Driving Project: 1973 Chevrolet Camaro LT/RS

The 1973 model year would mark the beginning of one era and the end of another for the Second Generation Camaro. On the one hand, buyers seeking a touch of luxury and refinement could choose the new Camaro LT package. For others, it represented the end of an era when government legislation made it the last where buyers could order their Camaro RS with the beautiful split front bumpers. That means that as a Camaro LT/RS, our feature car would seem to combine the best of both worlds. It is a solid classic that runs and drives, offering a few alternatives for the buyer to consider. The Camaro is located in Tustin, California, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the sale price at $15,900 OBO. A big thank to has to go out to Barn Finder rex m for spotting this great survivor for us.

There’s no doubt that this Medium Red Camaro looks tired, with paint that has copped everything that the Californian sun can throw at it. There is also evidence that the car has received at least a partial repaint at some point. However, when you start to look more closely, what you will find is a classic that may represent a relatively straightforward restoration project. Apart from some slight damage on the nose and the driver’s side front fender, the panels are straight, and the gaps look pretty respectable. That isn’t the best news because there is also no visible evidence of rust. If the Camaro has spent its life in or around its present location, there’s a fair chance that it has avoided the attention of the tin worm. The owner mentions no problems, so we have to take things at face value. One front bumper is slightly bent, and this probably occurred when the car’s nose and fender received minor damage. The remaining trim looks acceptable for a driver-quality car, while the glass seems okay. The wheels aren’t original, but their style suits a vehicle from this era.

The Camaro’s interior is a mixed bag, but it does have its good points. The first thing that I noticed was the dash pad, which looks to be new. For a buyer intending to perform a refresh, that will save them some considerable money. My first instinct was that it would be worth spending $1,600 on a trim kit, but a less comprehensive kit that includes seatcovers, door trims, a carpet set, and a headliner can be found for under $900. A kit of that type will address most of the upholstery woes. That doesn’t mean that the rest of it will be cheap because the console is broken, and a complete replacement will lighten the buyer’s wallet by $575. However, there is worse to come. The woodgrain gauge cluster is probably beyond help, and this could offer a world of financial pain. A standard housing is easy to find for under $200, but add the woodgrain, and the price soars to $500 for a used genuine item! I searched for reproduction bezels but had no success. The buyer will need to decide what will fill the hole where the original radio used to be, but overall, it looks like the new owner could whip this interior into shape for under $2,000. The information that the seller supplies is pretty sparse, but I believe that this classic may have originally been equipped with air conditioning. Whether the system is present and functional is unknown.

The list of unknowns continues when we start delving into this Camaro’s mechanical specifications. If it is numbers-matching, the engine bay should house a 350ci small-block V8. Depending on which version the original owner chose, it would have produced 145hp or 175hp when new. We know that the car features a three-speed Hydramatic transmission, but beyond that, we’re flying blind. However, it seems that whatever hides under the hood is in sound mechanical health. The seller indicates that the Camaro runs and drives well, and the buyer could hit the road immediately and tackle the restoration work at their leisure.

When I look at listings like the one for this 1973 Camaro LT/RS, I feel that the owner has done themselves a disservice. Taken at face value, this car shows enormous promise as a straightforward project build. It would only take a small amount of information about the engine specifications and one engine shot to make the whole package seem more tempting to potential buyers. However, the information at hand suggests that it won’t take a lot of work to have every aspect of this classic shining like a new penny. With tidy examples easily fetching $25,000 in today’s market, it is a project car that should be worth pursuing further.

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Comments

  1. Camvette Member

    It looks like it has the deluxe interior. The wood grain door panels I think were one year only. Impossible to find and no one reproduces them. Sure would like to find some of those in great shape for my 73 LT type.

    Like 4
  2. Winfield Wilson

    So, it’s a LT/RS/Z28? That’s a bunch of characters. I’ve always liked that body style, even more than the first generation.

    Like 7
    • jerry z

      Not a Z28. Just someone added a Z28 emblem to the grille. It is has the LlT trim as seen on the b pillar.

      Like 3
  3. Ken

    Spoiler alert look at trunk and spoiler

    Like 3
  4. Richard D McElwee

    A Z28 with 145 or 175HP. I don’t think so.

    Like 4
  5. ed casala

    Not a Z28. But it has both split bumpers still attached to the front clip. Those things are impossible to find. Great base to drop in a LS motor and drive train.

    Like 1
  6. scottymac

    Looks like the “endura” RS nose has been molded into the steel header panel; rear spoiler, maybe done the same way. Will make restoration much more difficult. A nicer example is one of the few Chebbies I’d consider parking in my garage.

  7. joenywf64

    I wonder if it’s possible to move the left side heater controls to the right side where the ashtray would be.

    Is the following the poor man’s RS modification? …
    http://smclassiccars.com/uploads/postfotos/1970-camaro-rs-style-oklahoma-car-very-nice-3.JPG
    or did a few cars actually escape the factory as mistakes like the above with the wrong parking lights?!

  8. john hugh

    somethings fishy 7500 $

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