Being AVI’s lead instructor and developing new content keeps John plenty busy. With the welcome help of body and paint expert Gil Anchondo, now John’s “dream car” is getting close to the finish line.
This isn’t just a Camaro. It’s a 1968 Super Sport, big block, and of course, all the numbers match. Here's John's story of how this all came to be and pictures of the Camaro restoration process to follow.
When I was 11 years old delivering papers I saw a generation 2 1973 Camaro all torn apart in one of the garages on my route. I finally asked the owner what it was, and found out he had lost interest in the job and it was for sale. I had saved up 600 dollars from my paper route and that was exactly what he wanted for the car. I bought it not knowing anything about cars and had it towed to my father’s shop in pieces. My dad was not impressed to say the least….
Over the next 5 years I befriended all the body men and mechanics at the shop where I started to learn how to restore a car. By the time I was 16, it was ready to be driven! I totally restored that car, painted it red, and made it a Z28 clone car. I was always the odd kid in school, but the day I drove it to high school, my life changed for the better. The two hottest girls in school both not only talked to me for the first time ever, but actually wanted to go for a ride! I always tell people if it weren’t for that car, I’d be a 52 year old virgin. Lol
Needless to say, I have restored many cars, trucks and motor cycles since then. Some for customers, and a few of them were mine. When I was 22, I got married and my wife at the time needed a surgery, so all my toys were sold. I have not had any cool cars since then and always told my current wife that before I die, I would build one last car! It had to be a Camaro since that first one changed my life so greatly.
Fast forward to three years ago, I found an original 1968 Camaro Super Sport which was being sold due to a death in the family. The car was originally from NC. so the foundation was very good.
After researching all the vital identification numbers, I knew I had to have this car. The problem was, I was in the middle of building my barn which is now AVI north. I had also just finished helping pay for two kid’s schooling and other life obstacles. As luck would have it, Paul Louwers called and said, “Hey, we need some videos shot”. Paul stepped in and allowed me to make the money I needed to pay my bills. The car pretty much sat due to various reasons for a few years. Then, last Memorial Day, Paul, Tom, Gil and I decided for some crazy reason to tear it apart.
Then it continued to sit, now in pieces, until Tom told me how this would only cost me about 1500 dollars to have it painted. Lol!!! I still have no funds for this project at all and was even considering selling the car, just due to a wedding, the huge cost involved with building the car, and also the massive amount of work I would have to do. Tom is a very persuasive guy though….
So, I went and got a small 5000 dollar personal loan, and agreed to take advantage of everyone’s willingness to help, labor wise. That money went super fast, and now my credit card is maxed out, but at least when it’s done, I will have a shiny, mint body and the car will look amazing!!! I will have to let it sit again for a while, until I pay off the loan and credit cards, but it will be very close to being able to be completed when I get the funds again. I’m guessing about another 5 grand would finish the car, so I am very excited about that!
I am very thankful for having such great people in my life, willing to help out, making this dream a reality. My wife Janette, Tom, Paul, Gil, and Jimmy Douglas. These 5 people are allowing my dream of being cool again to become a reality.
We can’t wait to see the finished product. (I wonder if John would let me drive it?)