Partner in crime…my Z28 Camaro

I’m sure everyone remembers their first car. Whether it was a piece of crap or something decent, the vehicle is remembered because it was our first and it got us from point A to point B. As for me my first car was a 1983 Z28 Camaro. Yep, you read that right, a 1983 Z28 Camaro. Now, my family didn’t have a lot of money but they bought this for me so that I would have something to drive. Oh yeah, did I mention I was 13 at the time? I know what you’re thinking, “This kid was spoiled”, but that wasn’t the case. The car was purchased from a relative and the car had been in an accident. One of the sides was smashed in and it needed some work so it wasn’t all that great but it was completely awesome to me. My parents told me that if I continued to get good grades that they would slowly fix it up for me. I hit the books and during that time I had big dreams for that car. I would wash it almost every day and I would blast the music in the driveway.

Once the car was fixed I would drive it around where I lived. It only took a year or so to fix it so I was not able to drive it to town or anything yet. Now, look back where I mentioned driving around where I lived and think about how long it took it fix it. Can you see me in the car driving around? If not I can paint a picture for you. Imagine a 14 year old and his younger sibling in a jet black Z28 Camaro with the T-Tops down driving on the property only. It makes me laugh when I think back on it. Nando, my brother, and I would get in and reverse and then pull forward over and over and over. We were the coolest…or at least we thought so. One time we brought our younger sisters with us down a back road behind our home and down toward some dunes that Michigan Fruit Canners owned. We thought we were so cool until the car turned off and I couldn’t get it to start. I remember we started freaking out because it was almost time for our parents to get out of work and all I could see was my father pulling into the driveway and seeing the car missing. Horns would sprout from his head and smoke would billow from his ears and nostrils. I kept turning it over and I started praying. When it finally turned over I hauled butt home. Thinking back on this incident I can only compare it to Ferris Bueller trying to race his family home. Once we arrived I put the car back where it was and we started to wash it because it got dirty. It was the perfect cover since I was always washing it and my parents were none the wiser…well until they read this. With everything that happened with this car, this was the beginning of the hijinks between myself and my Camaro.

I went through a lot during the time I drove my it and it was also taken away from me many times. The first that I can remember involves a speeding ticket. I had left work early because of a family emergency and a Saugatuck/Douglas officer pulled me over. I was going 45 in a 25 and I got a ticket. What’s funny about this is that I used to see and speak to this officer all the time when I worked at Lakeshore Convenience. He would come in to visit at night and he knew one of my co-workers so they would talk for a couple minutes before heading out. Then a year later he’s pulling me over and I had hoped that he was going to remember me and let me off with a warning but he struck me with a ticket. When I got home I had my ass handed to me. My car was taken away from me for almost a month. Later on I ended up working for Meijer. I had saved up enough money to buy myself an excellent sound system and I was throwing down Bass with the best of them. Sad thing is that my car was broken into and everything was stolen. I think it was Labor Day and I was going to give my friend Christina a ride home. When we got to the car we found the hatch shattered and everything was gone. No one saw it happen but they were out there long enough to unscrew every bracket I had. I was definitely crushed but thanks to them the insurance company paid for something I couldn’t afford on my own.

After my ticket it was more random moments that involved my car. It was taken away from me when I was caught for skipping class (see prev post), I was pulled over by three State troopers and hassled for fitting the description of a known drug dealer (see prev post), and I loved to race people. One race that pops into my head is a race between my friends, Christina, Angie, and I think Laura, and myself. We were headed straight for the church and we were both about to turn at 56th st (I think) just passed the railroad tracks at 118th avenue and there was a spot where a store used to be and I cut the corner to pass them up. It was a very stupid move because we could have collided but I squeaked by them and I won. It was a pretty good time but yeah…it could have gone a different way. Finally I remember a time when I was at a friends house and I crashed out there. I had lost track of time and I was awaken by a horrifying yell.

“Richie!! Get your ass out here!”

I remember the sweat building up on my body and I ran outside.

“Give me your keys.”

“Dad, I fell aslee…”

“Shut up and give me your keys!”

Imagine your worst nightmare in loud horrifying tones and words. That was my dad yelling at me that night.

“I told you not to be out late didn’t I?”

“I guess…”


“I said, yes.”

He climbed into my car and peeled off. I was left to hear the first tongue lashing from my mom on the way home. It was bad and I lost my car privileges again. It went like that for years. I had some excellent times in that car and some that I can’t mention here but those who were there know how great they were. I really miss that car and I like to talk about my first speeding ticket at work since the officer who pulled me over is one that I speak to every day. When I brought this up to him he laughed and said he felt bad for writing me a ticket. It’s all good “TR”, we’re cool. In the end my car was stolen. It was stolen about a year ago by some drugged out meth head who I would gladly beat with his own arms but I’m not a violent person. I’m sure the suspect will simply burn their lips on a pipe that feeds their addiction. I’m content with that. I do wish I had that car though. I had planned on giving it to my first born but it’s gone. It makes me wonder what kind of hijinks my kids would have gotten into with my Camaro. Maybe it’s better that it’s gone. So what do you remember about your first car? Did you experience anything close to my stories?


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