I grew up around '60s American muscle. My Dad and uncles and grandfather were all hot rodders and drag racers. The first car I ever worked on was my cousin's 1964 Chevrolet Corvette. The first engine I ever disassembled was a 440 from a wrecked Mopar. The first time I ever transformed rubber into smoke was behind the wheel of a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. My tastes may have broadened over time, but my love of cars can still be measured in cubic inches. Getting behind the wheel of Hagerty's 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 was like a shot of nostalgia straight into my veins.

This Camaro requires deliberate and calculated moves for every action. This isn't a car known for cornering prowess or stopping power. Everything reacts slowly. Shifting in a modern car is essentially one fluid motion from foot to hand. With the Camaro and its poorly placed pedals, each step is an individual move. Clutch in, rev, shift, clutch out. Each turn of the slow, overboosted steering is a separate action. The brakes require a firm foot and ample stopping distance. Until you learn to dance, just focus on one thing at a time.

It may sound like I didn't like the car. That couldn't be further from the truth. I loved this thing. I love that it took concentration. I love that it wasn't easy. I love the looks and the subtle burble from the engine. I love the smell of the exhaust and mechanical sounds from the doors, the seatbelts, the turn signal and just about everything else in there. Watch the full video to see me barely contain my excitement.

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