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Based on the upcoming 1968 Chevy Nova platform, Chevrolet’s new ‘pony car’, the Camaro, featured a unibody structure from the windshield and firewall back, with a separate steel rail subframe for everything up front. Camaro was available from the start in hardtop coupe and convertible body styles, and could be ordered with nearly 80 factory options and 40 dealer accessories, including three main option packages and a choice of four different engines which combined the most popular combinations. Initially, of greatest interest to enthusiasts was the SS package, which included as standard equipment the debut of a modified 350ci V-8 with available 396ci big-blocks producing 325hp or 375hp depending on the package selected. It was also possible to order both the RS and SS packages, and get a RS/SS Camaro, in which case the RS badging took precedence. Camaro popularity soared when a RS/SS Convertible with the 396 paced the 1967 Indianapolis 500 race.
1969 was the third year of production for the new F-body car and one that saw several noteworthy changes inside and out. The grill became more deeply-set, the taillamps were longer, thinner and broken into three segments. The Camaro also received new fenders, door skins, rear quarter-panels, grille and taillights which gave it a wider and lower appearance. Inside, every Camaro received a redesigned dash and more supportive seats. 1969 saw an explosion in engine choices in addition to the standard 350, the Trans-Am-inspired Z28 with its DZ302 high-compression, high-revving racetrack demon engine as well as the popular, if heavy, optional 396 big-block mills.
Built from scratch and without any limitations on cost or extent by Campbell Auto Restoration in Campbell, CA for the current vendor at a cost in excess of $300,000, this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro full-custom tube-frame road racer combines the best of both worlds – that of the great looks of a 1969 Camaro with the safety and abilities behind a full-fledged tube chassis road race car.
Building a car that does everything very well is a tall order indeed – but it was done in this case; to feature a comfortable interior with power windows, air conditioning and very comfortable yet race-worthy Recaro seats all within the confines of a tube-chassis car was not easy. Outside, the challenge was extended to that of a car that retains the look of a stock 1969 Camaro and even exceeds the quality of the external build tolerances with exceptional fit and finish – albeit with a chassis and drivetrain that are ‘all business’ when taken to the limit of the driver’s abilities. Powered by a 572 cubic-inch Chevrolet big-block engine that was built by noted expert Shafiroff Racing Engines, it makes an equal 650 horsepower and 650 foot pounds of torque all by itself, yet is capable of just over 900 horsepower at full song and with the assistance of nitrous oxide. With this ‘split personality’, the car retains the ability to cruise or travel in comfort over long distances as well. Perhaps unique among first-generation Camaros in all of these regards, it is by virtue of all of these qualities a car that is right at home on the street, road race course or the drag strip.
Not only comprehensively unique but un-equaled by any other example whether used for show or any kind of ‘go’, it is not hard to claim that this very unique creation is without question the only one built to this level of exacting quality and blistering performance anywhere in the world.