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Original 4-Speed: 1973 Chevrolet Camaro

The seventies were a difficult time for domestic automobile manufacturers.  These once giants of industry were constantly hit with challenges such as multiple fuel crises, government regulations, and tough financial times.  Many times they zigged when they should have zagged.  One car that managed to navigate these troubled waters well was the Chevrolet Camaro.  This 1973 Chevrolet Camaro for sale on Craigslist in San Luis Obispo, California is a good example of everything right about American cars in that decade.  Clean of line and powered by arguably the best drivetrain in production at the time, is this all-original car worth the $20,500 asking price decades later?  Thanks to Tony P. for this great tip!

Great cars usually have great people involved in their design.  For the Camaro, one of those greats was Bill Mitchell.  Mitchell was a legend in the automobile industry.  Starting to work for Harley Earl in GM’s Art and Color section in 1935, Mitchell retired from GM in 1977.  His design talent influenced vehicles like the original Buick Riviera to the Corvette Sting Ray.  While some of his designs could be called garish, his influence on the 1970 redesign of the Chevrolet Camaro is anything but.  Clean of line and purposeful in its design, the second-generation Camaro was one of the most beautiful cars of the seventies.  The design was also quite adaptable as time marched on and updates were needed.

Inside that beautiful exterior was one of the best powertrain combinations available at the time.  Chevrolet’s Small Block V-8 had proven to be an exceptionally well-designed powerplant that had a tremendous amount of aftermarket support.  Many Camaro buyers took that route, making their cars much faster than they were in stock trim.  GM’s automatic and manual transmissions were also first-rate for the time.  Add to that the parts and pieces that finished out the car were proven on numerous other GM products.  The steering, braking, and air conditioning systems were so well respected that smaller manufacturers and hot rod builders purchased these components for their vehicles.

The Camaro you see here is a 1973 model and is a good example of what a customer may have seen on a used car lot later in the seventies.  It has traveled a little over 105,000 miles in its lifetime, and the seller has owned it for twenty of those years.  All stock, it came equipped with a 350 cubic inch engine, a four-speed transmission, and black vinyl upholstery.  In the years that followed its time on the showroom floor, an aftermarket radio and a set of rather handsome wheels have been added.  The seller tells us that the original radio and wheels will come with the car in the sale.

Looking at the somewhat tattered interior reveals a car that didn’t come with a lot of options.  The windows are the standard hand crank variety that mystifies anyone born after the year 2000.  While it is hard to determine from the picture, it also looks like the car was not equipped with a tilt steering wheel.  Another area of mystery is the steering wheel.  The plastic wheel you see in the picture was quite common on General Motors cars in the late seventies.  Do any readers know when they started slapping these on Camaros?  Is this correct for a 1973 car?

Under the hood, we can see that the car has power brakes.  What we don’t see is an air conditioning compressor or any of the other necessary parts and pieces for that system.  Believe it or not, air conditioning was an expensive and relatively rare option back then.  Once again, it has been a while since a car was produced and this wasn’t standard.  Unfortunately, we cannot get a decisive view of the area where the power steering reservoir would be.  A bit more of a description in the ad would have been helpful.

In all this is a nice early second-generation Camaro.  While it is not the more coveted split bumper model produced earlier in the model run, it is still a very solid, original car that is likely worth the asking price.  The real question for the buyer is whether they should just replace the items that need replacing, restore it, or use it as a basis for a build-up.  It seems that doing anything other than preserving it would be a waste.  There just aren’t many original cars like this still running around.

What would you do with this original Camaro?  Do you think it should be preserved?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.



  1. Terry

    Most realistic asking price I’ve seen on a second gen Camaro. Nice car.

    Like 9
  2. Tony Primo

    The steering wheel is correct for the car.

    Like 9
  3. George Mattar

    That photo looks like 1973 with those wheels.

    Like 0
  4. Jim Grey

    This is just perfect. Exactly the kind of Camaro you saw on the street in 1973. I hope whoever buys it keeps it as close to original as possible.

    Like 8
  5. Greenhorn

    I would add a rear spoiler, change the wheels and tires, re-do the interior, maybe add a few things to that 350, and drive it. Just to personalize it.

    Like 8
    • Dale Hopkins

      I totally agree!

      Like 0
  6. Roger Ross

    What color is that?

    Like 0
    • Tom

      My guess would be green gold metallic. Not a lot of greens to choose from that year

      Like 1
    • Tony Orcutt

      Do I see California smog crap on this car? Lots of extra hoses in there

      Like 2
    • Ashtray

      I would attend to align the trunk lid? Then, put a spoiler on the rear end as previously mentioned, and paint it with basecoat-clearcoat the original color. Of course bc-cc isn’t original paint.
      Then, I would drive and enjoy it.
      It looks like a pretty straight vehicle?
      I think it is a good find!
      Just my oponion!

      Like 2
  7. Thomas MacArthur

    My first Camaro was a 1972. Same color as this but tan interior. Same steering wheel. It had a 307 / 350 TH tyranny. Best car I ever owned. Transmission fluid leak caught fire and burned it to a crispy pile of junk. I’d trade my wife for this one. Oh the memories of that car….

    Like 0
  8. Timothy Vose

    Come on down the Price Is Right!

    Like 1
  9. Timothy Vose

    Oh I thought it said 10 5

    Like 0
  10. Mike

    I bought a 73 TypeLt with 40k on it in 81 for $350. It was pretty rusted being from NH but a very tight car. It was also green but a lighter shade then this one.

    I think 20k is a fare price for this clean original 4-speed car.

    Like 1
  11. Justin Plant

    Cut and polish the paint, refurb the interior, vintage air….. it’ll be the only non SS “badged” Camaro at any carshow you attend. Plus it will last forever if you just take care of it. Nice car.

    Like 2
    • ThomThom

      I’d try to keep it stock looking and add a positive traction with sticky tires with a hidden shot of NOS.

      Like 0
  12. Christopher

    The split bumper was part of the RS option through the ’73 model year, IIRC. There was a purportedly all original paint ’73 Z-28 featured here some time ago that had the split bumper.

    Like 0
  13. Ralph P

    I’ve got a 7 1/2 supercharged big block split bumper Z28 that on sale for 25 G

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Send it in and we will feature it on the site!

      Like 0
  14. Douglas Graham

    Cool car , add the spoiler on trunk. Do a paint correction. Go over the interior. Front and rear suspension. Change wheels and tires but I do like the slots. For the money you cant go wrong.

    Like 0
  15. Michael

    The RS option could be ordered in addition to any Camaro.

    Like 0

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