As car guys, there’s a good chance we all have at least one we want back. For some there’s more than one, while others have ones that number in the double digits. Hell, I know of a guy who has gone through more than a hundred. By now you’ve probably figured out it’s not girlfriends I’m talking about. What I’m referring to is cars we once owned that got away. You know, that one special ride that stands out among the others that we wish we still had. There are times that I think it would be cool if I still had my 1976 Ford Pinto Runabout … but not very often and the thought fades fairly quickly. The car was not cool by any means, but it did have aftermarket 14-inch five-spoke wheels and a cool rake thanks to the guy at the local muffler shop putting a torch to the front springs. At the time it was the best $30 I ever spent. The radiator leaked like a sieve so I was always accompanied by two 1-gallon plastic bottles of water in the back seat area to keep that four-banger from overheating. Good times, indeed.
Now, when it comes to my 1967 Camaro RS getting away, that one still stings a little … quite a bit, actually. It was nothing special, really, an RS with a 350ci small-block. The one thing that made it even a little bit rare was the fold-down rear seat option (RPO A67), of which there were 17,993 produced, according to the Camaro White Book – a $31.60 upgrade. The car smoked excessively and when the four-speed went away, my lack of funds to fix the car put me in the unfortunate position of having to sell it.
I bought the car from a gas station owner in Santa Ana, California, back in 1987 for $2,000, so when I sold it in 1991 for $2,200, I felt like I had made a killing. Back in those days it was pretty rare to sell a car for more than you paid for it. Unfortunately, if I’d held on to it for just a few more years, that car would have fetched a whole lot more scratch than it did. Oh well.
Beyond the Pinto, there were plenty of other cars I’ve sold that I don’t really miss that much: a 1966 Ford Fairlane that was stupid-loud but not very fast; a 1982 El Camino that handled well due to the Hotchkis suspension upgrade but didn’t have enough power to get out if its own way; a 1982 Malibu wagon that also had a suspension upgrade but, due to the stringent smog laws in California, I couldn’t do much to improve the engine’s output and I sold it before Chevrolet Performance released their line of CARB-legal E-Rod engines. That engine swap would have been perfect for that car. I still have a hankering to do a G-body build, so that’s still a possibility.
I know plenty of you Chevy High Performance magazine readers have had more than your share of cars that got away. Whether it was due to lack of funds, a less-than-understanding wife, a divorce, or just didn’t have the room for the car, tell us about the car you miss the most—the one you would do just about anything to get back.
I understand it may be difficult to open old wounds, but with a support group like our fellow CHP readers, we’ll help you get through it.
Photography by Nick Licata