1969. It’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept. I had two principal motivations. The first came from my three sons. They were all enthusiastic viewers of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Cleverly sandwiched between the cartoons were public-service TV ads inveighing against smoking. (Much cleverer to target smokers’ kids than the smokers themselves.) One day, Robert, my then-nine-year-old, came to me and said, “Dad, if you keep smoking, you’re going to die.” That hit me pretty hard – a powerful imperative from the mouth of a babe.

My second incentive came from my wife, JoAnne, who, about a week before Christmas 1968, told me that if I quit smoking I could buy any car I wanted. Any car? Yes! Visions of boattail speedsters and modern exotics began to swirl around in my head.

At about that same time, out of the blue, a friend offered me $500 for our family sedan, a bland but friendly and well-kept 1962 Buick Special named “White-Bread Ralph.” Taking JoAnne at her word, I gladly sold White-Bread Ralph and began to look for a replacement. I’d recently checked out a gorgeous 1966 Jaguar E-type roadster being offered by a young woman at our local university, but Jo brought up a good point: “Where will we put the kids?”

One Sunday about a week after New Year’s, I happened to be driving Jo’s station wagon through a neighborhood near our house in Stockton, and there in a driveway stood a pristine, butternut-yellow 1967 Camaro convertible. It didn’t have a for-sale sign on it, but I thought, “What the heck, I’ll ask the owner if he wants to sell it.”

Read the rest of this week’s installment over at Hemmings.

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