68 Chevelle is a part of the Parker family
Who says cars aren’t a part of the family? When it comes to this 1968 Chevy Chevelle, there are plenty of things that make it special.
The first is that I am only the second owner. The original owner had it from 1968 to 1986 and only put 82,000 original miles on it by the time I bought it. The second is that this is the first car I ever bought. I was 15 years old and bought it for $2,800 at a car and auto parts swap at the Portland Expo center in April of 1986.
That was 35 years ago. I had $800, and my parents lent me the other $2,000, which I had to pay back to them with my summer job. The third thing is that this is my one and only classic car, and I have tried to keep it as original as possible; all of the numbers match.
I have always been a car person for as long as I can remember. I have always loved the old Chevys – Chevelles, Camaros and GTOs. I have a soft spot for Porsches as well.
I would say my dad was my greatest inspiration for me wanting to hold onto the car. I can remember growing up and him constantly telling me stories of him growing up in Southern California in the ’60s and owning so many fantastic cars in high school.
They were souped-up back then, but today they would be some of the best classics around. He always told me that he regretted not keeping some of those cars.
Since this was my high school and college car, it has more than a few good stories that I constantly get reminded of. I was able to drive it a few years ago to my 30-year high school reunion, and so many people remembered the car and could not believe I still had it. I think, most of all, I love driving it at dusk on those hot summer nights with all the windows down, the sound of the engine and the radio on!
I have taken it to many car shows over the years, especially when I was in high school. It has been to a few Cars and Coffee events over the last few years as well. The Chevelle always generates interest and compliments when I drive it around town. People always stop to ask me either what year it is or that it reminds them of a car they used to own when they were younger. Incredibly, something like my car can bring total strangers together to share stories about their past.
The car was all original when I bought it. I had the engine rebuilt back in the late ’80s and the car painted in 1992. I have replaced a few parts here and there over the years, but for the most part, I have not had to do too much to the car over the last 35 years.
While I do love the car, I am not the kind of guy who will typically do the work myself. I really must credit Modern Classic Auto Service in Tualatin for helping me take good care of the car.
I have an interesting story to add. I was driving in the Chevelle a few years ago with my oldest son, who must have been around ten at the time. We got off Hwy 217 and rolled up to a stoplight. Right then, a guy in a Lamborghini gets off the freeway and comes up beside us. The guy rolled down his window and says to us, “nice car.” I think my son understood at that moment what made this car special.
I am not good at giving advice, but if I had to say something, it would be to find the one car that speaks to you, whatever it is, and hold on to it. I took the car to my high school prom, and my oldest son drove it to his prom this year. I can’t think of a better memory than having this car be a part of the family for that long.
MY RIDE: TIGARD is a series written by Tigard locals with interesting rides to share. If you’d like your ride, and the story behind it, to be featured in a future issue of Tigard Life, contact Josh Kulla at [email protected]or 503-692-9215.