By on January 20, 2014

1969camaro

I can recall the first time I saw a first generation Camaro in the October 1966 Popular Science new car preview edition. The 1967 Camaro was the star attraction when it debuted in the fall of 1966 and it gave the General an instant classic in the pony car battle.

I liked the original Camaro because it was a stylish blend of well-sculpted bodylines with curves in all of the right places. The hidden headlights and race stripe around the front fenders of the car were options that took the car to an even higher level of cool for me as a very young admirer.

The 1967 Camaro appeared on the scene and the General instantly became a big player in the pony car wars. The Camaro had gotten ahead of the curve and was now a leader in the style department because the car already looked like a car from the early 70s even though that era was still 4 years in the future in October 1966.

The honeymoon period lasted for one year for me because the newer first-gen Camaros were essentially a 1967 Camaro with state mandated side marker lights. The variables between the three years were lost on me and I was challenged to find any enthusiasm for the 1969 Camaro as a kid in the 60s and now as an aging Baby Boomer. To me the 1969 Camaro is simply a warmed-over version of the 1967 Camaro and I am puzzled about its iconic status in the collector car market.

I view the 1969 Camaro as a cookie cutter kind of car because there were 243, 085 Camaros produced in 1969 and that number shows they were popular with consumers in a big way. The large production number has not quelled the fever for 1969 Camaros because these cars still command a big buck in the world of collector cars.

These days the 1969 Camaro cultists have devised a caste system that places a barebones six cylinder car at the very bottom of the pile and a COPO Camaro at the very top of the pile. In between are small and big block variations that will give each car a place on the Camaro totem pole in order of importance. Garden-variety Camaros are given a huge amount of mechanical and cosmetic surgery that applies the right amount of lipstick on the pig to enhance their value.

The surgically enhanced vehicles used to be called clones, but these days the politically correct term is “tribute car”, a moniker designed to soften the blow of cheap imitation as a sales tactic. The result is a huge number of COPO, SS and RS/SS Camaro clones on the street in search of the right 1969 Camaro cult member/potential owner.

The real deal in rare model 1969 Camaros will cost you at the very least your first-born, with options on your second and third born kids. Thus exists the saddest fact in the 1969 Camaro equation: They made a huge number of 1969 Camaros that look exactly the same-except for badge, trim and power-train options that camouflage the blandness and drastically enhance their value.
There is no real magic behind the 1969 Camaro beyond a lingering sense of irrationality that the car was somehow special enough to outrank two earlier model years that looked exactly like the ’69 to the untrained eye or disinterested non-Camaro car guy. A 1969 Camaro is indeed the Holy Grail for the first-gen models’ fans and those of us who do not share the same philosophy about the car view the adulation as somewhat cartoon-like because we simply do not see the magic.

Outsiders see the 1969 Camaro as a Justin Bieber kind of car, while its faithful fans see it more as a Bob Dylan kind of car for reasons that are not particularly obvious to the rest of us. I can live with the divide between the two as long as the Camaro cultists don’t knock on my door to try and convert me on Saturday mornings.

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109 Comments on “Why I Don’t Respect The 1969 Camaro...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    First off, screw “tribute car”. It’s a fake. Fake, fake, fake.

    And a six cylinder, Powerglide on the column, bare bones Camaro is more important than any modified fake car.

    Secondly, the styling of the ’69 was from the “third year, we have to restyle it, who cares what it looks like” school. Overblown where the previous two years were trim. The ’69 was Chevrolet’s (too early) answer to the ’71-73 Mustang despite not growing in size.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      +1. I agree with all of what you said! I can appreciate the basic “bones” of a Camaro in an original, basic model more than I can in yet ANOTHER fake at the local cruise night.

      Also, I prefer both the ’67-’68 and ’70-’73 to the ’69, as you can see what the designers truly wanted rather than feeble attempts to keep the car “new”.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        In general I agree about the 1969 Camaro (and Firebird) versus the unfacelifted earlier cars, with the exception of the tail. In both cases I thought the 1969 tail lamps and sheetmetal were improvements over the earlier cars – subtly altered rather than exaggerated.

        (The other 1969 alterations, such as the stupid fake vents on the sides of the Firebird, are far from the worst of GM facelifts. The last version of the Cavalier was godawful, especially the tail.)

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      I’m with Syke on this one. Personally, I want nothing to do with any performance or special edition versions. I prefer the strippo basic no options survivor. Sadly, with the “tribute” craze (fakes, more fakes, and even more fakes) showing no signs of slowing down, the strippo versions are being sacrificed on the alter of nostalgia.

      I’m a boomer baby, but I have no desire to relive my formative years. No cell phones, no internet, no fuel injection, no stability control? NO THANKS.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke

      110% agree with Syke and Sutherland.

      None of the first gen Camaros really turn me on, but the ’67 is definitely best of breed. Compared to the ’69 there’s a certain restraint and elegance to the ’67 and ’68, especially in the rear fenders. Additionally, I prefer the lower spec cars because they are without all of the air dams and scoops and other add ons that distract the eye.

      There’s something to be said for a pretty, minimalist, visually light design. For me, that’s why the 70.5 is such a winner. Absolute design home run. They still look great 40+ years on.

      Tribute cars are fakes. Every auction now, from the small time guys to B-J and Mecum, is absolutely polluted with the gaudy faker RS/SS cars. The people building these cars should be dragged out and hung.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Agreed, I feel that tribute cars are made less for nostaligia and moreso for the easy cash they make when they’re sold off. Vintage VW Bugs have this issue too, pretty much any pre-68 model either ends up another mid-life crisis mobile or another Herbie replica.

      I can understand some upgrades like bigger brakes or maybe a newer engine, but I’d rather own the real article over one of the many fake SS models.

      Like too many domestic cars of the late 60′s-early 70′s, they started out great but because of then current car trends every year meant a new grille or some other trick to make a car look lower and wider.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I know.I personally thought the term clone was too soft. But in any case, as far as the article goes, I don’t agree that the 69 Camaro was not a cool car. It was well styled and much more aggressive looking than the earlier 1st Gens.

      With the right lowered stance, versus the “tip toe” stance of the over restored examples, it is one hot looking car. But I also agree that it’s totally over hyped. Not worth what’s being paid. It’s sort of the Porsche 911 to the Musclecar set. An over hyped Nova (Beetle) that’s going for way too much.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I agree that the first year 1st gen Camaro was better looking – that’s true of most new models.

    I find the revamp in 70.5 much better than the 1969 too.

    Same with the Firebird.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, they made the 69 models for a year and a half before the 70 1/2 was released. The Z28 versions were great but the big blocks were dangerous to drive without extensive mods to the rear suspension. A friend had a 396/375 that was beautiful to look at and sounded great. My 64 Belvedere 383 4 speed would beat it in the quarter because the Camaro wouldn’t launch. When he caught me he passed my like I was standing still, but the quarter had passed.

      My best early edition Camaro was a 1967 Z28 with the cowl plenum setup and factory headers, originally shipped in the trunk. Using my 64 Belvedere as a standard, it beat stock Z28s easily. Once the Z had headers and a gear, it turned things around and the race wasn’t close with my Belvedere sucking…. well, you know. The Z was a MUCH better balanced car than the big blocks. My favorite Camaro was the 1970 1/2 LT1. I never owned one of those but if I ever do own another Camaro it will be that one.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Agreed, the early 2nd gen F-cars were the high water mark when it came to styling.

    • 0 avatar
      drylbrg

      I have a ’71 Camaro which I bought for a thousand bucks. It needed some work but was a runner. Nobody can tell me that a ’69 in similar shape would be worth $20k more in fun and smiles.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    In an age where a car is dropped on the market and left almost entirely unchanged for 5 years or more, an article about the difficulty of discerning differences between a ’69 and ’67 Camaro seems kind of odd, maybe “pointless” is the word. There were some tweaks to the body (improvements, in my opinion) and more drivetrain options.

    What has GM done for the Camaro lately? Less than that.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Also, its my second least favorite Camaro, only out-(over?)done by the current generation. Which is nothing more than a ’69 drawn by a bored eighth grader in his copybook while the teacher drones on and on and on.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke

      +1,000,000!!!

      They had all how many years to bring the Camaro back, and that’s what we ended up with? It was like a cruel joke.

      Crueler still is the ongoing bastardization, in the name of pornographic profit margins, of the once-storied Z28 and 1LE labels.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Agreed. I’ve never understood why the model they chose for their revival was the ugliest of the first several years.

        The ’70.5 Camaro and Firebird really were gorgeous cars in their day. While even the ’67 Camaro was just sort of a generic Mustang knockoff minus the Ford’s distinctive styling cues, the ’70.5 was a quantum leap forward, even European-looking for its era. It took the ’73 bumper regulations to screw up its delicate proportions.

        My big brother bought one of those Firebirds right after they came out. They had frameless door glass, and even as a kid I noticed they didn’t come within a country mile of making the glass fit properly into the wing-and-a-prayer weatherstripping system they were using. Still, it shore nuff looked purty.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Oui, then we have the latest Honda Prelude-ish tailights and the VW-like face-lift, nevermind the new Camaros massive weight gain and horrid blindspots.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I’m going to be the crazy idiot who actually really likes the 79-81 F-cars, because someone has to be, right?

          • 0 avatar
            69firebird

            No.You can like whatever you like.Half of these guys couldn’t buy one of any of these models anyhow,and probably couldn’t work on it as well.I doubt the lot of them really turn a wrench.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I kind of think of the present Camaro as being designed by three people/groups:

      1. The front end: Sane people who were fans of the ’67.
      2. From the side mirrors to the rear of the greenhouse: Drunks who were jonesing for a drink, and were in a hurry to get home before the shakes got too bad.
      3. The back end: Meth heads who had gotten hold of some stuff laced with something that caused visual hallucinations. Or they had a stroke.

      Damn you GM, don’t let this happen again! You’ve got a chance of selling me a Camaro a couple of years from now, but if you ugly it up, it’s another Challenger.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “243, 085 Camaros produced in 1969″ – and now there are likely approximately 300,000 of them registered in the United States given the mania of the collectors and the companies building new “bodies in white” for the guys who want to build a drag racer or a hot rod from the ground up.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      This might be the best thing I’ve heard in a while.

      In my opinion, there isn’t any benefit to a car built 50 years ago over one built recently other than value.

  • avatar
    dabossinne

    The photo more or less encapsulates the original aesthetic that was the genesis of the current cult of the ’69 Camaro: Lakewood slapper bars, Cragar S/S rims (or Keystone Klassics), jacked-up in back with the rear rims/tires bulging out of the wheel wells. Warmed-over small blocks (usually a 307, maybe a 350) maybe (if you had $$) with a dual-quad Weiand tunnel ram intake manifold capped with Holleys poking out through the hood (or under a Grumpy Jenkins pro stock-style snorkel scoop), and headers with Cherry Bomb or Thrush header mufflers to (loudly) complete the point. A few were genuinely fast; most were posers. High school parking lots across America were full of these things in the mid-to-late ’70s and early ’80s — mine sure was — usually in far rougher condition than the Camaro in the photo.

    It’s all about nostalgia and Baby Boomers’ burning, if vain, desire to recapture some vestige of long-lost teenage youth. Which is, of course, what drives the entire hyper-inflated muscle car collector market these days. Once the Boomers die off probably nobody will give a crap about these cars anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      In high school (class of 79), I had a 1969 Firebird convertible. It was full on hooptie, with bondo, a second respray, and second roof. I loved that car. The original secretary 350 2 barrel engine, which showed traces of “just add oil, never change it out”, (read-more sludge than the Exxon Valdez) was replaced with a boneyard 335 hp 400 4 bbl from a Grand Prix SE. I increased the ignition advance for another 20 hp, but instead of drag racering it, had the biggest tires on all four sides (60 series-radical at the time) and the stiffest shocks I could find. No airshocks, no windup bars, none of that nonsense. I couldn’t afford Cragar wheels, it was the one wishlist part I couldn’t do.

      So set up, it actually cornered decently for a lead sled with a big block up front.

      I learned a few things. No one ever throws a convertible away (I sold it to someone like myself when I went to college), and some cars are past the sell-by, fix-by, or restore-by dates. I see this a lot with old corvettes…no one ever sends those away, either.

      I did, of course, see an identical car at a car show recently. In good shape, it is worth some serious money now.

      I’m not nuts about OE. If I had that car today, I’d go to the rails, fix the metal, and put in a crate motor….with normal 2014 electronic controls. Points and rotors sucked, no need to re visit them. You kids don’t know the hassle of getting a non FI car started in winter….or summer. Vapor Lock, flooding, etc aren’t much fun. You do miss, however, the punch of the fat secondaries opening up for a quick 40-75 mph pass on a two lane :).

      Today’s muscle cars are so far better in every way than the old stuff, on the merits, that is not even a discussion. I’ve driven the 442, GTO, various Vettes, and a few 455 Firebirds. That the new stuff is usually faster, gets double the mileage, and will pass pollution for 100k is amazing. Follow any classic musclecar and the first thing you notice are the unburned hydrocarbons in its wake.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The thing is, you could put a fuel injected, high output modern V6 and manual 6-speed into a ’67 Camaro, upgrade the suspension and add 4-wheel discs, and you’d have something pretty close to a modern muscle car. As Murilee did with his ’65 Impala, you could upgrade the basic underpinnings because it had such solid engineering built into it.

        My uncle had a ’68 Camaro he bought in ’72 and the first thing he did is take it to a shop to have the suspension and steering modified and front discs installed. That car handled about as well as a modern car, and I couldn’t believe what a difference the discs made. Other muscle cars of the era were great in a straight line, but the Camaro had the size, wheelbase, wheel track and weight balance to be much more.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          fuelie V6 in an old Camaro? I guess it would be neat in a odd sort of way but with the potential of the current LSx motors and the DI LTx motors on the horizon offering a metric crap ton of power with the aftermarket insuring its almost entirely a bolt in operation why bother with the bent six that would require a lot of custom fabrication.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        Reminds me of when I was looking at buying my first car. Choices were a one owner 69′ convertible with a 307/Powerglide combo for $1000. Other than needing a new top the car was in great shape. Choice #2 was a nearly new 1977 Chevette. I ended up buying the Chevette.

        Forgive me as I was/am a practical minded nerd…

        :)

    • 0 avatar
      69firebird

      I’ve spent a couple of years restoring a 400 Firebird down to the nut and bolt that’s almost done.I’m pretty sure it won’t turn me back into a teenager.It may have aged me a little,if anything.What it will do is extend a fat middle finger to a stamped-out bunch of Camry aficionado’s and set off a few car alarms.I love it when one of the “everybody get’s a trophy crowd” get’s butt hurt over old cars.It’s freaking hilarious.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Everybody gets a trophy” is a lovely Ford anti-slogan but it’s not relaity. The reality is, some now give out trophies for different reasons than the reasons Motor Trend had in 1969. My car gets a trophy for getting me to work on time and costing little to operate.

        I guess that would be a fat middle finger to you, if we’re really into giving out fat middle fingers.

        • 0 avatar
          69firebird

          Feel free to go ahead and figure out the spelling of hard words like “Reality” first Clitstart. Maybe spell-check will help.I like Fords also.I own one.Did Jezebel do a mass purge of infantile thundercunts today?
          Two free guesses where you can stick that finger while you go to work and make those Hamburgers,douche-nozzle.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Gentlemen,

            Civility first, please.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            “Feel free to go ahead and figure out the spelling of hard words like ‘Reality’ first…”

            Should he do that before or after you figure out the spelling of “gets”?

            Jus’ wonderin’…

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Ha you think you are so bad ass, but they all know you aren’t. Camaros were stamped out like Camries but the Camry drivers aren’t posers.

        • 0 avatar
          69firebird

          Let me know when you see a bunch of people grouped around a Camry.

          Pro tip.

          It’s never going to happen

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @69firebird, But Camry’s are “Grounded to the ground.” ;)

          • 0 avatar
            69firebird

            LOL.@ Principal Dan
            I believe that’s only available with the “Phase II Nautical Oversteer and high moment of polar inertia package .”
            I could be wrong though.I’ll have to check around.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Like the Dodge Charger ad showing a car doing doughnuts in the dirt say: “because no kid growing up had a poster of a Passat on his wall”

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Once the Boomers die off probably nobody will give a crap about these cars anymore.”

      I wouldn’t bet on it. Interest hasn’t died off for 20′s and 30′s street rods, nor has it for 50′s chrome. Some things are timeless.

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        +1 seems like vintage cars are becoming popular among the younger crowd in the same way old clothing, vinyl records etc… are. Though the guys I talk to who drive these don’t seem to be the kind of people into performance or frame off restos, they are enjoying them and keeping them alive and preserved enough to be daily drivers, which is sweet for the hobby in general.

        I’m 29 and me and several of my friends have been into 60s and 70s cars for years, with no nostalgia or emotional ties to the period from which they came.

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        Uh, yeah it has. Literally. While there are a reasonable number of guys under 30 driving nice pre-war vehicles at the shows, it’s almost always the exception rather than the rule.

        If the biggest thing stopping Gen-Why from buying cars is money, it’s going to be very difficult to convince them to spend a premium for fewer options and features simply because “it was cool when your parents were teenagers.” We do not have the ‘automotive heritage’ for these cars, and that raises so much ire with our parents and the tiny minority of people that do care it’s impossible to have a discussion in an enthusiast environment.

        A number of these unicorns will probably retain their inflated value, but the lipstick on a pig ‘tributes’ will be worth it only to the people who overpaid for them today.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Collector cars have never really been a young man’s game. However the interest is there, never has there been so many younger people with designated show/hobby vehicles.There are plenty people into cars that predate them, and the ones who have money, buy them. I go to a lot of well attended traditional hot rod shows (pre ’64 cars only) and it’s safe to say that 90% of the people in attendance weren’t of driving age when those cars were made, yet these shows and events are part of a growing new car scene. That’s what’s keeping the popularity of the older cars going.

          I was mostly referring to the values the cars are trading at, which are a better representation of the interest level. The values of those generations of vehicles hasn’t fallen off a cliff, I don’t expect those of muscle cars to either.

          Gen Y has a money and employment problem at the moment in general, but as more and more of them become gainfully employed and have extra money, some of them will spend it on old cars as the generations before them did.

          • 0 avatar
            ellomdian

            Some of them will spend it on cars, like their parents did, like their parents did.

            Most of them don’t care about what is currently Nostalgia about Nostalgia.

            That’s a terrifying concept to be honest, literally looking back wistfully at a time that was spent looking back wistfully. Navels gazing at their own navels.

            On second though, I can’t think of anything that would fit the majority of Gen-Y more: Synthetic emotional connections to the real emotional connections to the original object.

            Also – kmoney: Just because your friends are hipsters does not mean most 20-somethings are. Most people I know – and I don’t mean friends, I mean the 10-some-odd recognized demographics I interact with on a daily basis for work and in my own life – don’t like Vinyl (unless they are nursing their 30-year old audiophile habit,) they don’t Like shopping at the thrift store (but they brag about it to cover up the fact,) and they don’t like ‘cars’ (outside of being able to get them to work.) Just because it’s trendy to fetishize used objects does not mean it’s a overbearing social concept.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The 1969 Camaro had some very interesting power options that can be attributed to it’s added desirability. The styling is slightly improved over the first two years, IMO.

    Disrespecting a car based on the fact that it’s popular seems invalid to me. If you want old cars with exclusivity, there are much more expensive exotics at one end, and the Cadillac Cimarron at the other. Could it be that the ’69 Camaro was so popular because it was in fact a very desirable car for very valid reasons? I think that’s the case here.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Yeah, this article screams butthurt. Not sure what the author’s reason is. Maybe he leases a base model Nissan Sentra.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      No. Part of the fun of something being popular is that some people have to dislike it purely for disliking it’s sake.

      Park a 67, 68, and 69 Camaro side-by-side. I can tell you which is which; it isn’t even that difficult. Same with most cars from that era.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Disrespecting a car based on the fact that it’s popular seems invalid to me”

      This

      Why does this happen? If a car is popular there must be positive attributes that made it popular, but the more popular a car, Camcord or any CUV, the more we diss it. Perhaps it’s the old “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member” syndrome. These cars are so accessible to us, that they can’t be good. The ones we can’t have, brown diesel wagon stick-shift, become legendary even though they don’t really exist

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I’m kind of in the passive-agressive “whatever” camp on 1st gen camaros.
    to be honest, they’re about as unique as Camrys in my town, and they seem to universally driven by the retired. Make it a COPO, put in fuel injected 502 big block, put on a set of Foose wheels, and I’m sure it’s cool to you. Most of them that I’ve seen have medicore bodywork and a wheezy Pep Boy’s 350 under the hood fed through a glitchy Holly 4 BBL with the chrome peeling off the float tanks.

    for the money spent on cloning/tributizing/copying/defrauding an old rust bucket, the driver of said previously-6-cylinder-now-Yenko could have had a brandy new SS camaro or Z28 or 1LE that will be a future classic. Instead they have an old car with a cardboard glovebox that gets whipped by a 6 banger Camry. At least it appeals to other old guys, you know, if they wanted to meet people and swung that way…

    • 0 avatar
      AMC_CJ

      You actually drive an older car, and it gives you a far better purer feeling then anything new can. I’ve driven both exclusively, sure my new Mustang has 305hp and gets 30mpg, while being great at about everything, but it doesn’t make me as happy as driving my old Chevrolets or Jeep.

      It’s nice not having a giant computer surround you, the feeling of the 2nd line of barrels opening on the Holley, while everything is instantly connected via’ mechanical linkage. The feel of a real clutch with some weight to it, and the click of that Hurst shifter jammed into the next gear. When the back end lets loose in a corner, there is nothing there but yourself to put it back in line. You can make the car do whatever you want, it’s all you.

      • 0 avatar
        FractureCritical

        I acutally owned and daily drove a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and a 1983 Jeep CJ-7. I’ve cursed Ford for spark plug placement in a 351 Cleveland, and I can say without hubris that I’ve forgotten more about pre-plastic Jeeps than most will ever know. Trust me, I know all about what you’re saying. At $3500, then there’s a real value to a neat old car like that. Maybe even $10k. Possibly even $15k. Occasionally but rarely at $20k. At the $30k-$50k people are putting into these rust buckets, money is better spent elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      “Holley 4 BBL with the chrome peeling off the float bowls.”

      fix’d

  • avatar
    69firebird

    Super interesting.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I used to read a lot of issues of Car Craft and Hot Rod when I was younger, and developed a real sense of Hype Backlash to the 69 Camaro. It was never my idea of automotive perfection, but the sheer number of compliments it got made me hate it.

    The 69 Camaro is the Beatles of the automotive world, and I’ve always believed that the car’s popularity was artificially inflated by the human herd instinct.

    Just as with the Beatles, there are a lot of people who really don’t like the 69 Camaro (or at least don’t LOVE the car), but are afraid to say so for fear of being considered blasphemous.

    It takes no guts to say that one likes some popular thing, be it the Beatles or the 69 Camaro.

    I know that lots of people really do like this car, and that’s fine. My criticism is reserved for those who aren’t all hot-and-bothered over the thing, but say they are to avoid an argument.

    Just for the record, my idea of perfection is not a 69 Camaro with no roof and the Beatles on the radio, idling down Main Street on Cruise Night. It’s a Buick GNX with a manual transmission conversion and glorious, inspirational, screaming 80s hair metal.

    80s hair metal – the Michael Bay movie of music.

    You can be sure that statement’s genuine, because who would say such a thing who didn’t mean it?

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpewUGbjpb8

      Too cheesy?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Yeah good ol’ Camaro Craft and Hot Camaro with a litany of how to hot rod your small block chevy articles.

      Here is a fun prank to pull on your Chevy friends, give them the firing order for your Ford and let them run the ignition wires and watch as hilarity ensues. Most Chevy guys don’t realize Ford numbers the cylinders on each bank 1-2-3-4 and 5-6-7-8 where GM numbers the cylinders 1-3-5-7 and 2-4-6-8.

  • avatar
    skor

    One positive thing to come out of all the butchered 6 cylinder “secretary’s cars” is that it makes unmolested surviving examples of said cars valuable. Same is true of the Mustang. Got an early Stang with the 170 cube 6, 13 inch 4 lug wheels, and generator? You’ve got a valuable collectors item. A car that will be worth more money down the road than a fake GT350.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I love old cars, but never cared for these, and I don’t understand why the big collector bucks.

    These cars were cheap cars. Unibody, rear leaf springs, generally spartan and cheaper interiors. Compared to say, a Chevelle, of the same era; full frame, rear coil springs, nicer trims and appointments. These, along with Mustangs of the same vintage, weren’t really nice, or even good cars. They’re expensive because of the way they’re perceived, no better then someone buying a Turd of a new Audi because they look neat and people think they’re cool. It’s all perceived vs. real value.

    If I was going for a 60′s Muscle car: 66 GTO all the way.

    But I’ve kind of outgrown muscle cars, and the next classic I’m buying is either going to be a Corvair convertible, which is a cheap car, but also still priced cheaply. Or a 64 Imperial, which is one of the best built cars ever made, and also very reasonably priced on today’s market.

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    I think you are significantly over selling the 69 vs its older brothers. Some may prefer the styling, and the performance options, two years more evolved. I think their numbers have made them popular. However, I think car guys know the 67 and 68 are great cars. I think that non-car guys hear ’69 Camaro’ and don’t think there was ever a decent model before that. Their loss.

    Note there were less than 1000 Z28′s in ’67, less than 8,000 in ’68 and about 20,000 in ’69. I’d happily take a ’67 Z28, SS, etc. You’re making a argument that their is a big market for ’57 over ’55 Chevy’s..its to peoples taste.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I never thought all that much about the first generation cars having better “years”. If I was looking to buy one, I would be buying by mechanical (engine, trans, etc), and then by color. Some of those colors really turn me off. Any first gen is equal to each other, to me. I prefer the looks of the early second gen cars. A friend of mine had a ’70+1/2 that I really liked. A decent blue, it had the blah 307 when new, but that was resolved when the timing chain jumped at 50K, and a healthy 350 from a Chevelle was dropped in.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Sad to see those COPA cars on BJ auction restored to the point that all their racing history is lost.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Having lived through this era, I don’t think very many of the cars were very good. There aren’t very many 1969 *anything* that I would want to own.

    Ignition points. Front drum brakes. Suspensions derived from Conestoga wagons. Bias-ply tires, generally undersized. Two-speed automatics. Overdrive virtually non-existent. Generally sketchy build quality. AM radio. A/C compressors that eat 20 H.P.

    Some of those cars had interesting styling. More colors, both inside and out, were available. Options were available a la carte. Aside from those 3 things, I find nothing to recommend about cars from the 60′s.

    I might make an exception for the 1969 Volvo 1800E. At least it had FI and 4-wheel discs.

    But by most metrics, the $12k 2014 Nissan Versa is a *hugely* better car than most anything from 1969.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I agree with AMC_CJ in that old cars are cool for that “pure” feeling you get driving one. Some of the issues you bring up are now easily solved with aftermarket electronic ignitions and disc brake conversions and adding radial tires.

      I have a 1967 Mustang convertible. Non-GT, just a 289 2 brrl carb, three speed auto, disc brakes all around. Would I hop in it and drive it 300 miles round trip to Albuquerque? No. It is it a blast to cruise in with the mechanical linkages and being hyper aware of my surroundings with disc brakes no nannys to save my butt if I do something stupid, no electronic nav distractions, heck I don’t even turn on the AM radio.

      Do I want to drive it every day? No. Am I grateful for the improvements made in today’s cars? Yes. But the old girl sure makes me smile when I turn the key.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I can’t agree with you more PrincipalDan. I would not like to take my BB chevelle on a road trip, but cruising around town is awesome. It makes the mundane events of life (grocery store, bank etc) so much fun.

        For the record, I am not trying to relive my youth but educate the youth I am raising how to problem solve, turn a wrench, and sometimes just get dirty. By and large hard to do that on a new Camaro etal. All the while having some fun with a big cam and flowmasters…..

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        And if you took the time to put a modern Ford engine, transmission brakes and suspension in that car; you’d have a car you could comfortably drive to Albuquerque. But you’d no longer have any idea how a ’67 Ford Mustang drove.

        That Mustang will make Albuquerque. But you’re going to be a lot more worn out when you get there.

        I had a lot of guy try to talk me into dropping a modern drive train into my ’37 Buick 40 years ago. They never figured out that I was interested in what a car drove like when my father was my age.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @Syke, +1

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Excellent point. I’d only quibble over the “a lot more worn out when you get there” part. I’ve driven a ’62 LeSabre between Rhode Island and San Diego, and a ’63 Rambler Classic, and a ’65 Impala, and made my last trip in a ’68 Mercury Montego (in ’88). I wasn’t worn out, because I was young, except the last trip – I REALLY missed the AC making that trip in August.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      You got be joking….or just waiting for a reaction for “69 firebird”

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “But by most metrics, the $12k 2014 Nissan Versa is a *hugely* better car than most anything from 1969.”

      1969 was 45 years ago though. I would certainly hope that automotive technology has seen some big advancements in that time.

      I mean, go 45 years the other direction, how does a ’69 Chevrolet Bel Air stack up to a ’24 Chevrolet Superior?

      My ’89 Electra makes the same horsepower as a Cadillac V16 from the 1930s and is vastly better equipped, but I still would not hold that against the Cadillac.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    I thought the the 70.5 Camaro was a better looking car all the way around.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I love ‘em all, especially a 250/Powerglide! I put style over power, my current ride notwithstanding.

    Would I own one now? Sure, strictly as a toy, but aren’t they all?

  • avatar

    I take thousands of photos of cars every year. At the recent NAIAS media preview I shot over 1,000 image pairs. You can’t shoot every car at every event (well, you can, but it’s a chore) so you have to set priorities. One rule that I have is “No ’69 Camaros, no ’57 Chevys”, because you can see both of them at just about any decent car show (and I’m thinking of adding “perfectly restored Isetta microcars” to the list). Heck, State Farm had their “Jekyll and Hyde” ’69 Camaro at the Chicago Auto Show last year.

    However when I come across a real 1969 ZL-1 (I’ve shot three of the 69 real ones), or Yenko (or similar authentic dealer hot rod manufactured through the COPO system) I make sure to document it with photos. I may have my rules but I’m not that stupid.

    As for clones and tribute cars, as long as the car is honestly presented as a clone I have no objection. It’s just an example of what Baruth calls the Grand National Effect. I don’t think it’s less honest than doing a “restoration” of an actual muscle car by transferring a VIN plate to a brand new Dynacorn shell that’s better engineered than the original unibody. There just aren’t that many people who will restore a six cylinder stripper car to factory original condition. The only low option cars you see in great condition are survivors, grandma’s car that she only used at the summer cottage and those bought by frugal old folks who drove them briefly and then parked them, like this 9,000 mile 1970 AMC Hornet: carsindepth.com/?p=14124

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The 70 1/2 was a much better looking car then the 69. The ’79-81 was my favorite from the second gen. I think the 3rd gen was the peak of the camaro, especially the late 80s IROC-Zs through the 1992 25th anniversary edition. I hope they never become popular with old boomers who have too much money because I would like to buy one one day as my old ’89 was rear ended.

    4th/5th gens are ugly pigs.

    • 0 avatar
      nine11c2

      The second generation doesn’t get enough respect. I had a 79 for years, great car, but they were seriously lacking in oomph…

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I had a second gen, a ’77 LT 4 speed car with a ZZ4 crate engine. It was fun for what it was, but I never really loved it and found myself never driving it. It just wasn’t a nice car to drive for longer than 30 minutes at a time. After the mild resto was finished, I sold it and got a different old car that I put 2000 miles on the next summer.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke

      I have a ’78 Z28, I purchased it from the parents of the original owner. When I bought it it showed just over 8,000 original miles, and I have put on a couple thousand more since then. Tragic story behind the super low milage that’s worthy of an Ur Turn sometime.

      Anyway, I agree with you that they are underrated and overlooked. With the 350, 4-speed Tremec manual, front disc brakes, and modern tires and shocks it’s a lot of fun to drive and handles modern traffic pretty well. The only things I don’t like are the hideously overboosted power steering and the lack of power.

      I also have a ’94 Z28 and think you’re way off on calling it a pig. You may not like the styling, but there is an obvious styling evolution from 2nd to 3rd to 4th gen. GM made a big mistake breaking that with the 5th gen, which is objectively a pig. Compare the curb weights from 4th to 5th and you’ll see what I mean!

  • avatar
    ggbox69

    As a kid going to car shows it took me a while to learn the differences between a 67 and 68, the 69 was a bit easier for me to distinguish. I saw some of each year I liked, and some I didn’t. It wasn’t until recently I learned the 69 alone was “a thing”.

    The “thing” is what kills it for me. When I see one now, it tends to be love or hate, but more because now I try to profile the owner. I really only respect the guys shooting for a visceral thrill; somebody who has cracked 100 in one or revved that big block up high. That’s all I would be in it for, unfortunately the hype from the auction circuses keep them in the hands of the lame-intentioned.

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    I see no reason to make a six cylinder camaro into a SS..make it into something that says indivdual..http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/05/26/16/34/1969-chevrolet-camaro-pic-53845.jpeg

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    As much as I like most vintage muscle cars you can count me into the “simple and elegant appreciators” camp, I’d rather save a few bucks and grab one of the Chevy 2Novas that these were semi-based on, and to save extra bucks, it’d be a sedan.

    If I modernize the brakes or put in a few extra welds no one will get mad, if I drive it in the City nobody will steal it, if I drive it on the road not many will pay much attention, but I’ll still have a decent, modest classic.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Meh, I rather have an early 2nd gen, before the cow catcher bumpers.

    Or… you just have to have that huge screaming chicken on the bonnet, ala 77 T/A.

  • avatar
    69firebird

    Seriously? You post a picture of a car with Mr. Gasket traction bars in a quarry and want credibility? Did you get a dvd package from 3 girls garage for Christmas?

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I prefer the ’69 Camaro to the 1967 or 68 simply for stylistic reasons, I think they were better looking. As I remember, when the first Camaro was released there was some grumbling from some quarters about the fact that a 350 c.i. v-8 was the largest engine available-I think that was due to the GM mandate imposing a 10 to 1 weight/power ratio on their vehicles. But this was the 60′s, and the Mustang could be had with a 390.
    I also remember complaints about the use of single leaf rear springs-with were borrowed from the Chevy II.

    I had a sales brochure for the ’67 Camaros, I remember it had a picture of a base vehicle-no options-and that was one cheap looking vehicle. I think the designers must have deliberately made it to simply encourage sales of options. The base vehicle could have been mistaken for a Rambler.

  • avatar
    Syke

    First generation Camaro’s – a repeat of the tri-Fives:

    First year: One of the most gorgeous cars Chevy ever built.

    Second year: Yeah, I know. You HAD to change it somehow.

    Third year: Jeezus Keerist! I know you had to change it again, and you had no budget with all the money being spent on the following year’s model, but couldn’t somebody have cared enough to actually try?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The ’67 Camaro is my least favorite, due to the round front turn signals in the grille (the hidden-headlight ones are okay). The smaller, rectangular front turn signals of the ’68 are better, and they also have a smoother (but less practical) look with the absence of the vent windows. I don’t much mind the side marker lights, either.

    I read somewhere that Chevy management wanted a more aggressive look with the ’69, and they got it. I used to hate the more inboard placement of the headlights and turn signals in the bumper, but as I got older, warmed to the appearance.

    It’s sort of like comparing a ’67-’68 Mustang with the ’64-’66. The latter cars got more sculptured, defined lines. Frankly, that was okay by me.

    To me, the GM ponycar that lost it in ’69 was the Firebird. That’s the one where the original ’67-’68 cars were far better than the one that appeared in ’69.

  • avatar
    SixDucks

    One could level the same criticisms about the ’57 Bel Air. Anyway, I thought the ’69 (and if you want to be technical, the ’70 as well, the 2nd. gen. F car was a 70 1/2) was a successful MCE. The ’69 Firebird less so, perhaps.

  • avatar
    pb35

    When I met my wife in 1988, her parents had a ’67 Camaro in the garage, covered by blankets and purchased new by her grandmother. It was the proverbial “old gold Chevy”, gold with the same color interior. I think it had about 150k on the clock, some light rust around the rear wheel wells and a scrape here and there.

    It had a 250 under the hood, backed by a Powerglide with column shifter. My in-laws wanted the garage space back so I brokered a deal with one of my co-workers to haul the car away for $1k. He did a nice, body on resto, rebuilt the original engine and kept it all stock, dog dish hubcaps and all. It looked great and he took me for a spin one Sunday when it was finished.

    Sometimes, I really wish we kept it in the family but I was 20 at the time and had nowhere to put it and was in no position to ask my girlfriends parents to “hold onto it for me” so me and my future father in-law could drop a crate motor in it in 10 years like I fantasized. My buddy eventually sold the car to another friend with the promise that he sell it back to him should he ever decide to unload it. I don’t imagine it was ever worth that much anyway.

  • avatar
    April

    “Politically Correct” has nothing to do with calling it a Tribute Car instead of a clone.

    I think it has more to do with sugar coating what it really is.

    A fake phoney fake ripoff.

  • avatar
    mikey

    From a personal stand point, I prefer that everything to be correct.. An unmolested 67-69 Camaro 6 auto would thrill me. However their out of my price range.

    Clones? If the seller is upfront, and its done right, who cares? It wouldn’t be my choice. For some folks it fills a need at a much lower price. Who are we to judge?

    I admire, a well done resto/mod. Once again the price takes me out of the game.

    Now for those that insist on bashing the 5th gen Camaro. I own a 3 year old 2SS/RS 6 speed. Siver grey with no graphics. It makes me feel good every time I drive it. I enjoy detailing it, and I really like the compliments I get.

    Along with the Camaro, I drive a 6 year old Mustang convert,6 auto. Its as girly as you can get,and I love it.

    Anybody that doesn’t like my choices in vehicles can kiss my—

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Hideaway headlights and an integrated (non-chrome) front bumper…it is why the ’69 Camaro is superior to the 1967-68′s.

    The 2nd-gen with the split front chrome bumpers was almost as cool.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    This just showed up

    http://www.autoblog.com/2014/01/21/tim-allen-1968-chevy-camaro-jay-leno-video/

  • avatar
    BillWilliam

    Actually 1967, was the last really good year for things automotive, at least to those of us of a certain age.:-)

  • avatar
    noxioux

    “. . .A 1969 Camaro is indeed the Holy Grail for the first-gen models’ fans. . ”

    Couldn’t be more wrong.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    It certainly was a much better looking car than the current one. With the all new Stang due in the fall Chevy needs to rethink this current Camero.


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