2,698 Genuine Miles: 1979 Camaro RS

Imagine that you’ve bought yourself a nice, shiny, new car. Then, over the next 40 years, you only average driving it around 68 miles per year. Hard to imagine? Well, that appears to be the case with this 1979 Camaro RS. The odometer currently only shows 2,698 miles, and the owner holds documentation which appears to confirm this. Barn Finder Ryan B referred this one to us, so thank you for that Ryan. The Camaro is located in Maple Grove, Minnesota, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the asking price for the Camaro at $17,500.

When I see a car of this age with incredibly low mileage, I really like to go over the photos with a fine-toothed comb, and this Camaro is no exception. The presentation and condition of the paint and the panels is generally all that you would expect from a car with less than 3,000 miles on the clock. However, taking a close look at the urethane front bumper shows a couple of potential small imperfections, but I’m unsure whether these are real, or a problem with the photo. They can be seen down low on the valance on the passenger side. You can see them in the bottom photo of this article, so take a look and see what you think. Looking at the photos of the underside of the Camaro reveals a car that is essentially spotless, with only some “gravel rash” on a few of the painted lower engine components to indicated that this Camaro has been driven any distance. So, apart from that possible question over the front bumper, everything seems to look relatively promising in the presentation stakes.

When you look inside the Camaro, once again you are confronted with a car that essentially looks brand new. There is simply no signs of any wear or marks anywhere. Some people might easily be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of red that is present in and on this car, but this was the 1970s, and these things happened. However, for all of the positive attributes present in this low-mileage car, I really wonder where the radio has gone. There is no mention of it in the listing, and its absence leaves a very obvious hole in the dash. That’s quite curious, and I’d really like to know why this has occurred.

I was so looking forward to getting a look at the engine bay because these can be a great indicator of the condition and mileage of a car. Sadly, no dice. I’m quite surprised that there are no photos, so all that I can say is that we know that under the hood is the 305ci V8, backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. The owner says that he doesn’t believe that the tires are original, while the car has recently received a new OEM exhaust. Beyond that, we’re really in the dark about how the car runs and drives. Having said that, the owner does seem to be approachable if anyone has any questions to ask, or if they want additional photos. Likewise, he also seems happy to organize a personal inspection for any interested parties.

It will be interesting to hear what our readers make of this car. I love the idea of a car that’s got a bit of age to it, but shows small numbers on the odometer. There are a couple of question marks over this car, but these questions could easily be answered by personal inspection. This is something that the owner seems happy to arrange, so that would indicate that he does have confidence in his product.

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Comments

  1. Wonson Member

    This one has no options. The radio didn’t go anywhere, it was never there.

    7
    • Ralph

      It has a few, the sport mirrors and rally wheels with trim rings were extra as were the 4 speed and 305, the base engine combo for this year, even with the RS package would have been a 250 6 with a 1bbl and a 3 speed manual.

      9
      • Superdessucke

        I had a ’79 Z28 with a radio delete. It would have a plastic plate the same color as the dash with a Chevy logo in the middle. This one is missing the plate. The holes would still be there though – the plate just went over the pre-cut holes.

        Anyway, this car has the wrong steering wheel. All 1979 Camaros use the four spoke wheel. This looks like it’s from a Malibu Classic.

        All ’79 RS models had two tone paint where the hood and forward part of the roof were either dark blue, black, or camel set off by a tricolor stripe. So despite what the ad says, this one does not have original paint unless it isn’t an RS. It looks like a Sport Coupe to me.

        11
    • Will Fox

      If this car was ‘radio delete’ the window sticker should state that. Also, cars so equipped had ‘blank plates’ installed where the radio goes, which can easily be popped off for an install. This one simply had whatever radio the factory put in removed, which raises questions.
      The tire swap I understand; tires get checked and crack along the sidewalls from sitting let alone flat spots. Speaking of rubber, I now have to wonder about belts, hoses, head/valve cover gaskets, etc. after 40 years. (I graduated from HS the same year!)

      6
      • Bill Nagribianko

        The window sticker would not indicate the absence of a radio because there was no such thing as “radio delete”. Radios did not come on these cars as standard equipment. If you wanted a radio, you had to order that option and it would show it on the window sticker. If you didn’t want a radio, you didn’t have to do anything. Like power windows or A/C or other creature comforts, the car never came with a radio in the first place.

        4
    • Andrew Eldritch

      Radio delete option has a blank plate that fits over the radio opening. I would be more concerned as to why it has a Monte Carlo steering wheel. And where are all the RS graphics and stripes? This one looks fishier than a sushi bar!

      2
      • Andrew Eldritch

        Actually, after checking GM Heritage (they have downloadable PDF files of info), this is NOT a Rally Sport. It is a standard Sport coupe. The Rally Sport package was a special paint and decal package, that this car definitely does not have. The forward portion of the roof, tops of the doors, and fenders were black, seperated from the main body color by tri-colored stripes, with Rally Sport and Camaro decals on the rear spoiler and front fenders. This car has the chrome Camaro emblem on each fender, further denoting it as a base model Camaro. Google a picture of a 1979 Rally Sport, after looking at the GM Heritage site’s factory order list and options, and full descriptions of available trim levels. Thev steering IS from a Monte Carlo, Rally Sport had two horizontal spokes on each side (same wheel as Z28), and a round ‘RS’ badge in the center.

        4
  2. NotSure Member

    The owner must not have had a need for the car. Many times our purchases are for want of and not need of. Most people buy a car because they need to get to work or to the beach (I can’t think of any other reasons to buy a car). It would be interesting to know the “want” for this one.

    2
    • Will Fox

      Could’ve been a close-out `79 model at a price too sweet to ignore. It happens.

      2
  3. Alexander

    If the radio wasn’t ordered, wouldn’t the factory install a blankout plate for a dealer to then remove to install a fancy stereo or leave alone? I think what we are seeing on the front bumper are divots for the tag holder that was never installed. Shame with this low mileage the red carpet has done what many high mileage cars do…fade in areas to kind of an orange pomegranate color.

    1
  4. gord

    are you speaking of the “dimples” in the bumper… maybe factory to locate the licence plate holder holes?

    6
    • Brad Bulger

      You are correct sir. This is for the license plate.

  5. Paulenea

    isn’t that a Monte Carlo steering wheel on that car?

    21
    • Al

      Yes, Monte wheel.

      2
    • Andrew Eldritch

      Yes, it IS a Monte Carlo wheel. This car is also NOT a Rally Sport.

      3
    • Nathaniel

      It is also the same steering wheel as on a 1982 Malibu Classic. I can say this for certain because I have owned one since new (37 years as of April 15th).

      1
  6. Rock On

    Agreed that this is a very base Camaro. I’ve owned half a dozen and my buddies have owned dozens more, but I’ve never seen this style of steering wheel in one. Definitely overpriced, but if you must have a low mileage, rust free, unmolested Camaro, this could be one of the best to start with.

    11
    • GTiDave Member

      Monte Carlo steering wheel?

      16
      • Kolin

        Yup. Sure is. Why ???

        And no mention of it in the article ???

        Sticks out like a sore thumb.

        5
      • GMoparman

        That is the first thing that jumped out at me. Why is the original 4-spoke wheel?

        5
      • Ralph

        I noticed that too, I’ve never seen one of those on a Camaro of this vintage, I’m not sure if the 4 spoke style wheel was standard either, these might have had a base “Nova” style wheel on the bottom of the line models.

        1
    • Joey Binks

      You can buy brand new bare body shells for $13,000, and build your own brand new Camaro, however you want it. I would do that before I would ever give more than $5000 for this red headed stepchild!

      1
  7. Ron Bajorek

    perfect for a Day 2 or an LS1 conversion and it’s no money. It’s not easy being cheesy

    1
  8. Peter Smith

    That is a Monte Carlo steering wheel. Now why would the owner have changed that?

    1
    • Bakyrdhero Member

      I have never seen this steering wheel on a Camaro. My first thought was Monte, Malibu, or Caprice. Weird.

      3
  9. Dave Mika

    Definitely looks like a Monte wheel, but I’m no expert. As for seeing any engine pics, it’s a 305 – not much to see…

    2
  10. Anthony in RI

    Would be the perfect platform for someone who doesn’t like body work. A perfect rust free body just begging for a 350 crate motor or a 396/402 big block and a 5 or 6 spd transmission. Put a Z-28 grille on it, a black interior and some real gauges in it and drive the hell out of it! I wish i had the funds….

    6
  11. Noel Evans

    This is not a Rally Sport. The RS pkg has a 2 tone paint scheme of black on top and a choice of other colors on bottom. Also the RS has a black grill. Also this car has the steering wheel of a Malibu or maybe a El Camino of the same time frame. I’ve owned a 1979 Chevy Camaro RS for 33yrs (June 1986). They only made 19101 that year.

    1
    • z28th1s

      The top color wasn’t always black. The top color was also available in a bronze type color. I had a ’79 RS that was also a 305/4 speed combo. It was bronze on the top and a light tan on the bottom.

      3
    • Willte

      They also had vinyl graphics on each front fender and one on the rear spoiler that said Rally Sport, not chrome badges that said Camaro. I think it’s a base model.

  12. irocrobb

    I do believe the mileage on this one. I am no expert either, but owned many 1978 and 1979 Camaros in my day and think the steering wheel is incorrect.
    I do like the car and it is pretty rare with a manual 4 speed.

    4
  13. don

    Its not a Monte steering wheel ; the Monte would have had the Monte Carlo helmet logo in the center, not the bowtie . Its a wheel for a 1979 Malibu – maybe it somehow got put on this car at the factory, or maybe its the base steering wheel for bottom line Camaros . I agree it looks odd , but this whole car is odd !

    2
    • Ralph

      I noticed no Monte Carlo Knight on the wheel too, it could be Malibu, that wheel was in Impala/Caprices too, but I’ve never seen one in a Camaro.

      2
  14. Bob

    It’s not an Rally Sport. They all had two tone paint from 75 on, the paint/graphics was the RS package. This is an actual 79 RS.

    8
    • Marvin

      Bob is this one for sale a beautiful RS. That is the way they supposed to look. Thanks Marvin

  15. Noel Evans

    You are correct. My 79 Camaro RS is black and silver. They didn’t make a single color RS. Only 19101 built in ’79

    1
  16. Noel Evans

    Oh and the steering wheel is from a Malibu, Monte Carlo, or El Camino

  17. Willte

    Definitely not a RS. I have a 1980 RS. I would say this is a base model Camaro. The steering wheel is from a Malibu, it looks exactly like the one I had on a 1978 Malibu.

    3
  18. Bakyrdhero Member

    From my googling I’ve also come up with a Malibu steering wheel. I wonder why and I wonder if it was somehow ordered like this?

    1
  19. Dave

    Ya, I’ve had a few Montes and yes, no helmet, but definitely similar,

  20. dave brennan

    Just took a close look at the odometer pic. The digits are all out of line!!

    2
  21. Bill Nagribianko

    The radio has been yanked out. If it was a non radio car, there would be a plate there. A new exhaust system?? Why with only 2K miles?? And the armrest on the console, looks to me like it’s been leaned on for a hell of a lot more than 2K miles worth. Why no pics of the engine? Because they don’t want us to see how dirty the underhood and engine bay is? And please tell me, why would someone remove the Camaro steering wheel and put a Chevelle/Monte Carlo one in?? 2,000 miles? Try 102!

    2
    • DON

      I noticed that at the ends of the rear springs it looks like there is some red overspray on them – maybe the car has had a repaint or some touchup? . I’m a little suspicious about this Camaro

      1
  22. Copper B

    I have an all original 1979 Impala with this exact wheel in the same color.

    2
  23. Alexander

    Where is everyone seeing a window sticker? Ugh, this pretty red Camaro with rally wheels is a mixed bag.. The very definition of a malaise era GM product. The once proud Camaro brand reduced to parts-bin construction in 1979. That steering wheel could have easily been pulled from a different series to use in finishing out an odd loss leader for a particular dealer. The armrest pad looks no worse than any from the period…mold marks in the plastic extrusion process not from heavy use. It isn’t split, which happened with red ones after around the second year.

    1
    • Ralph

      Whereas what? The 1967 Camaro was a “bespoke” creation? With its Nova/Corvair shared wheel and “parts bin construction”?

      Please……

      • hank

        1st Gen Camaros could use the 65-69 Corvair Windshield. Camaros sported Corvair inside and outside door handles and window cranks, And Rocker Panel Trim.

        I paid about 1/2 the price Corvair vendors wanted for just the molding (not the metal pieces it attaches to) for a complete set.

        1
  24. Saul

    Been surfing for showroom literature of the base and Berlinetta Camaro from this year. The brochure I’ve found shows this exact interior photographed from the windshield post back. No shots of the base steering wheel but I bet they exist somewhere. This photo shows what the radio would look like in the dash. Pretty dang ugly with no fancy nacelle or trim plate–just flat red plastic as on the subject car. What a yawn.

    2
  25. Jack

    Speedo cable is easily detached from the transmission. I bet this car had it that way while it was being used. The undercarriage looks a lot more used than not. Wonder if they replaced seats, steering, peddles, and other items with better replacement parts. I wouldn’t touch this vehicle with a 10ft pole.

    5
  26. Ryan B

    hey! ya i was the one who found this one… it looked good, but not $17500 good. i also did notice the steering wheel. i was wondering if that was original or not.

    2
  27. GTiDave Member

    Wouldn’t an RS have a tachometer and real gauges?

    • Andrew Eldritch

      No, it was a paint and graphics only package, oh, it also came with two remote operated sport mirrors, whoopee!

  28. Al

    I had a ’79 Z-28 back in ’84. The 350 was built dyno’d 438hp, I didn’t do the build, previous owner did. Had the T-10 BW trans. Ran like a raped ape! I had only bought it as I missed my ’75 Formula 400 that I had a cpl yrs from 78-80.

    3
  29. Alan

    I along with many others wouldn’t touch this thing. Only thing going for it is the 4sp. Engine is a dog. Very questionable mileage. Even the pics give a hint to that. I’ve had a variety of cars in the last 43 yrs driving, at least 35+. (they’re like women, after 6 mos, the novelty wore off, you showed all your friends & then they know what buttons to push & they morph into the last one you got rid of for the same reasons) Combination of muscle & luxury, so many on here every time I see its ‘I had that’ lol.
    But this one, if it was $7500, I’d still have to see it 1st if I was a ‘buyer’, not me.

    2
  30. Mark .

    Hello all,

    I am the current (3rd) owner of this Camaro and thank you all for your comments!

    Thanks Ryan B for spreading the word.. Appreciated!!

    Hoping I can answer some of the questions that have been raised…

    1) The Steering Wheel is original to this car. In searching I have found a select few other 79 Camaros with this same wheel, though very rare.

    2) Radios were an option on the Camaro in 79. This one was ordered with no radio. Some call this radio delete but in fact it was not deleted. Just not ordered. The black cover plate was in the glove compartment. Some I understand were sprayed to match the interior or just shipped unpainted in black.

    3) The cosmetic blemished referred to on the lower passenger section of the front bumper cover is in fact 2 mounting holes for the front license plate. Factory / Dealer / Owner installed? I don’t know.

    4) As far as the 2 tone paint schemes on the 79RS, I have found 4 other Camaros RS models so far that were ordered in single color. If you put the brochure down you will find there are some exceptions to the rule in all makes and model cars.

    I find some of the comments interest. To you armchair validators, I will say with all the research done on this car, it appears to be legit.

    Thanks, Mark R.

    4
  31. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    One comment that hasn’t been made: If you ordered one without a radio, you still got a windshield antenna. When I ordered my ’81 with no radio, I hadn’t thought about an antenna, so was happy to see the antenna connector when I installed my Pioneer. The antenna is 2 small wires that run up the center of the windshield.

    2
    • Ralph

      Some cars yes some cars no, the antenna was part of a “radio prep” package, I’ve seen true no radio cars from that era without the antenna wires in the windshield.

      1
    • Mark R.

      Good Point… This one does have the antenna in the windshield.

      Mark R.

  32. GTiDave Member

    From the picture it doesn’t look like there was ever a radio installed. The holes for knobs should have tooth marks from the lock washers. I don’t get the seller’s comment about a black blank plate though, I’ve only seen dash color plates from factory. I don’t get why you’d order an RS without stripes with a 305, it wouldn’t help with insurance or light to light surprises….

    • Andrew Eldritch

      The paint package WAS the Rally Sport package. If it doesn’t have that, it ISN’T a Rally Sport. You have the original window sticker that shows it was ordered as a Rally Sport? I didn’t think so. The giveaway are the chrome Camaro emblems on the fenders. If it were a Rally Sport, and they didn’t want the black paint on the upper part, it would still have the Rally Sport decal on the spoiler and Camaro DECALS on the fenders. The upper and lower grilles would also still be black. Face it, it’s a bare bones Sport coupe. It’s very easy to submit the VIN and get a build sheet for the car, if the original is missing. All you have to do is contact GM Heritage. They have a website. The option code for the Rally Sport package is RPO Z85. If that isn’t on the build sheet (and I know for a fact, it isn’t), it’s a base Sport coupe.

      1
    • Andrew Eldritch

      @GTiDave. There were no surprises in 1979, it was boring. The Z28 was 170hp, the 305 had 130. No light to light surprises, except the surprise that GM would be cheeky enough to release these underpowered embarassments, with their horrible build quality, and worse performance figures.

      • JoeNYWF64

        Not to mention almost doubling in price from ’74! – HEI became standard mid ’74 model year on Z28 i believe(definitely on pontiac 400 & 455), 5mph bumpers too, & the much better turbo 400 trans in the z28, compared to the later turbo 350.
        I notice the repro exhaust system on the red camaro above(& probably also on the z28) has the correct SQUASHED EXHAUST PIPE SECTION to clear the emergency brake cable. If it were not squashed, would that free up some horses?

  33. Ron Bajorek

    for a car that everybody hates it sure is getting a lot of attention. Ever restore anything? Big $$$$, I’m sure $15K would buy this thing and with about $10K in mods (Motor, Tranny, rearend, air, brakes and some period correct wheels (vectors?) you would have a really really nice hot rod. Put the original motor and tranny on a stand

    1
  34. Bob

    @2698 miles why would anyone pull the original tires? Most that pull them for any reason usually save the originals. I know I would.

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