Cortez Silver
Black
396 V8
4 Speed Manual

Among early Camaros, other than the special-order-only ZL1 and COPO cars, the L78 is the top dog. With a 375 horsepower 396, they were the hammers that pounded Mustang-shaped nails both on the track and on the street. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, most enthusiasts realize that GM was playing games with the horsepower numbers and this same motor made 425 horsepower in the 1966 Corvette, but rules are rules, and GM didn't want 400+ horsepower muscle cars running around.

Whatever the number, this beautifully restored Cortez Silver 1969 Camaro RS/SS packs a real L78 motor still showing its original stamping numbers as proof. And though GM makes it hard to verify, the window sticker included with the car includes the following options:

Soft-Ray tinted windows Center console Air spoiler equipment Posi Traction with 3.55 ratio375 horsepower L78 396 V84-speed manual transmission Chambered exhaust system Sport styled steering wheel Special steering equipment Sport wheels Special instrumentation AM pushbutton radio Special ducted hood Appearance Guard Group Rally Sport equipment Camaro SS equipment Custom interior Black vinyl trim Cortez Silver with black vinyl top

As a high-dollar restoration, the car was stripped bare and placed on a rotisserie where all the original sheetmetal was restored, not replaced. The car was clean to begin with, so only a few small areas needed attention before being covered in primer and block sanded to its current spectacular state. They spent plenty of time getting the body to fit together tightly, with good gaps and proper alignment throughout. Two-stage Cortez Silver went on without a problem, laying down so smoothly that only a minimum of sanding and buffing was required to bring out the shine. Correct black hockey stick stripes were installed, giving it a suitably menacing look for the street.

As a correct RS, the front covered headlights are fully functional on either side of the blacked-out SS grille. Speaking of blacked-out, the rear tail panel is also finished in satin black, something that only the big block SS cars received. Bumpers are fresh chrome front and rear, and the rear includes optional bumper guards as part of the ZP5 Appearance Guard Group. Fresh badges were used throughout, and there's bright chrome gill trim in the rear quarters. A fresh black vinyl top ties in nicely with the black interior and sport stripes, and has been properly installed.

Under the steel cowl induction hood you'll find a properly coded L78 big block, and the machine shop was careful to not deck this critical area of the engine during the rebuild. The engine bay is as nice as these cars get, with a finish on the block that's almost as nice as the body. Up top, there's a correct aluminum intake and Holley 4-barrel carburetor, which was also used on the L89. Since this car carries a factory cowl induction hood, the air cleaner has been restored to match, with proper decals and a new rubber seal. Chrome valve covers were standard equipment on the high-end big block engines, and really dress up the engine compartment. However, neither A/C nor power steering were available with the high-revving solid-lifter engines, and alternators got a special large-diameter pulley designed to both prevent destroying the alternator at high revs and to help retain the belts. Detailing is beautifully done, with reproduction hoses with proper ink stamps, tower hose clamps, and properly marked spark plug wires. The firewall sports accurately reproduced shift stamps for the cars build date, and new decals were used wherever appropriate. With just test mileage, the engine is still fresh and new, and care should be used to break it in properly if you decide to drive this Camaro instead of show it.

The transmission is the numbers-matching Muncie 4-speed manual driving the original 12-bolt rear end, which was standard in the big block cars. This one is stamped for 3.55 gears on a Posi limited slip, which is also what it says on the window sticker, but for highway friendly cruising, it currently runs a set of 3.36 gears. A correct reproduction chambered exhaust system gives the big block its characteristic cackle, and it burbles on the overrun like a racecar. Like the engine bay, the chassis is highly detailed, with correct finishes and reproduction decals used throughout, and the bright finish on the hardware is a brilliant contrast to the satin black used on most of the components. Front discs were part of the package, and the entire braking system has been rebuilt to make this a car you can drive with confidence. A new gas tank hangs out back and feeds the engine through all new lines. Proving that good taste never goes out of style, the wheels are beautiful 14-inch SS pieces that wear 205/70/14 BFGoodrich T/A radials.

You can forget standard buckets in this loaded SS, as it carries the optional custom black vinyl interior, which includes a woven center on the seat faces. Already one of the most handsome interiors, the custom interior gives it an upscale look that's also a lot more comfortable than the standard flat vinyl buckets you won't think twice about it until you experience a black vinyl interior on a hot day. All the components are new, including the door panels and dash pad, and the workmanship is nicely done. The headliner is taut and the carpets fit without any rolls or bumps. All the gauges have been rebuilt, including the four white-faced auxiliary gauges on the console, and everything works as it should. With fresh wood-graining on the console that matches the dashboard, the interior looks like it should have cost a lot more than it did. Open the trunk, which wears an optional ducktail spoiler, and you'll find a new trunk mat and a full-sized spare tire with matching jack.

This car also comes with a big restoration album that shows the quality of the work that went into the build, and I think you'll be impressed. There are also photos of all the relevant components that verify this as a real L78 and not a cobbled-together clone.

Finished just a few weeks ago and with only 11 (that's eleven) shakedown miles, this is a very fresh, high-quality restoration. The workmanship throughout is exemplary, and the car was obviously quite solid when the project started. Big block Camaros are seeing a surge in their values, and those with correct drive-trains and original components obviously bring a premium. Finished in a beautiful and original color combination with a ton of unusual factory options, this L78 Camaro can compete and win at the highest levels. Go ask your local shop how much and how long to restore a car to this level, then look at the price on this coupe. With that in mind, this one is awfully hard to resist. Call today!

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