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Greenhouse Effect: Big Block 1969 Camaro

Like some low rent home science experiment gone totally awry, covering this car with a tarp during storage was a really bad idea.  Tarps hold in moisture, plastic ones more so than canvas, and they create a greenhouse effect that helps already rust prone cars become rolling oxidation parade floats.  While this car is still savable, just think of the condition it would be in and the value it would have maintained had it been left in a garage.  At any rate, this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro still has a lot of life left in it after the rust is repaired, and is currently for sale on eBay in McPherson, Kansas.  As of this writing, bidding is at $12,600 with just a few days left to go.

This 1969 Camaro originally was produced in Olympic Gold, with a Parchment vinyl top.  As we can see, someone had the good sense to strip off the vinyl top so that rust wouldn’t have even more of an advantage.  As you can also see, there is rust either bubbling up or poking through on nearly every panel on the car.  The good news is that the trim pieces and the bumpers still look to be in useable condition.  The aftermarket wheels do look good on the car, but will likely be taking a trip to the nearest swap meet with whomever purchases the car.

From the back, you can see more of the damage.  The seller clearly states that the quarter panels, front fenders, lower door skins, and trunk pan will all need to be replaced.  This will not be a piece of cake, because you will have to do a lot of precise cutting and aligning of body panels to get this car right.  If you have the skills, it might not be too bad financially.  However, farming it out to a qualified body shop might run into money.

The good news is that the floors are in very good condition.  This will save you a lot of grief, but to do this car right you will have to strip the parts off, blast, and paint everything.  As you can see, a professional has been on the case already.  The routing of what looks to be the emergency brake cable is quite professional, and likely leaves the driver feeling confident when he feels all that stretching and roughness when setting the parking brake.  When looking at nearly any muscle car, you have to accept the fact that nearly all of them passed through the hands of someone who either didn’t have the money to fix things perfectly, or tried to fix things themselves with varying results.  Look everything over carefully when making an investment like this.

Inside, we can see that whomever owned this car previously liked to stay informed.  I believe the gauges we see attached to the steering column are for water temperature, engine speed, and oil pressure.  Better safe than sorry for sure, but I wonder how many times someone walked away from this car with bruised knuckles.  We can also see that the interior, minus some seam separation here and there, looks to be in pretty good shape.  The dash, door panels, and steering wheel look great, but there is some wear on the center console.

Under the hood is a non-original 396 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V-8 out of a 1967-1968 Impala.  The owner tells us that the engine has been equipped with an Edelbrock intake and a Holley 800 “Double Pumper” carburetor.  No mention is made of the original motor, but the seller states that this one runs well and can smoke the tires on demand.  The automatic transmission is supposed to shift well when transferring the torque from this brute of an engine to the ground.  By the looks of the master cylinder, the braking system has received some work as well.  As a whole, the engine compartment is neat and tidy, if largely unoriginal.

It is hard not to want a car like this.  Having a big block muscle car has always been on my bucket list.  While modern small block Chevy engines are putting out larger horsepower numbers, you just can’t beat that low, rumbling idle and the bottomless torque of a big block.  The rest of the car needs to be stripped down, repaired, and restored.  However, the lack of an original engine really hurts the value here.  Also, the gold color and the parchment colored vinyl top are an acquired taste for some.  If it were mine, I’d probably make it my own by building up the big block, installing a more modern automatic, and maybe a black cherry exterior with barely visible black stripes.  If it can’t be returned to original, why not make it an original?



  1. flmikey

    At least they are not claiming this car to be an original 396 car…no engine size markings on the front fenders…and I’m not sure but didn’t most if not all 396 cars come with 12 bolt rear ends? This car will be a great winter project for some lucky person…

    • Robert SAGER

      The original engine was more than likely something like a straight 6 which would explain the absence of the engine indication on the fenders.

    • LastCJ

      I also believe all the 396 cars had the black body panel in the rear of the car.

  2. Rx7turboII

    Is it me or does this Camaro look more like a Pontiac Firebird from the same era looking at the pictures from the side and rear? Could be just me…..

    • Tom Member

      I have had both 67 & 69 Firebirds and Camaros. You are correct in that they are basically the same car. I never tried but I would imagine the body panels are very close to interchangeable. The front end of the car, the nose and the rear end of the car, the tail panel, are different but essentially they are the same car with different emblems. 69 was the only year for this body. 67-68 were very similar to each other, 69 totally different, 70-73 were similar.

  3. Dan

    Not an SS car….all ’69’s had power disc brakes and a 12 bolt rear….and the big block heater core….

  4. Scot Douglas

    That may actually be the correct parking brake setup.

    • al8apex

      It is …

    • Tony C. Australia

      What’s with the ‘Jesus’ handle above the glove box door, were they standard equipment or is that an add on?

  5. Madmatt

    Yes, never tarp an outside vehicle!! ,especially in Ohio,LOL
    The vehicle almost never”dries”out underneath the tarp,
    and will take rust to levels,much worse than before,also 3 times as fast,
    Also never leave a classic parked on a dirt floor in a building,*BUT if you have to–now is when you should put that tarp to use,by laying it on floor and putting vehicle over it.How many really nice vehicles have been almost killed by that cheap blue tarp over the years?It always sounds like a good idea,…but its NOT!!

  6. redwagon

    passengers side rear quarter looks to have been replaced once already. the rust bubbles start about equal to the door handle and follow about 2 inches below the curvature of the rear quarter back at least as far as the rear end of the C pillar. that’s the typical weld-in location for replacement panels. harder to tell for the driver’s side. as is typical for these vehicles the point at which the front valence meets the front quarter between the front tire and front bumper is also loaded with rust. that area is not welded – just bolted together – but it collect moisture like a sponge.

    although the tarp did no favors for long term storage i would approach this one with an eye towards previous renovations, bondo, lead work and rust.

    definitely not original. definitely a fun project car at the right price for someone with good knowledge of gen 1 camaros / firebirds.

  7. ronebee

    Drive It

  8. 68 L89

    This was a 6 cylinder car, never an SS.

  9. Hide Behind

    Even if I still had a well equipped shop and did 80%of work myself this rust bucket at 22-13 grand would end up costing damn near or over 20,000 more to restore to above average daily driver.
    32,000$, NON NUMBERS MATCHING AND NOT ORIGINAL AS is a money losing proposition.
    Should only be a rolling chassis learning auto for a novice, one with more money than brains

  10. don t

    A bunch of way$$ to go re$$toring thi$ one

  11. SamM

    Probably an original RS. Not an original big block car (wrong rear, wrong rad support, wrong springs(?)),, a 350 was the smallest engine on an RS in ’69 though. I like the fiber optic system option, rare IIRC. low options otherwise, no A/C, no PB, No discs. It does have deluxe interior and PS. Pricey in my mind for whats there, but I might just be out of step with the market. Lots of work either way.
    Now if it was Rally Green or Hugger orange,,,, Hmmm

  12. Joe

    This is a Rally Sport Camaro which is a base coupe with a “looks” package that includes hideaway lights and full red tail lights, among a few other things. So you get a big block minus all the SS equipment…no disc brakes no TH400 no 12 bolt etc. As previously noted poor body work means it probably needs to be re skinned along with all else that will show up when you start this project. It would be easy to get upside down with this car if you buy it at 12k+. I noticed the red line is set at 4000 RPM… doesn’t look like the owner has much faith in the engine.

  13. Robert SAGER

    With the fact that the car is in the shape it’s in, i would offer no more than $2,000 cash and do restore modification with it.
    It definitely has potential.

  14. Rocco

    I think the seller is trying to be straight up. Just too much $$$$$$.

  15. ACZ

    Some fool with too much money and too little sense will buy it and overpay.

  16. erikj

    Robert sager, Sorry to rain on you, but given the $$ 1st gen Camaros go for- $2000 is never going to happen.
    I agree that these Camaros get a ton of money.Whay more then I used to buy a Camaro like this for under a $1000 and drive it home
    Its a complete rs pacage 69 Camaro. Sad to see the big money these days.
    I bought my first of 4- 68 z-28 Camaro in 1991 for $300. It was wrecked in the front But put a new nose on it,rebuilt the 302 and had under $2000 in it in the end.
    I took $500 cash and a 69 ss 396/4spd driver Camaro That after a little money and time ,4 weeks or so, sold it for $2500 as a nice car. That was in the early 90s. Now that 68 or the 69 would get 15k-?????. $2000 -why even go there!

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