These posts are way too easy for me to write. For those who know me, my deep deep love for classic muscle cars is no secret, and now that I am armed with a quality camera you can almost always find us at some car show over the summer trying to fill up memory cards like a squirrel puts away nuts for the winter. Today I hopped over to the ol’ archives and found a small set of shots we took at the “Beverly Corners Show and Shine 2013” that feature one of my all-time favorites; a classic first generation Camaro. Thanks for joining us today as we continue our photoblog series “The Toads At The Sportsplex” where we are going to take a look at a few of these incredible classic Camaro’s.
I am pretty much certain that what we are looking at here is a stunning example of a 1969 Camaro RS. As the Ford Mustang was becoming a runaway hit with consumers in the late 60’s, Chevrolet was desperate to try to build a car that could compete with it, both on the street and on the track. The Corvette was designed for an entirely different audience, and by 1967 Chevrolet was ready to roll out its first incarnation of what was to become an icon in its lineup.
The first year available, it was a raging success. I believe it even surprised the Chevrolet executives who quickly figured out they were sitting on a goldmine of sorts. The next two years saw minor changes to the styling, adding just a few details and cues here and there. By 1969, the car had taken on a life of its own. It was offered all 3 years in 4 different option packs; the base model which came with a inline-6 cylinder engine or a series of optional V8’s, the RS model featuring a series of appearance upgrades of which most notably are the hideaway headlights we see on this model, the SS model which was only available with fire-breathing V8’s including the fabled big-block 396, and my personal favorite edition, the 1969 Camaro Z/28.
The Z/28 was notorious for several reasons, being designed and built to allow the F-Body platform to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am series. The DZ RPO code is used to identify the special version of solid-lifter cam engine with 302 cubic inches. A special option of a cross-ram dual 4 barrel carburetor intake manifold was available and had to be installed at the dealership. From what I understand this was an effort by Chevrolet to mask the true output numbers of this particular engine. I had also heard rumors before of being able to order factory headers for the exhaust system, and those were shipped to the dealership for installation as well for the same reasons. I can’t confirm those rumors, but they do make sense. I’ve often imagined what it must have been like to take possession of your brand new Camaro at your local Chevy dealership, and to open the trunk and find the intake manifold and headers sitting there. These go-fast parts would have really allowed that high-revving engine to breath, creating the immense power that it was, and still is today, famous for.
This RS edition we found at the car show sports 396 badges on the fenders. This was one of several big-block configurations available for this car, and you can rest assured that a ride in a car like this would have an immediate effect on your heart-rate and perspiration. Not to mention firmly pressing your eyes into the back of your head.
That just sounds like way too much fun.
See? I told you I would end up carrying on in this post. It’s bigger than me, my friends.
As everyone was packing up and rolling out of the event, I just had to grab a few shots of some of these Camaro’s in motion. These pictures aren’t my usual HDR, they are just conventional photographs because the car was moving. There’s nothing like the sound of a ground-poundin’ V8 as it putters around, at times you swear the earth is cracking under your feet as these beasts roll by. Yet still, they seem to have an inherent grace and beauty in their lines that was really a big part of the whole muscle car movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The old adage, “they just don’t make them like that anymore” couldn’t be more true in this particular context.
Somewhere out in our storage building I have 3 large moving container boxes full of 1/18 scale diecasts of 1st generation Camaro’s. Some of them are rather rare, only having a few hundred cast of the particular model. One day I hope to build a shrine somewhere for them. Oddly enough, I think Mrs. Toad would be fully supportive of this.
I am the luckiest Toad alive, this I can honestly say.
Thanks so much for taking the time to cruise on by The Hollow today, everyone! Please feel free to leave us any stories of cars you remember from your youth, we love to hear them all. Until next time, my friends!