Do you remember your first love? Do you still love her and have her around today? Of course we mean your first gasoline powered love (this isn’t a Nicolas Sparks novel, kids). How much did that first car mean to you? We don’t mean the minivan your mom forced you to drive in your teens, we mean the hunk of metal and horsepower that ‘started it all.’ For one Camaro owner, it was this ‘first car’ that represents a pivotal time in his life, as well as speaks for his personal history and education.
Adam Martin and his car, Lucy, have been together for 18 years. A teenager in the ‘90s, Adam slaved away making pizzas to buy his 1968 Camaro. It was primer-clad and rolling on Cragar wheels. The car had some time on it, and needed Adam’s help. Outside of knowing how to change oil, and knowing ‘about’ spark plugs, Adam didn’t know where to get started, so he learned.
Equipped with a 400 small-block Chevy engine and Turbo350 automatic transmission, the powertrain wasn’t original, and Adam decided to yank it. During his time at machinist school, he built a Chevy 454. To match the newly-built engine, he wanted some headers to compliment the build.
Adam then went out and got a beautiful set of Hooker Super Comp headers, and also had them ceramic coated. What he didn’t consider was how all of this would fit into the engine bay. Seven or eight tries later, he figures out how to get the engine and transmission in, but the headers were still not going into place. This is when he got a hammer out and beat the headers into submission to clear the frame rail.
Is that not the most relatable thing in the world as a gearhead? Beating some exhaust component or another with a hammer for clearance the first time we really work on a project car — it’s a right of passage for a lot of rookies.
After assaulting his headers, Adam was ready to try his hand at bodywork. Of course it wasn’t in the pizza maker’s budget to have the car restored to the original color, so he did it himself. The paint looks excellent, but not without a few more rookie errors, like a dropped coat hanger leaving its lasting mark on the deck lid.
During his Junior and Senior year in High School, Adam took courses at school to learn how to build engines. After graduation, he took a job in a shop where he got a year’s worth of experience working as a mechanic in a three-bay garage. He discovered that there was a college course being offered for automotive restoration, and that caused him to reconsider attending college after working at the shop. Adam cites this as a life changing decision, and it was thanks to his initial interest in that one restoration course.
Lucy and Adam have an everlasting bond, and this Camaro is not going anywhere anytime soon. Adam plans on reworking the build to sort of re-live his first experience working on the Camaro. …And they say young love doesn’t last!
Elizabeth is hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!