Skinny Dipper: 1969 Camaro Pace Car

1969 Camaro Pace Car

We have featured a couple of Camaro Pace Car projects over the years, but this is the first one that looks like it may have gone for a dip in the lake! That may not actually be the case, but the top half looks very nice while the bottom half is extremely rusty. It runs though and appears to be complete so there’s no doubt that someone will save it. These Pace Cars all came well outfitted and that orange hounds tooth interior is just so dang cool! Take a look here on eBay where the auction ends later tonight.

Orange Hounds Tooth

There’s that crazy orange interior I mentioned! If you are going to cruise around in a convertible, you might as well do it in style. The Pace Cars were well optioned and fairly expensive when new. Well, that’s understandable considering that this was basically a SS/RS convertible with some custom touches!

350 V8

You could get a big block in your Pace Car, but this one is fitted with the base 350 V8. It still put out 300 horsepower though so I doubt anyone complained. This one also appears to have the Super Scoop intake on the hood that opened under hard acceleration. You could also get a 4-speed with a Hurst shifter, but since the dealers were ordering these featured packed, many of them came with the automatic like this one.

Camaro Pace Car Brochure

So, apparently the Camaro was chosen as the Pace Car a couple of times because of its wide tires? Weird. Even if it was just a marketing gimmick, the car was pretty cool. You can read about all the differences between the it and a standard car over on Camaros.org where they delve more into its history.

Serious Rust

It’s a shame about all that rust. Guessing from the originality and overall condition of the car, someone was trying to save it as an investment or for future use. The moisture that appears to be in the area really took its toll. The seller is generous with the photos though so the next owner should know what they are getting into. There’s a lot of metal to be replace here… Hey, that zip line platform in the background sure looks like fun! Anyone up for a swim?

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Comments

  1. Chuck

    Rust bucket—I draw the line when the pillar posts have rust through.

  2. Jon Hilker

    So these pace cars where column shift. I would think that they would have been on the floor with a console. Hmmm

    • Steve

      Super Sports (Camaro, Chevelle, El Camino, possibly others) came standard with column shifters. (The SS package did not automatically include a console and floor shifter. It was an extra option on addition to the SS package.) My brother owned a 69 Camaro Pace car (listed on Barn Finds as well). He bought it stripped, so it dd not have a console or steering column in it when he got it, but I do believe I remember seeing brackets for the console welded to the floor.

      On a related note regarding the console issue, my other brother, who now owns the pace car, for a short time also owned a 71 El Camino SS that his wife’s grandpa bought new. It was dark green with black hood stripes, LS5 454, TH400 automatic, column shift, dark green interior with bench seat, SS dash with tach, tilt wheel, 12 bolt posi rear, power front disc brakes, domed SS hood.

  3. Rock On Member

    Back in the day when these cars were daily drivers and driven year round in the snow, it only took about five years from new to look like this in Toronto. Every part on this car is reproduced now. Someone will buy it and restore it.

    • Barzini

      Sorry. I accidentally hit the thumbs down when I meant to press thumbs up. You made a very good point.

  4. Carfan

    It just astonishs me that bidding is currently at 27k and yet that silly ” I know a secret but won’t tell you” reserve is not met??? This car has few options, is rotted from the ground up and needs absolutely everything…

    • Rocco

      And the seller say’s it has a VERY, VERY low reserve.

    • Neil

      Probably his buddies bidding it up

  5. Dan

    Oh hell looks like the one I sold to a kid in Michigan years ago, but mine was a 4-speed….Yes Jon, like any Camaro you could option them out…mine was a 350-300 4 speed..no options other than a power top plus the SS standard equipment, like power disc brakes and a 12 bolt rear…..and the Z-11 cowl tag….real one..

  6. JW454

    That money is buying a vin tag and title. Everything salvageable will be swapped to a Dynacorn body shell and this body will be scrapped. There would really be no reason to try to save this body. You’d have too much in it and it would still be full of repairs. JMHO

    • Chuck

      Say it ain’t so—someone would actually buy the vin tag & title & try to sell a clone as original ??? Oh, I am so disappointed.

      • grant

        Hate to break your heart Chuck, but it’s a mad, mad world out there.

        Like 1
  7. Roselandpete

    My dream car.

  8. jeff myers

    Having owned a ’69 Camaro SS since new,
    I’ve got lotta years looking at ’em.
    This is the only column AT I’ve ever seen in a PaceCar.
    350 cars are usually 4spds,
    and 396 cars are usually console AT.

    Like 1
    • Rocco

      Great info.

    • Jon koontz

      I owned a column shifted Z11 from 83 to 91. I’ve seen maybe 1000 pace cars and this is only the third column shifted including mine. I check every pace car to try and find mine and i got excited when i didnt see a console on this one but i had a power top. The search continues…

  9. Jon Hilker

    And I thought that a pace car was built a specific way like the one that would have been used as the official pace car for the Indy 500, which I figured was a counsel 4 speed car, or was it an automatic?

  10. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    I am wondering with all that obvious exterior rust if that lake pictured in the background is what the Camaro was dragged out of?

  11. Van

    You mentioned, the dealer ordered the cars.
    Back in those days you could have an old fart with no desire or interest in cars, beyond taking his 60 year old wife to the store. He was happy with his 41 chevy and thought ordering fast cars was irresponsible.
    Why do super birds have bench seats. Why does a pace car have a column shift. Why do great cars have no AC.
    “Look here sonny, back in 1915 we didn’t have AC and we beat the dreaded Hun in the great war” “Slow down and thank the good Lord you don’t have to drive mule.”

    • Ol' bugger Member

      Be careful when referring to us old farts. I’ve worked in the same dealership 40 years as of 7/7/16, and I can tell you I’m more of a dyed in the wool car guy than 90% of people who are in it. I started in it because I love cars, pure and simple. I stayed in it because I like people and I care about my clientele.

  12. Chris A.

    You are looking at classic road salt body damage. If this car spent any time in the US northeast or southern Canada, this is what you get, and it doesn’t take long. As they rust from the inside out, this body shell is a throw away. East of the Mississippi River, you have to stay away from the coastal states and usually well south of Maryland to have a realistic hope of finding rust free bodies. I can do mechanical and electric work, but body repair is outside my skill and tool set. There are many PA body shops that refuse to do rust repair as it can’t be guaranteed.

    • Pontiactivist

      Amen Chris. I am a nwPa body guy and agree. I hate rust repair. I do it cause it pays the bills and rusty junk is all I can afford. Lmao.

  13. Mark S Member

    So if you were to buy all the needed metal panels and in this case almost everything and spent countless hours cutting fitting welding grinding you still have an all original car. Then if you buy a repro body which is pretty much the the same panels except pre assembled you would call it a clone. What UTTER NONSENSE no matter how you slice it its just sheet metal. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that they were struck from the same dyes. This car will never be original again no matter which way you take it, and to pay 27+k for it is also nonsense. A fool and his money soon part ways.

    • waynard

      Sorry, that’s wrong. If you repair all that metal you no longer have an original car. It’s then restored. It’s only original once.

      • Mark S Member

        The point I was trying to make is a lot of you guys spend way to much time and energy arguing over sheet metal. Yes you are right it would become restored I guess I didn’t word that quite right but I don’t see why there is such a stink over which piece of sheet metal the vin tag is attached to. In the case of this car the smart play is a new body followed by rebuilding the drive line, suspension, brakes, and interior then scrapping the rest. I guess that problem is we live in a world where people lie cheat and steal, and in this case will try to resell the scraps without a vin tag instead of scraping like they should.

  14. Shane K

    I don’t know much or anything about these pace cars, but I’m interested in the type on the side. It’s smaller than on the promo picture and the orange pinstripe goes behind the lettering. Could it have been added later?

    • Rocco

      It’s pretty common for the decals to be installed at the dealer. Not everyone wants the giant decals installed, so they could have been included with the sale for installation later. I also noticed they were installed crooked compared to the brochure pictured.
      Nice catch with the pin stripe.

      • Rando

        I noticed the pinstripe thing too. Seems like I read somewhere that the pace car decals were in the trunk when delivered to dealers, but I could be wrong.

      • Rando

        I noticed the pinstripe thing too. Seems like I read somewhere that the pace car decals were in the trunk when delivered to dealers, but I could be wrong. Actually, I looked at the link above and it says the decals were shipped in the trunk. So they were probably added after it was bought?

  15. Van

    I still say graveyard cars replaces so much sheet metal the car is now Chinese.

    • Idiot Boy

      There should be laws requiring classic American cars rebodied with foreign manufactured sheetmetal to be clearly identified as such on the vehicle title.

      • Rocco in Florida

        I agree! It is REBUILT or SALVAGED!!!

  16. nessy

    The ad says the car still runs and drives great. If the car could be bought at a fair price, I think it would be neat to enjoy it just as it is as long as the underbody is not about to split in half. From the photos, I do not think this is about to happen. The car would sure draw the crowds. It may be the only unrestored one of it’s kind left. Oh, this is not the only automatic on the column Pace Car. I have seen two more in the past.

  17. Turfman

    It is amazing this car didn’t buckle in half when they put it on the lift.There is some major rust issues. Not often you see the back valance with rust through.

  18. Chris A.

    Once this is stripped back to the bare shell, my guess is the corrosion damage is so severe that a restoration of the original inner and outer panels just isn’t worth the time and effort. I don’t think of a new shell build out as a clone, but a reconstruction with the remaining salvageable parts. Driving this in the present rotted out condition is just unsafe as it is a convertible and doesn’t have a roof structure for structural strength. Our family had a ’58 VW bug convertible that after 5 years in the Rochester, NY salt no longer had any strength in the floor pan and you couldn’t shut the doors if the top was down. Ended up selling it for parts as it had a good top. On this, save everything but the bare shell and do a reconstruction build as it is a really neat car.

  19. lrry

    Closed at 27,100. Hey I have this can that ran great when parked 50 years ago next to the salt distribution plant. Sarcasm. Wow, 27 K for that. Never can figure people can you.

  20. Jim

    I bought a 69 Camaro back in ’81 for $1800. It had a 350 El Camino engine with a 4 speed. It would haul ( ). These old cars are way overpriced. It’s just a 50 yr. old hunk of steel.

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