This original 1969 Camaro is a thread that runs through the Hansen family

Steve Hansen’s love of cars has led him,
along with his sons, Nate and Adam, down a path set by his dad many years ago.
John L. Hansen thoroughly enjoyed automotive restoration as a hobby and a
diversion from his dental lab business. After he sold his business, he devoted
all of his time to collecting old cars and trucks. He died in 2007, leaving behind
some beautifully restored cars and a few uncompleted projects.

Steve, of Shawnee, Kan., not only followed
his dad’s career path into the dental lab business, but he also inherited his
father’s love for tinkering with cars. Whereas John liked cars from the 1930s,
Steve likes cars that are a bit newer, such as his 1969 Z28 Chevrolet Camaro
with the Rally Sport package.

Steve said that when he first saw the dark
maroon Z28 sitting on the transporter at Van Chevrolet in 1969, he thought,
“That’s the car I want.” He was a senior in high school. With help from his
dad, he plunked down $3,950 and the Z28 was his. Later that same day, he drove
it to the prom with his girlfriend. They spent the whole night driving around
to put miles on the car so it would be ready for street racing.

Steve married his girlfriend, and they used
the Camaro as the “getaway” car for their wedding. The Z28 was a daily driver
for years, but in time it was driven less and less. When the couple divorced,
the Camaro stayed with Steve. Today it has 96,000 miles. The white stripes down
the center of the car are original, although the rest of the paint has been
redone. The windshield is original, too, and the current tires are more than 20
years old.

A few years ago, Steve’s son, Nate, became
the caretaker for “Whomp,” as the Camaro is known in the family. Nate dotes
over it just like his dad did. His brother, Adam, who drives a Corvette,
reveres the car as well.

In October, Nate is getting married, and he
and his bride plan to use Whomp as their getaway car, just as Steve did.

“This car holds so many memories for me and
my family,” Nate wrote in an e-mail, “that it is priceless. Several people have
offered to buy it, and I always tell them that they don’t have enough money.”

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