Documented Restored Camaro RS/SS 396/375 HP 4 Speed
This 4-speed 1969 Camaro RS/SS396 has all the right ingredients: its a real code X22 SS, in its original colors of Olympic Gold over black, and packs a matching-numbers L78 big block. Subtle isnt the word for this super-clean, beautifully restored machine, but its exactly the kind of car that only gets better the more you look at it. With a full ownership history and authentication by Jerry MacNeish, this is an investment-grade Camaro that stands apart from the sea of Hugger Orange and black coupes for a lot of good reasons.
When you realize that you have a special car like this, you cant throw a quick coat of paint on it and call it done. Instead, the guys at Camaro Specialties stripped it to a bare shell and rebuilt it from there using the best components and craftsmanship. All the steel on the car was worked until it was as straight as it was the moment it came out of the press, and new quarters were fitted to the body and aligned until the gaps were better than new. After dozens of hours of block sanding, the final finish went on, and although resale red would have been appropriate for a garden-variety Camaro, this one got 2-stage urethane in the original Olympic Gold. Correct black SS stripes were added on the front fenders, and in the interest of originality, the restorer wisely chose not to install a ubiquitous cowl-induction hood, instead keeping the flat hood with inserts. In the same way, the blacked-out X22 tail panel was enough to differentiate this car from its brothers, and no trunk spoiler was added, either. The end result is a sophisticated and aggressive-looking car that doesnt look overdressed, and definitely isnt like all the others.
All the chrome on the car was either restored to show condition or replaced with high-quality reproduction items. The chrome rear bumper is one of the nicest weve seen on an early Camaro, and all the stainless has been polished professionally. As an RS car, this one also carries hidden headlights, Endura front bumper, turn signal indicators below the front bumper, and back-up lights mounted below the rear bumper.
The most important question when dealing with benchmark cars like this is the engineis it numbers matching? In this case, the answer is yes, this is the original L78 big block. The L78 had been rated at 375 horsepower since 1966 due to a GM mandate, but everyone knows this rating was extremely conservative, since it was the same motor that made 425 horsepower in the 1965 Corvette. They featured high-performance rectangular port heads, four-bolt mains, a forged steel crank and rods, and forged aluminum pistons. Because of the high-revving nature of the solid-lifter big-blocks, you couldn't order power steering or air conditioning with the L78, and youll note that the alternator uses the same large-diameter pulley that was found on the Z/28. For 1969, total Camaro L78 production was only 4,889.
The engine bay has been beautifully restored and presents today in what is honestly better than new condition. The Chevy Orange paint on the block and heads is probably as nice as the paint on the body of the car when it was new in 1969, and the chrome on the air cleaner and valve covers is show quality. Correct reproduction decals have been used throughout, and things like the hoses and clamps, fasteners, and even the shift stampings on the firewall are accurate. And notice that theres a correct, functioning smog pump, which is incredibly difficult to find today. When you turn the key and this one rumbles to life, theres no mistaking the voice of a predatortheres just nothing like a big block Chevy with a solid lifter cam.
Although you could get an automatic behind your L78, most guys didnt, and thats why this car carries a date-code correct Muncie M21 4-speed manual. Turning the engines twist into usable thrust is a tough 12-bolt with 3.55 gears on a Positraction limited slip. The rest of the chassis is highly accurate, and the quality of this car shows in areas where a lot of restorers deviate from original specifications. The reproduction exhaust system isnt mandrel-bent, the bolts are original steel, not brightly plated hardware store pieces, and the floors are basic satin black, not painted and polished to match the body. The suspension and brakes have been rebuilt to original specifications. It has been driven about 200 shake-down miles since it was completed, which means that this car is not only beautiful and accurate, but 100% sorted and ready to drive anywhere, anytime. Wheels were originally plain-Jane steel wheels with hubcaps, but today it wears 14-inch SS pieces wearing reproduction Goodyear Polyglas bias-ply tires.
If the Olympic Gold suggests that this car was a little bit upscale, the code 712 black custom interior confirms it. With high-back bucket seats that are a step up from the standard stools in base Camaros, it takes the interior to a different level. Add in the wood grain on the dash, steering wheel and console, and you have a drivers compartment that wouldnt be out of place in a much more expensive car (in 1969 dollars, that is). The gauges have been beautifully restored, and all the soft parts are new, including the dash pad and door panels. White-faced auxiliary gauges live ahead of the shifter and the original AM/FM radio, and everything works properly. Seatbelts have fresh webbing, too. In the trunk, youll find a new mat, matching spare and a complete jack assembly.
Documentation includes a complete ownership history as well as a certification from Jerry MacNeish, which confirms that this is a correct, authentic X22 SS396.
Unusual is definitely one word for this Camaro. Impressive is another. The restoration alone probably cost as much as were asking for the entire car, given the exceptional quality of the work and the accuracy of the components used. L78s are rare cars, no two-ways about that, and with the crops of clones and fakes that have popped up as the cars became more valuable, having a documented, authenticated original definitely adds value. And all of this overlooks the fact that 1969 Camaros are simply some of the best looking, best driving muscle cars of all time, so you really cant go wrong with one that has all the serious hardware. If youre done with Hugger Orange and are looking for something that will draw a crowd for reasons other than being brightly colored, perhaps this Camaro is what youre looking for. Call Now!!
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