Rust-Free Project: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Buyers searching for a 1st Generation pony car project usually begin to accept that most of the candidates they look at will have rust in one form or another. This 1969 Camaro has some spots of surface corrosion, but it is a classic that the owner claims is free of penetrating rust. If this is true, it has the makings of a great restoration project. It seems that the car ticks the boxes for a few people because there have been 18 bids submitted since it was listed for sale here on eBay. The Camaro is located in El Paso, Texas, and with the bidding at $16,100, the reserve is now met.

While it might not have any rot, getting this Camaro presenting at its best isn’t going to be a case of giving it a quick once-over with a polishing cloth. This classic rolled off the production line wearing Olympic Gold paint, but it has received a color change. The existing paint is beyond salvation, so the buyer will almost certainly treat the Camaro to a repaint. That will allow them to address all of the minor dings and dents that the vehicle has accumulated over the years. There is nothing horrible visible in the photos, and I can’t see anything that would justify panel replacement. What can be seen of the trim and chrome shows some promise, while there are no visible problems with the tinted glass.

It might not have been the most potent combination on the planet, but it does appear that the Camaro still features its original V8 engine and transmission. This is the 307ci unit that would be producing 200hp. The little V8 is backed by a 3-speed Hydramatic transmission, while this classic also scores power steering. This drivetrain should have been good enough to fire the Camaro through the ¼ mile in 17.3 seconds when new. However, outright speed was not this car’s greatest strength. With 300 ft/lbs of torque on tap, this Camaro would have been a tractable and accomplished classic in the cut-and-thrust of city or commuter traffic. The vehicle doesn’t currently run, although it is mechanically complete. It isn’t clear whether the engine turns freely, but it might not take a lot of encouragement to get this little V8 to roar back to life. However, the buyer might have other ideas, and there are probably quite a few enthusiasts who would not be opposed to the concept of slipping something more potent under the hood.

Whipping the Camaro’s interior into shape might not be a big job because it looks a lot better than might have been expected. It’s a shame that there is a tear in the driver’s seat because the rest of the upholstered surfaces and trim look to be in good condition. What it needs more than anything is someone willing to put in the hard yards to give everything a thorough clean. I think that the results from this sort of effort could be quite rewarding. Apart from the seat cover, it looks like the shopping list will only consist of a carpet set and a headliner. The dash seems to be in good condition, as does the pad. The original radio is long gone, as is the original steering wheel. The console appears to be in good order, and the original owner chose to equip the Camaro with factory air conditioning.

The person who buys this 1969 Camaro is going to have some choices to make. They could perform a faithful restoration, or they can choose to create something individual. I generally tend to advocate for faithful restorations, but I’m willing to listen to any arguments for a custom build. The 1969 model year was the most successful for the 1st Generation Camaro, with 243,085 cars finding their way to happy owners. That means that they aren’t particularly rare, and it is this fact that makes me more comfortable with the idea of creating something individual and distinctive. You’ve probably got your own ideas about how you would tackle it, but are you willing to follow through by submitting a bid on this classic?


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  1. Steve Clinton

    “the owner claims is free of penetrating rust.” Another seller’s term I’d love to know the definition of…’penetrating rust’.

    Like 7
    • Arthur

      I believe he is referring to the kind of rust that has eaten away at the metal, like some of the rust buckets often found on this site.

      Like 21
    • robert semrad

      Steven, I don’t know how much clearer the seller could be….no penetrating rust…..only surface rust. Penetrating means going down into…..surface means not going down into, it just on the ……surface….i.e. surface rust.
      If you have any more questions, or need further clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask….we’re here to help folks comprehend words. Thanks

      Like 17
      • Steve Clinton

        Your sarcasm is not appreciated.

        Like 11
      • JoeBob

        I think ‘penetrating rust’ would be rust that’s pitted the surface, and ‘surface rust’ is rust that hasn’t yet pitted the surface. From the photos, the rust on the driver’s quarter looks to me to be pitted.

        Like 2
  2. Cliff Crabtree

    Shame they didn’t put some air in those flat tyres,( sorry tires!. I’m in UK). It would just improve pictures.

    Like 13
    • Steve Clinton

      ‘Tyres is fine, mate. No need to apologyze! (wink)

      Like 3
  3. R Turo

    It’s so funny that the cars and trucks they come up with the tires and rims are looking better than the auto it’s self

    Like 2
  4. Bmac777 Member

    A lot of these guys are lacking in the common sense of sales.
    They won’t put air or fix a flat in a tire, don’t wash or vacuum them, and never bother with the small maintenance items( battery or gas, plugs etc) that is “all it needs to run”.
    They want crazy money for them, but can’t do an hour of work to help justify the price.
    But it is entertaining.

    Like 39
    • Steve Clinton

      Can we say ‘lazy’, boys and girls?

      Like 10
    • vintagehotrods

      I’ve never understood that either. Doing something that simple is beyond a lot of sellers, pure laziness like you say. At least they didn’t hose it off with the garden hose to photograph it wet to make it look shiny, which seems to be the current rage with scammers. Seller’s descriptions of rust are always entertaining, as “penetrating rust” is in this case. It’s usually “90% rust free” or “a solid car”, which means whatever your imagination (or the seller’s) wants it to. If you buy a car by looking at pictures and trusting the sellers description, the majority of the time you will be sadly disappointed or worse. I’d have to see it in person or have inspected by someone well versed in what to look for in a Camaro. If it was dirt cheap, buy it sight unseen, but otherwise beware. You learn all this after you’ve been down that road a few times. We are all guilty of seeing the car of our dreams in the best shape we imagined, until it shows up at our door. Ask me how I know this!

      That being said, this is a fine example of a ’69 Camaro that could be a great car with many hours of effort with about $30K to $40K of your money. I’m shocked the interior is so nice after seeing how much Texas sun it has been exposed to though. I still love the ’69 the best!

      Like 1
      • vintagehotrods

        One more thing, is that log chain under the front wheel, going over to the fence to keep it from getting stolen? Maybe that’s why the seller has all the tires flattened on it too? There is also a jackstand under the left rear axle too? Things must tend to disappear in El Paso if they aren’t secured!

        Like 3
      • Steve R

        El Paso is a border town, if it leaves the city limits in a certain direction, it’s never coming back.

        Steve R

        Like 5
  5. Joe

    Factory A/C makes a difference to me. I remember these well. My “brother” had at least 30 first gens in the1980’s when you could still get a deal on them. At a whopping 200 HP, when that A 6 kicked on and bled off somewhere north of 40 H P, It was like the Jolly Green Giant was holding the bumper…. All the haters, and wanna be’s gonna hate and bash, but here is a solid and complete starting point. They’d surely hope to find an x33 or 77 hidden on that tag….. But that isn’t always the case. I wouldn’t mind taking a shot at this one, but have too many projects already.

    Like 13
    • Steve

      Auction photos show “X11”

  6. robert semrad

    “Your sarcasm is not appreciated.”
    Steve Clinton….

    Steve, the truth is always appreciated. Don’t hide behind bad manners. Sarcasm is an excellent teaching tool. You should learn something here…that is….. You don’t tear down another’s description of a vehicle when he’s been very clear and explicit about it.

    Like 8
  7. Keith

    Wow Never have I seen so many descriptions on how rust is explained to the week minded. Thanks everyone for being so nice . Like to see this car after it is given its stripping dip. Always fun to look at the holes that appear and the panels that need replaced like floor pans and trunk pans.

  8. Dave Peterson

    Fuel injected crate small block, four wheel Baer, coil over and four link – voila! Not fiscally sensible to try perfect authenticity. I’m guessing my age is showing, but I have been desensitized by the current state of our hobby. Just see “bring a trailer” .

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nice start to a driver I’ve seen in a while.

    Like 1
  10. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    I remember when decent ’69 Z/28s could be bought for the current bid. I would have a PPI done too. Best money I ever spent was having a PPI done on a CA from new ’64 Nova SS factory numbers matching 283 four-speed (M-21) with limited slip rear axle. The late owner’s widow and son were selling it. I was about ready to pull the trigger and decided to have the PPI done. The car was in Grass Valley CA, but most of it’s life had been spent around the San Francisco area. It had been kept outside and under a car cover. The PPI cost me $500 and probably saved me 20K. The widow said as far as she knew the car had it’s original white (Ermine) paint. Well the PPI revealed it had the equivalent of an Earl Scheib paint job and while it was solid underneath there was rust peeking out from under all the chrome.

    Like 1

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