AJ’s “Badass Friday” Car of the Day: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro R/S Z-28 Coupe

AJ’s “Badass Friday” Car of the Day: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro R/S Z-28 Coupe

Car: Chevrolet Camaro R/S Z28 Coupe

Year: 1969

What makes it special: The first-generation Camaro appeared in Chevrolet dealerships on September 29, 1966 for the 1967 model year on a brand-new rear wheel drive GM F-body platform and was available as a 2-door, 2+2 seat, hardtop and convertible, with the choice of either a straight-6 or V8 engine. The first-generation Camaro was built through the 1969 model year. Almost all of 1967-1969 Camaros were built in the two U.S. assembly plants, in either Norwood, Ohio or Van Nuys, California. There were also five non-U.S. Camaro assembly plants in countries that required local assembly and content, located in the Philippines, Belgium, Switzerland, Venezuela, and Peru.

What made it famous: The 1969 Camaro carried over the previous year’s drivetrain and major mechanical components, but all-new sheet metal, except the hood and trunk lid, gave the car a substantially sportier look. The grille was redesigned with a heavy “V” cant and deeply inset headlights. New door skins, rear quarter panels, and rear valance panel also gave the car a much lower, wider, more aggressive look. This styling would serve for the 1969 model year only. The Rally Sport option, RPO Z22, includes special black painted grille with concealed headlights and headlight washers, fender striping except when sport striping or Z28 Special Performance Package is 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, including bright roof drip moldings. This option could be added to any other SS or Z/28 option, making the model an RS/SS or a RS/Z28. The Z28 option was available with the 302 cu in small block producing 290 hp at 5800 rpm and 290 lb⋅ft  of torque at 4200 rpm. It was backed by Muncie 4-speed with a standard Hurst shifter and 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 carburetion on a dual-plane intake manifold. A dual 4-barrel Cross-Ram intake manifold was available as a dealer-installed option.

Why I would want one: Never had a Camaro yet, naturally I’d lean towards the first-gen.

Fun fact: The 1969 model year was exceptionally long, extending into November 1969, due to manufacturing problem 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.