Tire Store Sleeper: Restomod ’69 Camaro

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It seems we often see cars on here that present the quandry of restoration versus preservation. Restoration typically yields a vehicle you’re not afraid to take out on short drives or use during the more pleasant weather months; preservation may mean you live with some inadequacies in the name of authenticity. This 1969 Chevy Camaro here on eBay splits that debate down the middle, with an authentic outside appearance and modern running gear under the hood. 

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Said to have been found languishing in the back of an old tire shop, the Camaro was in surprisingly good shape thanks to the concrete floor found in old garages. The environment kept rust to a minimum but years of neglect allowed the exterior to build that weathered appearance we love so much. Under the hood, however, resides a thoroughly modern LS1 motor from a 2002 Camaro.

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Inside, it’s just as tired as you would expect, with aged door cards, carpets and seating surfaces. All told, it’s definitely livable but far from perfect. The seller provides plenty of detail on what the car needs, but thankfully, most of those issues are easy cosmetic fixes. There’s no major rust to speak of and the previous owner actually had the floorpans blasted from front to back and are said to be free of any holes. There is some rust in the trunk area.

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There are definitely some rough edges left around this project, like the shift lever that is just carried over from the 2002 Camaro and left in place. It still needs the rest of its exhaust system sorted out. Basically, it seems like the motor was dropped in, it was made to run and drive, and the rest was left alone. While still not as authentic as a car with its original engine, I think I can make an exception for a unique example like this.

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Comments

  1. Philip

    Is it me or does that engine look as if it is off center and crooked? While the LS conversions are popular, this is one car I would have opted to go with a 572 crate engine, or at least a ZZ-383. Adding a stick back into the mix is easy, you can buy the entire kit for either hydraulic or mechanical clutch. The hydraulic is the option I would opt for. The interior is standard, it would be just as easy at this point to buy the deluxe pieces and convert it.

    Since it isn’t an air car, it’s not very rare and in my opinion going the route of rest-mod and making it what you want is the way to go. Hopefully the new owner wont drop the car’s ride height or junk it up with oversize modern statement wheels and tires. Corvette Rally’s will do just fine.

    Leave the hood and trunk alone, nothing fancy, along with the suspension. I would go with ‘stock’ front and rear disc brakes and a 12 bolt posi for durability.

    If you had to keep it an automatic car the 4-L60 or 4-L80/ 700-R/4 route is the way to go with the LS motor.

    Some of these came with factory traction bars. if they are not there I recommend adding them in to the rear suspension, as these are squirrely, and don’t like to hook up.

    Like 1
    • 68 custom

      I thought only the mono leaf equipped 67s had the factory traction bars one or two depending on the engine choice. and yes I agree the engine looks to be cocked a little to one side and not level. but for some reason I kinda dig this car and would be glad to own it.

    • Addiction

      Who cares what you like! A 572 create motor is probably out of the guys price range! You’re one of theses guys that gets on here creteiking everyone’s builds as you drive your 1984 CRX! I find it disrespectful and frankly insulting! Just My Opinion!

      Like 1
      • al8apex

        Lol

        How do you spell critique again???

        Like 1
  2. JW

    My kind of car, the sleeper look. Has to be a stick car and new interior and yes traction bars with good disc brakes. Then a nice set of tires and wheels period correct ( Cragar five slots ) then tear up the streets at cruise night.

  3. Rock On Member

    This is the drivetrain that the 1984 Olds Cutlass from earlier today is begging to receive.

  4. Rustytech Member

    If that engine is not line up correctly the buyer could face serious drive line issues in the future. I’d want that checked out before bidding. If it were mine I would do a cosmetic restoration of factory appearance.

  5. charlie Member

    Wife had its twin when I met her in ’69. 6, 3 speed manual, AM radio, bias tires, strong runner, 70 all day, lasted 14 years before rust claimed everything below the belt line, eventually there was nothing to weld anything to, and sold it for the interior which was still close to perfect and the positraction rear end. Was the 2nd cheapest new car on the Chevy dealer’s lot, the other being a 2 door Nova hatchback. Cost a bit less than $3000. Radial tires made a big difference, that one-leaf rear spring broke several times, eventually replaced with multi leaf variety. Timing gears and chain got looser and looser and eventually just adjusted timing by not matching up the mark, but setting it off just so. Shift linkage would bind requiring one to get out and reach under the car to free it. 3 little kids in the small back seat were great, no room to haul back and punch each other with any force. Watched the value drop and then rise again over the years but this car was driven day in and day out, snow, rain, salt, potholes, dirt roads, and used up.

    • Howard

      There was no nova hatchback in 1969. They didn’t come out until 1973. The only camaros that used mono leaf springs were the 67 models, from 68 on up they used multi leafs. The chevy straight 6 never used a timing chain throughout its production run. It used two gears that meshed.

  6. grant

    I prefer original cars but I love this. I think I’d finish it though. It’s already been modified, have some fun with it. Sort the new drivetrain out set it up as an RS/SS clone with the hideaway headlights, black and white hounds tooth interior. Fit the factory console with the proper period shifter. Orange with the white stripe around the nose. Polish those wheels and go huntin’.

  7. Sunbeamdon

    Charlie – you are a man after my own heart – three kids in a ’65 Cuda 4 speed, hipo; ran it hard and put it away wet! It’s the same car I had to prove the rear end was noisy when I bought it – blew it in front of the dealer’s lot and said fix-it, it broke

    The guy who bought it three years late from a different unsuspecting dealer found my name and called me – “did you know the cam lobes were worn flat”

    Of course not (cough – cough – cough)!

  8. Bingo

    Hey Jeff:

    What are door cards? Are they like baseball cards? Card tables? Playing cards? Credit cards?

    I’m just a dumb American what do I know…wait!! This is an American car in America. Maybe door panels?

    • Hank

      Jeff- I agree completely.

  9. Sunbeamdon

    FYI – they are guys standing in front of the AARP Bingo Hall telling “on-colour” jokes

    It’s beer thirty – time for some bourbon and branch (I’ve adapted)!

    • Bingo

      I have no idea what you just wrote. Again, I’m just a dumb American playing door cards…got any aces?

  10. sunbeamdon

    I’m half-way through my three fingers of bourbon and branch, so time to reflect and respond – door cards are somewhat British in origin, or not; branch is water from the Rio Grande (but don’t drink it!)

    Actually, I chose rye and water for a change

    Tomorrow I weld-up my POC ’65 Sunbeam Tiger’s trunk pan and door sill; sometimes CPAing pays dividends

    • Kent Pearson

      Branch water is water from the small branch creek leading to the river and thouht to be less muddy since not so turbid.

  11. Rick

    I would restore it to original,do some research first.Nice start.

  12. Ck

    I don’t care how solid this car is its not worth 13,600.00 .How much money do you think its going to cost to finish this thing? Why is the motor crooked? What about the suspension and the brakes ? Don’t foget aboot the trans, probably , gonna need to do somthin with that too. Now lets talk abount paint and body work, unless you do it yourself you are lookin at at least 6 or 7K and thats probly on the low end. Oh and don’t foget the interior.Hey if this car was somewhere around 8K I’d say go for it.But at almost 14k,I’d look around there are better deals out there.

  13. Another Bob

    I’d love this 69 Camaro. Lightweight ,powerful engine. Love the look of the undersides and dash. I’d change the steering wheel, seats, carpet, and put every chassis stiffener I could find, a Hotchkiss suspension, new steering and brakes. Probably just paint it with Plasti dip in a flat finish. It needs a tranny swap too.

  14. Big Andy

    Just my opinion, although the engine is a great engine. I think the guy ruined it. Cars of this vintage at least need the original factory engine, it doesn’t have to be matching.
    I think everyone can agree, the car is worth more with original equipment. The car is worth? 6K max…Get rid of the LS1, put it in another car….

    Like 1
  15. charlie Member

    Now, I could be wrong, but, when my wife (shortly before I knew her) bought her ’69 Camaro, she was offered a ’69 Nova hatchback, about the same price, same 6, 3 speed standard, only options Positraction and an AM radio. And the Camaro had single leaf rear springs, both of which broke in the first few years and were replaced by multileaf by the dealer (not under warranty).

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