To Good Friends
Recently-on July 22, 2009 to be more precise-I lost a dear friend. This was a whole new experience for me, something I wasn't entirely ready for. I had originally decided to keep this to myself, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to share who he was with the world.
For longtime readers, there's a good chance you'll recognize the name Terry Stevens. I first met Terry back in 2002, when I was a staffer at our sister pub Car Craft. Back then we had just revived the Real Street Eliminator series and had chosen Terry as one of the five contestants with his 400ci-powered '78 Caprice. At the end of the event, Terry managed to take top honors in the Ride & Drive portion, and I also gained a new friend.
Two years later, during my initiation to CHP, I had the opportunity to get a firsthand look and help document his '68 Camaro build. At the time, he was breaking new ground by being the first person to transplant an LS2 engine with a Tremec six-speed into a first-gen Camaro; the car was a looker, but it was definitely built to be driven, and he was going to make its maiden voyage on the Hot Rod Power Tour.
Shorty thereafter, I flew out to North Carolina to shoot the car for our cover and for the Power Tour. What a great time that was. He had a fleet of his cars on tour, including the Caprice, a supercharged Silverado, and his C5 Z06. I could go on and on about that trip, but I'll simply say that it was one of the best times of my life. We drove the snot out of all the cars through a myriad of cities, down country roads, and through torrential rainstorms, all without a glitch.
A few years later I received the unfortunate news from him that he had a serious brain tumor. This type was known to be aggressive and fatal, and he was quickly enrolled in a clinical trial at the Duke University Oncology Center. I always knew when he was having good days, as he would continue to e-mail jokes, but I also knew when the e-mails slowed down that he wasn't feeling well. Still, against all odds, he stood strong and beat the odds for the next two and a half years.
I'm slowly starting to realize that I need to remember the good times. He was a caring man who loved building and driving hot rods, and more importantly he always enjoyed life. I still remember the first time I told him my middle name and generational suffix, he responded with "Hamilton? The Third!? Sounds like you knew Buffy and Biffy at Harvard!" It's odd how you always remember the little things like that. Thank you for the good times, my friend. I miss you already.