All in the Family: 1967 Camaro RS/SS

A while back reader Zach S. sent in a story about a 1967 Camaro which he unexpectedly found in the Arizona desert. A well-optioned first-generation Camaro is always a good thing, but the tale of its discovery is even better. So, here it is in his own words:

The story of the Camaro begins in June 2006. That’s when I found and met my birth mother in Arizona. At our first meeting, we shared stories and pictures. Once she found out I was into cars, she told me that my grandmother’s car was stored in the back yard under a tarp. I got my first look at the ’67 SS/RS Camaro! Stored in the Arizona desert for over 20 years, it was a time capsule.

My grandmother purchased it new in Los Angeles from Courtesy Chevrolet in 1967. She ordered it with the SS/RS package, 350 cubic inch 295 horsepower small block, rare bench seat, tinted windows, automatic on the column, air condition, power steering and hideaway headlights. “Granny” wanted a fast car, but she also wanted a comfortable car. She was the original little old lady from Pasadena.

When my mother passed away in 2008, I began to ask my brother if I could purchase the vehicle. In 2010 he called to say he was ready to sell it to me. I hired a company to ship it home to Virginia.

The car had never been titled outside of California. I have all the documentation on the car; from the diary grandmother kept, documenting when she went to order the car, to a letter from the salesman at Courtesy Chevrolet, thanking her for buying the car. I have the original keys and all the work receipts. But the best find was two speeding tickets from the same cop in the same month!

She had a few slight fender benders and it was repainted without the bumblebee stripe. My brother put a few dents in it as well. But we know how the car acquired all it bumps and bruises. The desert left its mark as well, with cracked rubber and vinyl. But it also preserved the sheet metal beautifully.

I am proud to have been entrusted by my family to restore this car to its original glory. The plan is to show and drive the car for a few years, then it will be passed on to my sister’s children for them to enjoy for generations to come. A barn find that’s all in the family!

Thanks for sharing this with us Zach. We wish you and your family the best of luck!

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Comments

  1. Your Name

    Not sure if a 350ci was optioned in 1967?

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    • Jeff

      I thought it would be a 327, I think 68′ was the first year for a 350.

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      • Andrei

        In 1967, the 6 cylinder was available, 327 if different versions. The SS package came with the 350 or 396. COPO cars or dealer built (Yenko, Baldwin, etc) usually came with the 427. They also produced 67 302 z28s.

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    • Linda Nelson

      I have heard several people comment, that a
      ’67 Camaro, couldn’t have been propelled with a 350.
      Again, I say to many….oh yes they DID. Besides, the one here,
      I’ve seen them with the original 350, AND, the very 1st Camaro I drove, and fell in love with, was a ’67, with a 350, that could GO!
      But, I must say this…my ’68, that I bought years later, had the original 327 with high performance (vette) heads. Now, she would s**t and get!!!

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      • Fred

        Linda, 327 was a fantastic high revving motor. Wouldn’t take much to make them wind-up even higher and I’m thankful that the ss350 / 295 was a great spin-off of the 327.

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    • Greg pierce

      Yes it was! I’m the grandson that rode in her when she was new with a 350. In 1967.

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    • Donald Avis

      I owned a 67 Camaro with the stock 350ci smallblock and the build sheet was in the car stated that it had the 295hp 350ci engine, However i know for a fact that in 68 the only 327 available in the camaro was the 210hp 2bbl carburetor i also had this model with the 3speed on the floor.

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      • Fred

        Don, ’67 and ’68 camaros also came with a 327 / 275 hp which was basically the same engine as the 350 / 295 except the crank and a few other internal parts.

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    • Fred

      ’67 first year for the 350 , was actually a true 327 and 302 block with the bottom end machined for the larger crank and journals ( 2.45). Had a lot of performance parts built into it : forged steel crank and rods ( pink rods) and higher performance rings with 10.25 CR.. All the rest was the same as the 327 /275 including the double hump heads ( 1.94/1.5 valves). Came with the standard 929 no frills cam which actually was the only part holding this performance motor back.

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  2. Mike Butchart

    I’m pretty sure the Super Sport came with a 295 horsepower 250 engine in 1967.

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    • Greg pierce

      I’m 100% sure she came with this 350 . I Rode/drove ever since she was new.

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      • Garry Good

        Hi Greg yes the 1967 camaro came with a 350 295 hp only in the SS the rs had a 327.I no because have an orig unrestored 1967rsss that is all number matching.

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  3. Mike Butchart

    Sorry, I meant 350 cubic inch engine

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  4. Jeff

    to your idea. A car with a story, especially a family one will be well looked after. My great uncle bought new a 67′ Camaro RS/SS and had the dealership send it back to the factory for a 427 plant, vin change etc. It was an automatic but could chirp the tires at highway speed. When I turned 16 in 74′ and learned he traded it in on the first year Mustang 2 I kicked our dog and beat up my sisters boyfriend.

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  5. Chris Benziger

    The only thing better than finding this great Camaro is the story behind it. Congrats to the new owner!

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  6. Tom Cotter Tom Cotter

    I’d like to contact the owner, Zack, and possibly use the car in my next car-in-the-barn book! Thanks.

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    • scot c

      ~ great call, Mr. Cotter. look forward to publication of the next installment in the series.

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    • Barn Finds

      Please email me Tom and I will get you in touch with the owner.

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    • Ralph

      Hi Tom: Are you looking for other candidates for Barn Finds? We have a great story about a 65 Corvette roadster that was rescued from a barn in Rome, NY and now resides in Summerville, SC. Completely restored and quite a show winner! Any interest? Like to talk.

      Thanks,
      Ralph

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    • Zach

      Hi Tom, my family and I would be honored to have the story of our Camaro and the wonderful journey that my mother, brother, sister and we have traveled since meeting for the first time in 2006. Its a story of adoption, family found, God’s love and a shared passion of the automobile. My contact information has been forwarded.

      Thanks Zach

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      • Fred

        Zach, how far along is the car today ? I couldn’t find that info.Love to hear from you and see some pictures .I’m a proud owner of one myself.

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  7. Marc Robertson

    SS350 was an option in 1967. A close friend of mine had one.

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    • Fred

      Really wasn’t an option as it was only available with an SS car. The 396 SS product came a few months later , they didn’t make too many in ’67 since there was a weight transfer issue with this heavier motor. By ’68 the problem was fixed and more 396 SS cars were released.

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  8. Richard Shaffner

    id have to say this car has a 327 in it,,,,,the giveaway as long as it is original is the oil filler spout that goes thru the manifold,,,,,,,,283 and 327 had this,,,,also 350 was not available in 67

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    • Richard Shaffner

      i am wrong,,,,just researched it and apparently there was a 350 ss in 67,,,,,,,

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      • Fred

        When I had my first 67 ss 350 back in the 70’s , I always ordered engine parts for a 327 motor, it saved the big argument at the parts counter !
        I’ve got another one now ( original matching #’s ’67 rs / ss 350 convertible ) and there is no more arguments with today’s parts technology.

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  9. Rancho Bella

    Go to Google and type in 1967 Camaro facts. This should help one way or another.
    Arizona is my favorite state………….considering the “state” of California………….
    Great story………don’t give the car to kids……..that is like wishing a death sentence on the poor car.

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  10. Utesman

    A new model, a new motor………’67 Camaro SS, 295-horse 350, standard engine in the SS. Do just a little research, huh ?

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  11. Dolphin Dolphin

    Now this is a great story, even if the car isn’t for sale. I guess maybe that little old lady from Pasadena actually did exist. And if it gets into Tom Cotter’s next book, it will be even better. I own all his books, and they are great reads!

    I saw a car exactly like this one recently,…well, almost like it. It was low miles and just about perfect, but unfortunately NFS. I went to the top of a mountain in British Columbia recently to buy a project car and after loading it onto my car hauler we went into the house thru the garage to do paperwork—right past a perfect blue ’67 Camaro RS/SS. I asked if it was for sale too, and the fellow told me that his wife would never sell her favorite car!

    So, somewhere on a mountain in Canada there’s a beautiful blue SS/RS that’s owned by a very interesting lady who will never sell it…like the little old lady from Pasadena, but much younger.

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    • Barn Finds

      Bet you’re not going to share where that one is hid away! You never know, people could change their minds down the road…

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  12. jim

    Great story. Would also love to know what’s hiding in the racks in the background of the last picture! 🙂

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  13. Zach

    Jim the other cars in the garage are a 1961 Ford Starliner that my wife and I restored at home. It has won the Goodguys National HomeBuilt Heaven award, Best restored car at the Detroit Autorama and the Best of the Best at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. The other is a 1984 Porsche 911 Cabriolet and a 1963 Ford Falcon tube chassis 9 second drag car.

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  14. FRED

    MY WIFE’S GRAND MOTHER HAD A GREEN ONE WITH THE 327 IN IT.THE WIFE GOT TO USE IT TO GO TO COLLEGE. GRANNY COULD NOT BACK IT UP SO SHE BOUGHT THE PROPERTY IN BACK OF HER AND PUT IN ANOTHER DOOR IN THE GARAGE SO SHE COULD DRIVE RIGHT OUT TO THE NEXT STREET WHICH WAS ON THE BEACH IN LONG ISLAND NY.WE GOT THE HOUSE WHEN GRANNY DIED BUT MY WIFE’S SISTER GOT THE CAR.TO THIS DAY I TELL HER WE GOT THE WORST OF THE DEAL.

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  15. paul

    I love these storyies, great find & worth the effort.

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  16. JP

    What a great story! Zach, I hope you’ll share pics of the finished project as well!

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  17. Larry

    Zach, GREAT story, I’m sure the car is in the correct hands now. Would sure like to see pics of the other cars.

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  18. Kevin

    I would expect this car to have a SS 350 emblem on the grill and and SS 350 gas cap. Everything else looks right for a 67 SS 350. To my knowledge they were all RS/SS optioned cars.

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    • Greg pierce

      Original gas cap stolen in@ 1970. Ss emb not replaced when orig grill replaced do to plastic cracking. How do I know this I’m the grandson who kept it protected to some day restore her. I can tell you the whole history of her.

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  19. twwokc1

    Great story, thanks for sharing it!

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  20. Gnrdude

    So Archie Bunker had a Camaro???

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  21. R.L. Elliott

    Realizing that the “golden glow” of memory has dimmed over the years, I prefer to never state definitely what options/packages/etc. came on a particular car without first doing some research. Even then, allowances have to be made for the fact that production lines experienced shortages, changes. etc. I am amazed when someone states what “did or did not” come on a car in the face of original owner documentation/etc! If there is no attempt at deception, in order to inflate a selling price, the fact that the vehicle still exists is enjoyment enough for me! 🙂

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  22. Al Neri

    Stories like this will keep me coming back again and again. Nicely done.

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  23. Casey Shain

    Really wonderful story and very cool car. Early Mustangs and Camaros with bench seats are so cool! I never saw them back in the day, but I think they’re great. The fold down center armrest really adds a bit of period luxury.

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    • Greg pierce

      However very uncomfortable to sit on, when folded up. That’s what my girlfriend would say…while she screamed faster!!!

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  24. Larry Lane

    Did your Grandmother live in Pasadena?

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    • Greg pierce

      No…. Downey, CA.

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  25. Dale Pauley

    I bought a ’69 Camaro in 2002. I found it in Mesa Az. Brought it home and was undecided about restoring it. After 8 months , myself and my best friend completely dismantled it. It took us 4 yrs. to finish it. Ive been offered 65k for it. Not for sale. Thanks for sharing

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  26. brent thayer

    my first car was a garage kept 426 ,hemi box 4spd 70 charger . my dad worked for mother mopar and we had a new model rocket ship every year or two from 66 to 73. the car was titled to me for about five minutes and stolen directly from the dmv parking lot in 83. it was just found and returned to me two weeks ago. a cousin of mine actually stole it and drove it to wisconsin where it has sat in a car port for nearly 30 years. my aunt never said a word to anyone because of the humiliation she thought it would bring. my cousin,? dead. the thing was reasearched because it still had the plates and registration from the day it disappeared. thats how i got it back . amazing

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    • Barn Finds

      Nice story Brent. You should snap a few photos and send this in. I think everyone would enjoy reading about it.

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  27. Michael Kelbaugh

    PLEASE show us what it looks like after you’ve restored it!

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  28. Keith Briggs

    In the early 70’s I had a buddy with a 67 factory RS SS 350 2 barrel carb 4 speed 4.56 gears = it was crazy fast ! the only thing non stock were the headers and lopey cam
    Fold down back seat was my favorite option , disc brake center caps on the rally wheels , hide away headlights , navy blue metallic lacquer w. no stripe , the factory paint was full of tinny cracks .
    Dayton Ohio memories , thanks

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  29. Johnnie Barr

    Great story and the family connections make it priceless. Would have love to have been there when Mom told the Grandmother story and showed you the car.

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  30. Rick

    Love reading the story Zach! Good luck with her. If you need anything please let me know.
    See ya buddy!

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  31. Lee Fogel

    What a terrific story! And I am glad that you and your birth mother were able to reconnect and that circle of life could be reconnected…best part of this story IMHO. Thank you for sharing BOTH of your finds with us!

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  32. Ruth Moseley

    I know Zack and Brenda personally….no relations…just good friends. His love for cars and family is outstanding and their Christmas trees ain’t half bad either.!!.. Somebody might want to check out the Christmas trees.

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  33. Dan Robinette

    1967 was the first year for a 350 engine and it was only offered in an SS camaro. No other Chevy vehicles had that engine til 1968..not even the corvette….It was a 350-295 horse engine….

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    • Fred

      Dan, great info. In ’68 that engine was only available in ss camaros and ss novas. “Checker” wanted to use it for the cabs however chevy would only supply them with the 327 / 275 as a performer. In ’69, the multi version 350 ( 250 / 255 / 300 / 370 HP ) was used in quite a few different vehicles.

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  34. Buddy Tullis

    Absolute BEAUTY, love the turned down exhaust back in the day. Would like to see it when you are done with the restoration, sounds like your going to do it justice! Good luck

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  35. Zach Straits

    Fred the Camaro is still in its desert find condition. I have taken it to a few shows and its been very popular in its current condition. In fact it will be a feature car at the GM Nationals in Carlisle June 2014 and at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago next November. The Camaro and the story will also be in Tom Cotter’s next book.

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  36. Zach

    Our Camaro was recently on display in its as found condition at the GM Nationals in Carlisle, Pa. Next stop the Muscle Car and Corvette nationals in November in Chicago.

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  37. Zach

    See the 2012 Barn find of the year at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago this weekend.

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