Golden Pony: 1973 Camaro

While it is always fun to own something rare and unique, there is a lot to be said for owning something like a Mustang or a Camaro. For one, finding replacement parts is a piece of cake and even finding information on troubleshooting is easier. Take this ’73 Camaro, it’s rough and is going to need a ton of work, but every piece can be found and typically quite cheaply. The seller claims it is a one owner car that has been parked for a very long time. Apparently the original owner has lost their storage and just need it gone. If you up for the task to fixing this one up, you can find it here on eBay in Apple Valley, California.

In the case of cars that they built millions of, it’s sometimes hard to justify restoring ones that have any rust issues. Why take on such a monumental task when rust free examples can be had for similar money? In the case of this Camaro, which does have some rust issues to deal with, this might be your last chance to get one before prices go off the charts. Values have been steadily climbing for second generation Camaros and I think they will only continue to do so. With any luck, the issues aren’t to severe, but rust around the rear glass typically suggests more severe issues are lurking beneath.

On the upside, you really can get every part and replacement panel for these cars. It’s also a 350 V8 car with a 4 speed transmission, which is quite desirable. The beauty of any car originally equipped with the 350 is wide range of performance options available. You could rebuild this engine to stock specs and enjoy it as is or slap on some performance upgrades and get some impressive results for not a lot of money. And if you want to go all out, you could build the engine to race specs and have a serious monster. It really boils down to how much money and time you are willing to invest into it.

These cars have really grown on me over the past few years. I use to not be a fan of the body style, but as it has aged, I’ve come to like it. And once you drive one, you really can’t argue with the fun factor. They might not handle like a sports car, but they handle well enough and the 350 offers plenty of grunt and angry noises to make up for any handling shortcomings! I’m not sure if this one is a pot of gold or just a money pit, but hopefully someone saves it from further deterioration.

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Comments

  1. Paul

    Cool! I’m in the same boat. Never really cared for the body style but as they (and I) age I’m taking a liking. This ’70’ with a hood scoop and wheels looks pretty hot so I’m thinking this car has mega-potential. :)

    • Steve

      My first car was a ’71 Sport Coupe purchased for $1,500.00 in 1977. It was parted out in ’83. Everything sold except the trunk lid and rear bumper which I kept. About 20 years ago I found a low-mileage ’72 in the same color combo…not the most popular but I’m sentimental. 27k original miles on her now. The ’71 parts are on my ’72. :)

      Like 1
  2. Doug

    My 1st car was a 1970 Camaro SS.
    350/4spd
    Raised some hell in it back in the day……

  3. sparkster

    I bought a complete 75 Camaro that ran for $800 a couple of months ago in California with no rust sitting in a garage and the owner had to move it out as he was moving to new home and no space for his Camaro . I think his new wife to be had a say in that the Camaro wasn’t moving in with them.

    • Ron

      Wow, you made out like a bandit. I bought a 73 back in the early 80’s. Had to put it together for around $1000 back then. Body cost $250 with new Dunlop white letter tires. Motor cost another $250. Got me in trouble a couple of times but I wish I still had it.

  4. MSG Bob

    My wife’s dad bought he a ’74 Camaro before we were married. His rationale was that it was cheaper than the equivalent Nova. It was the only “pony car” I ever saw with an inline six,power steering, power brakes, automatic (console shift) and a vinyl top. Only problem was the trunk behind the wheels rusted out in three years.

  5. JW

    The rust around the rear window sentence always bothers me not because of window channel repair but maybe trunk pan repair and who knows what else. After having 5 Mustangs 3 of which were fastbacks and 2 with rusted rear window channels I had to replace rusted trunk parts, frame rail patches, shock mounts, if the channels are rusted through the water has to go somewhere. Good luck to the buyer on this one.

    • JamestownMike

      Obviously water has been getting into the trunk area around the rear window and/or truck seal……..the trunk looks like a SWAMP!

  6. Angrymike

    Yup, had one myself, 70 SS 427 4 speed, the fastest car I ever owned !! Never finished it because of a 67 Chevelle SS I picked up……

    • Angrymike

      Hope the picture works this time….

  7. Jeffro

    Just put a SBC in it….oh sh!t…never mind. It’s what everyone else says!

    • Steve

      The new term is “LS SWAP”…everything.

  8. Kevin

    The coolest girlfriend I ever had took one of these and built a nice hot rod which now would be considered old school(this was 1979). Always liked the styling of these.

    • Jeffro

      Out of curiosity, what did the uncoolest girlfriend drive?

  9. J Paul Member

    My first car was a ’71 Camaro, red with black interior, the base 307 V8, and 186,000 miles. So when I see something like this, my brain just ignores all the rust and roached-out interior and goes straight to the potential. To the idea of revisiting my first ride with the perspective (and, let’s face it, money) that comes from adulthood.

    I hope someone saves this.

  10. BRAKTRCR

    Isn’t the front bumper supposed to be bigger on 73’s?

    • Cliff Sommerville

      74was first year of big bumper still had small window in rear

    • Steve

      The big bumpers didnt show up until 1974. The larger “wrap around” rear glass appeared in 1975. Personally, I prefer the 1970-73 cars, due to this design features. My middle brother had a 1970 that originally had a 307. Dark green with a black interior. My dad bought it for him out of a wrecking yard. Perfect body. All that was wrong with it was the nylon timing gear had stripped out. (My first car was a 71 el camino with the same issue). My dad had a 1974 Cheyenne with a 454 at the time. His previous truck was a 72 custom 10 with a 307. He said it used too much gas. Only traded his 72 to pull a bass boat. My brothers talked my dad into letting them swap the engines between the two. Only catch(es) was they didn’t know that there were unique frame stands for SBC or BBC engines, so there wasn’t enough hood clearance. Nothing a saber saw and a L88 fiberglass scoop molded to the hood to cover the hole wouldn’t fix! it sat pretty low in front, as they didn’t swap the springs, But this only accentuated the rake created by the slot mags (all around) and N50/15’s in back. He had it repainted black and silver, ala 78 Corvette pace car. Also molded in a trans am rear spoiler, with custom ‘ettering which read “The Kid” (“Blues Brothers” was a family favorite.) He couldn’t find a z28 spoiler in the wrecking yard and he said that the chevy dealer wanted too much for a new one! The car had headers, can and aluminum intake, since the hood had to be cut anyway. Performance was sort of disappointing, mainly because of the low stock compression ratio of the 73 454, which wasn’t economically feasible for a teenager to remedy, as the engine ran find. The other hindrance to low speed performance was the stock 10 bolt with 3.08 open rear gears. It would lay one strip for a mile, and had a hell of a top end, though…

  11. Robert

    70 = 73 are chrome bumpers changed in 74

  12. Chino

    My 71′ looked just like the gold 73′ when i bought it 10 years im finally happy with the results.

    • Ron

      Awesome looking ride Chino. I wish i could of done this to my 73 before letting it go.

    • JamestownMike

      Looks like you put a 70 split bumper on your 71.

  13. Mike

    I bought a 72 well was given it when I bought a 69 Chevelle, kind of hey take this if you want it, so I did, but after I got it home it was a typical Missouri rust bucket. I took a few body parts to resell and took motor and tranny out of it and sent the rest to the scrap yard. Never did care for Camaro’s or Firebirds for some reason, maybe because in Missouri they always seemed to rust out so bad, worked on them but never wanted to own one!!!

  14. rustylink

    Pony Boy is golden…agreed.

    • Jeffro

      Was wondering who would make that reference. Congrats.

  15. ClassicCarFan

    @rustylink
    “Outsiders” reference?

  16. Steve

    “They might not handle like a sports car…”

    ???
    Have you ever owned or even driven one? Ridden in one?
    One of the best handling platforms of it’s time, behind the corvette and trans am in it’s day…

    The second gen f body is a pretty good handling car, even in stock form. A set of subframe connectors, wider modern radial rubber, urethane bushings and some larger swap bars make it even better. Numerous aftermarket options available to make it a top handling performer.

    • Ron

      You got that right Steve. The 73 I had back in the 80’s hugged the corners and it was mostly stock.

  17. Bill

    My first car was a ’72 Firebird Formula in the same color. I loved that car. Sold it to buy a Corvette. The new owner totalled it when he ran into a bus.

  18. Kevin

    Jeffro, that would’ve been a Mitsubishi Diamante.

  19. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    It’s a three year body – or 3 1/2 – 70 1/2 to 73….kinda rare as those bodies didn’t really survive well….lots just got crushed because it wasn’t the early 67-69….who knew…..

  20. Tom E

    I ordered my ’71 Camaro SS350 in 1970 and got it in January. Have owned it ever since and still love it. Only has 36,000 miles on the odometer.

  21. Skibum2

    Only Camero I ever owned…67 RS-SS 350… I am not able to fit in these with any style…

  22. Chino

    Thanks Ron alot of blood n sweat went into getting it the way i wanted it….. plus many working weekends n overtime

  23. Bob C.

    The 1970 to 73 camaros are undoubtedly my all time favorite years.

    Like 1
  24. The Chucker

    I’ve always had a soft spot for the 2nd gen Camaros. A few years ago, I had the good fortune of purchasing a ’73 Z28 4 speed which I drive as often as weather permits.

    • JamestownMike

      ME TOO! My favorite is the 70 RS “split bumper” with the tiny headrests.

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