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Cool Ride of the Week – ’68 Camaro

By Richie Rademaker

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m 59 years old and I’ve been in the trucking industry for almost 38 years. I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and spent most of my life on Staten Island. I moved to northeast Pennsylvania 14 years ago. I am married with 2 children and 4 grandchildren.

How did you first learn about Cool Rides Online?
I learned about Cool Rides Online by seeing a friend like a post on your Facebook page.

What Cool Rides do you currently own?
This is the only cool ride I own. My F-250 will never be cool. My first car was a Triumph TR-6. And yes the “Prince of Darkness” rode with me. It’s funny, I still have a thing for those cars.

Now tell us a little about your favorite “Cool Ride”; what makes it special?
Let’s see, what makes it special? The fact that I’ve had it for 38 years, it’s had 7 engines in it: 327, 283, 305, 267 (lmao, I thought it’s was a 305 from the junkyard) 350, 396, and the 454 LS-6 that it has now. I lost track of the number of transmissions, and I know the last three owners and it was only 10 years old when I got it. Oh and it was an A/C car but that was gone when I got it.

The 454 is 10.2:1 AFR 305 heads, comp. cam .574/.578 284/296 850 Holly.  T-56 Viper trans from D&D performance, probably the nicest upgrade I made, very nice trans, Global West suspension, WilWoods all around, 3″ Flowmasters, 12 bolt 3:73’s and a 4 link that my friend Chris fabricated for me.

What’s next for your Cool Ride? Are you planning additional work for it or maybe a special trip/cruise?
I have no plans for the near future. I will Maintain what I have, (translation) try not to break anything ($$$$). Since September 12  I’ve put 7,400 miles on it. I’m getting a lot more  enjoyment and use out of it with this transmission and where I live now. It’s a little on the loud side, taxing after a couple of hours.

What’s your favorite memory involving your Cool Ride?
My favorite memory is cruising Hylan blvd. on Staten Island at 2 am looking for someone to mess with. After failing to find someone, dumping the clutch, banging 2nd and blowing the 10 bolt “again”. Waking my brother up to come and tow me home, with a chain, backwards about 2 miles on the side streets. I threw the rear out after that. The floor still has some scars.

What was the most difficult modification you’ve completed on any of your Cool Rides?
I can’t take credit for any modifications on this car. That goes to my very good friend Chris McNeil whom I met back in ‘82 when I first brought the car to him. I think back and have to laugh. I went there with fiberglass flares for the front and rear and told him what I wanted done. He told me to “throw those away I’ll make them”. And he did, out of a Caprice trunk lid and conduit. The car was repainted and a few changes made in 1988 and most recently Aug/Sept. 2012.

At that time it was a family business, Ace Repair Service/Ace Auto Styling S.I. N.Y. Later on he opened his own chassis/fabrication shop. C.J.M CHASISS. So yes, this is the guy who gets the credit for what you see and a lot of what you don’t see.

What is your dream car to own if money was not an issue?
My dream car is a mid-late ’70s Porsche 930.

Taking care of collector vehicles is not easy. Do you have any special tips on how to take care of your Cool Rides in and out of storage?
I clean it in and out, pull it into the garage disconnect the battery and cover it. This is the first year that I ever put STA-BIL in it. Never had any issues before, just thought I’d try it. First thing in the spring, change the oil. Go!

Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?
Not really. I’m not that notable. And besides, if I divulge much more they’ll probably lock me up.

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