new from michigan
Here is my story:
It all started with my childhood. My family spent a lot of their spare time at the local racetracks such as Berlin Raceway, Kalamazoo Speedway with trips to the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. I learned early on that cars were a passion of mine. While at the racetracks whenever there was a wreck I would sneak up to the car in the pits and remove a piece of it for my scrapbook. I would dream about being the first female to race in the Indy 500. I could hardly wait to get my drivers license, and when I did my first two cars were a 1967 and 1973 Camaro. I loved them both.
I got married and raised three lovely daughters so my passion for cars had to be put on hold so I could put my family first. When I was forty-five I was stricken with Parkinson's disease, that was five years ago and while I don't show the outward signs of it yet I have to deal with the inward problems on a daily basis. Last year we were having some remodeling work done to our home and the contractor always drove one of his two camaros. He has a 1969 Pro Street and a 1996 Z28. Those cars awoke a passion in me; I couldn't believe how cool they were. I had some fun cars like a Mazda Miata and a Pontiac Solstice, but nothing as cool as a vintage Camaro. I had to have one again. So I sold the Solstice, to fund my Camaro.
Our contractor, Ron Sheldon, who had the Camaros, took me to the local hang out and introduced me around and I got to see all the other beautiful fast cars that only come out on the weekends. I just loved it. Everyone was so nice to me taking the time to show me their cars, but I had to have one of my own. I started the search on eBay for my car. I spent a lot of time looking all over the country, and finally found it in Arkansas. Ron and I took a quick trip from Grand Rapids Michigan to Jonesboro Arkansas, and it was mine. I bought a1970.5 split bumper Pro Street Camaro that was painted bright yellow and had a 427 big block engine in it. It reminded me of my 1973 and I was thrilled to death. The thrill only lasted a short time as we found a wiped cam that destroyed the engine. It has recently updated to be a 454 bored 100 over to be a 472 and should run in the 11’s in the quarter mile. Ron graciously volunteered a stall of his garage for the restoration. As we started
looking closer at the car we found that it was not as it had been represented. It needed a total rebuild. Now what do I do? Having this disease means that I don't know what will happen to me tomorrow. Will it hold off long enough for me to finish the car and enjoy it? My initial goal was to have it done by my birthday, which is on April 2nd. I am far off from making that goal. Money is running a bit short and we really want to make this car a showpiece, so we are taking the time to do it right and I am learning to be patient. That is a feat in itself for me.
Now having this disease means I had to learn to look at life much differently than before. One thing is for sure. I am a determined person, my friends will attest to that, I will do what it takes to finish this car, and I will not give up until it is finished. So we started on it .We took it totally apart. It has been media blasted and has new quarter panels installed as well as new frame rails, wheel tubs and a new Dana 60 rear end. I hope to drag race for the first time ever this summer. Wouldn’t that be cool?! It has been converted from leaf springs to coil overs and a new roll cage will be installed. I have lined up a painter who is just waiting for the bodywork to be finished. I love all the things I am learning about, building cars, but each day brings new challenges to me. Last week I was let go from my job because my disease prevented me from doing it as well as I could before.
Working on my car is my therapy; I am in my own little world and can forget about all the unpleasant things that are happening to me and the uncertain future that I have to face. It is the best therapy that I could hope for. I can see progress everyday on the car and I have the vision to see what it will be like when it is finished. I can hardly wait; it's going to be awesome. That's my story up to now.