(Editor's Note: Back in 1970, Popular Hot Rodding had a very unique test driver reporting for them. Clyde Overalls told it as he saw it and we were fortunate to find his evaluation on a pretty rare Camaro, the '70 1/2 SS 396. Few of these cars were built and not too many made it into the hands of the automotive press during the short 1970 model year production run. We felt that it was the perfect compliment to Richard Foehringer's restored SS.)
Well, we done it. We went out and tested one of them new Chevy Camaros. This Mr. Wayne Thumbs of Chevrolet said that most of them other car books had near rurned one o' his prize press cars and that we probably couldn't hurt it no more than it had already been hurt. See, after we won that contest and got a ride in Mr. Jergens' car, it only seemed fittin' that we take another shot at drivin'. I managed to fit some waxpaper in the seat of my woolies so I couldn't mess up the material no more, and cousin Otto mail-ordered himself a set of ear stoppers like them men use at a turkey shoot. 'Fact, Otto got so attached to them plugs that he wore 'em for almost a week before we could get him to take 'em out. He'd probably still be wearin' 'em, 'cept he got butted by Mr. Sutter's bull, and the impact blew both them plugs outta his ears. For a fact, Otto ain't too bright. Anyway, Mr. Thumbs give us this sheet an' told us that to do a for-real run test we had to fill in all the blanks, 'bout how much gas the car used, how quick it'd stop, leg room, if it had a place to put t'bacca chewings, and stuff like that. He also said that we should take the car back out to that long straight road where them fe!lers had had the writin' on their shirts. Otto said he didn't want to go back out there cause he had bad dreams for almost a week after the last trip, but we promised that he could wear his ear plugs all the time we was there, so he went.
But first, I think I'd better describe the inside of the car. One thing has got to be fixed as soon as a feller buys a Camaro like the one we tested. When you get it, there's this little lever on the side of the steering wheel. Well, I pulled the lever and it broke the wheel. Fell almost into my lap it did, even though you could still steer everything. The way I got it figured, you oughta weld this lever so's it can't move. That way the steering don't hit a feller in the...well, so it don't set so low to your lap. I also noticed another feature about this steering business. When you turn off the key, you can't steer no more. Now I know that this might be a safety thing some of the time, but not when you're tryin' to save on gas and shut off the engine while you're still turning into the gate. I 'personal know this can be a problem 'cause it happened to me while I was showin' Mama how easy these new Camaros drive. It ain't that I minded the two Saturdays I spent replantin' her snapdragon patch, it's just that she didn't have to pay for the seed outa my checker money. I don't know what she thinks supports the still, but it dang sure ain't her butter an' egg money.
And them trunks are too small. Otto an' I went in for a sack of layin' mash, and I had to stand it up in the back seat to make it fit in the car. I don't reckon this would have been much of a problem 'cept I decided to do the brake test part of that sheet Mr. Thumbs give us, and that sack of feed pinned Otto right to the dashboard when I stopped quick. Truthfully, I think that it was his fault he got mashed. I hollered at him in plenty of time, but he had them plugs in his ears and couldn't have heard blastin' powder if it had gone off under his hat. One good thing come out of it, even so. Teeth marks will come right out of a Camaro dashboard if you'll give 'em about a half hour. The way I got it figured, it's the sponge rubber they put behind that leather-looking covering.
'Course there was some things that seemed fittin' for a new car like the Camaro. Like everything is easy to reach. With no trouble at all you can reach the window crank, shift lever, radio switch, ashtray (this didn't interest us none because it's sorta tough to smoke chewin' t'bacca), and clutch pedal. If them Farmall tractor people could get half these things on their tractors, most fellers would have to stand in line to plow. This here's a car!
After about a week of everday drivin' the car from our place to town (well, once we did scare the natural devil outta Parson Crock that day when the throttle stuck behind the church house), we measured how far we were going per gallon of gas. Otto worked it out on the ground with a stick, and accordin' to him, we got about 13.7. We never was too sure this was good since the only thing we had to compare it with was our hay bailer, and it don't come close to this much gas for amount of use. More'n likely, this ain't much of a comparison. We never had a car like this Camaro before and the only reason we were able to keep it on the road was because of Otto's chemistry set. It ain't his fault that he thought picric acid helped mileage. Some feller from one of them oil companies must've throwed a wrench in his thinkin'. Anyway, we got 13.7, including everday use of the car and them trips we took down that track. We would've explained this all to Otto but he had them Plugs...well, you probably remember.