Aging 1968 Camaro scooped up and turned into an award-winner

  • 1968 Chevy Camaro RS/SS

    1968 Chevy Camaro RS/SS Photos Courtesy of Matt Avery Media

  • "I love the sound, the power and the feel of old cars," Gorski says.

    "I love the sound, the power and the feel of old cars," Gorski says.

  • The car is equipped with air conditioning and power windows.

    The car is equipped with air conditioning and power windows.

  • 1968 Chevy Camaro RS/SS, Greg Gorski, Gurnee

    1968 Chevy Camaro RS/SS, Greg Gorski, Gurnee

  • The 1968 Camaro RS/SS is painted in Chevrolet's Matador Red.

    The 1968 Camaro RS/SS is painted in Chevrolet's Matador Red.

 
 
Posted12/31/2018 6:00 AM

Upon his retirement in 2014, Greg Gorski and his wife Becky bought the present he always wanted -- a first-generation 1968 Chevy Camaro RS/SS.

"It was the car I always had to have," the Gurnee resident says. "It was my dream car."

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He's no stranger to muscle, having owned a 1966 Chevelle, which he bought from Marquardt Buick in Barrington following his 1970 high school graduation.

Greg's Camaro was sold new out West, in sunny California, at Carrell Chevrolet in Newhall, not too far from where it was assembled Oct. 6 at Chevrolet's Van Nuys assembly plant. One of its more unusual options is Chevy's Vigilite Monitoring System. Using three different light pods, two on the front fenders and one on the rear window shelf (the package tray), drivers can see illuminated lights alerting them to which exterior lights are on, such as the blinking turn signals or brake lights.

Greg Gorski of Gurnee bought his Camaro as a retirement present to himself in 2014.
Greg Gorski of Gurnee bought his Camaro as a retirement present to himself in 2014. -

"It's a neat idea and works pretty well," says Greg, who has only seen two other cars with this option and both were Chevelles. That would make sense as Greg tells me less than 1 percent of the 235,000 or so Camaros produced in 1968 were equipped with Vigilite Monitoring. While Chevrolet advertised it as "fiber optics," it essentially consisted of thin plastic tubes running between various light housings and the pods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Whether it was the high-tech system or just the Camaro's cool looks, it caught the eye of a young woman who was the car's original owner. After cruising around the Golden State for a few years, the car ended up at auction and eventually made its way to the suburbs and Wonder Lake.

There a young guy had started a restoration but gave up after sticking it in primer and parking it by the side of the road. Greg's friend, Don, scooped it up and then flipped it to a third friend, Bill, who had the crew at Tri Power Automotive in Libertyville complete final assembly.

The Vigilite Monitoring System was a $26.35 option, but only about 1 percent of Camaro buyers in 1968 ordered the extra.
The Vigilite Monitoring System was a $26.35 option, but only about 1 percent of Camaro buyers in 1968 ordered the extra. -

"I love the sound, the power and the feel of old cars," says Greg, who enjoys driving his classic. "With its bias ply tires, you can get into the grooves of the road and it's almost like you're driving on a track."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This past year, Greg showed his Camaro for the first time at the Milwaukee Concours d'Elegance and the Geneva Concours d'Elegance. At both summertime events, the Matador Red Camaro took home first place finishes in its category.

While the prestigious recognition is rewarding, what Greg cherishes most is the new friends the car has brought him. "Getting back into the classic car hobby again has really opened up my world and allowed me to meet some really great new friends."

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com. Buy his book at COPOthebook.com.

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