- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

Gary Cameron's mother was right. If she had agreed to be a co-signer for her teenage son who was lusting after a big-block GM product, he very likely may have done himself harm in the overpowered car.
All that happened back in the 1960s and Mr. Cameron had matured until October 2001.
That's when his Canadian cousin, David Gardella, called from Edmonton, Alberta, with news about the perfect car an exceptionally nice 1967 Chevrolet Caprice two-door hardtop with a big-block 396-cubic-inch, 325-horsepower V-8 under the hood. Mr. Gardella had already purchased the car, knowing that his American cousin would want it.
Once Mr. Cameron heard the description of the Chevrolet, the deal was done. With a trifle more than 98,000 original miles, the car was trucked from Edmonton to Silver Spring, where Mr. Cameron became the fourth owner.
He finally had the big-block car he had always wanted.
The credit-cardlike Protect-O-Plate that was issued with most new cars in that era is bilingual because the car is Canadian. Mr. Cameron was pleased to find the original green-and-white 1967 Alberta license plate proclaiming the Canadian centennial.
Chevrolet offered a Caprice option on the Impala sport sedan for the first time in 1965. The popular upscale option was given series status the following year.
By 1967 the Caprice was acknowledged as the most luxurious Chevrolet.
Mr. Cameron's car is loaded with accessories including:
Four-speed transmission $184.
Front bucket seats/console 158.
396 cid V-8 158.
Tachometer and clock 79.
Vacuum power brakes 42.
Tilt steering wheel 42.
Front chrome bumper guard 16.
Rear chrome bumper guard 16.
Floor mats 11.
Mr. Cameron believes his car was repainted in the original Maria Blue Metallic about a decade ago. Since then the finish has acquired a few chips, but is remarkably presentable.
He enjoys rowing through the Muncie four-speed floor-shift transmission while seated in the driver's strato-bucket seat.
Research indicates the car was built May 25, 1967, in Oshawa, Ontario, and five days later was shipped to the dealer in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It carried a base price of $3,078. Mr. Cameron believes only 11 Caprice models equipped like his were produced in Canada. "This car definitely came from Saskatoon," Mr. Cameron says as he points to the electric plug connected to the engine-block heater.
"It needed a new clutch when I got it," Mr. Cameron says. He also found new old stock arm rests to replace the cracked originals.
He is now searching for a replacement for his cracked dashboard. The original isn't in terrible condition; however, he wants it to be like new. "I love stock cars," he explains. To that extent he has replaced the antenna and wipers with ones identical to the originals. The three-spoke steering wheel has the tilt feature.
The rather low roofline prohibits a central dome light. Instead, the Chevrolet designers installed two courtesy lights, one on each side of the car above the windows.
The almost 2-ton Caprice measures 17 feet, 9 inches from front bumper guard to rear bumper guard.
"It's a puller," Mr. Cameron says, referring to the tremendous 410 foot-pounds of torque provided by the big-block engine. The V-8 engine is kept cool with 22 quarts of coolant.
When the five-passenger Caprice arrived in Maryland a set of white-letter tires supported the car on a 119-inch wheelbase. The original 14-inch rally wheels had been replaced with the optional 15-inch wheels. Mr. Cameron went one step further and replaced the tires with 8.25x15-inch red-line tires that were offered as an option in 1967.
With the mighty engine redlining the 7,000 rpm tachometer at 5,000 rpm, the limit of the 120-mph speedometer is easily exceeded. To give the thirsty car a decent cruising range it is fitted with a 24-gallon fuel tank that had better be filled with the highest octane fuel available to keep the engine running happily.
"It's very difficult to get out of second gear around here," Mr. Cameron laments. Traffic will not permit the car to be driven as it was intended to be driven. The odometer recently rolled over the 100,000-mile mark.
On fair weather weekends Mr. Cameron, a senior photographer-editor for Reuters News Agency, drives his muscular Caprice downtown to work at 13th and H streets NW, knowing the parking garage will be virtually empty.
On the way he has all the windows cranked down and the Delco AM radio cranked up.
He knows that at any time in any gear he can kick the car into tire-smoking action.
"My mom was right," he concedes.

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