Many of us can remember that certain car we spied in our youth and were just dying to own. For the most part, it was just a dream or desire left unfulfilled, but for Erik Hansen the dream became a reality. As Erik told us, “When I was in high school, I saw this car sitting in a driveway every day for a year as I drove to and from work. It wasn’t until June of 1984 when I saw a ’68 RS/SS advertised in the local classifieds and realized it was the same one! The previous owner lost his vision in an industrial accident and was very reluctant to sell, but I was able to come up with the $1,850.00 he was asking.” The Camaro needed work, so Erik scraped up the cash for some new tires and brakes. Over time he added hot rod parts for “just a bit more speed.” Erik mused, “Needless to say, the 396 and four-speed were way too fast for a teenage kid, but somehow we both survived with only a few minor bumps and bruises.”
In 1987 Erik joined the Marine Corps and the Camaro was put in storage so that it could be enjoyed when he was home on leave. Being deployed and getting married meant the Camaro didn’t get the attention it needed, and eventually started to wear down to the point where it wouldn’t run. In 1996 Erik had the car shipped to where he was stationed in North Carolina, and he began replacing all the hot rod parts with original pieces. “My faithful Camaro and I moved to California and started over after my divorce. I continued to enjoy driving her every time I came home on mid-tour leave from Iraq,” said Erik. “The last deployment, however, didn’t work out so well. It was my last day of leave before flying back to Iraq when I took her for a drive along the coast and rear-ended a car on the off ramp.”
The wrecked Camaro was towed over to Best of Show Coachworks in Escondido, California, for repairs. Hagerty insurance paid the claim, but Erik decided it was time to build the Camaro the right way. What was to be a simple collision repair has morphed into a full th the exception of a few trinkets like long-tube headers and the paint color, which was lifted from a new ’11 Camaro.
Erik has since retired from the Corps and he can’t wait until his Camaro is back on the road!