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Steal this Dragster: 1976 Chevy Camaro

When you see a former show car / hot rod for sale by a pawn broker, you know there has to be a good story hiding in its history somewhere. This 1976 Chevrolet Camaro sports a wild paint job and a heavily built engine that is unfortunately a likely candidate for head gasket replacement, but is selling so cheaply here on eBay it has to be worth a look. The current bid is $3,550 with no reserve, and it looks clean enough throughout to be worthy of a bid.

In a previous life, a pawn broker was on my the last few miles of my commute, and it was entertaining to sometimes see what piece of faded glory had shown up in their small car lot. You could usually tell the car was a classic case of champagne dreams on Budweiser budgets, like tired Lexus LS400s or Mercedes S-Classes with busted air suspensions. This Camaro actually looks like it might be a decent car underneath with some money spent in the right places, including a paint job that went down to the door jambs.

Under the hood sports some tell-tale signs of significant investment too, with a 400-series small block V8 equipped with a supercharger and paired to a Muncie 4-speed Rock Crusher manual box. A 12-bolt rear end helps put the power down to a seriously staggered set of slicks, and you’ll note the custom paint was done with the engine out of the bay. At some point in its life, an owner threw a fair amount of money at this Camaro, but unfortunately, the seller notes “grey sludge” in the oil which could point to potential headgasket issues.

I keep looking for some area of the car to just reek of cheapness, but I even like the fact that the interior maintains a stock appearance, even if a red cabin with the lime green paint is an odd (and jarring) combination. Overall, there’s a lot to like a serious hot rod that retains a comfortable stock interior, and while the quality of the build is impossible to assess from afar, it looks quite tidy from here. While the story of how it ended up at a pawn broker could be less exciting than we think, the current bid makes it a tempting buy regardless of its history.


  1. Wayne

    The parts are worth the current bid. ($3,550)

    Like 0
  2. redwagon

    @ Jeff Lavery why did you use the verb ‘steal’ in the title? Am I missing a cultural reference?

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      It’s a “steal” of a deal!

      Like 1
      • Micheal Jones

        Some already drove it like they stole it though 😏

        Like 2
  3. TimM

    Wow what a buy right now!! I’ve never seen a green Carmaro with red interior seems like an odd combo but no one sees the inside down the quarter mile!!!

    Like 2
    • Steve R

      The only time this car likely saw the track is if there was a car show in the parking lot.

      Steve R

      Like 1
      • PatrickM

        Yeah, I surely do not see a roll cage or even a bar. BTW, listing ended. $5,101.00

        Like 0
  4. KevinLee

    I shuddered when I saw the interior!
    Other than that, it should be a reasonably priced project.

    Like 2
  5. JOHN Member

    Is it me or do there seem to be more “Muncie Rock Crusher” manual transmissions then were ever made? There also seems to be considerable confusion as people refer to the “fine spline” as an M22… not necessarily true. The earlier boxes had a 10 spline input shaft, later they went to the 26 spline “fine spline”, but this fine spline input shaft was also used in the M20 and M21 boxes also. The M22 has gears made of a stronger material, and less helical pitch on the gears, which allowed them to be slightly thicker, so they were noisy… and it got the name Rock Crusher. The car itself seems like a reasonable deal at $3550, but that gray sludge is concerning. Head gasket, maybe, also could be what’s left of the bearings!

    Like 2
  6. RobB

    Just for the sake of argument, I wouldn’t care about the sludge as I would be pulling it apart anyway. I think, with a few upgrades, it would be a nice street car. I would like to see more pictures of the car.

    Like 1
  7. Troy s

    Winning bid for this street freak was 5100 bucks. Lots of flashy paint, interesting mechanicals, black interior would have looked so much better, nice tires and rims, too much of an attention getter for me though. Still would be a blast to run through the gears with all that wonderful mechanical music.

    Like 2
  8. james boyd

    400 sbc wouldn’t be a good candidate for a blower, i saw several crack their head without boost. Back in the day you dropped a stock8.5:1 compression 400 with a 280 Comp Cam in a second gen nova and go 8.00 – 8.50 sec in the 1/8 mile(slow by today’s standard) BUT Consider you had 2 grand in a car able to outrun every new car on the road. GOD FORDMAN IS OLD(silently weeping)

    Like 0

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