Hindsight can be a tricky thing. Most of us can reflect back and wonder how our lives might be different had we taken that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, asked out that cute brunette, or tried out for that exclusive team or club. And when we get right down to it, most car guys and gals can usually spout off at least one ride that they wish they hadn’t let get away.
We didn’t ask Yorktown, Virginia’s Tony Merilic about his employment history, his luck with the ladies, or his athletic pursuits, but we’re pretty sure he harbors no wonderings or feelings of what-ifs when it comes to cars, because he’s been the proud owner of this now-silky-smooth pro street 1969 Camaro ever since 1979.
“I purchased the car when was 18 years old from Jack’s Auto Supply where I worked as a mechanic-in-training,” Merilic said. “I financed it all on my own and paid $3,000 for it. I drove it daily to high school and my job,” he added.
The classic Chevy was a one-owner, putted around town previously by the proverbial little old lady, and was in excellent condition. Originally yellow with black stripes, the first-gen had rolled out of the GM plant with a factory 4-speed and a 307ci small block.
Far from an overnight sensation, the Camaro benefitted from a steady process of improvement for over 30 years by the hands of Merilic and his cadre of gearhead friends, including Ronnie Talbott and Gene Ferguson. “I would work on the car and change something on it—then I would decide to add something a little more, and the next thing I knew it looked like it does now,” he said. “I had quite a few friends who had classic cars and we started going to car shows and hanging out. It has taken me 35 years to get it to this level,” he added.
“This level” is a modern take on the classic pro street look, including a host of chassis, performance, and aesthetic mods. One of the first things noticeable is the gorgeous House of Kolor custom-mixed Kandy Brandywine and Kandy Apple paint. Previously mentioned pal Ronnie Talbott of Talbott’s Auto paint prepped and sprayed the car, using the same color throughout but adding a custom marbelizer… Read more of this article. Just click on the digital feature below this introduction.
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