Indy to Van Nuys

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1968 (Courtesy: Hot Rod Network, Dana Chevrolet & GM Corp*)

Thunderous billboards like this blazing orange Camaro served well both in competition and promotion. Simply put; they functioned as designed. DANA Chevrolet gleamed in the mythical southern California sun moving civilian inventory and pumping horsepower through a high performance facility nearby. If you've the time to argue; Dana is claimed to be the first dealer to implant a Corvette 427 into Camaro's spry frame. DANA's performance facility ran from '67-'69 and had bailed in time to miss all of those mournful farewells to roadway heroes. No official sales number exists, but the commonly agreed figure stands at fewer than 100 427 Camaros. Men have cloned the car they could not afford. Some original examples sit roped around as priceless supercar diamonds. Everyone in the SoCal scene would have wanted to be ruler of the boulevard with a 427 Camaro. Imagine being the first, driving to Pennsylvania where Don Yenko had just begun converting his Camaro and saying, "Sorry Donny I got it from here." The time and setting were right for DANA to take off and become larger factory-backed performance dealers, but the world never could be fair.

Avoiding the price of clean air and 80 cent gasoline, DANA may have cut back their center of power in time to reflect with only satisfaction for building what the suits forbade. There is no exact telling how many pink slips could have been won prowling through Long Beach in a machine mean as this. Being a proven drive train it could have made the trip through each state ten times over. Sheriffs would have taken note too. These are the cars that introduce drivers to whole villages. F100 Ford trucks, mid-decade white Biscaynes, and here comes the Cranberry Red predator kicking up dirt road soot idling through. Townsfolk give curious glares, children cover their ears, you pull up to a wooden service station building offering single pump Shell and greasy Tom from the single garage bay gifts a grin. Where such machinery is only known by print, finally an example offers a touch. You say, "Ten Gallons of high test.'' Tom begins asking questions while chuckling with excitement. Your big block is covered with dust and road grime, though far from being tired. The pump rings, you pay, say "Keep the change", and Tom's town remembers fading tail lights turning another ad over.

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