Real Deal: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS Indy Pace Car

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Being selected as the supplier of the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 is an accolade to which many manufacturers aspire. Chevrolet’s Camaro has been accorded that honor on nine occasions. The Camaro Convertible served with distinction in 1969, and the company leveraged this by producing 3,675 replicas for sale to the buying public. We’ve seen a few come across our desks at Barn Finds, but this car stands out from the crowd. Before the replicas hit the showroom, the company built 133 vehicles for use as Indy Festival Pace Cars. They ferried dignitaries around the event and saw service in driver parades. This SS/RS is one of those cars, and the seller holds verifying documentation. That lifts its desirability to a higher level, but given its overall condition, it needs all the help it can get. If you feel up to the challenge of returning this rare gem to its former glory, you will find it in Wylie, Texas, and listed for sale here on eBay. The seller has set a BIN of $15,800 but leaves the option for interested parties to make an offer.

The Indy Pace Car Replica is a desirable classic that leaves nothing to subtlety. While the production number was low, the total built for the 1969 Indy Festival itself was 133 vehicles. The seller indicates they hold documentation verifying that it is #26 of that production run, lifting its desirability beyond mere mortals. There is plenty to unpack with this Camaro because while it is essentially complete, it has undoubtedly seen better days. You can see hints of its original Dover White and Hugger Orange paint, which rates, in my opinion, as one of the best combinations to grace a Pace Car. However, this classic has fallen upon hard times, and the new owner will face their automotive Mount Everest returning it to its former glory. The faded paint, dings, dents, and missing trim pieces are the tip of the iceberg. This car has rust, and it is extensive. The areas we have documented in the past are impacted, including the floors, trunk pan, rockers, and quarter panels. However, the frame rails look like they may be okay, and it also seems this car may have dodged a bullet because the cowl looks like it has nothing beyond surface corrosion. That is still an extensive list of repairs, but when you consider this classic’s potential value, reviving it could be worth the time and expense.

This Camaro rolled off the line with a 350ci V8, a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The vehicles produced for the Indy Festival received no additional performance upgrades, although the actual Pace Cars received a few tweaks to cope adequately with their duties. That 350 would have produced 300hp, which was enough to launch the Camaro through the ¼ mile in 15.2 seconds. If the driver kept the boot welded to the floor, the small-block would run out of breath with the needle hitting 125mph. It is unclear whether this SS is numbers-matching or when it last fired a shot in anger. Potential buyers should probably factor a mechanical rebuild into their restoration budget, although the bulletproof nature of the 350 V8 means it may need nothing beyond detailing and new seals. In this case, it is wise to hope for the best but brace for the worst.

The Camaro’s interior is a mixed bag because while some items look salvageable, most of the trim and upholstery have seen better days. The console may be restorable, and it retains its factory gauge set. The dash is complete, but the lack of cracks in the pad is a welcome surprise. One of the attractive parts of tackling the restoration of a Camaro from this era is the ready availability of high-quality reproduction items. It doesn’t take much work to locate interior trim kits in the correct Orange vinyl and Houndstooth cloth. These sell for around $2,000 and include everything required to return this aspect of the vehicle to a factory-fresh state.

After the 1969 Indianapolis had been run and won, Chevrolet intended to produce 6,400 Pace Car Replicas for sale to the general public. However, production stalled after a mere 3,675 rolled off the line. That already makes them relatively rare classics in the scheme of things, considering that total Camaro production for that model year amounted to 243,085 cars. A spotless example can easily fetch $80,000 in the current market, but when the vehicle is verified as one of those used during the Indy Festival, it lifts its value to a higher level. With a low production total of 133 vehicles, these rarely come onto the market. When they do, pristine cars climb into six-figure territory. This one is far from perfect, and it will take a dedicated new owner with a thick wallet to return it to that point. Are you that person, or is this Camaro beyond what you would willingly tackle?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. GuernseyPagoda

    I know that it’s a Pacecar, and I know only 3675 were built, and I’m all about capitalism and making money on cars, but $15.8 for this?😂🤣. The car can’t even go on a lift without splitting in half. Good luck!

    Like 63
    • Mike Crisafulli

      I agree but my question is if you were lucky enough to get your hands on one of these ?! Why would you let it get this Bad?!WTH!

      Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    A fitting end to rust week.

    Like 35
  3. Bud Lee

    Yes it’s complete . A complete disaster . Someone with deep pockets can restore it and never drive it . I’m ok with the other 243,085 that were made .

    Like 49
  4. Terry

    When is a car a Chevy. Ford or Chrysler and not a Chinamobile? This pile of crap will take every Chinese made garbage sheet metal piece available plus a non rotted firewall/cowl and front frame/suspension. A guy I know did a 68 Firebird 400cid 4speed convertible for a guy and the only part of the original car he used was the Dutchman panel and the a pillars down to the rockers. Every other part was Chinese or an occasional rust free western part he could find. Since when is this a true 400/4 speed Firebird and not a fraud?

    Like 25
    • Bick Banter

      This. The dark secret of the hobby that few seem to want to talk about.

      The truth is that many reproduction parts for these American muscle macho blue collar icons are made in China. It is very hard to discern where a part is made until you get it. It would be a project in and of itself to make sure you got American-made parts. Publications like Hemmings don’t want to touch this issue because the restoration parts businesses spend tons of money on advertising.

      I think at the end of the day, this is going to have more Chinese part content than a Wuling Hongguang!

      Like 27
      • AMCFAN

        Have a friend who had a rough 67 Camaro SS350 restored. He went the 1 800 build a car catalog route. I mean it’s nice until you start looking at it. Even the window wing glass is repoped. It resembles a Camaro yes but you can really tell the quality isn’t um quite like GM.

        Like 0
    • peter havriluk

      I’m familiar with aircraft restoration. So long as the ‘restorer’ has the FAA-required data plate it’s a restoration, and the only original part might be the data plate. Cars seem to be in the same league, so long as the VIN is stamped somewhere, it seems to be a restoration.

      Like 5
      • Bick Banter

        Yes you can rebody these. And put the VIN on the new body. But if you do that, you may have a body made in Taiwan!

        https://www.vintage-mustang.com/threads/dynacorn-stuff-made-where.635554/

        ** Note how on Dynacorn’s website they say “assembled in the USA,” not “Made in the USA.” You have to be very careful of that. That could just mean they get the parts from overseas and then just put them together in their facility.

        Like 8
  5. 19sixty5Member

    $15,800? I don’t believe a big block 4 speed Pace Car in this condition is even worth that. By the time you restore/re-body/re-everything you will be deep underwater, where this car appears to have been for many years. It’s sad, as I always had a soft spot for the 69 Pace Car.

    Like 25
  6. George Mattar

    Less rust than 68 Chargers on eBay. Even Helen Keller wouldn’t buy this pole of crap. Would take every China made AMD panel available and still be junk. Stupid people do stupid things. Recycle it for a new Kia.

    Like 9
    • bone

      Here we go again, with your hate for Mopars , truth is, all cars rot like this, regardless of the brand if left to the elements

      Like 2
  7. JohnH

    It would be fun to see what would come out of the acid dip. I feel terrible for this piece of Indy 500 history. This car does not deserve the fate it got.

    Like 21
  8. Mike B

    Real deal. Or raw deal?

    Like 9
  9. Frank Sumatra

    That’s one expensive VIN.

    Like 20
  10. DannyMember

    Dennis I hope you didn’t pay too much for this one??

    Like 9
    • 57Chevy

      This Rust Bucket isn’t worth the cost of the Ad to list it on ebay!!!!

      Like 0
  11. Camaro Joe

    Actually a big block Indy Festival car (the auction claimed it was No. 98) in worse shape than this one sold for around $13,000 6 or 7 years ago. It was called the Dr. John Mansell auction. It was in New Wilmington PA, not far from me, so I had to go look at it. http://classicandcustomcarnews.com/dr-mansell-car-collection/

    It may not have had quite as much rust underneath or on the back end as this one has, but it took a pretty good hit to the front end and burned. It was really sad looking, but two guys really wanted it. The story I remember is the son of the original owner was the high bidder, so it was a case of him taking it home no matter what it cost. I assume that the guy who paid $13K for a burned out wreck was going to fix it no matter what it took, but I’d like to know for sure.

    Here is a link to the pictures: https://www.estatesale.com/sales/view/93793.html#gal

    Click on “View pictures” and it’s about 25 rows down. The whole front end doesn’t look like a Camaro and it’s a ball of rust, so it’s easy to miss.

    Like 7
  12. Big C

    Just play “Taps” as the crusher does it’s job.

    Like 13
  13. Keith

    Unless you have extensive body work experience this one is a vin number away from a rebody…

    Like 8
  14. Bob Selleck

    15,800 for a pile of scrap It would take at least 250,000 to restore this car this car hobby is getting out of hand .good luck

    Like 2
  15. Richard F

    I’ve been hearing about dead bodies appearing as Lake Mead keeps dropping. That’s where it looks like this shipwreck has been since day two. This looks about as dead as death can be. Sometimes it’s just over and too far gone to ever come back. Exhibit A.

    Like 9
  16. SamJ

    Dig a big hole. Place this on the bottom. Put the recently-posted 64 convertible on top. Fill the hole. Plant some nice flowers.

    Like 5
  17. Greg

    Part it out, it’s certainly not worth 15,800, but some moron will buy it

    Like 5
    • Harriston richardson

      I ,m not a collector but i have to ask this question, IF someone WERE to just say GO FOR IT, MAKE IT LIKE IT WAS, just how much money would be put into making this the car it used to be ? I,m sure parts and Paint ,Upholstery ,and a new convertable top, and someone who knows how to restore a vehicle like this has to be an expert . I,m really curious about this one. It,s seen better days but there are a lot of collectors on this website so school me on what may be a TOTAL to bring this one back. I watch Barrett Jackson Auctions sometimes but all i hear is bidding and buying what is already running.

      Like 0
      • Travis Hawk

        About $150k to $175k. Did one a few years ago for a client (in a lil bit better shape than this) who was the third generation owner. His kids will be the 4th.

        Like 1
  18. TK

    Can’t wait for the classic car market bubble to burst, not that this is any way or shape a classic car. The unbelievable nerve of some people trying to scam fellow americans with rusted out junk!

    Like 3
    • Richard Kirschenbaum

      TK, I don’t think that anybody that looks at these pictures and buys it anyway can claimed they were scamed.

      Like 5
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Your country has scammed you for years yet, you still live here and allow it.

      Like 0
      • Ike Onick

        Wrong site. FOX News is two doors down the hall.

        Like 6
  19. RC Graham

    I’m not much of a Camaro guy. I’ve only owned one… 1969 Orange / White convertible. It had factory A/C, 3 speed on the floor, P/S. P/DB, 350.

    I sold it because it was boring.

    I drove a 1968 Nickey 427 Camaro that I would have done anything for, except come up with the asking price. $2500.

    I later got our HemiCuda convertible for $1750. Just a better deal.

    There was never a time when this Camaro would have appealed to me, or anyone I knew. A 350 of indeterminate provenance, automatic, no A/C.

    It is a convertible, though.

    Hope the owner finds the original owner’s child, (will need a lot of savings or robust disposable income stream).

    Like 1
  20. Raymond

    You have be kidding me this car belongs into junk yard definitely can’t restore this way condition is

    Like 1
  21. David r

    I can never figure out how a valuable car like this ended up…like this.

    Like 9
    • Raymond

      They left it in bad environment where Cars rot that how it got to this point

      Like 3
  22. Mike

    I have a friend who is a former family court judge. He would tell the litigants that wanted this or that, you know like $15,800 for this, “It’s good to want.”

    Like 1
    • Fireman DK

      My favorite is “People in hell want ice water , it doesn’t mean they will get it “…. maybe they will take $10,000 …… I can think of better things to invest in that need minimal work…. I had a 69 RS I bought for $2500, sold it years later for $5000, I could not buy it today …….

      Like 1
  23. Mike Adams

    Is the seller named PT Barnum?

    Like 1
  24. dogwater

    Know comment

    Like 0
    • Michael Berkemeier

      *no

      Like 0
  25. Danny

    Geez what a herd of comedians. You guys for sure could get a second gig on a late show, with your wit and knowledge on cars. However, no one is laughing.

    Like 1
    • 57Chevy

      Definitely the guy who Buys it sure won’t be laughing, especially after he figures all the $$$$$$$$$$$$ he put into it! THIS thing can’t even be upgraded to a Basket Case!

      Like 4
    • Michael Berkemeier

      …says the guy who just read every comment, lol!!!

      Like 0
  26. Wray Busby

    I thought this car looked familiar and when it said it was in Wylie, Texas, I knew it was a Dennis Collins POS. It was on an episode of Coffee Walk about 8 months ago. If he’s just flipping it and not restoring it, it’s a good sign that all of your comments are right on!

    Like 1
    • Tony B.

      Yep. I knew I saw it somewhere before. Sucks that in that episode, the guy stated it was a running car that he and his Dad saw on the street, and purchased. Shame it was allowed to fall into this kind of shape.

      Like 0
  27. Steve RM

    With this much rust at this high of a price you’d think it would be a Mopar product.

    Like 2
    • DonC

      Keep it nice! We all know every American car of this era started rusting the day it went through it’s first rain storm. Ford, GM, Mopar, AMC…….all.

      Like 3
      • karl

        Not just American cars , Imports rusted away far worse

        Like 1
  28. Will

    Only a nimrod would leave a convertible out in the elements, with the top down, to dissolve, and then decide to sell what’s left. You can’t fix stupid.

    Like 5
  29. JCW

    That’s a “I’m gonna restore that someday” car that sat too long waiting for “someday” that never happened. Sad…

    Like 0
  30. Steve

    This car needs to go back to the junk yard it was found in. Believe all the 69 pace cars I have seen were equipped with the 396.

    Like 1
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Most were 350s, but some were 396s.

      Like 4
    • Michael Berkemeier

      And I believe you would be wrong, Steve.

      Like 0
      • Steve

        Can’t be wrong as I said I believe “all the 69 pace cars I have seen were 396’s” note the I Have Seen part. Including the new one at the dealer that summer and the one in the Indianapolis 500 Museum.

        Like 1
  31. V12MECH

    The “playboy” convertible listed yesterday is why a solid original shell is valuable, the Taiwan bodies are many months away, shipping backlog and $ cost waaay up. That leaves the Florida Company the last resort for a restamped deal, for a restomod, who cares, for a correct resto, original steel is the best for future value.

    Like 1
  32. jwaltb

    Real deal parts car. $1,580.

    Like 2
  33. Terry

    Another thing that gets poo-pooed on this site is vin tag swapping. If you want a felony on your record when you get caught, go for it. Everyone says nobody ever finds out, well they do. Three non sketchy people I personally know of had this problem, unknowingly purchasing a revin numbered collector car. There are vin numbers in at least five spots on alot of muscle cars, the core support, cowl, vin tag, fender tag, Dutchman panel, frame rail, trunk opening drip rails to name a few. In most states unless a Highway Patrol Inspection station is doing the revin with a state supplied generic vin tag you are illegal and will go to jail if caught. If they are as far gone as the turds ive seen on here just let them rot in peace, or better yet scrap them after stripping them of all usable parts and thus destroying the vin so no one else gets swindled by a illegal car.

    Like 4
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Terry, that’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Who is the almighty god that determines how many parts you can replace until it no longer is considered a “restoration” and, at which point it becomes a “VIN swap”, so to speak? Is it 1 part? Is it 150 parts? Is it 500 parts? 1,000? Serious question, I’d really like to know.

      Like 0
      • Danny

        Michael, did you not know we have expertise regarding cars on this venue. Just ask the comedians on here!

        Like 0
      • DonC

        Good point. I had a 70 Challenger, all original, numbers matching. But the exhaust wore out, so did a few alternators, and switches, and the convertible top needed replacing, what about upholstery? Carb? And the radiator. The list goes on. My opinion? If it’s an OEM replacement, it’s still original. Otherwise, all those 57 Chevys had better still have the factory distributor cap, rotor and points!

        Like 0
    • Tony B.

      My late father-in-law stopped machining parts for Carroll Shelby, after he learned of some vin plate hi-jinks that was allegedly going on with supposedly “original” Cobras. So you’re right…it does eventually get discovered.

      Like 0
  34. 57Chevy

    If the owner dropped off this piecer in my front yard, I would have him arrested for littering my property!

    Like 0
  35. Brian

    This site should be renamed “Crabby Old Farts Vent”. Reading this is depressing

    Like 2
    • 57Chevy

      But not nearly as depressing as viewing this Camaro!

      Like 1
    • 57Chevy

      Brian, but not nearly as depressing as seeing this Camaro in this condition!

      Like 2
  36. PRA4SNW

    “It’s the Holy Grail of Camaros”. I can just hear the words coming out of Dennis Collins’ mouth when he found this load.

    Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      “Blank Canvas”

      Like 0
  37. Camaro Joe

    Did anybody notice the long wooden pallet sitting under the car in the passenger side picture? My guess is they have pick this thing up on the pallet with a fork truck to move it so it doesn’t fold in half.

    I was expecting the one that I saw in the John Mansell auction to go for $1300 because it was a 396/TH-400 and probably a 12 bolt rear end. $13,000 was insane. If they would have tried to give it to me, I would have run away and hoped they couldn’t find me.

    Like 2
  38. V12MECH

    Like Terry stated, vin swapping deals can be a nightmare, check Sports Car Market, ” Legal Files” for some insight, tread carefully.

    Like 2
  39. Travis

    I would like to get it running and stopping the way it looks and drive it to car shows.

    Like 0
  40. Claud

    Well guys , i live in canada , as you know it gets cold here and there is snow and salt !
    We are used to rust, rot, cancer
    My topless bird needed lots , complete floors, trunk, inner fenders , frame and complete rebody except doors and sandblasting of all rusted/crusty parts
    So this is do able and winters are long and boring and we have free time

    Like 1
  41. Jay McCarthy

    15 large for this car is mighty ambitious even with the paperwork

    Like 1
  42. Patrick Curran

    I think the Titanic is in better shape than this lump.

    Like 1
  43. karl

    Not just American cars , Imports rusted away far worse

    Like 1

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