Big Al's Featured Car's
Diz Dean's Blue 68 Camaro
Owned by Diz Dean
Pictures by Diz Dean

In April of 1973, I dropped my mom off at the grocery store and went around the block to C.H. Stiver Chevrolet in Niles, Ohio, to look for a car. There sat a beautiful 1968 Chevy Camaro Sport Coupe. The salesman said the car was traded in the day before by the first owner. The next day my dad and I went back and bought my first car for $1,000. It was just a sport coupe, not a RS or SS, but it had all the "goodies". It came with a 327, 275 hp engine with a 4-barrel and a Muncie 4-speed, a console with gauges, tic-tock-tach, and a 12-bolt rear end with 3:08 gears. It was pretty quick too! I used to race it on Market Street in Youngstown on the weekends, and can only remember losing two races. I also made three round trips to Kansas City, Mo, in it when I went to college, and it never once broke down. It was a great car! The only problem with the Camaro was that my girlfriend hated the console and 4-speed, for obvious reasons. I sold it to a friend of mine for $1,100 in May of 1974 when my new GTO (with an automatic and BENCH seat) came in.

My friend, Gibby Woods, drove it for three years, had a dark blue Earl Sheib paint job put on, and painted the interior black. He put it in his garage in 1977 and started taking it apart. I think he was planning on making a drag car out of it. I tried buying it back many times, but he said he would never sell it. Poor Gib had a massive heart attack and died just before Christmas in 2010. His wife called a couple months later and asked if I wanted to buy the car back. I told her I wanted to look at it first, because I hadn't seen it in 33 years. Expecting the worst, when I opened the garage door and took all the junk off of it, I was surprised to find only minor rust around the rear wheels. The engine was still in it, but the rest of the car was a mess. I gave her $1,600 and trailered it home.

It still had the American mags with it, the 8-track I put in the ashtray hole, and when I was tearing out the old carpet, I found my graduation tassel! The only thing I never found was the build sheet. To my surprise, the protect-o-plate was still in the owner's manual. I got in the phone book and found the original owners too. They couldn't believe that the car still existed! Bill bought the Camaro for Diane as a Christmas present on 12/20/67. It had never left a five mile radius.

With the consent of my loving wife Brenda, I began the total restoration in June of 2011. Every nut and bolt was removed, and either cleaned or replaced. I used as many of the original parts as possible, but had to replace a lot. The only changes I made was to make the interior light blue again, and I added the front and rear spoilers, and the cowl induction hood. I wanted Torque Thrust mags with red lines tires, but ran out of money, so I used a set of rally wheels I had laying around. The engine was rebuilt by Crank n Sleeve in Girard, the body work and Grotto Blue paint was done by a Wllis West and Bob Boughner, the seats recovered and headliner installed by Roy Dew, Broadway Service rebuilt the tranny, Craig Woodruff rebuilt the carb, Mike Glass installed the windshield and back window, and Jack Battafarano did the engine run-in on his machine, tuned it, and helped me install the exhaust. The rest of the work was done by myself, my sons Dany and Darel, and friends who stopped by once in a while to lend a hand. It was a real labor of love (and $$$$). The car was finished on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, and took it to an indoor car show at the Eastwood Mall that weekend where it was judged 13th out of 50 cars. It felt great to drive it again after (only) 38 years! 

I didn't really build this car as a "show car", but as a real nice driver. Thanks to the decent weather, I've already put over 150 miles on it. The little blue Camaro drives great, runs great, looks great, and I'm gonna drive it everywhere! Many thanks to everyone who helped make my dream come true, especially my wife Brenda who lets me play in the garage and basement for hours on end! I hope I didn't miss anyone.