Original 307: 1971 Chevrolet Camaro

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We’ve recently seen a few classics cross our desks at Barn Finds that have been part of the same family since Day One. This 1971 Chevrolet Camaro is a perfect example of the breed, and the time has come for it to start the latest chapter of its story with a new owner. It doesn’t have the cachet of a Z28 or an SS, but it is a survivor featuring a healthy V8 under the hood. Returning it to active service is an achievable short-term goal, as the new owner plans to restore it to a factory-fresh state.

The Second Generation Camaro proved to be one of the “stayers” of the Chevrolet model range, gracing showrooms from 1970 until 1981. The story could have been very different, with the company considering axing the badge in the early 1970s due to a downturn in the pony car market, stricter emission regulations, and industrial disputes. However, the badge dodged that bullet and continued to sell strongly until the Third Generation hit the market in 1982. This classic rolled off the line in 1971, with its first owner ordering it in Placer Gold. The seller recently liberated it from the family that owned it since Day One and is a dealer set on sending it to a new home. It is a dry-climate survivor wearing the slightly baked look typically seen on classics from those locations. However, it is far from the most “cooked” I have seen during my years of involvement in the classic scene. It requires a cosmetic restoration, and the buyer can tackle that project on an essentially sound foundation. The seller states the floors and rails are solid, which is unsurprising. The same applies to exterior rust, but that doesn’t mean this Camaro is perfect. The supplied images reveal rust emerging near the back window, but more telling are the front cowl issues that are visible in the photo below. That is never an encouraging sign, and the lack of engine bay photos makes determining how extensive the problem is impossible. This classic retains its original trim and glass, and all pieces should be suitable for reuse in a driver-grade restoration.

Oh, for one engine bay shot! That might clarify the cowl situation, and provide a peak at the numbers-matching 307ci V8 hiding under the hood. This motor delivers 200hp and 300 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via an automatic transmission. However, the seller doesn’t indicate whether the self-shifter is a two-speed Powerglide or a three-speed Hydramatic. That is a consideration for some because the Hydramatic exploits the engine power better than the Powerglide. The seller says this Camaro runs, but the car hasn’t seen action for over six months. Returning it to a roadworthy state might be possible without spending a fortune and is a prospect many would find irresistible.

The surprise packet with this Camaro is its interior. I braced for acres of baked and dried vinyl and plastic, but that isn’t the case. It isn’t perfect because it features faded carpet and a minor console problem. However, the Black upholstered surfaces are free from rips and significant wear, the dash and pad haven’t suffered at the hands of harsh UV rays, and there are no visible aftermarket additions. I mentioned the console, and it appears its most pressing need is a new shifter lens. Finding these for under $30 is a piece of cake, and if the new owner secures one of those, spends $250 on a carpet set, and deep cleans the remaining items, this interior would be comfortably acceptable for a driver-grade classic. It isn’t loaded with factory options, although the air conditioning is almost mandatory in this car’s location, and the AM/FM radio protects occupants from a round of Carpool Karaoke.

The seller listed this 1971 Camaro here on eBay in San Antonio, Texas. They set their price at $12,950, but they will entertain offers. The BIN figure is probably optimistic in the current market, where values have recently softened for Camaros of this type. Therefore, the seller may need to compromise to find it a new home. If you agree with my price assessment, what would a fair sum be?

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  1. Melton Mooney


    Like 2
    • Steve R


      The rust around the rear window and base of the windshield can create huge problems. The picture of the trunk shows the floor has rusted through, recently a friend looked at an early-70’s Firebird Formula that spent all of its life in California that rusted through at the base of the rear window, the water pooled in the trunk left a water line 4” deep, the humidity made the rear speaker panels, trunk floor and all support structures to look like Swiss cheese. The rust at the base of this car’s windshield will have leaked into the cowl, then through to the firewall and floorboards (you could see water marks on the carpet in the pictures), this car wasn’t expensive, for a reason, there is likely to be a lot of difficult rust repair in the new owners future.

      Steve R

      Like 8
      • Terrry

        Hopefully the new owners didn’t pay anywhere close to the asking price.

        Like 2
      • Dr Ron

        Agreed big time.
        Two of the most labor intensive and expensive places for body shop repair..
        And a home garage guy would be garuanteed to give up on it after tearing the dash, electrics, floors, tunnel, HVAC ducting, windshield, rear window, window panel, trunk floor etc…. I’ve seen more than a few of the aforementioned vehicles on eBay over the last 24 years…
        And the reason the current owner is selling it is…..

        Like 4
      • JoeNYWF64

        I thought it didnt rain much in California.

        Like 0
      • Steve R

        JoeNY, it depends on where in California you are, I live in the SF Bay Area, the average yearly rainfall is 23”, you can go 20 miles north or 30 miles south and the coastal hills will get considerably more, or go inland 30 miles inland and it’s much less. The one consistent is, we generally get no rain from May to mid-November and there is very low humidity during that time of year.

        Steve R

        Like 0
  2. Terrry

    The main reason the Camaro sold in the early 70s is it remained true to form and was the only one of its kind left. The Mustang II was a castrated rebodied Pinto, while Chrysler had de-fanged and bloated their “pony cars” before dropping them. And especially the 71-73 Camaros were attractive!.

    Like 6
  3. Jon Calderon

    I could find a Camaro that rusted out in Chicago with no problem at all.

    Like 4
  4. Matthew Dyer

    My wife and I have been trolling for a Camaro and this one appears well despite the rust and resulting water issues.
    Simple and original.

    Like 0
    • Steve R

      It does present well in the ad, but looks can be deceiving. One other thing, the car is in Texas, which generally isn’t known for really rusty cars, but the paperwork indicates it was sold new in Wilmington Delaware which I thought is an area prone to rust.

      Steve R

      Like 0
  5. JoeNYWF64

    That incorrect for 2nd gen Camaro steering wheel should have been available for all 2nd gens.

    Like 1

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