Feature Story

Honor Guard

Tom's Camaro
Camaro and Helicopter
Tom and his father's car

A fallen soldier's legacy is often heralded in flag draped coffins and twenty-one gun salutes. But, what if that fallen soldier is your father? Tom, knows that feeling all too well. You see, Tom's father bought this third-gen Camaro brand new in April of 1992, right off the show room floor. At the age of 11, young Tom learned to drive a manual gear box in this car, his short legs barely able to reach the clutch. As fate would have it, Tom's father was killed in a helicopter crash on March 13th 1993 while serving in the Minnesota Army National Guard. Tom watched helplessly as the car was sold during the estate sale with a few other cars, one being a red on red '69 convertible Corvette with a white soft-top, a 427 and a 4 speed.

The story could have ended there, another lost car slipping through the fingers of chance. Just another story to tell the grandkids about, "the one that got away". This version has a different ending as providence would have it. In 2004 Tom gratuitously flipped through an AutoTrader while standing in line at a gas station when a 1992 Camaro caught his eye. He feverishly called the number listed and reached a retired couple who had surely purchased it during an estate sale. Tom flew out of the gas station and drove the 150 miles to find the car virtually untouched by the elderly couple who couldn't work the clutch pedal anymore. Tom got lucky and found this car before someone got their hands on it and blew the motor or worse yet, hacked it to bits. You see, this is Tom's fathers' car, right down to the VIN number. Tom purchased the car on the spot and parked it until his college graduation, where it was pulled from the garage and given one final glorious drive before being ripped apart for a fresh rebuild.

Tom's father is not around to see whatever became of his Camaro. Yet, a little voice in the back of our collective gear-head skulls tells us that he'd be proud. At ease soldier.

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—The JPG team

2 responses

  • Dawn Duffield

    Dawn Duffield (Deleted) gave props (17 Nov 2009):

    Incredible and very well written story; this should definitely be published!

  • David Johnson

    David Johnson gave props (19 Apr 2010):

    Fine tribute Eric.

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