How many classic car owners can point to the single car in their collection that embodies their automotive education? How many enthusiasts can point to one vehicle that set them on their life path? On both fronts, Adam Martin certainly can.
As a sixteen year-old in 1990s Minnesota, Martin used his pizza-making earnings to buy a primer-gray 1968 Chevrolet Camaro–complete with Cragar wheels, of course–that had been ridden hard and put away wet. Aside from being able to change oil and identify a spark plug, the teenage Martin knew little about mechanics but quickly set out to educate himself. To this day, the Camaro retains the marks (one might even say scars) of this education.
Ask about that semi-circle imprint in the paint on the rear decklid and Martin will recount teaching himself to paint and do bodywork during one cold Minnesota winter. As he was spraying panels in his family’s old wooden garage, a coat hanger felt onto the freshly sprayed decklid leaving the imprint that remains to this day.
And why do those beautiful ceramic-coated exhaust headers look like someone took a hammer to them? Because someone did. Having proudly built himself a new 454 cubic inch engine for the car, a teenage Martin figured the engine also needed some snazzy Hooker Super Competition exhaust headers to match. Trouble was, he couldn’t figure out how to fit all the pieces together in the engine bay and finally resorted to “tailoring” the headers with a hammer in order bring the entire project to a close.