Muscle Car

1969 Chevy Camaro – The last of the 1st generation


The Camaro, one of Chevy’s best and widely known muscle cars. (they had no choice but to bring it back as a retro model.) Camaro’s have always been as much about looks as they are about performance. Sleek lines and curves have been synonymous with the Camaro.

You can check out our interview with Bruce Lempke and his 1969 Camaro Here.

In 1969, the last of the first generation was created. It seemed the most popular and took on a more aggressive look, with a flatter, wider stance and a revised grill. It looked tough and was meant to be that way. It still carried over the 1968 drive train and major mechanicals, but the sheet metal was all new. (Of course, the hood and trunk lid were the same.)

To increase competitiveness in the SCCA Trans-Am racing series, optional four-wheel disc brakes with four-piston calipers, using components from the Corvette, were made available during the year, under RPO JL8, for $500.30. This system made for a major improvement in the braking capability and was a key to winning the Trans-Am championship. This option was expensive and only 206 units were produced.classic-1969-camaro-1

The Rally Sport (RS) option, RPO Z22, included a special black painted grille with concealed headlights and headlight washers, fender striping (except when sport striping or Z28 Special Performance Package was specified), simulated rear fender louvers, front and rear wheel opening moldings, black body sill, RS emblems on grille, steering wheel and rear panel, Rally Sport front fender nameplates, bright accented taillights, back-up lights below rear bumper; also includes bright roof drip moldings on Sport Coupe. The cost for these upgrades ran $131.65 and 37,773 units were built. This option could also be added to any other option (i.e., SS or Z/28), making those models an RS/SS or a RS/Z28.

The Z28 option was still available with the 302 cid small block and was backed by Muncie four-speed with a (new for 1969) standard Hurst shifter. It was connected to a 12-bolt rear axle with standard 3.73 gears.

The 302 featured 11:1 compression, forged pistons, forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, solid lifter camshaft, and Holley carburetor on a dual-plane intake manifold. A dual four-barrel cross ram intake manifold was available as a dealer-installed option.

The 1969 model year was exceptionally long, extending into November 1969, due to manufacturing problems that delayed the introduction of the second-generation model planned for 1970. It is a popular myth late-’69 Camaros were sold as 1970 models (due to GM publicity pictures of the ’69 Camaro labeled as a 1970), but they were all assigned 1969 VIN codes.

A total of 93,007 Camaros were produced with 37,773 of them being the RS model, 34,932 being the SS model and 20,302 being the Z28 model.

yenko-camaro-copo-or-2_600x0wOne of the best known and sought after Camaros are the Yenko Camaro.

This was a dealership modified version of the SS Camaro. yenkodealerDonald “Don” Frank Yenko (May 27, 1927 to March 5, 1987), would replace the original L-78 396 c.i. (6.5 L) engine with the Corvette’s L-72 427 c.i. (7.0L) and upgraded the rear axle and suspension. GM corporate had forbade, (For whatever reason) Chevrolet from installing any engine larger than 400 c.i. (6.6 L). To allow for the upgrades Yenko, and 1969-yenko-camaro-l72-427-v8-engineother dealers, were asking for, Chevy had to modify the ordering process. Therefore two COPO (Central Office Production Numbers) were produced for the 1969 model, 9560 and 9561.

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