Custom Cruise Friday
The Don Wheaton Blog is continuing to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Camaro with another red one that was originally purchased at the dealership. This week’s Custom Cruise Friday vehicle is a 1985 Chevy Camaro Z28 which has been owned by Doug Marklund of St. Albert. In July 1985, Marklund was 21 years old and had just picked up a good job. Few industries have benefitted from young people with money burning a hole in their pocket like the automotive business. Marklund has kept the car in immaculate shape. Such care has been taken that the car’s tires are still the same ones that first rolled off of the Don Wheaton 31 years ago.
It’s all about knowing what you want
“I got a job working on the railroad,” Marklund said. “I was 21 years old and I needed a sports car.”
Not only was this the first new car that Marklund ever bought, it’s the only brand new car that he’s ever purchased. Marklund worked with Mike Lawson, a Don Wheaton sales rep at the time, to track down his sports. In recalling the fateful summer, Marklund mentioned he wasn’t necessarily looking for a Camaro and likely inherited his admiration for Chevy vehicles from his father; who also taught him to carefully maintain vehicles.
From the time he first took the car home in July of 1985 until 1992, Marklund only drove the car in the summer and stored it during the harsh winter months. As tends to happen sometimes, a summer came went where he drove the car very little. In fact there were some driving seasons where the Camaro didn’t leave the garage. This led to some moments of doubt that can creep up on car owner when they don’t get behind the wheel regularly.
“I don’t like to admit it,” Marklund said. “My wife was the one who said, ‘You should maybe hang on to (the Camaro).’ Here we are.”
A true original
Marklund’s 1985 Chevy Camaro Z28 is 99.99 percent original. The 305 cubic-inch V-8 engine with a four-barrel carburetor is the same; as is the automatic transmission. To date, the car only has 66,000 kilometers on the odometer.
“I guess I was (a respectful driver),” Marklund said. “I mean — look at it.”
Since day one, the car has been mostly used as high-performing daily driver in the summer, pleasure cruises on Sunday afternoons and one long road trip marked by the mystifying trade from Wayne Gretzky away from Edmonton.
The list of people beside Marklund who have driven the car can be counted on one had, with some fingers to spare. His daughter, Sarah, just got her driver’s license and is potentially in the running to become the fourth person to turn the key.
Coming all the way around
Marklund has been driving the car more often and even entering it in some show and shines. In addition to getting more valuable time behind the wheel, the car has certainly found a permanent home.
“I’m glad I kept it now,” Marklund said. “It’s awesome. It’s not for sale.”
Do you have a classic, custom or otherwise interesting vehicle in your garage, barn or storage locker? We’d love to take a look at it and tell your story. Send a few photos and pertinent information to Don Wheaton Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we will get back to you.