1979 Chevrolet Camaro


As the fall of 2000 was approaching, I realized I needed a winter car. A friend of mine from college was looking to unload this Camaro, so we struck a deal. The one hitch was it was in western New York state (about a 4.5 hour drive). So one early Saturday morning Brian drove me all the way out to New York to buy the Camaro. I already had a license plate for it, and I knew it ran as Lance (the previous owner) had been using it for several years as his winter car. All I really needed to do was trade the cash for the car, attach my plates and drive it home. Sounds pretty simple right? Not quite.

First of all, as anyone from upstate New York can tell you, in the winter they use a lot of salt on the roads. Salted roads and cars don't mix. And in New York, the salt acts pretty fast on the cars. So the first flaw I found in the car was a rust hole in the top of the gas tank. If I remember correctly, I couldn't fill the tank over half, if I did it was a waterfall of gasoline out the back of the car.

Secondly, before I bought it, the car hadn't been driven for about a year. While I knew this, I didn't know the effect this had on certain components of the car (I wasn't very car smart yet). By the time we got back on the road, it was late afternoon, and it was probably going to be a dark ride home. After a short while, and after the sun had gone down, the car started overheating. Also the lights started dimming. Basically all kinds of stuff started going wrong on the ride home. Without flashlight or tools Brian and I had to figure out what was happening to the car. Turns out the belts were dried out and as I drove the car they heated up and stretched like chewing gum. As it was very late on a Saturday night, and we were somewhere on the Mass Pike, there wasn't any way I was going to get this fixed quickly and easily.

Fortunately Brian had AAA gold and we were within the mileage limit to my house. So we called a tow truck and had the car towed to my house. By the time we got the car to my house it was very late in the evening, approaching midnight. At about that time my parents were returning from an evening out with friends.

Some backstory about the situation with me and my parents. After college I had moved back home like so many college grads do these days. At the time I owed my father a reasonably substantial amount of money, not that something like that would stop me from spending an equally substantial sum on another car. When I had gone to get the Camaro, my parents didn't know what I was doing, or that I had plans for a winter car. I tried to plan the pick-up of the car to coincide with while they were out with their friends. Well obviously that backfired when the car crapped out on the highway.

So Brian and myself with the Camaro in tow (literally) get back to my house before my parents. Unfortunately as the tow driver was lowering the car to the street in front of the house, was when my parents were arriving home from their evening out. The tow driver is now finishing business with Brian, and my father comes strolling down the driveway to see what's going on. The conversation went something like this:

Erik: "Hi dad :)"

Dad: "Hi, what's this?"

Brian: "New car."

Dad: "Brian, another car?"

Erik: "No, it's mine."

Dad: "YOURS!?!?!?!"

Erik: (gulp)

Brian begins laughing out loud.

Erik: "Uhhhh, yeah, oh, and here's a check for the money I owe you."

Dad takes the check, rolls his eyes and goes back to the house.

As for the name, my mother came up with the inspired name of "Bile" when she got a good look at the car in the daylight. I guess rust brown and avacado green don't mix well.

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