You wouldn't believe the number of E-mails and comments we get from people looking through the showroom, all of them saying how beautiful the cars are but lamenting that they're all”too nice to drive.” I suppose that depends on your point of view, because I personally don't think there's any such thing as a car that's too nice to drive, but I understand what they're talking about.
Well, their prayers are answered with this 1969 Camaro Z/28 - Daytona Yellow, a 5-speed manual gearbox, and ice cold A/C add up to a car that's built for cruising. Built not too long ago, with a lot of recent work done, it's the kind of car that wows 'em at the local car shows, drives like a modern piece, and makes the owner grin like a mental patient every time he fires it up. Forget trailers, bug guts on the grille, and gas mileage, because this one is all about having fun with a great car.
Yes, this is an original code 76 Daytona Yellow car, and the modern 2-stage paint with black SS stripes looks spectacular on the '69 Camaro sheet-metal, but you can see that for yourself. The paint and bodywork is professionally done and shows well, but it's not the kind of paint you're going to need to rub with a diaper or worry every time you see dark clouds in the sky. The guys in our paint shop just got done rubbing it out, and it shines like it forgot its job is to kick ass, not look pretty. Gaps are decent all around, with acceptable fit from the cowl-induction hood and ducktail spoiler out back. The stripes were painted on, as is the fashion these days, and everything is buried under a coat of clear to make waxing it a snap. I guarantee you'll enjoy every Saturday afternoon you spend making this one shine in the driveway. This one has been fully dressed in Z/28 regalia, including 302 badges on the steel cowl induction hood and Z/28 badges on the fenders, grille and tail. Most of the trim is good original stuff that's been cleaned up and is ready to hit the car shows, while other components are reproduction items that are recently installed. The chrome bumpers are excellent, and I'm really pleased they kept this car as stock-appearing as possible and let the greatness of the original design shine through.
Despite the decals and other accurate items throughout the engine bay, the power-plant in this F-body isn't a high-revving 302, but a potent 350 crate motor. However, that doesn't mean that it has to look like a crate motor - in addition to the 302 decal on the correct cowl-induction air cleaner, there are correct hoses and clamps, and the entire engine has been bathed in a coat of vintage Chevy Orange paint. The valve covers are correct ribbed aluminum pieces that have been polished until they shine like chrome, and you can be forgiven if you thought this was a real Z/28. Of course, one of the tipoffs is the A/C compressor mounted on the driver's side, a modern unit that works flawlessly, and whose lines are hidden down low for a clean appearance in the engine bay. Long tube headers feed a true dual exhaust system that barks and snarls like an original might have, but makes more horsepower.
Underneath, you'll find a chassis that's been restored and upgraded for the road, not for some mirrored turntable in a convention center. Up front, a modern steering system makes this car feel and track like a 2010 Camaro. The owner reports that he tried several different combinations of springs and spindles to get exactly the ride height he wanted, and when you look at this car's aggressive, yet not slammed stance, you'll know it was time and money well spent. The floors have been patched here and there, but no wholesale replacement was needed. And while you're looking around under there, you'll undoubtedly notice that the transmission is not the familiar Muncie 4-speed, but a modern Tremec TKO 5-speed. With a steep first gear and a deeply overdriven fifth, this car cruises effortlessly at super-legal speeds, pulls down decent fuel mileage, and does it relatively quietly. The exhaust system is a true dual setup featuring 2.5-inch pipes and aggressive Flowmaster mufflers, which I like a lot better than the original chambered exhaust (sorry, purists, but it's just too raspy for my tastes). Out back there's a bulletproof 12-bolt rear with 3.36 gears, which work extremely well with the 5-speed transmission - enough gear to snap your neck in 1st and 2nd gear, but cruises easily at 75 MPH.
Personally, I think the houndstooth interior is extremely neat. It might be hard to describe it to someone who has never seen it, but in person it's pure '60s cool. The seat covers are new and the correct pattern, which was used in the 1969 pace cars in addition to being a regular production option on all Camaros (though thankfully it's black and white in this car instead of orange!). The carpets and headliner are also recently installed, and the 5-speed shifter sprouting from an original GM console looks right at home. The A/C features an electronic control system with a remote that allows for an infinitely variable fan speed and it blows ice cold, even on the hottest days here in North Carolina. The dash and gauges appear original and in very good condition, with the only notable flaws being in the chrome plated plastic rings around the gauges. And speaking of gauges, a quartet of original-style auxiliary gauges have been installed on the console, but feature white faces instead of the original black for a modern twist on a classic design. A “Retro Radio” features a 10-disc CD changer so you don't have to deal with whatever they plan on AM these days. Fresh door panels finish out the great-looking interior.
So no more messages about “too nice to drive,” because we've heard you and responded with a bunch of nice cars, including this Camaro, that are too nice NOT to drive. You aren't risking a rare, irreplaceable vehicle, the hardware has been upgraded to make it drive like a modern piece, and it's still just as stunning in person as it was when it was new. You know the components are virtually bulletproof, so there's really no excuse to keep this one locked away in a garage. One rip through all five gears - where you'll find yourself somewhere north of 130 MPH - will convince you that the street is where this Z/28 tribute belongs. If you like the sound of that, give us a call today!
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