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GARY BLONDER’S CAR STORIES

1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/Z28

I let my eyes wander slowly, starting at the sassy little deck spoiler and working my way forward over those scandalous haunches, down that perfectly-placed body line all the way to the serenely-louvered headlights, I can’t help but see why. The 1968 Mustang, the last of the first generation of that storied breed, looks old and quaint and a little bulbous in comparison, perched too high up on too-small wheels, its bubble-top and deep strakes evoking the romance and optimism of a world before civil rights protests and the draft. Not the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/Z28. This is a weapon.

Gary Blonder – Z28

I never knew why they called it “Hugger Orange.” Here, accented by ominous black stripes and black Landau top, I feel like they should call it “Blood Orange,” or maybe “Magma Red.” “Hugger” seems like a very gentle word for what this car wants to do to you. I climb into the low, deep, ribbed black vinyl abyss, imagined in a time before seat bolsters were a thing, and feel that familiar tickle of performance anxiety rise up in my chest. Now, this is not just because this is a six-figure mint-condition collector’s car, but because Sid had a guy drop it off for me. We talked on the phone for like two minutes. I think I heard him yell something about “the orange one” to somebody else in the room, presumably to differentiate it from the other 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/Z28s in that garage.

I am about to do some serious driving.

Gary Blonder Pulls the Trigger
Doing a burnout in a quoted two-hundred ninety (wink, wink) horsepower six-figure mint-condition collector’s car feels different than doing a burnout in just any six figure car. When you pull cookies in a late-model Ferrari, for instance, you never feel as though the whole entire car might come flying apart in every direction at any moment. Drifting a Porsche GT3 around the lazy roads of California is also substantially more reassuring. Also, spinning the almost comically large and skinny steering wheel as fast as possible to correct the drift while young people in oncoming traffic give you huge grinning thumbs-upses happens much less frequently in today’s modern automobiles. This is why this car endures.

Gary Blonder: Responsible Driver
As I hand the keys over to Himmy the carwash attendent, I can’t help but feel like I just did the world a favor. How often is it that some insanely wealthy old curmudgeon dusts off one of his vintage Camaros to go wilin’ out in the hills? As the young man’s face stars at the bits of rubber flecking my beautiful consort’s shapely lower rear end, I smile at him. “It’s okay,” I say, winking. “It washes right off!”

Sid’s driver, the guy who dropped the car off originally, arrives a short time later. I let him know that we had a really good time, ole Suzie and I, and that I was expecting further “visits” in the future. I wink. I think Sid’s driver is cool with it. He smiles and winks back.

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