Father and Son Duo Restore a ‘67 Camaro
When people come into R-N-R Auto Body & Paint Specialties, they often ask two questions: “Where is the car?” and “Where is the boy?” They’re referring to a commercial for the Hagerstown, Md., shop. The spot shows 12-year-old Ross Reid sitting in his dad’s 1967 Camaro RS, saying, “Doesn’t your car deserve a little R ’n’ R?”
Ever since Ron Reid and his older son, Ryan, restored the Camaro to its pristine original condition, the Chevy has brought fame, awards, and prestige to the Reids—as well as plenty of customers to R-N-R. “Our local newspaper did a story on us, and people come in and see the poster of it hanging on the wall,” says Ron Reid. “They ask, ‘Is this the car from the commercial? Do you still have it?’ When I say yes, the next question is always, ‘Where’s it at?’”
When the Camaro isn’t earning first place ribbons at car shows for its original restoration, it’s mostly kept in the garage. But the Reids get enormous gratification from knowing that pictures of their Camaro grace the walls of many body shops and car enthusiasts’ homes. That’s because it earned pin-up status in two calendars: June 2008 for PPG and November 2010 for LKQ.
“It was awesome. That was probably the highlight of owning the car,” says the elder Reid. “There were 5,000 entries for the PPG calendar and when they called to say we were in the top 100, I thought that was as far as it was going to go. Then they called and told us we were selected and it was just—wow!”
Father and Son
Ron Reid has been a Camaro enthusiast for more than 30 years and has owned more than 40 of the cars. But this particular restoration was extra special because it was a father-and-son project from start to finish. When Ryan was a senior in high school, he had to complete an independent project for a graduation requirement. Already a car buff, he decided to restore a Camaro.
The Reids say the car found them. One day a customer came in and saw all of R-N-R’s Camaro posters. He asked Ron if he would be interested in looking at the Camaro in his barn just a couple miles away.
Not only was the Camaro in great shape, it barely had any rust and it sported some choice options. Even better, the previous owners really hadn’t messed with the car much, the interior was in good shape, and it even had the original sheet metal, fenders and doors. The Reids had to have it. “The first car I ever owned was a Camaro, and it brought back old memories of my first car,” says Ron Reid. “And I was happy it was something we could do together.”
The Hard Sell
The owner was reluctant to sell, but the Reids made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Thrilled to have the car, the Reids got by on little sleep for the next two weeks, working all hours to completely disassemble the car, strip it down to the bare metal, and start replacing and fixing everything they could with original parts, including the 327 four-speed engine, the battery and the transmission.
The duo installed new chrome, a new vinyl top and painted it the original 1967 marina blue. They even found a replacement for the original Raleigh sport package headlights. “I love the RS option with the highway headlights,” says Ryan Reid. “It’s a rare option—not many of them have it.”
In addition to the man hours, the Reids invested a lot of money in the car, too. They paid $5,500 for the Camaro in 2000, and then poured another $15,000 into parts and supplies.
The Reids’ hard work and financial investment has certainly paid off. A few years ago, another car buff tried to get them to trade the Camaro for a 2005 Corvette with 5,000 miles on it—probably a $40,000 car. Facing the disownment of his son, Ron Reid declined to sell. “He says it’s his car now,” says Ron Reid.
Though restoring the car took hundreds of hours of work, the results were well worth it to the pair. Young Ryan earned a perfect grade on his school project—the first of many accolades to follow for the Reids and their Camaro. And their attention to detail and focus on originality earned their “baby” many first-place ribbons for original restorations at car shows.
“I love to show it off,” says Ryan Reid, who recently graduated from University of Maryland and now manages R-N-R for his dad. “Driving down the interstate, I get the thumbs-up all the time.”