The following is an open letter to the President of General Motors:

Dear Mr. Mark L. Reuss:

I have been a loyal customer of GM vehicles most of my life.  It started with my first new car.  I was then working for a Chevy dealership in a little town in rural North Dakota as the Business Manager.  In a small dealership you are a one man operation…bookkeeper, tax preparer, business manager, receptionist, part-time salesman, and vehicle delivery man.  I loved it.  I took this job not having a vehicle to drive, so shortly after starting, I purchased a vehicle off the dealership lot.  It was a brand new 1972, Mojave Gold, Chevy Camaro RS with 4 and 6/10th of a mile on the speedometer.

It had a 350 cubic inch engine and the GM factory had mistakenly put a high performance rear end in the car that was meant for a race car.  It had a top end over a 130 mph.  It was very fast and that is how I drove it.  The sticker price on this car was $ 4333.00 and because I worked at the dealership, I paid around $ 3100.00.  Gas was cheap back then, around 35 cents per gallon and the first weekend that I had the car, I put over 550 miles on the gauge.  Soon, after I bought the car, I installed an 8-track player and speakers… so that I could “groove to the tunes” while I cruised around in my new car.  I also had installed a creme colored “landau” vinyl roof.  What that is for those who do not know, is a vinyl roof that goes from the top of the front windshield to just even with the back edge of the two side windows.  The creme colored vinyl matched the creme colored interior.

I absolutely loved this car and it was a great car to pick up “chicks.”  When I was not driving it, I was washing or waxing it and I kept it spotless.  That is tough to do in wintry North Dakota.

This one time, I was headed to the western part of the state to see a girlfriend.  Along the way I picked up two couples who were attending a local college and hitchhiking to attend an outdoor music concert. Both of the guys were basketball players and both were well over 6 feet tall, so imagine, one couple crunched in the back seat and the other couple in the front seat.  As we were traveling down the interstate, I was first passed by a guy driving a Corvette convertible.  He was in his late 20’s or early 30’s, wearing driving gloves, plaid driving cap, and with a matching plaid scarf.  I was doing 75 mph and he went around me like I was sitting still.  Right behind him came two girls in their early 20’s driving a red ss 396 Chevy Nova.  It was “jacked up in the back and had racing slicks.  The Nova also went around me like I was not there.

So, me being young, dumb, and adventurous; I joined in by racing pass both of them which resulted in a game of trading places with each other.  As one vehicle got passed by the other two…the driver of that vehicle would then pass the other two as we sped down the interstate.  After a while, I was passed by both the Corvette and the Chevy Nova and they both disappeared over a distant hill.  I though that they were gone forever.  But, I was wrong.  Waiting on the interstate highway, stopped, were the Corvette, half in the left lane and half on the left shoulder and the Nova was parked the same on the right lane and right shoulder.  I then pulled to a stop between them.  With a mutual nod among us, off we raced, three abreast.  I guess I must have scared the guy in the back seat, because he was screaming pretty loud, but you don’t hear a lot when you are concentrating at driving at over 130 mph.  I was able to beat the Nova ss, but the Corvette had a higher top end, then my Camaro.

A short time later, I dropped the two couples off at the music concert and when the guy in the back seat got out of my car, he got down on his knees and kissed the ground.  He was a transfer student from South America…maybe that is a custom in his country.

I do not know how many years that I have left on this earth and my dream is to someday own another fast Chevy Camaro or Corvette.  This is unlikely because I am retired, but one never knows.

Again, Mr. Reuss; I wrote this so that I could say thanks for the memories.  There really is a great connection between a boy and his first new car.  It gave me the independence that I needed to become a man.  Thanks again.

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