Beat-Up Big Block: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396

Maybe it was a case of ambitions getting ahead of ability, or maybe it was just a case of plain old bad luck, but this very desirable 1969 Camaro SS 396 has taken a hit to the passenger side rear quarter panel. It is now a case of evaluating the car and deciding whether someone is willing to take it on as a restoration project. Located in Hollywood, Florida, the Camaro has been listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $14,900, but there is the option available to make an offer.

The days of this originally Garnet Red SS roaming the streets and striking terror into the hearts of Blue-Oval and Mopar enthusiasts must seem like they were a long time ago. If it wasn’t for the accident damage, then choosing whether or not to restore the car would be an absolute no-brainer. The floors are rock-solid, although there has been some previous restoration work on the passenger side front floor. The frame is also said to be completely free of rust issues. However, the accident damage does make some difference here. That hit took place right on the right rear wheel. This will have sent the impact forces right across the back of the car. We know that the rear frame rails and trunk pan have both sustained damage, but this also extends up the rear roof pillars, and through structural areas such as the rear scuttle. Looking at the full selection of photos, it does appear as though this damage has distorted the door frame on the driver’s side, suggesting that there will be more than a little work required to whip the body back into shape.

As you can see, the Camaro’s floors are nice and solid, and while the dash appears to be largely complete, there isn’t a lot of other trim or interior hardware that comes with the car. It is worth noting at this point that the state of the floors are pretty indicative of the condition of the entire car forward of the accident damage. Not only are the floors solid, but the cowl and dash area are both said to be perfect. That just makes the accident damage all the more tragic.

I hate to be the bearer of more bad tidings, but the Camaro is no longer a numbers-matching car. The owner believes that the original motor and transmission were probably removed following the accident, but it seems that maybe someone saw some light at the end of the tunnel for the Camaro. As a result, there is a CXX-Coded big-block sitting in the engine bay, with that code meaning that it’s a 454. Hooked to this is a 4-speed manual transmission. It isn’t clear what sort of condition these components are in, and I’m actually a bit surprised that the owner doesn’t tell us whether the engine even turns freely.

Well, that’s it, warts and all. Without the accident damage, restoring this Camaro would be just about as straightforward as a project can be. The accident damage completely changes the ballgame, so it will be interesting to see whether our readers would be willing to take it on.


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  1. Howard A Member

    I have to say, this car suffered the fate of a large percentage of muscle cars, wrapped around a tree. When cars are hit like that, it has more kinks than a chain. I swear, BF’s needs a “you must be nuts” category.

    Like 19
    • Brent

      Right about the fate of lots of muscle cars. Sadly lots of young people met their maker in a muscle car. I can think of 5 I knew. Truly believe it was safer as a grunt in Nam than on the streets in a muscle car. I joked that the draft board saved my life. It may be true!

      I am all for the “you must be nuts” category. Why not let BF readers vote on it!!!

      Like 18
      • Grandpa Lou

        I knew more then one as well. Cars like that should have been outlawed. Or better yet, make owners pass a test to prove they are competent to drive something like this, same thing should be done today. There are many people with a lot more money then driving skills out there.

        Like 5
      • Steve R

        Grandpa Lou, it’s not about money. As you know these cars were cheap for a long time. Even nowadays, many late model performance cars with the ability to kill the driver in a flash don’t cost very much. Anyone could afford them in the mid-70, it’s about brains, or lack there of. Last time I checked there were plenty of stupid adrenaline junkies in every economic class.

        Steve R

        Like 10
      • Tom Member

        To add Dodge says “let’s make some factory cars with 700-800 HP….that shouldn’t be a problem….oh and lets put them in SUV’s too ! At least they have HP keys to limit the drivers but even 300 HP in cars today, geared right are rolling caskets.

        Love the you must be nuts category idea.

        I have a regular car in my shop, a Audi R8 V10 Convertible with what like 650 HP….thing is a “0 to Holy Crap” in no time. Heard a local story of 2 people killing themselves on the TEST DRIVE !!

        Like 5
      • Grandpa Lou

        Steve R, what do you think of my idea about being being tested before they can own a high performance car? We have spec lic. for bus drivers, over the road truckers who control 40 tons, how about making sure the rich 17 year old can handle that Hellcat, not just for his safety, for ours as well.

        Like 6
      • Skorzeny

        Brent, I had a friend die in an AMX. And a couple of others get hurt doing 90 in a 35 zone in a Chevelle SS. But you know what Grandpa Lou? Freedom is a dangerous thing. And I will take it every time over what you have to offer. Every time

        Like 10
      • JoeNYWF64

        I bet a ton more pedestrians young & old have met their maker or are crippled since video screens & smart phones & suvs became std equipment that most of todays “drivers” can’t do without. & insane distraction is now in virtually ALL vehicles, with HUGE size screens like in Teslas soon to come to ALL the rest.. Not to mention tiny windows & huge pillars-blind spots. & too many people sitting/driving at too high a height, blasting the sound system & subwoofer, not really common in ’69.
        Almost everyday i now read/hear on the local news a pedestrian getting hit, & worse, 1/2 of the drivers don’t even bother to stop – & instead, run.

        Like 9
      • Grandpa Lou

        Skorzeny, are you really going to justify 90 in a 35 zone? A school zone even perhaps. Problem is guys, you have ever right to risk your own health and safety, but not mine.

      • Superdessucke

        As the former owner of a 1969 Camaro that I found had slight accident damage, I’d like to vote. Is there a box for “absolutely f’ing nuts?” These cars don’t take very well to accident damage.

        As to the deaths in these, it hardly should have been a surprise. High powered engines, mediocre handling and braking, and no modern safety features. I’m surprised more people didn’t get killed!

        Like 2
  2. Moparman Member

    Non-numbers matching, running gear of dubious quality, body severely twisted….14K asking, seems like it would be better to start w/ a new Dynacorn body.

    Like 18
    • Grandpa Lou

      Couldn’t agree more. That is what the hobby should be about, not profit.

  3. George Mattar

    That is not Garnet Red. Total pile of crap. Tons of 69 Camaros for sale. Keep looking.

    Like 3
  4. Arthell64 Member

    The red under the orange looks like garnet red to me

    Like 1
  5. Troy s

    Man, that’s too bad. ’69 SS 396 Camaro, 4 speed , now with a 454. The first picture had my attention, the second one kinda ruined it.

    Like 4
  6. SquirrelyGig

    Looks like a front clip & otherwise bits & pieces car?
    It appears to me to be an older resto that was poorly executed on a car that had already seen a hard life? Then twisted up again shortly after “completion”?
    For example, look @ the “chunks” out of the roof (rear drivers side above rear window) & lower drivers side c-pillar. If I’m not mistaken those look like areas that where filled (caked/piled) w/ body filler @ time of repair/resto? I know the bodies didn’t always come through the final assembly looking perfect & were sometimes subject to a little “rework”, but I don’t think they would have just filled an area that needed more than a 16th of an inch of filler? Maybe they would have? I don’t know for sure?
    Looks almost to me like the car was lightly to mildly rolled over @ some point in a previous life, & “repaired” upon restoration?
    My hope is that “Average Joe” out there will have the means to score this & perhaps complete their own dream car.
    Unfortunately, we know the all too often drill. Likely someone w/ deep pockets will snatch it up & it will be on the block @ BJ in no time, mint. @ which point it becomes unobtanium to most (?) of us here. I’m not even a huge Camaro fan, but I try to look out for all of our interests & appreciate them regardless.
    If there’s a bright side to that @ least it will live on in one form or another. As far as price, even though not #’s matching, somewhere in the stratosphere the final # awaits.
    That’s OK. I really like the visions I’ve created in my head of some of the “kit” cars that seem to be appearing here more frequently for a minute now. Still visions, but much more realistic visions for future investors that ain’t rich in dollars, but rich in dreams.

  7. Dave

    Let the junkyard have this one, it is a money pit, and there are much better cars out there…worth restoring!

    Like 1
  8. TimM

    Spend spend spend!! If you have the talent and can afford the car and the dynacorn body buy the time your done you cold just buy a better car!!!

    Like 1
  9. Stevieg

    My Hyundai is capable of killing me &/or others. A tweaked out meth-head driving a Yugo can kill. A sober kid driving their Daddy’s SUV while texting can kill.
    The conversation in this thread about outlawing performance cars is absolutely rediculous. Might as well outlaw all cars then.
    My Dad died in my V-6 powered Explorer. He was sober at the time. We all thought that alone was odd lol, let alone the fact that he didn’t die of a drug overdose or a shooting.
    My point is that any moron with any vehicle can kill themselves or others.

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