Driving Project: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

For the person looking to create the Camaro of their dreams, or who is intent on creating something like a Z/28 clone, this 1969 model might be the perfect car to use as a base for such a project. This is a pretty basic example with a 6-cylinder engine, and it is also far from being a complete rust-bucket. Located in Shirley, New York, you will find the Camaro listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN for the car at $12,500.

This Camaro has a story that many of us can relate to at one point or another in our lives. The owner purchased it for his wife, but it turned out that she wasn’t too thrilled by it. He has too many toys of his own already, so this one has to go. He is only the car’s second owner, with the original elderly owner having inflicted the body damage on the car as her eyesight began to fail. There is some rust in the car, but it really isn’t that severe. It will need new quarter panels, and there is also some rust in the floors. Overall though, the car does seem to be quite solid, but with quite a few minor dents and dings to be addressed.

The interior of the Camaro is a mixture of both the good and the bad. All of the upholstery is said to be original, and quite a bit of it looks like it might respond quite nicely to a serious bit of cleaning. The dash pad is pretty dry, and will probably need to be replaced at some point. The front seats will also need new covers, while it isn’t clear whether the original floor console will restore okay, or whether it will need to be replaced. One really interesting inclusion is the large orange button to the left of the steering column. I would be willing to bet that this might be an aftermarket horn button, and it shouldn’t take much work to get rid of that.

Lifting the hood is where the options begin to open for the Camaro’s next owner. What resides here is a 6-cylinder engine, although it isn’t clear whether this is the 230ci or 250ci version. It also comes with an automatic transmission and manual drum brakes. It was the lack of power assistance that eventually caused the original owner to stop driving, rather than the tendency to “drive by feel.” Even after she hung up her driving gloves, a family member would get the car out on the road every few weeks to blow out the cobwebs. As a result, in spite of the dirty and greasy appearance under the hood, the car seems to be in sound mechanical health. This means that the next owner could either perform whatever upgrades they wanted, or they could also choose to undertake a full and faithful restoration. It is also worth noting that this is a running, driving vehicle, so the car could be used while the restoration work is performed.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, plenty of Camaros similar to this one were seen as great bases for potent project cars. After all, a Camaro with a six under the hood didn’t have a lot of street cred, so those engines were soon ditched for something that was considered to be more desirable. This still happens today, but there is a growing recognition that these cars hold a significant place in motoring history, because they allowed people to own an affordable pony car. That’s why the future of this car really comes down to the toss of a coin. It could be a great base for something pretty potent, but it could also be the recipient of a faithful restoration. Which way would you jump?

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Comments

  1. TimM

    Needs some love for sure but so many possibilities here!! $12,500 seems a little on the high side!! Seems like $5000 would be top dollar and $3500 is really the price!!!

    8
    • Steve R

      That’s funny, $12,500 is too high, but $3,500-$5,000 isn’t realistic either.

      Steve R

      13
      • RH

        I recall someone not long ago commented that you can’t buy one of these in any condition for under $10k. Does that mean the $12,500 is a reasonable price?

        4
  2. CapNemo CapNemo Member

    I’d get the body done properly, freshen up the interior, and keep the car’s appearance all stock. Keep the six under the hood. Enjoy it for what it is, most were sold in that form.

    11
    • Morgan Winter

      I’m not so sure that most were sold in that form; here’s a list of production stats…https://www.z28.com/info/1969-chevrolet-camaro-production-totals.160457/ I remember 6 cylinder ’69 Camaros being quite rare when I was a kid.

      2
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Thanks for sharing this. Bookmarked.

        1
      • JoeNYWF64

        Too bad Chevy didn’t document how many hidden headlite ’67-69s they made, let alone RS’s with a 6 cyl!
        I never seen any ’69 RS’s with a 6, & less than 1 handful of ’67-8’s.

      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        @JoeNYWF64 well, this one isn’t an RS. Just a base model with an interesting provenance. Back when I was scouting Camaro and Firebird with my Dad we went out of our way to find the odd and obscure cars with interesting combinations. Found a lot of bucket seat cars with column shift, a lot of I6 ones, my favorite being Dad’s 1971 base Firebird with factory vinyl roof, column automatic, factory 6 banger, and no console or air.

  3. Dave brennan

    Had the same button in the same place in my 66 tbird. For some reason, the former owner had a kill switch wired direct to the coil. At 6’4 , my knee hit the button twice while driving. Shut car off instantly! A little scary!! Removed!!!

    4
  4. Troy s

    Configurations like this…they could be had for cheap with a capital C, had outlived there used car status and were prime candidates for any number of builds from mild cruiser to full out quarter miler racers. Late 60’s Camaros are and always have been an absolute favorite with gear heads, restorers, racers…Mopar guys, Ford nuts doesn’t matter really, all have dealt with a first gen Camaro one way or another.
    This car could be taken in so many different directions it’s baffling really, only difference now days is the initial cost. Nice color originally by the way.

    6
  5. FordGuy1972

    This Camaro needs just about everything; what you don’t replace will need to be refreshed. It has a lot of rust, the interior is rough and, while you could opt to keep the original driveline, probably most would want to install a V8 and a stick shift. Then you should upgrade to power disc brakes, go over the rest of the brake system as well as the front end. Bumpers need to be refreshed/replaced and then probably most would add sportier wheels with new tires.

    Maybe the ask is fair considering what these Camaros bring all done but the buyer will be looking at an expensive restoration that will probably take a long time to complete. I would think for $12,500 there are better projects out there.

    13
  6. Superdessucke

    I’d probably lean towards restoring it to original condition. There’s a million ’69 Camaros out there with the SBC or Rat motor. But you’d have to calculate the cost to determine whether it’d be worth it. I think you’d have well in excess of 30k into this before you were done at the current opening bid, maybe even 40k.

    People think they’re simple, and they are, to a point. But when you start adding in body work, paint, suspension items, fuel system, brakes, interior, engine work, tires, and yada yada, costs add up fast.

    9
  7. Gaspumpchas

    The description says its not a rust bucket- hmm floors, quarters, the rear window opening…plus other places. Sure its fixable. lots of work and $$ there tho. 12 large seems steep but who knows? Anyhoo good luck to the new owner!
    Cheers
    GPC

    4
  8. ACZ

    It could be fun to build it as a 6. Multiple carbs, 5 speed, power disc’s, etc. There are a million clones out there. Be nice for something completely different.

    3
  9. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Myself, I would jump way away from the line of folks willing to fork over 12,5 for the ole girl. Love these cars with a passion,but don’t fit my bank account .😁

    3
  10. Dex

    Not worth the BIN price, not even close. Too many people think they’re an expert and know the market by getting their values from phony TV shows and TV auctions.

    7
  11. George Mattar

    Too much Barrett Jackson here. Total POS. Has anyone really priced body work lately?

    4
    • JC

      True that.. My daughter scratched my truck on a mailbox and that alone was over $900 to fix…

      1
  12. Wayne

    You would probably be money ahead just to by a new shell and transfer and upgrade, parts, VIN as required. Not my taste.

    3
  13. Andrew Franks

    I think the asking is absurd and would be a serious person at half the asking or less. I would restore and leave the 6 in it, add Power Steering and Brakes, Vintage Air and Heat and make it the nicest Driver you’ll see in traffic.

    4
  14. Bodyman68

    As usual another way overpriced camaro . If you want to build a camaro start with a new body ,and go from there as body work is $50 an hr and higher ! You can buy a front clip with all new suspension thats up to date on tech. This at best is a parts car as 30g is low side of a resto on this car and thats not doing much.

    1
  15. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    I don’t think there were TWO inline 6 cyl options in 1969. Just one, and I’m thinking it was the 250. This was once a very stylish Camaro with vinyl roof, cool exterior and interior color, console with staple shifter, etc. Right now I’m with the rest of you at $12 large is over the top and reflects the seller’s mis-education by Mecum and Barrett-Jackson.

    3
  16. Paul

    This Camaro does not nor never did have a vinyl roof…this is a very rare factory two tone paint car with a factory painted Dover white top…that’s according to the trim tag.
    If you no these cars well the buy it now price in not that outrageous….the structure of the body looks sound. I have seen worse condition cars sell for more money…personally I would keep it a 6 cylinder! The inline 6’s in these cars are very dependable and fairly economical And are also peppy.
    I would like to own it!

    2
  17. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Paul — I presume the trim for the roof was the same whether factory painted or factory vinyl?

  18. Paul

    Yes the trim is the same weather it was a two tone paint car or vinyl roof car….two tone paint on a 69 Camaro is very rare and this car came from factory that way.

    1
  19. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Oh, I have no doubt. Kind of the last days of two-tone paint and those kinds of options from the General and others. I had a 67 Buick Skylark with a white painted roof over medium blue body. Really set off the sail panels (and no rust-out from factory adhesives over welds and moisture penetration).

    1
  20. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    As I read through all the comments about the paint,can’t help but wonder how long the 2nd owner has owned/driven the car. Reason is, really just curious if the elderly 1st owner disliked the oe wheel, opted for this steering wheel, and whoever installed it couldn’t figure out horn button hook-up,or 2nd owner just added a cool factor,only because it looks like it has a little age also. Thoughts?

    2

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