When Civil War broke out in Lebanon in the 1970s, Pierre's family sought refuge in Canada. After spending eight years there, the family moved to the U.S. in search of something new. In 1984, Pierre stumbled upon a 1970 Chevy Camaro at a yard sale. By this time, Pierre was twenty-one years old. He offered the owner $2,000 and found himself the owner of his very first car. Pierre married his lovely wife Melissa six years later (1990), and through the years, she continued to urge him to sell what she considered to be a “hunk of junk.” But Pierre insisted on holding on to the Camaro, hoping that someday they would have a son who would want to restore it. Hanging onto this dream, Pierre hauled the Camaro from their first house to a friend’s barn and then to two mini storage facilities. In 1995, Pierre’s dreams were realized as their son Arlen was brought into the world. “I never thought that this car would be such a huge part of (Arlen's) life, and when (Pierre) took him to the mini storage, Arlen fell in love, and that was IT!” Melissa states.
Arlen was nine when he started mowing lawns to fund the Camaro's restoration, and by the age of twelve, he had enough money to start fixing it up. Arlen employed his grandpa's help, asking if he could move the Camaro out of mini storage and into his workshop 45 miles away from their home. Slowly, with help from grandpa and a local mechanic, Arlen started changing everything on the car, piece-by-piece. Arlen paid for all of the restoration expenses with his own hard-earned money. Discouragement came in many forms and Arlen frequently heard the naysayers telling him to give up, but like his dad, he persevered and continued to push toward his goal of getting the car ready to drive in time for his sixteenth birthday. And he DID!
Although it may not have been cosmetically ready, it still looked and sounded good. Yes, the paint was oxidized, and the interior was sticky from being out in the sun for so many years, but it was his, and he was proud of it. And because he was so proud of the Camaro, Arlen stopped at nothing to get the parts he needed. He searched websites that sold interior pieces and had large items like a new trunk delivered to local body shops since they wouldn’t ship them directly to the house. At one point, Arlen saw a Camaro at a house, pulled over and asked the owner if he would sell the doors so he could have newer side windows. The owner agreed.
Arlen replaced the majority of the interior by himself, including the carpet and the new console. Melissa couldn’t believe the determination her son had to turn what she once considered a “hunk ofjunk” into a beautiful 1970 Chevy Camaro, and is extremely happy that she agreed to keep that “hunk of junk” in the family.
Just last week, Arlen completed the side panels and now has only a few more things to do to have it back to almost brand new condition. He LOVES this car, and he takes care of it like it’s a Ferrari, making it the most important car in the family’s garage. Arlen is now eighteen and his prized car is forty-four!
Melissa wanted to thank Hagerty for allowing Arlen to drive this Camaro, and for herself and Pierre to have peace of mind knowing that he is fully insured.
My name is Andrew Overheul and I truly enjoy hearing the stories that our clients share with us.