NAPOLEON — Not too many people can say they’ve kept something they traded for 36 years, but Gary Eitzman, of Napoleon, can.
Eitzman owned a 1969 Chevy Chevelle when he was 16 years old. It was his first car, and it looked good. The only problem was he couldn’t keep a transmission in it.
“Every time I turned around, I was knocking the transmission out,” Eitzman said.
A kid at his school had this 1969 Chevy Camaro SS. It didn’t look as nice as his Chevelle, as the Camaro was under primer and in need of a paint job. This kid offered an even trade to Eitzman; his Camaro for Eitzeman’s Chevelle with a blown transmission. At 16, young men are interested in a car that runs, so Eitzman took the trade. His dad was not happy.
The 1969 Chevy Camaro went through a slight redesign from its ‘68 model year. The grille was restyled, making the car appear wider. The interior was made to be more comfortable as well.
Eitzman drove the Camaro for awhile. The motor developed a knock, so Eitzman pulled it into his parents’ garage and pulled the motor out and put a new motor in it.
“I lost interest, and it sat there for years. When my dad was living, he did some tedious bodywork to it, and then three years ago I put a 454 motor in it,” Eitzman said.
Today Eitzman is more than happy with his decision to trade his Chevelle for his Camaro. His favorite memories are working on it with his dad.
“He got me back to being interested in it,” Eitzman said.