Original 396: 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS

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I’m not sure if there are many things sadder than a project build where the owner is forced to sell due to failing health. That is the story behind this 1968 Camaro SS. Making the story sadder still is that the finish line appeared to be within sight when the owner’s health let him down. Therefore, he has made the heart-wrenching decision to part with this SS. The Camaro is located in Reno, Nevada, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set an asking price of $58,000 for this classic. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting the Camaro for us.

There’s a lot to unpack with this Camaro, which makes the quality of the supplied photos pretty frustrating. There are no shots that provide an overview of the car, but this one tells its own story. Significant rust problems often beset pony cars of this era. However, the SS has led a fortunate existence. It started its life in California before eventually finding its way to Nevada. As far as climates are concerned, both states are blessed with the type that is perfect for preserving classic steel. Therefore, it is no surprise to learn that the vehicle is rust-free. A couple of spots behind the rear wheel arches have developed surface corrosion due to stone-chipping, but that’s about as bad as it gets. The owner had partially dismantled the car preparing to have it media blasted, but that’s when the health issues intervened. It will now be up to the buyer to complete what he started, but at least they will be working from a sound base. The car rolls on a new set of American Racing Torq Thrust wheels wrapped in fresh tires from the good folks at BF Goodrich. These stick out beyond the fenders and could cause paint damage over time. I’m not sure whether I would use them or search for a similar size with a more favorable offset.

The owner says that the Camaro is numbers-matching, and it offers a tasty drivetrain combination. Powering the vehicle is a 396ci V8, while there is also a 3-speed Hydramatic transmission and power steering. One significant upgrade that the owner has performed is to the brakes. The original disc/drum combination would have been adequate under normal circumstances, but better stoppers never go astray. To that end, the owner has fitted a new booster and dual master cylinder, and these feed to a 4-wheel disc brake conversion that features Wilwood calipers and cross-drilled discs. That should help the Camaro to stop…yesterday! Adding to this car’s appeal is the big-block, which the owner has had freshly rebuilt. It has zero miles on it since the owner completed the work, and its specifications are unknown. When it was shiny and new, it would’ve produced 325hp. The addition of an upgraded carburetor and intake, as well as headers and dual exhaust, should see that figure significantly increased. The final touch is the owner’s decision to install a serpentine belt system. This is a neat setup and should minimize the possibility of belt slip.

The Camaro’s interior is tidy if considered as a survivor, but given the scope of the restoration work that the owner has already performed, I suspect that the buyer will want to address a few issues. The dash pad has a large crack, while the carpet is showing some wear. Both items will probably be swapped, while a few plastic components would need to go. The upholstery has some visible flaws, and when you add these faults together, the most cost-effective way to address them would be for the buyer to purchase a trim kit. Prices vary pretty widely, with a basic kit starting for around $1,000. If perfection is the aim, a kit that includes everything can retail for as much as $3,000. That’s a lot of money, but it’s worth considering that it represents a one-off expense. If installed correctly and treated with care and respect, it could potentially still present well in another fifty years. If that is the case, it equates to a cheap investment.

It must be frustrating for the owner of this 1969 Camaro SS. After all of the work that he has completed, he is not only facing parting with a car that he has poured his heart and soul into, but it appears that he will never get behind the wheel again. For an enthusiast, that is a sad reality to face. With that in mind, I hope that someone buys this car and adds the finishing touch. I hope they then take it back so that the current owner can admire it and that they take him for a drive so that he can at least experience the finished product first-hand. It only seems fair to me.

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Comments

  1. stillrunners

    Any documents would help sell it at that price. If I ordered a 396 there would be a tach in that dash…..just saying…..

    Like 6
    • al8apex

      the tachometer on ALL 68 Camaro’s, regardless of engine were OPTIONAL, NOT standard

      Like 1
      • JoeNYWF64

        The tach & extra gages were not avail AT ALL on 1st gen(even RS) Camaros(& many other GM models, like Nova) with either strait 6 & possibly even 2nd gen Camaros with the 250.
        Oddly, some Novas, etc. prior to ’68 with the strait 6 were avail with at least some of those extra gages.
        Maybe Chevy wanted to eventually & hopefully try to kill some of these motors, because the bean counters were not happy about their insane reliability? lol
        & maybe the same with Ford’s strait 6 – no temp, etc. gages in late ’60s falcons & later mavericks with their strait 6’s.

        Like 0
  2. Steve BushMember

    Looks to be mostly complete and have potential to very nice but $58k price is outrageous considering how much work it needs to get to that point. There were some nice completed ones online for not much more.

    Like 21
  3. Steve R

    The seller is in a fishing expedition. If he were serious about trying to get his asking price he should have taken pictures of the engine stampings and trim tag.

    Steve R

    Like 20
  4. 70SuperSport

    The seller talks of wanting to bead blast (good) the car but that is something, ideally, you do before putting a cleaned up sub-frame and rebuilt big block in. I agree he’s on a fishing expedition or possibly paid someone else a lot of dollar$ to do the work and his break-even point is up there.

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      Or he just bought it and is flipping it. Unfinished projects are ripe for flippers, these cars can often be picked up from frustrated owners for a fraction if the price of a running, driving car.

      Flippers also often say they are selling cars for family members, friends or have been hurt recently. The person that bought my moms 24,000 mile 1984 Honda Accord claimed he was selling it for his grandmother who bought it new. He lists about half a dozen cars on eBay a year, every year, every single one was bought new by an elderly family member. Unless the title is in their name the default position should be that the seller just bought it and is turning it for a profit.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  5. Mike

    I thought all SS n rs / z28s Came with deluxe interior

    Like 0
    • Steve R

      No.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  6. Ralph

    Food for thought here. (let me know your thoughts, please.)
    Most of us older guys know the truth about our project cars: one never gets back the investment cost of time and money when it comes time to sell…
    This is what I started doing 40 years ago when health issues started to show up. I decided to sell my projects for real cheap, and still do. (or just give away the project to someone who will be able to finish it right)
    Why? Because it is a way to pay it forward. As a young person I got many rides for next to nothing, from kind hearted sellers. The owners would rather see their rides go to someone who could stick with it, and do the rest of the car right. More than a few told me this personally. It was more important to them than the amount of cash they could stash. Too many of us focus on the money rather than the big picture. We are only the “caretakers” of our rides, and money. None of us are taking either with us when our time comes.
    The memories of sharing and caring far outweighs any money gained in the process.
    To sell/give away a project or completed ride for a fair price is great for the soul. It also allows the younger ones to get into the hobby without needing to save money for years before being able to begin their own work on their new/old rides.
    Thus the circle continues, and there are fewer 35K rusted out hulks for sale years down the road as the rides don’t need to sit for decades while someone tries to come up with the cash to complete the projects…
    What do you all think? I know this may seem odd to many out there, but it works for me. YMMV

    Like 24
    • Mike1955

      I bought a 55 Chevy from the 40+ year owner a few years back. He didn’t talk price, but wanted to know what I would do with the car. Then came to inspect my garage and other cars! He passed a couple months later. I am now the “caretaker” of the 55 until it is my turn to pass along.

      Like 20
    • PaulG

      Well said Ralph, and I agree.
      I’ve been lucky enough to have many “things” paid forward, and now I’m at a point in my life that I’m doing the same…

      Like 9
    • AMCFAN

      You give a young person or car or someone less fortunate feeling you are helping them?

      In short order the cat is cut off and the car is either posted on FB or driven to the scrap yard. That is current reality.

      Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      Ralph,

      Well said.
      Been there, done that.

      Like 3
  7. Dan H

    By next year the cost of a space ride will be less than the cost of a first gen Camaro, lol.

    Like 12
  8. Mark

    One can’t assume pricing is always an attempt to “stash” cash when health issues are involved….paying it forward can also mean the owner being strapped with medical bills and not wanting to burden the family down the road. This can also be “sharing and caring”. Memories are no different than cash….you won’t be taking them with you when your time comes…

    Like 0
    • Ralph

      I agree Mark. I hope you don’t think I was trying to be critical of the sellers asking price. The engine here is superb to see. A ton of money and effort there.
      Yes, health issues suck, hope the best for the seller here. Pray that he is able to enjoy the hobby again.
      At times I may be too critical of the cars or prices asked for some old hulk, rust, no engine, etc. But that is partially because I tend to judge a car by how much I would be able to repair/restore myself, and how much would have to be outsourced to complete the job. But we do appreciate those who are like this owner, looks like he went first class on the amount he was able to complete. Nice car.

      Like 0
  9. Denny Tuttle

    Had the same car, big block auto.It ran great but it would get away from you in a Heartbeat .Sold it to a 20 year old kid ,and a week latter he totaled around a electric pole .Kid not hurt but the Camaro was a mess, looked like a horse shoe. Should have kept it but that’s life.

    Like 0
  10. Gary Rhodes

    To much for this. You can buy a complete original running 375hp 4spd car for that money and a better color combo

    Like 0

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