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Los Angeles Garage Find: 1970 Camaro

As we pass down countless streets, roads, and highways in our lives, we more than likely pass right by some amazing cars that are hidden from sight.  While most garages house boxes of baby pictures, Christmas ornaments, and the occasional daily driver, some of these shelters hold a car that someone couldn’t just let go of.  Take for example this 1971 Chevrolet Camaro being sold on eBay.  This one family owned Camaro has been hidden from sight right in the middle of bustling Los Angeles since 2001.  Described as a 95% rust free car, this Camaro is nearly all original.  Bidding is currently setting at $10,600 with just two days to go.  Is this a car that you would like to have in your garage?

Before we get into the car’s story, let’s look at the particulars as laid out on the trim tag.  This Camaro Sport Coupe was built at the Norwood, Ohio plant on the fifth week of January, 1971.  It left the factory with a black standard interior and Cranberry Red paint.  It was purchased new by the seller’s mother (a friend took out the ad on eBay), and was equipped with a 307 cubic inch V-8 and an automatic transmission.  She owned it for twenty five years, and her unfortunate passing put the car in the hands of her son.  He has held on to the car since that time.

When he received the Camaro, the seller determined that the 307 engine was tired and due for a rebuild.  Figuring that the rebuild would cost almost as much as building up a different engine with more horsepower, a 350 was purchased, and a number of speed parts were used in the build up of this engine.  The new engine was installed in 1998, and the car ran without issue until 2001.  Overheating then became an problem that was difficult to solve.  A new large capacity radiator was tried to no avail.  At that point, the car was garaged as other issues demanded the owner’s attention.

The only spot with more than surface rust is under the black vinyl top.  While some thought they looked cool, vinyl tops were a horrible idea when it came to preserving cars.  This one looks like the top could be stripped off, repaired, and replaced with little fuss.  A look underneath shows very little corrosion as well.  The condition of the car is certainly that of a car in a forgiving climate.

The interior looks very good if you consider the car’s age.  The driver’s side seat could use some new upholstery, but that seems to be the only real problem area.  The window crank is missing on the passenger side as well.  The car seems to be a standard factory build in that it was equipped with a rather anemic V-8, automatic transmission, and that it wasn’t built with air conditioning.  In this case, that is OK.  If it were equipped with go fast goodies it might not have even made it to 2019.

The engine under the hood is not, as mentioned previously.  It is a 350 cubic inch small block Chevrolet V-8 with a number of speed parts. Hypereutectic pistons, roller rockers, MSD coil and distributor, Edelbrock Performer manifold and carburetor, Hooker headers, and Flowmaster Stage 2 dual exhaust were all part of the build.  They must have painted the Edelbrock intake Chevy engine orange.  I thought all of their intakes are sent out the door with a cast aluminum finish.  At any rate, the engine compartment is just like the interior.  It doesn’t have anything you don’t need.

The ad tells us that the engine is running, and the car needs a few things before it is ready for the street.  Most important of these needs is a fuel system cleaning.  The car was started using a remote tank, as the original tank is likely gummed up.  You will also need a thermostat housing and thermostat, tires, and a few other things.  We are also told that the engine runs very well, despite the long time in storage and the overheating issue.

It is hard to not like this Camaro.  Someone with a big checkbook and a sense of adventure could buy it, send it to a competent mechanic in Los Angeles to get the bugs worked out, and drive it home.  If you broke down, a drunken monkey could probably fix it in the Pep Boys parking lot.  It is not a Z/28, and it lacks the original engine.  Who cares?  I’d clean this one up and drive it everywhere.  At least until the hottest days of summer come around.

What would you do with this well preserved Camaro?


  1. Steve R

    There is a good chance the car didn’t start off in California. Norwood cars would typically not be shipped to the back yard of the Van Nuys assembly plant. The license plate on the car would also match up to mid-90’s issuance date. I wouldn’t be surprised if a flipper is selling the car, I don’t really care, unless he’s dishonest. I follow several sellers on eBay where every car they have listed is either a family member that’s had it since new or a close friend they are helping. It’s a common lie to save taxes and registration, it builds trust with unsuspecting buyers, but it leaves them vulnerable if there are any back fees, tickets or liens or any other issues with the DMV.

    If the car checks out it’s probably a reasonable price right now, but with the rust on the roof and an unknown amount of work needed to make it roadworthy I don’t think I’d go much higher.

    Steve R

    Like 18
  2. Troy s

    To have seen a 2nd gen red Camaro parked in someone’s garage in LA would not have even raised an eyebrow, maybe a rolling of the eyes. Tons of ’em. The 350 swap would almost be expected, and personally I’m glad the original engine is gone. One thing I really like about this Camaro is the black interior, especially the bucket seats. Engine looks no frills lots of thrills…lots to like here about this Camaro….

    Like 11
  3. ccrvtt

    Agree with Steve R. – What? No Blue Plate? I hate vinyl tops on 2nd gen Camaros but at least the seller has the fortitude to include close up photos of the rust lurking below.

    Plus: All-time great design, relatively good condition, runs (hot), wicket handle shift lever

    Minus: Vinyl top, suspect history, still overheats with new radiator, wicket handle shift lever

    $10,600 is all the money here, maybe a little more.

    Like 10

    I like the front Split bumper better,the staple shifter is kewl. My old boss had a new 1 in yellow,I took my Driving test in his,passed,way back in Philly.

    Like 1
    • Stillrunners

      No A/C ?…..surely not a Cali car…

      Like 3
  5. bruce baker

    I can’t believe in the painted orange after market performance intake manifold on/in this car. Yeah because the hood shuts with no big hole in it. I up graded my 73 RS Camaros stock 350 engine with rebuilt heads an a low profile Street Dominator Manifold with that one inch thick adapter plate {the stock manifold came off in two pieces because of a rusty crack over #8). My hood wouldn’t close all the way with the stock air cleaner. So my “cool cars only” buddy told me to “chuck the stock 2 barrel”, & get a Holly 4 barrel carb. My dad called that little 2 barrel carb. “a 1 barrel carb.” as i soon did. I put a 600 series carb. on it along with a mild street cam/lifters. The hood still wouldn’t shut with a chrome air cleaner like this one under it. The high mileage engine didn’t run that good with the 4 barrel, So i put back that stock now rebuilt tuned carb. with it’s new smaller chromed air cleaner. Then cut a 12″ dia. hole in the hood. That engine ran so great for 2 hard years of 84 miles a day.

    Like 0
    • Steve R

      In the late-90’s part of the registration renewal process was having the car visually inspected as part of the states emissions testing protocol. An aluminum intake manifold would stand out like a sore thumb, I have several friends that would paint their intakes orange so as to minimize the attention they would receive from the person doing inspection. It wouldn’t have been necessary on an Edelbrock performer intake, since it was considered a replacement part, but many people didn’t know that. Testing was no fun, even if someone had all legal parts, they were at the mercy of whoever was looking at the car. If they didn’t like the way something looked they could fail you and send you to state run centers for further more involved inspections.

      Steve R

      Like 2
      • bruce baker

        “Late 90’s”. Good point, & i have “been there done that” since my first car in 1975. I could wright a thick book at how smog places have failed my cars over the years.
        But Sir, if i didn’t fix it that way, (A/C Delco part) the car probably wouldn’t of made it here now.
        “Sir, Use factory parts only”
        But the only factory Lucus alternator that’s for sale, & still works, is in Britain right now!
        “Hey sir, I can also fail your car for not having an engine shroud”.
        But it’s made out of ugly cardboard, and is in the way of the oil filter change!
        “Sir bring it back when it’s correct”.
        But those parts have nothing to do with smog!!!!

        Like 0
      • bruce baker

        But how does the hood close without a reverse dent?

        Like 0
  6. John

    When I was young, and these cars were new, we often found that the carburetor jets were so lean the engine was starving for fuel. Starving motors run very hot. Then you put headers on it Increasing the exhaust flow. Without adjusting the mixture, and recurving the distributor, it’s easy to explain the heating issue.

    The reason I bring all of this up is that it leads me to question the ability of the person who installed the motor, and then tried to cool it with a larger radiator. All he got was a larger volume of hot water. I’d be very wary of this one.

    Like 4
  7. Norman Wrensch

    The 350 block is notorious for cracking just above the lifters, many times it does not leak much. But it does make for overheating problems, I have ran into this several times, especially if it is a four bolt main. I heard from one rebuilder claiming about 40% are cracked. And I have ran into three of them myself.

    Like 3
  8. TimM

    I own a 70 carmaro with a 396 and a 4 speed!! This isn’t quite that kind of car but nevertheless it is a good looking machine and seems pretty rust free!! I don’t think anyone owning this car will be disappointed if they don’t pay crazy money!! I love mine and this looks good enough to run it like you stole it!!

    Like 3
  9. Jeepster

    have a 1971 model,( since 1984 ) as always some dumas uses the term split bumper – never fails.

    Rally Sport or
    Standard front
    and the one with the incorrect bumpers

    AND, why can we not post photos anymore BF ?????

    Like 1

    LOL/ Been called worse.

    Like 0

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