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posted: 10/15/2012 6:00 AM

Chevy collection is a family affair

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  • In the Porzak family, Tom and Darlene have diligently shared a passion for classic cars with their twin 16-year-old daughters, Jenny and Kristin.

      In the Porzak family, Tom and Darlene have diligently shared a passion for classic cars with their twin 16-year-old daughters, Jenny and Kristin.
    Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

  • The Porzak family of Hoffman Estates shares a love of vintage Chevrolet muscle. Parents Darlene and Tom and their twin daughters Jenny, left, and Kristin drive the family Chevy collection.

      The Porzak family of Hoffman Estates shares a love of vintage Chevrolet muscle. Parents Darlene and Tom and their twin daughters Jenny, left, and Kristin drive the family Chevy collection.

  • The 1968 Rally Red Camaro convertible is a favorite of the Porzak women.

      The 1968 Rally Red Camaro convertible is a favorite of the Porzak women.

  • The 1970 Monte Carlo SS is reminiscent of the first car Tom Porzak owned.

      The 1970 Monte Carlo SS is reminiscent of the first car Tom Porzak owned.

  • A 1970 El Camino SS in Phantom Blue has convinced Kristin that pickup trucks aren't just "a guy thing."

      A 1970 El Camino SS in Phantom Blue has convinced Kristin that pickup trucks aren't just "a guy thing."

  • The Porzak's 1967 Impala SS convertible was located in Long Island, N.Y., and packs plenty of rare options.

      The Porzak's 1967 Impala SS convertible was located in Long Island, N.Y., and packs plenty of rare options.

 
By Matthew Avery
Special to the Daily Herald

Most parents consider it imperative to pass on core family values to their children. Not only does this give the younger generation a feeling of identity, but it also honors the family's timeless traditions.

In the Porzak family, Tom and Darlene have diligently shared a passion for classic cars with their twin 16-year-old daughters, Jenny and Kristin.

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And, as luck would have it, Tom has accumulated enough vintage rides for each member of the Hoffman Estates clan to happily pilot.

"We love getting the whole family together and taking the cars out to a local cruise night," Kristin said.

The family affair with classic iron began when Tom was just a boy, growing up in the North suburbs.

"As a kid growing up in Niles, all my friends had hot rods," he said. "Everybody took pride in their cars. Any money you had you threw into modifying the cars. It was a lifestyle and everyone participated."

His passion was shared with Darlene, who also grew up around muscle machines. "My brother had a '69 Nova and these cars are the stuff I learned to drive on," she said.

While both parents possessed an adoration for Detroit-made Chevrolet muscle, they eagerly waited until their daughters were of driving age before accumulating the sweet bow-tie machines.

The 1970 Monte Carlo SS was reminiscent of Tom's first ride, which he owned in 1976. "I always regretted selling my '70 Monte and this one brings back many good memories," he said. Tom found the all-original Astro blue bruiser in Arizona.

The 1968 Camaro came after Darlene had been looking for a convertible and passed on several Mustangs. The Rally Red drop-top packs a 327-cubic-inch V-8 underhood and is a favorite of the Porzak women who enjoy soaking up the sun in the eye-catching sportster.

The 1967 Impala SS convertible was located in Long Island, N.Y., and packs plenty of rare options such as power windows and door locks, cruise control, tilt wheel, Comfortron A/C, light monitoring system and six-way power Strato-Back front bench seat with headrests.

The half-car, half-truck 1970 El Camino SS was originally a Florida car but was found in Boston. Since the Phantom Blue El Camino was added to the fold, this horsepower hybrid has softened Kristen's perception of haulers.

"I've had a change of heart on trucks: I've learned they can look classy and not be just a guy thing," she said.

When summer breaks in the Midwest, the Porzaks can readily be found caravanning to the nearest area cruise night. "People will ask the girls about the cars and they're able to describe them," Tom said. "They're learning the language. Most spectators are shocked."

They twin sisters also are quickly grasping what makes the high-horsepowered vintage machines unique. "In a very controlled setting, Dad showed us how to do our first burnout. It's something I'll never forget," Kristin said. "When you step on it, you really go!"

Despite the plethora of modern commuters vying for the young girls' attention, the tutelage of their old-school parents has set in firmly. "These cars are way different from what our friends drive," said Jenny. "It's neat to go to a cruise and see all the people of all ages becoming friends through the cars."

Her sister has also seen something special about the vintage iron.

"Despite all the new cars and trucks on the roads today," Kristin said, "the classics will always remain classic."

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