Keep your Camaro 100% Camaro, that's a good motto. In the case of this stunning pro-touring 1969 hardtop, it was easy, thanks to a modern Camaro LS3 and 6-speed manual tucked into that timeless sheet metal body. Professionally built to cruise like a modern car and capture all the performance and style of the early F-body, this is a take-no-prisoners build that is as impressive on the road as it is on paper. Let's have a closer look.
The body was restored as if it were going to be a concourse competitor. That means it went up on a rotisserie and was restored top and bottom by the pros at Classic Cars of McHenry County. Every panel was metal-finished and adjusted to fit just right, and the relief lines extending from the front and rear wheel openings show a crispness that were familiar with here at RK Motors Charlotte, but which a lot of lesser cars seem to lack. A cowl induction hood always looks great on these cars, and the rear spoiler is almost mandatory with 550 horsepower under the hood. It received a coat of code 71 Lemans Blue in two-stage urethane that looks subtle enough to hopefully keep you under the radar when you crack open the throttle maybe. White hockey stick stripes were added when everything was said and done, matching the interior and tying it all together nicely.
All the emblems and trim were either restored or replaced with reproduction items, and there are no items that are merely adequate anywhere on the car. The 350 badges on the front fenders are not quite correct, as the LS3 under the hood actually displaces 376 cubic inches, but it's still a small block, and therefore closer to a 350 than, say, a 396. All the glass was replaced and there are new weather seals holding everything in place and keeping the doors tight. All the lighting throughout the car is via LEDs, except the headlights, which are cool, high-tech high-intensity discharge (HID) units that light up the road like Wrigley Field during a night game.
Since were keeping this 69 all Camaro, the only engine choice is a modern LS3 out of a 2009 Camaro. Displacing 6.2 liters, and now running with a Speed, Inc. custom camshaft, a ported LS3 intake, and a 4-inch induction system, it now makes a whopping 550 horsepower, a nice bump over the stock output. The modern aluminum block is a neat fit in the early Camaro engine bay, and if you didn't know better, it would be easy to believe it was engineered to fit by the General. It even looks like the block got a coat of Chevy Orange paint for a nod to tradition, although the cylinder heads remain raw aluminum, perhaps as a tribute to the mighty L89. The individual coil packs for each cylinder have a flashy red plug wire instead of the more mundane gray or black ones on the production cars, and a massive AFCO aluminum radiator with a custom shroud keeps it cool. A set of Dynatech Stainless LSX long-tube headers received a gorgeous ceramic coating before being bolted into place, and it's all driven by a Speartech drive-by-wire harness that keeps all the OEM drivability and diagnostics intact.
You definitely can't channel all that horsepower through a stock suspension, and think of the style points you'd lose if you put a high-tech engine in a 40-year-old chassis. No, this one received a series of major upgrades, beginning with a T56 6-speed manual transmission that features a custom tailshaft and a mechanical speedometer drive. The suspension consists of tubular A-arms and trick QA1 coil-over shocks up front, while out back the only rear axle capable of handling the horsepower is a GM 12-bolt full of 3.73 gears on a Posi. The entire car was lowered to give it that predatory stance. The floors were finished in correct satin black, and all the clips, fasteners, and lines are new, including the stainless brake and fuel lines. That's an OE gas tank out back, fitted with baffles for performance during cornering, and a 255 LPH in-tank pump that feeds the fuel-injected small block up front. Wilwood disc brakes live at all four corners, and look brilliant behind those custom made Bonspeed forged alloy wheels. Tires are by Kumho and measure 245/45/18 in front and 275/40/18 in the back.
There are scarcely any interiors sharper than a 69 Camaros, and even the new Camaro pays homage to it with its interior design. Instead of modifications, they simply restored it to stock condition throughout, albeit far nicer than any factory effort ever managed. The white seats are a brilliant contrast to the Lemans Blue paint, and I think the combination works a lot better than basic black. New door panels and seat covers are dazzling, and with the black carpets, dash, and headliner, it is a very handsome driving environment. The gauges were all rebuilt and are fully functional, and have been calibrated to work with the upgraded engine. An original center console was sourced, complete with white-faced auxiliary gauges, but the cue ball shifter now stirs six gears instead of merely four. Extensive use of sound deadening materials from Hushmat ensures that the passenger compartment remains comfortable and quiet, and even things like the seat frames were coated to protect them from corrosion. As with the exterior, LED lights were used throughout the interior for a unique high-tech look that will take you a second or two to recognize, but it's definitely cool when you see it. The trunk is finished to stock specifications, including a full-sized spare tire.
To many, there's nothing more appealing than today's best technology stuffed into a vintage body. The LS3 is unquestionably one of the best V8 engines available anywhere, and the sound alone is worth the price of admission. With OEM levels of reliability and drivability, this is one Camaro that will start the first time, every time, and pulls like a freight train. Parts can be purchased over the counter at any GM dealership, and you'll draw a crowd every time you open the hood and show them what lives underneath. If you love the looks of the 69 but wished for something a little more tech-savvy than a lump of cast iron under the hood, this is your car. Call today!
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