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1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Rare Finds

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2015-05-12 Jerry Heasley

Pat found a 135,000-mile coupe with both RS and SS packages, “basically all original.”

Pat Russell, an admitted “Camaro nut,” was thrilled to see both the SS and RS packages when he pulled back the cover on the ’69 Camaro in a carport in British Columbia. The body was mostly rust free with the exception of a little oxidation in the rear quarter-panels. © Provided by Hotrod Pat Russell, an admitted “Camaro nut,” was thrilled to see both the SS and RS packages when he pulled back the cover on the ’69 Camaro in a carport in British Columbia. The body was mostly rust free with the exception of a little oxidation in the rear quarter-panels.

Pat Russell of British Columbia, Canada, went out to buy a used Honda for his daughter and noticed a GTO in the seller’s garage. Talk turned to muscle cars. Pat admitted he was a “Camaro nut,” whereupon the seller tipped him off to ’69 Camaro coupe that had been parked for years in a lady’s carport in the neighborhood.

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Pat couldn’t resist the temptation. He drove to the house and knocked on the door. He was direct. Was the Camaro for sale? She explained many people had stopped to inquire. The answer was a polite no. The car was not for sale. Pat left without getting to see the classic Camaro, mostly covered in the adjacent carport.

“I left it alone for about a year and went back,” says Pat. “This time she was even less receptive. She talked to me through the screen door.” Once again, the Camaro was not for sale. And once again, Pat left without much chitchat and without a chance to inspect the ’69 model. After all, it wasn’t for sale and was still hidden under a car cover.

He waited another year and came back a third time, in August 2012. He walked to the same door and knocked. This time the lady was “really friendly and offered to let me see the car.”

When they swept the car cover off the body, Pat found a 135,000-mile coupe with both RS and SS packages, “basically all original.” Under the hood was a matching-numbers, 300-horse 350ci four-barrel small-block V-8. Needless to say, he was astounded.

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The 350 is the base Super Sport engine, rated at 300 hp. The RPO is L48. © Provided by Hotrod The 350 is the base Super Sport engine, rated at 300 hp. The RPO is L48.

The lady even had “all the paperwork,” Pat said, but not paperwork from 1969. In the mid ’90s, a coworker had purchased paperwork (sourced from the VIN) from GM of Canada as a birthday present to the owner, Gwen McDowell. GM of Canada keeps records on older cars shipped to Canada. (This car was built in Ohio.) This was news to me. I wondered how far back GM goes with these records.

Pat was astonished to see a full list of the original options and accessories on the Camaro, including the 300-horse 350 (L48), SS and RS packages, interior lighting group, 12-bolt rearend, and more. The exterior (repainted in 1981) was factory Garnet Red.

Gwen was thinking of getting the motor refreshed and maybe driving her Camaro again. She parked the car back in 1996 when the back window leaked. Pat went over restoration costs and asked Gwen if she were to sell the Camaro, what price she had in mind.

She gave Pat a price but wanted to think about whether or not she would actually sell. Pat phoned back the next day to hear good news. She would sell. In fact, she wanted him to put the car in his name “right away.”

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The black interior is stock. Extras include head restraints for the seat backs, floor console, vacuum power brakes, three-speed auto (TH350) transmission, hydraulic steering, glove compartment lamp, ashtray lamp, instrument panel courtesy light, electric clock, pushbutton radio, auxiliary rear speaker, and manual antenna. © Provided by Hotrod The black interior is stock. Extras include head restraints for the seat backs, floor console, vacuum power brakes, three-speed auto (TH350) transmission, hydraulic steering, glove compartment lamp, ashtray lamp, instrument panel courtesy light, electric clock, pushbutton radio, auxiliary rear speaker, and manual antenna.

Pat was really happy with his purchase, because he didn’t have to worry about documenting the Rally Sport and Super Sport packages. The GM paperwork also documents the original engine.

Pat said, “I took it home, cleaned it up, and changed the oil and spark plugs, and it fired right up.”

After 16 years sitting were the brakes frozen? Was the body rusty? “Nope, the brakes weren’t frozen. The transmission fluid was bright red. Doesn’t slip, and feels like a good running, driving car. There’s a little bit of rust in the rear [quarters].”

Was Gwen sad to see her Camaro go? Pat said she had a “very strong emotional attachment to the car. I keep in contact with her and she emails me once in a while and asks how her car is doing.”

Pat plans to restore the ’69 (he’s restored other Camaros) and says one day he hopes to throw Gwen the keys and go with her for a drive.

Do you have a Rare Find story to share?

Contact Jerry Heasley at jerry@jerryheasley.com.

1969 chevrolet camaro SS under cover © Provided by Hotrod 1969 chevrolet camaro SS under cover
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