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39K Mile Survivor: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Sometime back I wrote an article about a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, located in New Jersey, that had met the fate that so many first-generation Z28s met, loss of the original engine! Once I got to that part in the article, I received pretty much a collective thumbs-down. I’m going to cut to the chase, here’s the real thing, with the correct real engine and it is located in Chandler, North Carolina and available here on eBay for a current bid of $64,600, as of this writing, and reserve not yet met.

I can recall back to my time at a Chevrolet dealership in the early ‘70s when the first generation Z’s were already frequently being found minus their original high-winding 302 CI engines. Those cars would ultimately end up on a used car lot where a less than scrupulous salesperson would “forget” the part about where this high performance “sale special” Camaro had its original engine replaced with something a lot less “special”. Fortunately, if you knew a little bit about Chevrolet small-block engines, you could usually figure it out, if not by carefully eyeballing the replacement engine but by listening to it at start-up. The art of cloning was years off at this point.

What makes a Z28 a Z28 is the 290 gross HP, 302 CI, solid lifter V8 engine and the available engine identification via the accompanying images verify the engine in this Z28 as correct and original. The engine looks proper except for the headers. The seller says that he has the original AIR pump if the new owner wants to reattach it for authenticity purposes. While the seller doesn’t elaborate on how well this Z runs, he does say that he has a video of the Camaro running and he’ll make it available to any interested party if he is contacted. The drive train is pretty standard for this vintage Z28 with an M20 wide-ratio, Muncie four-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip 3.73 ratio, twelve-bolt differential.

The parchment interior is claimed to be 100% original and is in “great” shape. There are two images available and the one image does show the interior to be in excellent appearing condition. The other image is of the speedometer/odometer and it reveals this Z’s 39K miles; that’s right, only 39K miles in 51 years. The only non-standard item that I spied is the tee handle on the gear shift as opposed to an originally supplied ball – a matter of preference and a commonly changed item.

Moving to the exterior, the seller tells us that the Tuxedo Black finish, which is a repaint of the original, same code, finish is rare as it only constituted 1.7% of ’69 Z28 production. Research indicates that there were 20,302 Z28s built in 1969, so at the seller’s suggested percentage that would yield only 345 examples in black. The seller adds that this Z has had a driver-side quarter panel repair but the body shows very straight and aligned. It’s hard to tell in minute detail from digital images but from what can be seen the repair appears to have been very well affected – and black is very unforgiving when it comes to flaws.

Sometimes it seems of the 20,000 Z28’s made in 1969, only 25,000 of them are still in existence – yes, there are plenty of fakes, clones, tributes, etc., however you wish to refer to them. It is becoming rare, and is refreshing, to find a genuine example in this condition. To help with authenticity documentation, the seller has a certificate from a known appraiser stating that this Camaro is what it is purported to be. Yes, it’s going to be expensive and there is a bit of the usual dilemma. The seller states that this is not a show car but a low mileage survivor. So, if you are the successful bidder do you enjoy it by driving it and risk damage or lowering the overall condition or do you safely store it and look at it with thoughts of it as an investment or… what? If this beautiful Z28 became yours, what would you do with it?

Comments

  1. SMDA

    What would I do with it? Drop in a straight six, add some Wall Drug bumper stickers on the back, maybe some skinny white wall retreads. Done, suddenly it feels like 1973 all over again! Oh yes, and ditch that silly shift knob. Could we pop in a three speed as well?

    Like 12
    • Hans

      Huh? LOL!

      Like 2
    • Mike

      Not just a 3-speed, a column mounted 3-speed, right ? Also white wall recapped snow tires all the way around !

      Like 2
      • SMDA

        I like your thinking! The Wall Drug idea came from my 1973 trip to Mount Rushmore. Coming out of Minneapolis once I hit the freeway there was huge billboards every few miles advertising the wonders of the great Wall Drug in beautiful downtown Wall. Well, add in all the wall Drug bumper stickers I saw going the other way, I just had to stop once there. My oh my, such a disappointment, a cheesy gift shop. Oh yes, we had a six, three on the tree that year, though not a Chevy, a 69 Falcon. Four recaps were on the pavement. I remember going 90 MPH at times (through the heat on recaps!) and being passed by Porsches and Vettes going way into the triple digits. Not an interested cop around.

  2. RATTLEHEAD

    Drive it at Laguna secca.

    Like 5
  3. Matt R Member

    @Jim – Looks like you left out a ‘0’ in the number of Z’s in this sentence … “Sometimes it seems of the 20,000 Z28’s made in 1969, only 25,000 of them are still in existence”

    Nice car.

    Like 9
  4. Hans

    Wow. Same engine build date as mine (V0328DZ). Stamp looks good. Amazing survivor!

    Like 13
  5. Tony Primo

    It’s a shame that the selling dealer had to clutter up the back of the car with their nameplate.

    Like 13
    • Weasel

      That’s Polar Chevrolet in White Bear Lake, MN (Mpls suburb) and looks to be an original logo. I think Iten Chevrolet was the go to performance Chevy dealer in the Mpls area at the time.

      Like 5
      • 427Turbojet 427Turbojer Member

        In 1976, I started at Harold Chevrolet in Bloomington Minnesota as a night ” lot boy” while attending college during the day. In those years, Harold Chevrolet was the largest volume Chevy dealer in Minnesota. One of my early jobs was to clean out about 25 banker’s boxes of older MSOs (Manufacturer statement of origin, basically the manufacturer’s invoice to the dealership). The years I cleaned out were from ’68-’71. They looked interesting, so instead of the dumpster they went into my daily driver wagon. I went through thousands of them, keeping the interesting ones. I probably kept about 600 of them. One ’69 L88 Corvette, dozens of 427 and 454 Corvettes, any 4 speed wagons, etc. In ’69- early ’70, Harold sold over 150 Z28s. I was kind of blown away by how many Z28s there were. I eventually sold all of the MSOs to a collector in California. I stayed at Harold for 23 years, eventually becoming the service manager.

        Like 6
    • Mike

      Not just any nameplate, that one is a “deluxe” name plate. You know, it’s the kind where they drill holes in the body panel, and attach it with sheet metal screws! You got to love that kind.They actually laughed about it in manager’s meetings I went to.I was a department at a Chevy dealer for thirty one years, the only reason they switched to stickers is because of the cost savings. His words were, “the customers are going to advertise for me, whether they like it or not!” Then you get to fix the rust it causes later. Shameful !

      Like 3
    • Michael Brown

      The kind of dealer tag where they have some lot boy drill holes in the panel and attach it with sheet metal screws ! Nothing like introducing a potential rust issue in a rare survivor class automobile, ay mate ? Peace.

      Like 2
      • Matt R Member

        Aye. Nothing like dissimilar metal corrosion. ;) Take it from a car nut with a boating problem.

        Like 3
  6. Frank Sumatra

    I don’t remember the option code, but I seem to remember hearing about header sets coming in the trunk for dealer installation. Maybe an urban legend. Perhaps there is a BF’r with a better memory.

    Like 6
    • Hans

      Yes, in ’67 and ’68 you could order headers from the factory, and they were in the trunk. The dealer would install after purchase and only available in ’67 and ’68; not ’69.

      Like 15
      • Frank Sumatra

        I knew somebody would know about that! Thanks, Hans!

        Like 6
    • Mike

      Me too, never witnessed it tho.

      Like 1
    • Will Irby

      Yes, a friend of mine had a ’68 with not only the headers in the trunk, but also the cross-ram intake manifold with 2 Holleys. He sold the car for $2,000 when he got married; I remind him of that occasionally.

      Like 3
  7. Wow

    Put a hemi in it and watch everybody loose their minds.

    Like 2
    • Hans

      Chevy did develop a hemi-head 302 in ’69. Check it out – very rare, experimental only.

      https://www.hotrod.com/articles/1969-chevrolet-camaro-the-best-damn-in-town/

      Like 10
      • Lynn Member

        Very interesting.

    • Earl

      Better yet, a Ford 302 😂

      • Paul

        Earl….Ford 302? The goal is to have a car that runs well!
        Why would you use a Inferior engine….maybe you would if didn’t care how well the car runs?

  8. Classic Steel

    Oh my old HS car was a 69 Rally Z28…
    It brought around 1300 or 1400 back in 1980 something.. GI left the driveway in the street sideways after purchase….(probably found a telephone pole later down the road )
    Memories 🤔😎

    Like 4
    • Michael Brown

      Fond memories

      Like 2
  9. Haig Haleblian

    Non original steering wheel.

    • Hans

      Why do you believe the steering wheel is not original? Rosewood steering wheels were optional in ’69.

      Like 10
      • Haig Haleblian

        Agree rosewood was optional, but I believe the hub was different than the one shown. My best friend had a 69 zapper new in 69 with a rosewood wheel. Maybe my mind is grown feeble, but the one on this car looks wrong. Apologies to all if I’m incorrect.

        Like 2
      • Tom Member

        Hans, great knowledge! Why to do I feel the hood on the car is not right? Didn’t the Z28 have a bit of a rise to the center of the hood starting at the front rising toward the back, almost like a cowl induction hood with a 302 emblem on it?

        Is the shifter/handle correct?

        Like 2
      • Hans

        Tom –

        While it seems every Z has a Cowl Induction hood, they were only available in 1969 and weren’t available until Late Dec ’68. Only 10,026 were ordered. Keep in mind, every Pace Car got a cowl hood (3675) and every COPO got one (~ 1000), leaving only about 5,300 to spread out across the rest of the production (SS and Z/28’s). If you didn’t get a cowl hood for the Z, you got a flat hood. All Z’s built before Jan of 69 had flat hoods. My April of ’69 came originally came with a flat hood, but in the early 70’s a prior owner upgraded to a GM cowl hood. I’ve opted to keep it on the car as I like the appearance.

        Like 3
      • Hans

        Tom –

        RE: Shifter handle – no, that’s incorrect. It’s an AM Hurst shifter handle. As this Z came with a console that has a shift pattern on the console, it should have a chrome shift knob. If it did not have a console, it would have came with a white shift knob with the shift pattern engraved into the shifter knob/ball.

        Hans

        Like 7
  10. gbvette62

    The cowl induction hood was an option on the Z/28, but the regular flat Camaro hood came standard on them. The SS Camaro had a different hood, with two chrome inserts. The Z/28 came with a Hurst shifter, but with a round chrome ball on it, not a T handle.

    The steering wheel likes like the correct 69 rosewood wheel, hub, and horn button to me.

    Like 7
    • Tom Member

      Hans and gbvette62, great answers and thanks for sharing the knowledge. THAT IS the part I love about this site.

      I had a 67 RS/SS with the chrome inserts.

      Thanks again guys!! 54 years old and buying, building and selling these cars since I was 18 and loving them long before that! Love to learn!!

      Like 5
      • Doug Gavin

        I had a 68 & 69 Z both had a flat hood. At 39000 miles my concern at this time would be to rebuild that 302 the solid lifter cam by now probably has worn lobes and everything else will be tired

        Like 1
  11. Mike

    I can tell a difference in the paint color…just looking at the pix….. If I was going to spend 65K… I would much rather have one that has been redone..with all new suspension…rubbers…shocks…etc… thats about what they are bringing redone…at least..the paint would match

  12. Eddie Akers

    Yes I think redone would be better for the driver anyways can’t buy at 65 and then redo have 85 in no way Georgia

    Like 1
  13. Lynn Member

    I would drive it with one big but. I would not be able to park it anywhere but my garage. I don’t trust anyone in parking lots

    Like 3
  14. Paul

    For those of you that have never driven one of these cars I gotta say they are an absolute blast to drive.
    Although they have become so valuable in original condition that I would be to nervous to drive one on the road today!

    Like 5
  15. TimM

    Just an amazing car with all the correct documentation and it’s been kept in great condition!! The 302 is quite an impressive power plant and it keeps the car light in the front end!! It would be a blast running through the gears in this one!!!

    Like 3
  16. Cliffyc

    Always love the stripes on these Camaros !. Really set off the lines.

    Like 2
  17. Alan Carpenter

    No. Reenact that scene from Vanishing Point.

    Like 1
  18. Troy s

    Oh, she’s a highway star! Nice to see one in good shape like this but the price keeps it off the road for any wild rides.

    Like 1
  19. Gary

    Car in my opinion needs a lot to be a $65,000.00 + car. I would start out with a good detail man and clean up trunk area and add a spare. I guess I’ve had too many of these cars and may be too picky, just comes up short for this kind of money, not a lot of room to correct.

    Like 2
  20. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Another aftermarket addition is the traction bars on the rear axle. Someone did some street racing with this car, once upon a time…..

    Like 1
    • Eddie Akers

      It has been road hard put up wet lol!!!

  21. Oliver

    i would preserve it

  22. Eddie Akers

    Little M would be what u need

  23. Haig Haleblian

    Was high bid but got sniped at the last second.

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