(first posted 2/8/2013) As you might have guessed from my previous posts on the 1957 Packard and 1964 Studebaker Cruiser, the annual car show in Geneseo is one of the best of the year. Even cars that are rarely seen usually show up, including an ex-service station Corvair Rampside, a Sunbeam Alpine roadster with factory hardtop and this original-condition, one-family-owned 1970 Camaro.
As mentioned in the recent CCOTY post on the ‘70.5 Camaro, this was a surprising twist to Chevy’s pony car. Gone was the somewhat boxy 1967-69 styling, replaced with Bill Mitchell’s interpretation of classic Italian lines, and Ferrari in particular. I was not around at its debut, but I think it is safe to say no one was expecting such a sleek, sexy design. It was especially beautiful with the RS split bumper, as shown above.
But guess what happens to every darn surviving Camaro, Mustang, Barracuda and Challenger? You guessed it: Boomers with fat wallets have to take every one of them and paint them red, stuff a big honking engine in them, and then add all the items that were probably limited to less than 10% of production when new: rally wheels, spoilers, stripes, Hurst shifter, power windows, sport mirrors, AM/FM/8-track, traction bars (or are those passé these days?) and the like.
You know the drill: Make it match the car they wanted when they were twelve and the cars were new. For some, even that isn’t enough, and entire drivelines from new cars, rubber-band tires on 18″ or 20″ wheels, ugly fiberglass dashes replacing the factory instrument panel, and everything else under the sun is added. Why? Because they can be!
That’s all fine and good (or not), but I appreciate an original car much more. Individual Mustangs and Camaros, when new, were quite different from car to car; you were unlikely to see two that were exactly the same. For example, my dad’s first car was a straight-six 1965 Mustang convertible, Poppy Red with white stripes, white interior and top. It was sharp, it was sporty–and it was slow. It had been his dad’s secretary’s car, and my grandfather rightfully assumed that he couldn’t get into too much trouble with it. As Dad told me, it was all show and no go, but that’s largely how it came off the line new (Dad added the white rocker panel stripes). If that car still exists, would you care to guess the likelihood of the six still being in residence?
Thus it goes with the majority of pony cars today, and so I initially passed over this Camaro, assuming incorrectly that it was a mid-life crisis upgraded hot rod. How wrong I was. On my way back, I actually looked at it and noticed the baby moon hubcaps: “Oh, that’s cool.” Then I saw they were factory hubcaps, and–whoa!–it had a straight-six engine! Inside was an all-business black interior with the standard vinyl buckets, no console and a column-mounted two-speed Powerglide.
Who would order such a car? Well, as I learned, the original owner was a lady who just wanted a sporty car, but one with no frills–and indeed, this car is frill-free, with its standard 155-hp six, Strato-Bucket seats, carpeting and Astro Ventilation.
The meager options on this car include a tinted windshield, AM radio and whitewall tires: no console, no A/C, no power windows and no sport mirrors. In other words, none of the stuff that sets Camaro guys’ hearts beating faster! No boy-racer horse hockey–and for that reason, I love this car.
Even in basic form, like this one, the ‘70.5 Camaro’s lines are still lovely. Those slim chrome bumpers, the grille standing proud of the headlight bezels, that quartet of round taillamps–all lovely. In a recent post, frequent CC Commenter Syke mentioned that the true value of a car can be seen by looking at the stripped-out, bare bones base model and not at a bright yellow, bestriped, bespoilered version with Rally wheels.
If it still looks good without any optional plumage to enhance its basic form, it’s a worthy vehicle. When you apply that standard to the 1970.5 Camaro and its corporate sibling, the equally sharp Pontiac Firebird, it still shines.
The man displaying this car was the original owner’s nephew, and he was old enough to remember when she brought it home. It was purchased at Cambridge Motors, in Cambridge, IL, a small town about a half-hour from the Quad Cities. This car is an amazing time capsule, with original paint and engine, and only 59K miles. I did not begrudge him for asking $10,000–after all, where else will you find a car like this one? The price also ought to dissuade idiots from ripping the car apart, painting it bright yellow, shoehorning in a 502 big block and adding stripes and pretentious aftermarket wheels. If you’re going to mod a car, please do it to a basket case, not an unrestored original like this one!
I can see the appeal of a car like this. This car, with its six-cylinder engine, Powerglide and hub caps, is equipped like a plain-Jane Nova (and just as reliable), but in a swoopy Bill Mitchell-designed showboat body. Kind of like the attractive lady librarian with the sensible shoes, plain dress and tortoise shell glasses. Even all those things can’t hide her beauty, and so it is with this Camaro.
For an original car, this Camaro is in really nice shape. Sure, there are a couple of minor bumps and bruises here and there, but that doesn’t detract from what a well-kept car it is. And all the cool details of these Camaros are still evident, like that veed grille, fastback roofline and smooth flanks.
It even still had the original trunk mat, which the owner’s nephew told me was very hard to find NOS these days. Could there be another ‘70.5 Camaro in existence that is still equipped like this one? Perhaps so, but my guess is that most surviving Camaros originally equipped with the six are now Z-28 “tribute” copycat cars (although I know of at least one six-powered ’69 survivor in Eugene).
It’s kind of like all the original Slant Six or 318 V8 powered Barracudas and Gran Coupes that are now, of course, “tribute” Hemi ‘cudas. I’d like to take a “tribute” Hemi ‘cuda, paint it mint green with a white vinyl top and give it whitewalls, the “salt shaker” wheel covers and a 318 V8! Heh heh heh…
And why not? That’s probably how it started life!
There may come a time when no one remembers that not all pony cars and mid-size sporty cars were muscle cars–not by a long shot. I know we’re already halfway there; on a recent TV show, someone mentioned a Ford Maverick as a muscle car. Sadly, they were serious.
In thirty years, will kids on TV shows be saying, “Yeah, the ’07 Impala LT and ’05 Taurus SE–those were real muscle cars!” I fear that may be the case. Shudder…shudder…
Sorry, I kind of blacked out there for a moment. In any case, Camaros with the six were rare even when new. Out of 117,604 1970.5 Camaros produced, only 12,566 had the Turbo-Thrift Six. How many can be left? Not many, that’s for sure. I really hope the next owner of this car, whoever he or she may be, will keep it as it is. For heaven’s sake, there are plenty of V8 Camaros to be found in Hemmings and other online car sites, if that’s what floats your boat.
A while back, Paul had an article on a diesel powered Camaro. That same day, a woman I work with was telling me about her son’s newly acquired ’69 Camaro with the 502 big block. I said I knew of something she may enjoy and forwarded a link to the article. Next I saw her, she looked at me in shock and asked how a person could do such a thing. That pendulum swings both ways.
This is a Camaro I would stop to look and gaze at if I were to see it. The others one sees? Why bother?
Not too long ago, not far from my home, was a mid-late ’70s Camaro with no engine in it. I never got a close look at it, but the body appeared to be decent when I drove by. It was a solid royal blue, no primer, filler, or rust visible. The parts van driver where I work has a rusted-out ’74 Chevy C20 with a 454/400 powertrain. The engine had been replaced not too long ago and has low miles. If I had the money and time, I would have bought both and built a cheap hot-rod Camaro. I tried to talk one of my younger coworkers into doing it when he asked me about buying a fox-body Mustang and dropping a 302 into it from an old Ford truck (as it turned out, the truck had a 390, not a 302), but the Camaro was gone shortly thereafter.
“There may come a time when no one remembers that not all pony cars and mid-size sporty cars were muscle cars–not by a long shot.”
Several years ago when I was into Corvairs, that exact sentiment was expressed repeatedly on the Covair Center forum.
If we’re not careful, we’ll get to a point when there are no four-door post sedans, and no base model survivors. The issue goes beyond people buying strippers and transplanting engines and trim from higher-level models; a lot of rust-free strippers are cut up to repair more valuable hardtops and convertibles.
In fact, someone on this site already noted a while back that recent movies set in the past seem to depict a world where rare and desirable models far outnumber what people actually drove. I don’t blame that totally on the film industry; when you send out a casting call for cars built in the 1950s, there just aren’t as many single-tone tan sedans with poverty-spec hubcaps.
Yeah, people don’t realize these were the economy cars of the era.
I LOVE this car. 1970 is the best-looking Camaro. This is exactly what my Grandma’s ’68 was like, before the tinworm got it.
This is just the kind of Camaro I’d linger over. Actually, it’s the only kind of Camaro I’d linger over. I’ve had my fill of modified Camaros. And Mustangs, and Barracudas, and, and, and.
More secretarys’ specials please!I hate seeing a 6 or small block turned into a fake big block.More 6 pot Challengers were sold than hemis and 440s try telling that and no one believes you.Fond memories of a dark green 69 Javelin 6 pot
“…try telling that and no one believes you.”
Or worse, the non-collectors who deride owners display “secretary specials” at car shows.
I know of a guy who inherited a family member’s low mileage, two-door post Biscayne, and he lovingly preserves it as a memory of the deceased relative. It’s sad to see him having to defend his car when arrogant jerks – who own nothing collectable – who walk up to him and proclaim, “If that were mine, I’d be puttin’ a 409 in it!” Kind of insensitive, if you ask me…
I can easily take a small block in a pony car, and sometimes I will accept a 6-cyl in a pony car especially if the motor is a Buick 3.8L V6, Mopar Slant 6 (my favorite choice being a Hyper Pak 170 Slant 6 if possible), or a Pontiac OHC I6.
1976. San Rafael. Bank of Dad offers to finance a car for me beginning my senior year of high school. No Hi-Po cars (I did try . . . ). Did look at a ’68 Barracuda, and a ’71 Pontiac Firebird Esprit. Both cars were well equipped; the Sprint luxury/sportier than the Barracuda fastback. Both were sixes. The Plymouth had three on the tree which I liked; the Firebird seemed more Mommy than proto-disco-dressed boy me. Dad and I went back to make an offer on the white ’68 Barracuda fastback (white with ’70’s blue stripes and blue interior). Twas gone from the 2nd tier Novato used car lot. Said ’71 green Firebird Esprit (THAT 70s green – with wire wheel covers and the Chevy 250 six but with THM) was gone too. The latter was at BMW Auto Zentrum then at the end of Fourth Street in San Rafael. Seems a guy traded his wife’s car in for a new 320. Yesterday . . . .
+1 to Tom & everyone commenting afterwards.
IMO, the stupid politically correct “Tribute” term is wrong wrong wrong. They’re FAKES, clones, not “tributes”.
I just love the font of the “Camaro” fender scripts.
The knuckleheads who butcher these lo-po originals (usually really NICE cars) like to call them “tributes” – much like the half-assed bands that appear at many Vegas locales. I agree that they’re more fakes and clones. I usually go away from chopped/rodded up cars at shows (the “Super Sport” Chevelles – you guys know what I’m talking about) and gravitate sporting wood at plain jane survivors with rubber floor mats, 2 speed automatics and sixes.
The home economics teacher at my high school had a very similar car. It was a 70.5, red with no vinyl top and plain hubcaps. The only part I’m not sure about is the engine, but hers probably had a six, too. I love these plain-Jane cars; they really bring back memories.
The base models (of these and other cars) were always best at showing the purity of the design. They may not have looked “best,” but there was something interesting about them. I used to like to draw plain cars, and then jazz them up until they were over the top.
These early 2nd gen Camaros and Firebirds looked really good. While I like the base trim, I think they deserve more than dog-dish hub caps!
My brother had a late (1979 I think) 6 cyl Camaro, pretty plain. Looked good, if a bit dated by then. The car itself rather sucked.
I ♥ those dog-dish hubcaps on the Camaro. Simple shiny beauty with an un-pretentious lil’ Bowtie in the center. Those kind of plain-Jane hubcaps are the bees knees! 😀
I reckon I’ll be a 5-year-late echo chamber . . . I don’t give older Camaros I see much of a look because I think they’ve all been seriously modified from their original state of automotive being and aren’t worth my time. That said, I’d have gladly given the 70.5 Camaro above a very thorough look-over. → The hubcaps would have drawn me in had I been riding by it.
Love it. There was a 68 firebird local to me that was optioned almost identical to this, in that minty green color. It was a restored car but was not molested, It was equipped with a four speed and I still wounder if you could get the six and a munci m-20(or was it m-21?) four speed.
Please tell me if it had the uber-lusty Pontiac OHC “Sprint” six with the 4 bbl carburetor or not.
Yes it did. sorry I forgot to mention that. One thing im not sure on was if it was originally avaliable with the four speed. do you know? I wish Id ha e grabbed a couple of pics. This was long before I knew of curbside classics.
Yes, the Sprint could definitely be had with the four-speed, though not THM; if you wanted an automatic, you got the two-speed. I’m not entirely sure if the base OHC six could be ordered with a four-speed — I’ve never checked.
The 4-speed was offered with both the base and Sprint OHC sixes on 67-69 Firebirds. About the Sprint engine with automatic, it only came with the 2-speed in 1967-68 but the THM 350 was available with this engine in ’69.
This will surprise no one…
Me like very much!
Be safe in the snow today all my fellow North Easterners…
I’m honored that you quote me. Thank you.
Yes, if I were into collecting Camaro’s, this would be my car of choice. OK, I’d probably hold out for one that the original owner actually spent the extra for the console and floor shifter. There’s something about bucket seats and a column shifter that makes me cringe. Goes back to dad’s ’62 Impala SS hardtop.
From my personal experience of owning a showable 1937 Buick Special 2-door luggage back (as opposed to humped trunk) sedan, totally bare bones except for an aftermarket gasoline heater; that the crowds at a vintage car gathering as usually bowled over by the low-end stripped. They don’t expect to see such a car at the gathering, having become jaded by all those ’12 year old wet dreams’ on display.
We have to save the cheapies. They’re as much a history of the car in question as the more vaunted versions. And they’re a lot rarer. In my time, I’ve judged quite a few vintage car shows. And if it comes down to the class trophy being a tie, I’ve always used two tie-breakers: 1. Which one has the higher mileage? 2. Which one is the cheaper, less desirable, version?
Yes, I’m biased against muscle cars. Nothing makes me happier than to see a trophy award to a plain-jane four door sedan over an over-modified muscle car. Unfortunately, I see it very rarely.
+1000 on “save the cheapies”.
From my ‘personal opinion files’: If the only ’64 Falcons extant were Sprints, Futuras and Sprint or Futura convertibles, well . . . sad.
Muscle cars hold little interest for me. I will say that if I (somehow) ran across a muscle car that was bought from a car dealer that way back in the day and was still (mostly) original I’d like to have look-see at it, however . . . → I can’t get the thought out of my mind that even Original Muscle Cars are continually being modified with more late-model ‘stuff’. Like TOBY 12-PACK says (he of the 6 kids with 7 different women): “This here thing just ain’t muscle-y enough fer me! Ahm gonna hafta add some more aftermarket goodies to it while ah chug mah brewskis! And where’s mah Velveeta cheese spray?!?! Maybe mah wahf done stoled it?”
Also, from the article I couldn’t help but notice the writer said he saw a television program where someone actually said the Ford Maverick was a ‘muscle car’. Maverick Muscle, you say? Surely you jest! 😀
My automotive vision as a youth was a ’68 Chevrolet Biscayne or Bel-Air, but I didn’t know it at the time. Decades later, after obtaining a college degree, I was then smart enough to figure out The Car I Remembered As A Widdle Kid was a less-expensive Chevrolet model year car of 1968 with the 2 half-moon taillights on each side embedded into the bumper instead of three (which were Caprice and Impala models).
Side issue to this thread: You know all those cars restored with the factory aftermarket fender skirts, fake exhaust ports, dual antennas, bumper overriders, tissue dispensers, etc.? Those things may have been listed in the showroom catalog, but damned few customers ever bought them. I asked dad about that one day (amazing the questions I could come up for my father), and he told me that the tissue dispensers were the only bolt-on that ever sold well. And they went into less than 10% of the cars his dealership delivered. He didn’t even bother stocking the other stuff on the parts counter shelf. Waste of money.
Fender skirts? Yeah, they look good on Friday cruise night at the local sub shop. You learn to hate them on a rainy afternoon when you’re trying to change a flat tyre on the side of the road. And tyres were way more puncture prone sixty years ago.
Plus, all that stuff had a real ‘greaser’ image to it back when ‘greaser’ was not a fondly remembered nostalgic term.
Great story with equally great comments. I pause to think if the Camaro community has as much appreciation for this car as we all seem do here; or do they chomp at the bit making this a clone Z28, SS or Baldwin Motion wanna-be? As a youngster, I remember when the new Camaro and FIrebird came out. It’s hard to describe in the moment of today, but if you can picture a time when the 67 to 69 Camaro was all you knew, only then would you realize the impact these new cars had. Up to that point, there was nothing like them, a clean side glass free of drip rails, the boxy body replaced by a sleek and rounded body, the Kamm rear end with Corvette style tail lamps. Just a great design that lived into the 5 mile per hour rubber bumper era with a tasteful integration of the rubber bumpers.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Firebird and Trans Am and their own impact. With hope, this car will live on in it’s existing configuration. I think a greater awareness exists today to keep factory stock cars in their original driveline, and that bodes well for the future of these cars.
My first car was a ’70 Camaro similar to this one with one big exception – I had the “step up” power train – 307 V8 and THM with “classic copper” exterior and sandalwood interior – bought from Songer Chevrolet in Catlin Illinois. The only other major option was factory air. The sticker was $3300. I don’t have the car anymore but I have the wheel covers – which were a bit more elaborate than the half-moon covers on this car.
These? This is a very attractive wheelcover IMO and only found on some ’70 Camaros.
Yep. I have a set of 4,.
Those are neat! Never seen that type before. Sort of reminds me of the deluxe Gran Torino wheel covers.
I’ve found two in my lifetime! The first one was somehow lost or stolen but the other is somewhere in the barn, LOL. There’s gonna be one heck of an auction when I die 🙂
Junqueboi, when you die, will all CC members be automatically invited to your estate auction if CC is still around when you die?
If you don’t see inane comments from me for more than a week, start searching Auctionzip for “Fieros” within 50 miles of Raleigh, NC and bring a trailer.
I’ve seen these on a ’69 Camaro and Malibu.
Mom and dad’s 69 Malibu coupe had ones similar to these, but not quite the same.
Beautiful Car and Great write up. Agree with all above since most everything in my family growing up was the stripper model or maybe the midline model if some one felt unusually rich.
Finally, an F body that even I can love. 🙂 I will, however, go on record that those 70-72 Chevy cereal bowl hubcaps were not that attractive.
I also have a thing for the strippo, and it is fabulous when you find a strippo of one of the sprty/racy cars. Our next door neighbor bought a new 70 or 71 Firebird much like this – the six with the Tempest dog dish hubcaps. It is still the only Firebird I can remember seeing so equipped. The guy was a tax lawyer, so he probably had air, but otherwise, it was quite basic.
I have also told before of my college roommate who’s dad found a 4 year old strippo 74 Charger. Red, dogdishes, slant six, column 3 speed and a bench seat. The kids in the family drove it for years and finally sold it. I would love to have it back to take to the Mopar shows with a big sign that says “this is what people really bought from Dodge dealers in 1974.”
I just looked at a brochure for the 71 Firebird – the base model even features the little hubcaps.
I have a friend who has his mother’s first car a 1972 Pontiac Firebird with six cylinder just like this. I am going to ask him for a picture. He has been trying to restore it over the years. Although that has gone as well as the money is good, there are a few things that have been hard to find, precisely for the reasons stated above, with so many of the bodies being converted to performance versions, some of the parts for the basic cars are scarce.
You can see the influence that Bill Mitchell’s design of the Camaro had on the Chevy Vega which came out a short time later and the front ends are similar.
I will admit, though, while I am a big fan of authenticity and originality, if I was in the market for a Camaro then, I probably would have bought a V8.
Oh that Camaro is lovely. I don’t recall ever seeing those hubcaps on a Camaro before but they look fantastic. I love the six cylinder engine. Not so in love with a Powerglide but great find.
I assume this sold pretty quickly. $10K for a solid, all-original ’70 Camaro – even with the 6 – is a steal.
However (and I’m probably wrong) I don’t remember the Chevy moons ’til ’71. Those moons could also be had on Novas and base Chevelles IIRC.
That said, if it were mine, it would get a Gen-III (a stock 5.3 will do) and a 6-speed, and maybe swap the 2.73 gears for 3.08 or 3.42…although I’d leave the rest alone down to the bowtie moons. And then I’d drive regularly and enjoy it. These cars have modern enough bones to do that.
You may rent your garments and start calling me names now. 🙂
Please line up here. Everyone will pick up one pitchfork from me, then move over to Syke, who will be handing out the torches.
I’m already gathering them.
And I’m already setting up the Iggy Pop/The Stooges angry mob playlist for the newest CC riot.
Chas, the point is, is that there are plenty of V-8 Camaros around of this vintage that can stand the updating treatment, for they are a dime a dozen. Those 6 cylinder base Camaros are more rarer then the Z28 and need to be kept in their original configuration.
Keep your hands, sir off those Z28 emblems! Put down that Phoenix Graphics stripe kit! One move towards that rear duck bill spoiler and we’ll open fire! 🙂
Michael, I understand. Don’t see too many of them ’round my neck of the woods. One of the neighbors has a black ’73 disassembled in his garage though.
And it seems when they do come out there’s a steep price tag attached.
No, I’m not interested in another Z clone. So don’t worry ’bout Phoenix Graphics or duck bill spoilers.
But I admit I have a thing for improving what can be improved and then driving it every day.
Tall order in Pittsburgh.
But rust protection has come a long way in 25 years. And 3M has introduced a clear film that can be discreetly applied to sections vulnerable to bug/stone chips.
Ok, challenge for you. How, really, does transplanting a V8 into a 38 year old car make it “improved”? I get more power, but if you want a powerful car, buy a new one, as the new Camaro V6 has over 300 horses. If you want to improve it, wouldn’t you have to change darned near everything about it? New suspension, brakes, different transmission, new wheels and tires, different interior, etc.? What sets the bar? I really am curious.
I understand people like what they like, and they can do as they please with what they own, but I have to give respect to those who understand that sometimes, something is valuable because of what it isn’t.
I’m going to keep my eye on you going forward.
I remember that Hot Rod magazine bought a Camaro like this and turned into a street machine. Even they couldn’t resist swapping the I6 for a 406 c.i. Chevy. At least they saved it from being chrushed during a Cevron “emissions credit” program.
Dan, that was an original ’67, back when “emissions credits” were all the rage.
Haven’t heard all that much about the idea lately, which I’ll frankly take as a good thing.
Yeah I remember them starting it in 1994 (when I was a high school junior). The magazine was supposed to be in the middle of its “Dare to be Different” phase, but what do they do? They go out and build a Big Block Camaro. Woopie. A 50s Buick with a nailhead swap would be more dare to be different than the Camaro turned out.
Maybe they should have called it “dare to be predictable.” Not as catchy though…
As an aficionado of fullsize Mopars, which amongst the Mopar crowd are usually looked upon as “engine donors” for their A/B/E-bodies, I can appreciate where you’re coming from. The fact is though, most of the people that have the desire and money for a “hobby car” don’t want this kind of car.
Yesterday a friend emailed me pictures that a coworker sent him, They are trying to sell a low-mileage 1967 Chrysler New Yorker 4-door hardtop, a true survivor with original paint. I am in the middle of restoration on one of my Chryslers and in the past 2 years I have spent about the same amount they are asking for their car, most of it on bodywork. From that perspective I’d say their rust-free original car is a good deal. In reality though, they will either have to come way down on price or sit on the car for a long time before they find a buyer, unless I can talk JPCavanaugh into buying it. 🙂
In all likelyhood, someone will come-up with the bucks to buy this Camaro, and that person will stuff a V8 into it. Since it already has the buckets, and the parts to convert it to a console shift are probably readily available for a Camaro, it will probably get a console too.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this feature Camaro this morning. A strangely similar car is for sale nearby me for a much more affordable price! It looks to be very original too but has a few more options like A/C and a vinyl top.
PS. It needs a few things to get into similar condition to the feature Camaro!
Gee, i wonder why there’s a $8,000+ difference in asking price…… :/
I know, I’m from Pittsburgh, and we just instinctively hate all things Cleveland ’round here…
But seriously I’d examine EVERY nook and cranny on this car before plunking down the $$. Best to assume any Great Lakes area car is a rust bucket until proven otherwise.
If I didn’t already have two vehicle projects and a house to finish, I’d be on the phone right now.
My first car was a 1978 Firebird Esprit. It’s 66,000 Illinois miles severely rusted the car out. The rear wheel lips were jagged as were the bottoms of the quarter panels. The floor pans were pitted and the driver’s side had an 8-inch hole in it.
Unless the Camaro was only driven in the summer, it may be hiding something.
I have experience with 6 different 2nd gen F-bodies over the years. The worst thing that happens to these is leaf spring bust through the trunk floor… what a mess! I ended up having an entire new trunk welded into a 77 T/A Y82.
I’m from Pittsburgh, and I can’t say I hate Cleveland. Worked there for a short time, didn’t really like the early cold and snow, but didn’t hate the place.
Just looked at the $ 1,900 Camaro. Too rough for my limited skills and pocketbook.
If I were to get one of these, it would be a 1970-1/2 Firebird Esprit, full gauge package, 4-speed, mint green, with a then recently-discontinued Pontiac OHC Sprint Six under the hood.
I also want a white vinyl interior and Ponyiac Rally II rims on mine.
I like your style!
I like the way you think. I’ll take a gold ’74. Of course, I’d have to move to a trailer on the beach in Malibu and start solving mysteries for beautiful women for $200 a day, plus expenses…
And I assume that your name will become James Garner, Jim Rockford, or some mash-up of the two?
Our tastes are scarily similar! My only deviances would be a 455 and either custom finned wheelcovers or honeycombs 🙂
I forgot about the custom wheel covers and I didn’t know honeycombs were available on the lower-end Firebird models. Thanks for the suggestions Junqueboi (although I am still keeping the Sprint OHC 6 and getting an aftermarket hood with a subtle bulge (think of the Chevrolet Vega’s hood) so the motor fits or cut a small hole in the hood to show the artistic valve cover and allow the motor to fit)
Junqueboi, knowing your love of big-block Esprits, I recently found this car I wish I could buy and call mine, but I can’t afford it right now, but maybe you could afford it. I think you’ll like it:
Looks terrific! Love the chrome bumper ‘70.5-’73 F-bodies. They’ve aged quite well… much better than the later disco special, miles-of-overhang slope nose crash bumper versions.
Have read that the ‘70.5 F-body styling was heavily influenced the Guigiaro-designed DeTomaso Mangusta – Bill Mitchell owned a red one. You can definitely see it in the rear taillight panel (and taillights on the Firebird), the side profile in the horizontal crease that runs the length of the body, and in the side window opening.
Around here all the Camaros you see at cruise nights and car shows are Z-28s, most of them clones. Gets old real fast. So nice to see an unmolested survivor the way it was born.
That makes our third Camaro six at CC. We do like to go against the grain a bit here.
That’s why we love this site!
Now we just need to find a genuine four cylinder Iron Duke gen3 Camaro!
What always struck me is the bashing the 4 cylinder Camaro got while Mustangs had 4 cylinders in them from 1974-1993. I even once looked for a Fox bodied Mustang convertible once 4 cylinder for cheap fun. If I was in the market for a Camaro then, I probably would have not purchased a 4 cylinder Camaro but lets compare apples to apples.
“What always struck me is the bashing the 4 cylinder Camaro got while Mustangs had 4 cylinders in them from 1974-1993”
Well you can’t say the Mustang II is particularly accepted for it. It probably helped break the ice for 4 cyl foxbodys, plus the subsequent turbo models helped give the 2.3 some acceptance.
Another reason I’d think the Iron duke F bodies are bashed is because the 70s F bodies didn’t take the econobox path the Mustang II did. To enthusiasts it was the last muscle car. Fast forward to 1982 and the new Camaro/Firebird now has a four banger and the Mustang brought back a high output 302. I could see how it would seem like a retrograde step.
I’m trying Paul! A guy in his early thirties who lives down the road from me actually restored an Iron Duke Firebird but I don’t know him well enough to just show up at his house. It lives inside and I’ve only seen it three times.
The first time was when I ran into him at nearby gas station a few years ago.
If the 3rd-gen F-bodies were available with 4 cylinders into the late 1980s and early 1990s, would the Oldsmobile Quad Four have replaced the Iron Duke as the 4 cylinder of corporate choice for the F-bodies or not?
I think 1987 was the last year a 4 was available in the F-body. I imagine if MPG would have still been as big a concern as it was when the 1982’s were designed, there still would have been some sort of 4 banger option, though it could have been a Quad or a 2.2 OHV.
The Quad 4 was going to be the base motor for the never to be FWD F-body, the GM-80.
The 4 cylinder in the camaro ended after 1985. 1986-on the base motor was a V6.
The Quad-4 motor that debuted for 1988 was engineered to be a FWD motor. It would have been difficult to adapt it to the Camaro and the HP & TQ curves would not have been ideal either.
I knew a lady who owned one. Too bad I never got a pic.
Former girlfriend ‘s dad (many years ago) wanted a “sports car”, so he bought a base Gen 3 Firebird with the Iron Duke/Slushbox and A/C.
That was a horrible car. Slow, noisy, and trim pieces fell off with alarming regularity.
I agree with you Tom, I hate when people destroy cars by adding every aftermarket option available to man. And that goes for all cars, from a classic Camaro like this to a 90’s Cadillac Deville to a 2013 Dodge Charger. It totally ruins the car in my mind.
This base car shows off the clean, well-proportioned lines of the second-generation Camaro. It’s nice to see a Camaro without racing stripes, spoilers and hood scoops.
I don’t remember too many Camaros that were this stripped when I was growing up in the 1970s. People who wanted basic transportation usually bought Novas or Vegas. Camaros buyers were at least willing to spring for the console shifter and nicer wheel covers.
I totally concur, this car should be left as is. It really is a very rare site to see one like this anymore.
Nice original car, and hopefully it stays like that, even though I have no desire to ever own a six cylinder Camaro. Somebody who has an appreciation for these basic strippers models needs to preserve them, but I fear the likelihood of this ended up as a street machine is probably pretty high.
Man, I LOVE 6-cyl engines! …I’m cheap, remember?
I’ve told the account of somebody on base who bought a brand-new 1970 Camaro stripper. It was beautiful. Golden brown, matching interior, sparse clutter inside, 6 cyl. auto with just a simple shifter sticking out of the hump, no console.
Gorgeous in its simplicity.
BTW, I had those same Chevy baby moons on my 1972 Nova!
Remember Zackman, if you want it, you can have it, as long as you can afford it and get the seller’s contact info.
I love the “aesthetically” pure Camaros. My 84 (bought new) was just that. Anemic v-6, automatic, am/fm mono radio, ralley wheels and whitewalls. (The dealer threw in the ralley wheels.) I put JC Whitney wire covers on (they actually were metal back then and looked decent) after the plastic center caps were stolen. It really was sweet, like the pretty librarian who doesn’t flaunt herself.
A good trouble free car, I sold it to a brother accountant down on his luck in 1993.
I like seeing plain ol’ 3rd gen sport coupe Camaros. I used to have a charcoal ’84 with the 2bbl 2.8, automatic, charcoal vinyl seats the ZJ7 rally wheels, and no spoiler. It was slow but a smooth running and clean looking car. I cannot remember what kind of sound system it had in it.
I still have an ’82 base Camaro in that awful “Gold Wing Metallic”. I paid either $100 or $200 for it at a wrecker auction like 10 years ago or something & drove it daily for a couple years. It has the carbed 2.8 too but only the 3-speed metric transmission. It is spoilerless but does have T-tops, tilt, custom cloth interior, and the awesome console clock which still works.
I replaced the rally wheels with some gold turbine rims off a wrecked ’81 Somerset Regal and it matches pretty well. It’s pretty worn-out but it never broke down on me: pretty cool considering it has over 180,000 on what I believe is the original engine and transmission.
The long inline 6 looks like something out of the 30s in that engine bay, not slanted and unadorned with the air cleaner off to the side. I’m surprised how much I like the base interior, it looks very sturdy and well made.
I agree that the V8 cars you see everywhere have become run of the mill. I went to a local car show in Dec. that had lots of RSs, Z-28 clones etc. Some of them were stock and just gorgeous but the car EVERYONE was looking at was a well-worn, highly original 1974 Mustang II Mach 1 in faded yellow. Wish I took a picture of it.
I know some gearheads think “all Mustangs/Camaros should have 400+ HP V8’s”. But there were many 6 banger Mustangs/Camaros in the 60’s.
My parents had a ’65 notchback ‘Stang, with I6 and 3 speed manual as a 2nd car from 1968-73. We almost bought a 1975 Camaro with I6/3 on the floor, but they thought it was too slow. The old Stang kept up with traffic better.
Point is since day 1, Mustang is a ‘Pony Car’ with many options, not just a ‘muscle car’ as some car fans [who went alive then] claim. 90% [65-73] were daily drivers with 2 bbl carb 289/302 or I6. The Boss, Mach-1, and Shelby were muscle Stangs.
Many people want a nice driving and looking car and don’t expect to win drag races.
Ford really promoted the “Sweet Six Cylinder Mustang”…….if you were alive then I bet you remembered the jingle immediately!
To it’s credit, or demerit, depending on how you look at it……there has always been a fairly large % of base engines (I-6, I-4, V6) in Mustangs. The new 300+ HP V6s are no longer anything to apologize for.
In 1966 Ford ran a Mustang ad with the caption, “Six and the Single Girl,” a play on title of the Helen Gurley Brown book, Sex and the Single Girl. Apparently there was a surplus of six-cylinder Mustangs, so Ford promoted the base engine to increase sales.
One reason the original Mustang was such as huge success was its appeal to women, a largely untapped market at that time.
The Baby Boomers were hiting teen years also, and many women were not getting married right after HS. So, market for stylish cars went way up, for young men and women.
Many have good memories of 1st Gen Mustangs, but then horror stories of when they traded in for a M-II!
“There may come a time when no one remembers that not all pony cars and mid-size sporty cars were muscle cars– … someone mentioned a Ford Maverick as a muscle car. Sadly, they were serious.”
YEP! In blog posts about current Impalas, there’s usually a kid commenting “new ones suck, the old Impalas were great American muscle cars”. Referring to ALL full size Chevys in the 60’s/70’s. Worse, “kids” that call ANY rear wheel drive car a “muscle car”. So, that means Mustang II? Or, Chevette?
I can see the appeal of this car, it’s really beautiful in its simplicity and I hope it stays that
Spent a fair amount of time in a 69 Camaro with the 230 six and three on the floor. The owner and I took turns driving from Great Lakes Naval Base to Wichita Kansas. We were both in the Hospital and had quite a bit of liberty while recovering. I liked that car and would not have changed it. Then I bought my 68 Nova with the same engine and those baby moon hubcaps. I cannot remember if they were original or not. I also put them on the 77 Impala I had later. I like the look.
The only change to the Nova was that I put a floor shift in it because the column shift kept hanging up. It had no problems at all for the rest of the time I owned it.
Gorgeous. I always feel uneasy seeing cars like this with a for sale sign though. There’s always that overpaid frivolous spender who will pick this up as a rust free doner for his “572 Z28″ dream car. I generally only find the tributes(or whatever fancy term they coin) acceptable on rust buckets that were one step away from the junkyard. Making some of those repairs takes any hope of pure originality out of it anyway. And I must admit, I find 17” wheels incredibly attractive on these (One of the few cars of the era I’m not repulsed by with them)
What I really hate on these 70-73s in particular is when they add a 69 style cowl induction hood! That really gets my purist blood boiling.
Amen on the cowl hood fetish.
Those ‘baby moons’ were on a lot of 1970 BelAIr/Biscayne cop cars and taxis, too!
Amazing nobody on this side of the world knew Camaros could be bought with less than a V8, That series of Camaro was rebodied in Australia into the HQ Holden it was simply given a 4 door body local powertrain and voil’a the new for 71 Holdens good cars despite what leyland apologists think.
I’m generally not a fan of this generation Camaro, but I love this. the lack of tack on spoilers, scoops and 5 MPH bumpers really show what a wonderful, clean design this was. The six and Powerglide on the column is so antithetical to the image of these cars that I think this is cooler than just about any other Camaro. Love the baby moons.
I used to think any old car I’d buy absolutely had to have a V8, but I’ve swayed from that in the last couple of years. Every so often, I troll the web listings for a clean ’65 Mustang ragtop with the six. The fact that a six is cheaper certainly doesn’t hurt.
I hope whoever snatches/snatched this car up doesn’t change a thing.
I love the LOOK of this car and I concur that it shows off the purity of the design exceptionally well, but the 6-cylinder is a killjoy for me. Well, that and also that the black interior must be as hot as Hades in the summer time with no a/c and only the windshield being tinted. With all of that being said though, I do hope that someone preserves this beauty in its original state.
Several years ago while browsing hemmings.com, I found what would’ve been just about my perfect Mustang. It was a white ’69 hardtop with a red interior, no vinyl top and dog dish hubcaps, but it had a 351 4-bbl under the hood. That, to me, is the right balance of understated appearance and reasonably good performance.
There was also a very well kept 71 Dodge Challenger on ebay recently that had a 318 and the Fratzog hubcaps. I would’ve included the link if the auction was still going.
I’m really not a Camaro fan but I have to admit that is a very nice looking car without all the crap normally seen on them. I think the Moons really go well with it too. Only thing that turns me off is the 2 speed slush box.
“Camaros with the six were rare even when new. Out of 117,604 1970.5 Camaros produced, only 12,566 had the Turbo-Thrift Six. How many can be left? Not many, that’s for sure.”
Huh? Sorry dude but this car wasn’t rare if your figures are correct. That’s almost 11% of total production. If that was around 5% than we’d be talking rare IMO. Hey I agree it’s a rare find today. Anybody who knows me, knows I’m into rare. I own a “rare” Cosworth Vega. How many of those in original condition are around. I’m proud to own a “1 of 5,512” 1986 GrandNational instead of the more common over 20,000 built 1987 GrandNationals. I’ve owned a couple of the even rarer 84-85 Riviera T-Types. For 1984 Riviera T-Type accounted for 1.99% and in 1985 it accounted for 1.69% of total Riviera built in those two years. OK lets make this Camaro sound rare and interesting. My methods are kind of scientific. If I had some actuall figures to go by than we’d have some real numbers to gauge my formula by. I’m assuming everyones defination of rare is not by raw numbers but by the number of times they have actually seen one even if it was a posting on the interweb and not in person. So lets say in 1970 there were 10,000 Chevrolet dealers operating back than. That would mean there were 1.25 staight six Camaros for every dealer that year. Now some dealers in the rural areas couldn’t give away a sporty coupe if it was free and some of those dealers in the big urban and suburban cities just couldn’t keep them on the lot. So if you were the GM at Big City Chevrolet and you just had got done chewing the ass of your sales force for selling 12 six banger Camaros instead of a dozen of the more profitable Z/28 and RallySports than no, you wouldn’t say that this car was rare.
As far as the feature car. I would really go ape shit crazy if this car had a three by the knee,manual steering and radio delete.
Chevy made a bench seat optional on the 67-68 Camaro. Eliminated it for 69. Too bad. This car looks too cheap on the inside with no console IMO. A bench would have filled up that gap between those buckets. That’s It! Now I know what is missing on this car. A full rubber floor mat.
One of my HS buddies owned a some what twin to this car. Red and black. But his had the 307 and three by the knee. No AC, no PS, no console. And a coworker had a garish green with black vinyl top version of this car. I can remember being surprised by the lack of cylinders when I gave him a jump start one cold night after work. I had an equally unusuall 1976 TransAm with the 455/4-speed and I just thought I was King Shit of the F-Bodies when ever our three cars were parked in the same parking lot.
Yep. Add another one to the “I H8 tribute hackers” club.
You know what’s funny? As I mentioned on one of the “Colonade” threads about the rarity of BigBlockChevrolet colonades, here we are complaining about the other end of the spectrum. Not enough six cylinder CamaroBirds. Boy what a strange bunch we are.
12,566 built means that it wasn’t exactly rare in 1970, although not really too common either.
43 years later I guarantee the survival rate of 1970 Camaros with the original straight six is extremely low. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are less than 100 cars like this left on the planet. In the present day, this is undoubtedly a rare car.
I love those Riviera T-Types, most people don’t even know they exist.
Sean, if one wants to talk about rare and little-known 1980s turbo Buicks, one must also bring up my favorite one of all time, the 1984-86 Buick Regal WH1 Designer Series! Here’s a link to a really nice example:
“I’m assuming everyones defination of rare is not by raw numbers but by the number of times they have actually seen one even if it was a posting on the interweb and not in person.”
Yeah the “It’s on the internets so it must be true” claims are almost dubious as the “I’m a random internets guy who owns a super rare ’86 Grand National” claims…
10% of production is rare enough for 1970, and it’s a safe bet that almost no one saved them and there’s quite possibly no other examples this pristine and unmolested. Relax, dude.
“10% of production is rare enough for 1970, and it’s a safe bet that almost no one saved them and there’s quite possibly no other examples this pristine and unmolested. Relax, dude.”
That’s exactly the point I was making. Do we know how many of the “dozen or so” other engine options were made? Sorry I dont have my “Camaro White Book” handy so I’m shooting from the hip with my comment. A 70( drop the 70.5 BS, everybody knows the difference) SS396 was rarer than this 6. A Z/28 was just as rare. How rare was a 307? We bitch and moan about hacked tribute cars but if a bland 6 cylinder car is considered rare than I think most of us are just typing out of emotion. Sorry,10 or 11 percent is just not rare. Especially when you have total productions runs into the 6 figure range. Not to mention the 1970 model run was a few months shorter than normal. And to further prove my point why dont we just add up the total straight six figures for the entire 2nd gen. Again,this car aint as rare as you think.
Interesting article. One of my buddies in high school had a ’71 or ’72 (pretty sure it wasn’t a ’70); this would of been 1980, and the car had already been re-painted w/ aftermarket wheels. But I remember it having the straight six and a three-by-knee. It died a violent death. Also, one my ex-customers (a lawyer) restored (to original) his ’70-’72 (don’t know the year) straight six (same color as this article’s subject) Camaro he’s had since college, but it has the ultra-rare finned “turbine” full wheel covers. That car sat parked in his parent’s backyard for over 25 years until he saved it.
On another note, my uncle, an avid drag racer and professional auto-body mechanic, prefers 1st gen Camaros because they’re lighter. He’s not interested in 2nd gen Camaros for racing unless they’re a ’70-1/2 model. He says they have a carry-over front sub-frame from ’69, whereas the ’71 up’s weigh nearly 400 pounds more. Can anyone verify this for me?
If that’s true, 400lbs seems steep for just a subframe change. They’re not THAT heavy. I’d maybe suspect that for the 74 when the battering rams were added.
Rubbish; there’s almost no weight difference between a gen1 and gen 2 Camaro, at least not until you get to the ’74, which added about 200 lbs due to the 5 mile bumpers. Don’t believe everything you hear. (I looked up all the weights).
The carryover subframe part is baloney too. 70.5s were the first to have ‘front steer’ (steering gear & tie rods mounted way ahead, as opposed to the the previous versions older ‘rear steer’.
That system landed in Australia and debuted July 71 in Holdens it must have been the ‘in’ thing at GM.
As others have said–brilliant write-up, Tom. While I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded, I’m similarly disdainful of ‘resto-mods’ and the revisionist history that often goes with them–it seems to ignore how these cars actually fit into the automotive landscape when new, how much people put up with to enjoy high performance at the time, and how much better we have it today in many ways. The featured car is a beaut.
Count me among the converted. I didn’t like this body style when it first came out; I thought the mandated 5-mph bumpers made a bad situation worse.
I’ve come to really appreciate the looks of the ’70-72, and the simple dignity of this sample really does it for me.
Oh my God, how I do love this car! Theres something about the appeal of a stock, original car, and even more so that it is such a pedestrian version of the Camaro. I’m so tired of the “SS/RS, special edition, only three known to exist, ZL1″, etc, etc.” after a while, who cares! Show me the plain jane, pedestrian ones! I love those even more now. When I saw the factory moon hubcaps, and the column shift lever, and no console, I was in love! So appealing. The article and the Barracuda pictures reminds me of my first car I bought in 1985: an Aztec Gold 1972 Barracuda with a 3 speed manual, a 318 2 bbl engine, and not much else in the way of options, and it had hubcaps on it. I loved that car, wish I still had it, and I paid $1,200 for it! 10 years ago I wouldve said: “Camaro’s in nice shape. Rip that wimpy 6 out, put in a 427 crate, and change it over to a four speed, yeah!” Now, I wouldn’t touch a damn thing, I would preserve that car exactly the way it is, bumps, and bruises too. I hope the new owner will do the same. And, $10,000? “Well bought”!
Oh CC’ers, does this fulfill your cheap-o F-body cravings:
The moons were 1971-73; ’70’s had a channelled little dog-dish. I would love to have this “as is” . . . . maybe even plain jane it more by switching to blackwalls. This car does have optional power steering and brakes as I can see. I agree as an aging ‘boomer, too many of these base models were cut up and stuffed with LS-1’s and all kinds of stuff. About the only thing I’d do to this would maybe upgrade the shocks and add 21st Century braking power. Otherwise, I’d leave it alone. A shame to chop it up in this day and age. Now, in 1979, as a kid; 60 series tires, SBC, Cragars, THM 350, glass packs . . . faux Z-28 stripes and spoiler.
The above 70 camaro would not have come with a trunk mat,unless it was optioned with RPO Z87(custom interior)
from 1978 to 1986, i owned a 1970 z28 (real z, not a clone etc.), original LT1 was replaced with basic 350, 12 bolt rear with 488 gears (yeah, i know, but quick around town) auto on the column, no console,(convenient on date night) custom interior with black and white houndstooth seats. original owner was 43 yrs old when he purchased it new in 1970, maybe that explains auto on colunm.
my question would be to any one who might have data is how rare/unusaul was this car ?
thanks for any info.
Even back in the 70’s Camaros with these basic, baby moon hubcaps were rarely seen. These hubcaps would much more likely be seen on a Nova. Most baseline Camaros came equipped with the full wheelcover till 73 or so. From the mid-70s on, the full wheelcovers were rarely seen; instead nearly all base Camaros had the ZJ7 Rally Wheels, which always looked good. Same story with the standard, single outside mirror, very common on base Camaros 70-72, after that nearly all of em came with dual sport mirrors. As an aside the full wheel covers and the hubcaps were still available on a Camaro until at least 83! My neighbor back in the day had a plain, no frills Gen3 83 Camaro sport coupe. 4 Cyl, 4 speed, black outside mirrors and dog dish hubcaps!
A six, a Powerglide (suddenly, it’s 1955!), and a 2.73 axle? That car will be diesel-Rabbit slow. Yuck. Needs at least a TH350.
I’ve always detested Camaros due to the fact that everyone I knew that owned one way back in the day thought their’s was hot sh*t when they were all (really!) just Bondo’d up POS beaters, but I’ll definitely make an exception for this one. Hell, I’d be proud as punch to own it, and I would not change one solitary thing! A car like this one needs to be enjoyed as it is, not turned into some bellybutton lookalike Z28 wannabe.
It won’t be much fun to drive. Whether or not the PG/6 drivetrain is most historically representative of 1970 Camaros, driving it today would be like watching a 13″ black and white TV today. The only reason anyone bought a PG in 1970 was purchase price; the THM350 already was in service.
Even just working with the basic 1970 Camaro option list, this car is almost perfectly specified to minimize your driving pleasure.
Great to look at, and you’ll make other people smile when they see it.
It’s cool it’s such a clean original car, but I can’t get excited about what it must be like to drive. If it were mine, I’d hop up that six, swap in a better trans (ideally a 4 or 5 speed), tighten up the suspension with some basic things like good shocks, and then enjoy driving it. It’d be my kind of fun project and something I’d actually enjoy owning.
Let’s not forget the original Corvette. For the first two years it had a 235 and Powerglide. Couldn’t even get a stick, let alone a four-speed.
I’ve changed my mind about restomods. The coolest car in my neighborhood right now is a ’41 Studie Champion. Tan two-door sedan, beautifully restored, but obviously has a modern V8 and automatic instead of the prewar six and stick. It’s not pristine, but if the V8 keeps it on the road where people can see and appreciate it, then the mod is a good thing.
Great article! And there’s some good words and things said by people in here, and I’m glad that others can appreciate original cars. Around here, too, the 6 cylinder survivors are rare. I can recall one or two 65-66 Mustangs that are at the shows with their original 6, as well as a ’68 Firebird with the OHC Sprint 6, but other than that, there’s none that I can remember off the top of my head. Part of it, as some have mentioned, is peer pressure…..people that have never owned or drove that particular car will always say that it should have the biggest engine possible; in essence, it’s kind of like a cock swinging contest, or bragging rights. The outright hardcore “bigger is better” guys are thankfully not that frequent (the same guys will say “it HAS to have a stick!!”), but I have met a few unfortunate idiots that will automatically write cars off, unless it meets the a whole bunch of specific things on a criteria list. Elitists, I guess. I’ve always just been a fan of cars–no matter how fast, no matter what brand, etc. If it’s cool, it’s cool.
The interesting thing that I’ve found at car shows, is that cars that are beautiful and awesome, sometimes don’t stand out when they’re among a couple of hundred (or a few hundred) specialty cars. I’ve found that I’m looking for more unique builds, and as the years go on, more original cars, like the guy that brings his Ford Prefect that proudly displays the 0-60 in, like, 45 seconds or something, or the guy that wedged a Ford Thunderbird Supercoupe 3.8 supercharged engine in his 50’s Austin and ran in the 12’s at the drag strip. My jaw dropped when I saw this in the engine bay!!!
Also, the more that I think about it, the more that I think that the Corvair’s visual influence had carried on in the 1970 Camaro, with the four round taillights, and the pointed front (though not leaning quite as forward as the later Corvairs). The more Euro/ Italian influenced design of the ’70 seemed to have a longer look, which almost seems like it could have been what could have been a ’70 Monza Spyder, if GM were not pulling the plug on the Corvair. The late 60’s Corvair bodystyle is one of the outright most sexiest to my eyes (any car, any era), and the ’70 Camaro seems to add just enough chest beating machismo to that late 60’s Corvair aesthetic, that it’s almost like the Corvair got a new lease on life with a new design, and a more conventionally mounted front engine/ RWD layout that may have made it finally be the rival to the Mustang, much like the Barracuda finally became through the years.
I like it with the six but not the powerglide, I’m not a fan of automatics and especially two speed efforts, a three or four on the floor behind the six would be fine though.
My reason for purchasing a base ’79 Firebird was affordability. I only cleared $140 per week working two part times jobs while going to school half a day my senior year. Firebirds were the rage in 1979 and I really wanted one, bad! The local dealership had tons of Trans Am’s and Esprit Firebirds, but lowest price was $8000. These has V8’s. I told the saleman that was too much on my income. The salesman says, “Let’s go inside and we can order you one.” Base price in March 1979 was $4995. He started with the base engine, 3.8 V6 Buick. Base transmission, 3 speed manual. Great! We have a Firebird and it hasn’t cost me anything over base. My girlfriend was with me said, “If you want to date me much longer, you’ll get A/C!” “How much is A/C?” I ask the salesman. $540 he said. Dang! Thats over 10% of the base price! (My 71 Comet had no A/C, power steering or brakes.) Ok, check the A/C box. Power steering was standard but with A/C I had to purchase power brakes, required with A/C. I checked rear spoiler, Rally II body color wheels, white letter tires, AM/8-track tape player, rear stereo speakers, light group. All this came to around $6500. I put down my deposit and waited patiently. I order Nocturne Blue and oyster interior as my color choices. The car came in the day before high school graduation. Just over 1600 Firebirds in 1979 out of the 211,000 built had the 3 speed manual. My girlfriend and I eventually married and when our first child was born, I sold it for a more practical vehicle.
I stumbled across the following ad on a nearby Craigslist just the other day, and have been ruminating over it ever since, because I just love that it’s pretty much exactly as it came from the dealership and I’m 99% sure that once a new buyer gets his hands on it the originality will be gone forever. But unfortunately it’s pretty aggressively priced. At 1/2 the price I’d be VERY tempted.
…Man. I just can’t stop seeing these as weird looking, lemon-sucking, perpetually front teeth brushing things. The Firebird did look better, due to a prettier face and wheel wells that are (subtly) rounder/more flared… I get that they were going for something different than the 70 Mustang, Challenger etc. But the Challenger/Mustang look great to me, and the early Camaro in particular just looks so odd. (I actually like the post-’74 look better.)
What do you think of the 1972 Ford Gran Torino? I believe the late automobile writer Tom McCahill once said they looked like “Landlocked tunas sucking air”.
This should continue to be kept as a time capsule – with subtle improvements for modern interstate and efficiency considerations. A 700R4 Hydramatic swap (if possible) for modern gear ratios and additional pep while remaining entirely stealth and a hotter cam and free breathing exhaust are pretty much all that’s needed to make this a daily. I don’t even like automatic transmissions and I’d still want this one to remain an auto. The rest of it? Perfection.
At the $10K asking price, and if as nice and solid as the photos suggest, I hate to say that there’s a good chance this won’t remain a “survivor” very long. Solid and virgin examples of the early 2nd generation Camaros are getting harder to find.
When I was in high school (2001-2003) one of only two cars older than my 71 Beetle was a ‘66 Mustang owned by a girl I knew. The guys all have her flack for it being a 6 cylinder automatic (of course none of them had anything even remotely that cool) I thought it was kinda cool as a six and just the fact that a girl was driving a ‘66 Stang.
Now I’m thinking about unrequited high school love……..
I actually own a 70 with 250 six and powerglide, no console, no a/c no power windows, no sport mirror, AM radio, same as this one only in forest green with white vinyl top. Got it for my 15th bday back in mid 90s, learned how to drive in it. Was a 1 owner when I got it. Came from Pierce Chevrolet in Pawtucket RI, had 63k on it, came with all the registrations back to 1970, warranty info with the metal tag on the flap, owners manual, consumer information book. Has 77k now.