Custom Cruise Friday
The official birth date for the Chevy Camaro is Sept. 29, 1966. In 50 years of production and six generations of models, the Camaro – in all forms and iterations – has become the gold standard for the quintessential muscle car. This week’s Custom Cruise Friday featured vehicle embraces that heritage like few entries have before. Bernie Yarmuch purchased his 1967 Chevy Camaro SS from his uncle Harlan Hutchinson, a Don Wheaton sales representative, in 1971. Since then the car has served as a centerpiece in many of the families proudest moments, including graduations and weddings.
“Absolutely (admired the Camaro) when it came out,” Yarmuch said. “I just couldn’t afford the new one. I was 18 years old.”
Growing up with a classic
Yarmuch has never been shy about driving the car like it was intended to be driven, whether that meant taking his children on trips to Vancouver or taking home trophies from the local drag strip. However, Yarmuch has never let the car see a snowflake and promptly puts the car away at the end of each cruising season; even if that meant wrapping the car in blankets and tarps and storing the 1967 Camaro SS in his garden.
“It’s never been driven in winter,” Yarmuch said. “I’ve always babied it.”
What’s under the hood?
Since Yarmuch was racing the Camaro SS both on the track and at some other locales, he needed to upgrade the power plant. As of now there is a 350 cubic-inch engine under the hood which has been bored out to make more horsepower. The original four-speed transmission remains intact; however, the front suspension and brakes have been upgraded with more modern components.
“It rides like a new Camaro,” Yarmuch said. “The technology just wasn’t there at the time.”
He hasn’t raced the car in a while and certainly isn’t lining up against other drivers at stop lights these days, but he still appreciates the performance that the car can produce.
“I like hot cars; I always have,” Yarmuch said. “I just don’t abuse them – it’s a hobby.”
Passing down history
Even counting trips to British Columbia and summers spent cruising in the 1967 Camaro SS, there were periods of time when the car sat idle longer than he would have liked — certainly longer than some friends and family would have liked.
“I’ve had friends and family ask, ‘Why do you keep that car? You never drive it,'” Yarmuch said. “There were time when we thought those people were right. Today is a different story.”
Hanging on to the Camaro for all of these years was more than having an interesting garden decoration or just having a fast ride. For Yarmuch, it was about preserving history and recognizing that with each passing season, there are fewer and fewer of these cars rumbling around. More importantly than keeping the legacy of the Camaro SS alive was the opportunity to be able to pass it on to his son, Mike Yarmuch.
“My son is pretty heavy into cars,” Yarmuch said. “He wanted to buy a Mustang.”
Having Mike become the car’s third owner was the best case scenario for Yarmuch. He gets to see his son take his grandkids on trips like they did. And he still goes on cruises with Mike.
“I wanted (Mike) to have it,” Yarmuch said. “As long as I could still drive it and work on it.”
Do you have a special or customized vehicle sitting in your garage? We would like to take a look at it and tell your story. Please send photos and pertinent information to Don Wheaton Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki, by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we will get back to you.