Camaro Dana 88
Dana Chevrolet Camaro 454 Doug Nash 5 Speed 12 Bolt
- AACA Senior Award winner
- Original sheetmetal
- 90% original interior
- Era-correct 454 V8
- Doug Nash 4+1 trans
- 12-bolt / Auburn locker
If you're a Camaro fan, you've heard of Yenko Camaros and you've probably heard of Berger Camaros. Heck, you might even know about Baldwin and Nickey Camaros. But before those dealers were strapping big motors into rare '69 COPOs and Super Sports, Dana Chevrolet out of southern California had been hard at work turning first generation Camaros into stripped down street monsters. This rare AACA Senior Award winning Camaro Dana 88 is one of very few 1969 Dana cars known to exist and it's the perfect ride for someone who wants a unique, high performance muscle car.
Dana Chevrolet was owned by former Shelby employ Peyton Cramer and managed by a well-known SCCA racer named Dick Guldstrand. Guldstrand raced the first L-88 427 powered Corvette in 1966, and at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans he drove an L-88 powered Corvette to a straightaway speed record of 171.5 mph. Guldstrand and Cramer obviously knew high performance and had quite a reputation in the hot rod scene. So they began offering a host of aftermarket conversions and performance accessories through their Dana dealership. Customers could purchase a first generation Camaro anywhere and send it to Dana Chevrolet to be equipped with an upgraded suspension, a 3x2 carburetor set up, headers, an open element air cleaner, ignition upgrades, a custom fabricated cowl induction hood (Remember; prior to 1969 the Camaro did not offer a factory cowl induction hood) and even an L-72 or L-88, 12.5.1 compression 427 crate motor.
In 1969 Robert Watts of Flagstaff Arizona purchased the Camaro pictured here and sent it to Dana Chevrolet for the L-88 427 conversion and an original Doug Nash 5-speed transmission. In typical Dana fashion, most of the badging from the car was removed and a chrome Dana Chevrolet rear tag bracket was added. After the conversion, the car was well known by employees of the Dana Chevrolet dealership and built quite a reputation in the southern California street racing community. In 1973 Mr. Watts returned the car to Dana Chevrolet for the addition of an Auburn Gear Locker, a Corvette HEI ignition and a 15 inch Rallye wheel upgrade. However, in 1974, when the EPA raided and took over Dana Chevrolet they seized the car and it was held in storage at the LA County Sheriffs impound lot until it was auctioned off. At auction, Topper Ferrar, the son of Dana Chevrolet employee Manny Ferrar, thankfully purchased the 1969 Camaro and kept it in the Dana Chevrolet extended family. Topper knew the car very well as he had recalled his dad talking about its rare color, impressive build and equally impressive reputation on the streets. This '69 Camaro is a true California black plate 61,000 mile car that is remembered by many Dana Chevrolet employees as one of the most impressive builds the dealership ever performed. Most Dana Camaros were '67 and '68 models, making this 1969 Dana 88 much more exclusive and hard to find.
Now that I've told you about the cars impressive history, I'll go ahead and break down the VIN and cowl tag for you.
* 1: Division: Chevrolet
* 2: Vehicle Line: Camaro
* 4: Engine: 8 cylinder
* 37: body style: coupe
* 9: Year: 1969
* L: Factory: Los Angeles (Van Nuys)
* 523735: The cars sequence number
* 69: Year
* 12: Camaro
* 4: A fixed number meaning nothing for 1969 cars
* 37: Coupe
* VN: Van Nuys Assembly
* 269737: Fisher Body sequence number
* 711: Black standard bucket seats
* 55 55: Azure Turquoise exterior paint, top and bottom
* 02: Manufactured in February of 1969
* B: Manufactured during the 2nd week of February
* J: Manufactured on the 10th production day of the month
* 534: Body assembly sequence (which included models other than the Camaro)
Kept in the southwest for most of its existence, this 1969 Camaro retains all of its original sheetmetal. Door, fender, hood and trunk gaps are excellent, and all panels close with a solid feeling. The car is painted in its original rare GM code 55 Azure Turquoise and is finished to the highest standards throughout with door jam, trunk jam and engine compartment detailing that looks great. Up front, a silver grille displays flawless T3 headlights along with the traditional blue '69 Chevrolet bowtie and a small 2008 AACA Senior Award Winner badge. A bright chrome bumper stretches across the bottom of the grille and combines with the factory chin spoiler and round parking lights to add a little SCCA racing flair to the design. On the sides of the car, brightwork is kept to a minimum with only standard Camaro trim strips, chrome door handles, stainless drip molding, factory optioned side marker lights and a driver's side rearview mirror serving to break up the Azure Turquoise. Out back, the chrome bumper with factory guards, segmented tail lights and the blue Chevrolet bowtie are all in excellent shape. The stainless trim around the like new glass is in great condition and the cars weatherstripping is factory fresh. About the only thing that might give away the performance aspirations of this car are the factory option functional cowl induction hood, the factory option rear decklid spoiler and dual stainless tips. But those accessories were all features of lesser Camaros as well, so the unknowing driver might pull up beside what he thinks is a hot rodded 350 Camaro coupe when in reality, it's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Upgraded 15 inch code 55 Azure Turquoise Rallye wheels feature black trimmed Chevrolet dog dish center caps and ride on F70-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires with raised lettering. Turquoise has always been one of my least favorite colors, but GM's code 55 looks spectacular. I can only imagine how cool this car looked in the sea of pastels and flat colors of the 60s and 70s.
Unlike Baldwin and Yenko, who used ostentatious and sometimes awkward stripes to announce their performance cars to the world, Dana took a stripped down simplistic approach. It was their tradition to remove all extraneous ornamentation and add some form of Dana identification. Some cars had small chrome Dana emblems on their rear valence and some cars, as was the case of this '69 Camaro, received chrome Dana tag brackets. Today, the only identification on this car is it's like new basic Camaro fender script and a “Camaro by Chevrolet” header panel emblem that looks as good as when the car left the factory. These days, with the proliferation of the term sleeper and knowledge of COPOs, pretty much everyone will know that this Camaro is something special based on appearance alone. But, in 1969 and the early 70s, there simply was no indication of the humiliating loss that pretty much anyone who pulled up next to this car was about to suffer.
The engine bay on this car has been restored to exacting detail. While the original 427 has been lost to history, sitting in its place is a correct era 454 V8; notice the late '68 style brackets and aluminum Corvette water pump. A Holley carburetor sucks air through a correct air cleaner that seals into a functional cowl induction hood. Correct Packard plug wires run from a correct HEI distributor to heat shielded spark plugs. New chrome valve covers feature a correct Tonawanda factory engine decal. And fresh Chevrolet orange paint on the mill contrasts with satin black on the engine bay walls to create a true showpiece. The engine bay looks at least as good as it did the day it rolled out of the Van Nuys assembly plant as every detail is correct, from the shift markings on the firewall, to the belts, hoses and clamps. All of the proper tags are in place and every finish was exactly duplicated from the alternator case to the Chevy Orange on the engine block. Turn the key and the correct battery sends a jolt that springs the motor to life with a snarl that announces just how awesome this 454 Chevy is to anyone that's in ear range.
Underneath this 1969 Camaro a detailed chassis is attached to GM satin black floor pans that are in great shape and haven't been over restored. The Doug Nash 5-speed transmission sends power to a detailed 12 bolt rear end that houses the 1973 Auburn Locker and has appropriate markings and tags. Up front, a detailed suspension system includes factory option power steering and factory optioned power disc brakes while detailed and tagged leaf springs in the rear and correct gray shocks all around finish things off. The reproduction exhaust system sounds great with the addition of a new Aerator high performance muffler, but a dual inlet and outlet Imco muffler comes with the car if you prefer that sound instead. Correct crayon and wax markings are everywhere and correct lines and hoses are in excellent shape.
Open the door and make yourself comfortable in the 90% original interior. It's simply amazing how nice this interior is after being mounted in this car for 43 years. Just look at the detailing on the seat pleats which is normally absent on reproduction seat covers. The original dash houses the essentials; a speedometer, a fuel gauge and an optional factory tachometer. Above the dash, in the corner of the windshield you'll find a cool reproduction 1969 California inspection sticker. An aluminum Rallye steering wheel with satin spokes looks awesome against the black interior. To your right, an optional push button factory AM radio and factory optioned heater/defroster add a bit of luxury to a car that is otherwise devoid of the typical glitz and glitter of well equipped cars. Next to you a simple Hurst shifter springs up from where the long console usually sits and is anchored to the new carpet by a black shifter boot and chrome surround. In front of the Hurst shifter, new Sunpro temperature and oil pressure gauges have been installed in a simple chrome housing to keep an accurate eye on the big block mill. Everything in this interior is like new; the door panels, the seats, the dash pad, the visors, the armrests; nothing shows any sign of severe wear or abuse. The trunk has been completely restored with a correct houndstooth mat, a full-sized spare tire, and a correct jack. The trunk lid even features the correct decal for instructions on how to use the jack and the correct warning decal for the factory limited slip rear end.
Very few people can afford to purchase a true Yenko or Baldwin Motion Camaro, and drive and enjoy the car as it was intended. For a little more than the average cost of the 30 tribute big block Camaros we've sold in the past six months, this real deal 1969 Dana 88 is a relative steal. We can't imagine a cooler car to own, drive and enjoy in a sea of cookie cutter Camaros. This Dana Camaro has already won a 2008 Senior Award at the AACA Hershey Nationals, has a storied history and is fondly remembered by many of the people who worked at Dana Chevrolet in the late 60s and early 70s. If you've been looking for a rare specialty Camaro that uses performance instead of stripes to back up its bad ass swagger, your car is waiting at RK Motors Charlotte. Call today!
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What Customers Are Saying
After hearing good things about the people at RK Motors, I contacted them regarding consignment of my street rod. I found Tony Klein to be a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and forthcoming in our communications. He evaluated my vehicle and made suggestions of enhancements which would help ensure the desired result would be achieved in the marketing of the vehicle. We agreed on an acceptable sale price. Following the completion of the recommended items, I brought the vehicle to RK for consignment. After a thorough inspection and correction of some minor issues at what I considered a fair price, the vehicle was offered for sale. It sold quickly with me receiving the agreed value. I would have to repeat the recommendation that I received. RK Motors does what they say they will do, and obtains for the seller a fair and agreed value. What more could you ask for?Doug C.