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My First Car: 1967 Camaro, David Fraser, 55, Clearwater

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Published Mar. 21, 2014

'67 Camaro

Perhaps the best and worst managed investment of my life began when I bought my first car from a neighbor in south St. Petersburg for $150. I was 18, and the 9-year-old car was a 1967 Camaro. A classic now, at the time, it was just an old Chevy two-door with a six-cylinder motor, no air conditioning and a bad starter. My father, a retired engineer and stellar mechanic, guided me through rebuilding the starter the week I bought it. Later we ended up breaking down the entire engine. I scraped off a vinyl roof, repainted the exterior, removed some ridiculously large mags and replaced them with stock wheels from a junkyard and tires from Sears. The Datsun 240Z hubcaps were only $5, but a disrespectful mistake. A much bigger mistake was selling the car in the '80s for $1,000, thinking it would never be worth much more. When I see pictures of that car, I miss it — but not as much as I miss those days spent learning how to fix things with my father. Most of what I know about cars I learned from Dad, and from working with him on that Camaro.