Marriage counselors and divorce lawyers have made fortunes on guys with an excessive number of auto-related toys. It’s the “either they go, or I go,” phrase echoed by many ex, or soon-to-be ex-wives that contribute the cause. It’s all-too-common among guys with a garage full of cars, parts, and a plethora of performance goodies. It’s taking up “valuable” garage space, which, in turn keeps the family wagon out in the cold. But rarely, if ever, have we heard of a man causing strife within the “holy union” by making a purchase from the wrong hot rod catalog.
It nearly happened to Frank Johnstone. You see Frank was getting the itch to leap into the world of muscle cars. Only one problem; he was about to break bread with the Ford fraternity, not realizing his wife and brother-in-law happen to be hard-core members of the Chevy Brigade.
Now, we’re not trying to add to the already-long wedding ceremony−it’s long enough as it is, but maybe it’s time the good ol’ Reverend brings up, “Chevy or Ford” before the proverbial, “I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.”
Now I know what you’re thinking. Frank should have found out a little sooner in the relationship about his wife’s muscle car preference. I’m with you on that. Fortunately for everyone involved, especially Frank, it was no big deal; he wasn’t totally hooked on the Blue Oval pony ride anyway, he just thought it looked cool. No harm done.
His wife, Betty, and his brother-in-law, Dennis, easily reeled him over to the right side of the tracks and into a ’00 Camaro SS. “I’m glad they did. I’ve been happy ever since,” reveled Frank.
It’s been a few years since the Camaro purchase, and Dennis has since passed on, but his spirit has not. “I had Dennis’ race number painted on the sail panel as a little memorial and reminder of his influence on this car. He was a drag racer and was the one who got me into this great hobby,” says Frank.
Now going on 7 years since Frank began appearance and performance modifications on the fourth-gen, but he confesses, “I’m never satisfied. I’m still searching on ways to improve the car any way I can.”
Improve it he has. Frank prefers his F-body with a little more zip than stock, so he went to Rapid Motorsports of PA and had them hop up the top end with a heads and cam package along with an upgraded valve spring kit from Trick Flow. Kook’s 1-3/4-inch stainless long-tube headers with a high-flow cat and Y-pipe compliment the engine performance upgrades with improved exhaust-flow. A TCI 3000 Street Fighter torque converter get Frank off the line in a jiffy, while Spohn’s 402FL adjustable torque arm keep the car in line.
Frank, now in his early sixties (you’re welcome Frank), claims an age reversal occurs when he lets loose of the 425 rear-wheel horsepower. “I feel like a kid every time I hit the throttle.” He’s added a bit of nostalgia to the late-model by way of 17-inch five-spoke Crager’s and some old school SS badges. Frank wanted to liven up the exterior of his F-body, so he had Tom Downey apply the distinct silver and white ghost flames on top of the Navy Blue Metallic pigment. “I wanted something to give my car a little distinction from the rest of the blue Camaros on the road. Besides, this is a little reflection of my personality,” admits Frank.
As he makes his way through town, we’re pretty sure the folks of Joppa, Maryland aren’t highly appreciative of the peace-disturbing tone of Frank’s ’00 Camaro, especially when he opens the QTP electric cut-outs. In fact, a collective “Damn Kid!” can be heard coming from many boutiques and tearooms along Main Street as he passes by.
Fortunately, this “kid” and his bride will take the smell of race gas and burnt rubber over the taste of flavored coffee and herb tea any day of the week.