Owner: Rick Scott, Sorrento, FL
I have always been a Chevy enthusiast. Beverly and I have owned a couple of 1956 Chevys, and she now drives a 1990 IROC-Z convertible with less than 55 thousand miles. So when it gets too hot here in the Florida summer, we can take her Camaro and turn on the air! Beverly and I are members of the Classic Camaros of Central Florida Car Club. It’s a great bunch of guys and gals that have a love of Camaros.
I’ve owned this Camaro for the past eleven years– I purchased it at the Spring Daytona swap meet in March of 2002. I had decided I wanted a project car to work on, as I had always wanted a ‘69 Camaro for that exact purpose. My plan was to work on the project as funds became available. I thought that it would take as little as 5 years, (depending on the condition of the car, of course). As I walked around the Daytona Swap Meet that day it looked like I wasn’t going to find my project car. All the Camaros found were already restored and were commanding at least $35-$40 thousand dollars.
Then I spotted a car sitting on a trailer just a couple rows over. We walked over to take a closer look; there it was– a ‘69 Camaro in gray primer. No engine or transmission and no interior, and what was left of the seat springs and a couple white bucket seats. It had all the glass and a set of rusted-out Cragar SS wheels. It was perfect– just what I was looking for!
Now the fun begins. The owner of the Camaro tells me he had been taking small deposits and that I would be the 3rd person in line. I would have to check back every hour to see if the person in front of me had bought the car. So my friend Tim Rollins and I looked over the car the best we could. It was easy to see that it needed a lot of sheet metal work. So I left a $50 deposit and was told to check back in an hour. As we walked around the swap meet, we continued talking about what the car needed. I realized that it would need a complete rebuild top to bottom. I checked back at the end of the first hour and found that the guy in front of me had not come back, so now I had only one person in front of me. Man, was that next hour a long one!
By this time I knew that I really wanted the Camaro. I called my wife and told her I had finally found a car, and that it would cost $2500. The first question she had was about the car’s color. I told her it was in gray primer. Then she asked what size motor it had, and I told her it didn’t have an engine or a transmission. Then she asks, “Why can’t you buy one already done?” I replied, “No problem, if you could run to the bank and bring me between $25-35 thousand, I could buy one and drive it home.” Well there was a little silence and she says, “Hey, it sounds great”, and that I would have something to do for the next 10 years.
We went back over to the car and the owner tells me the first guy on the list has 3 minutes to go. That was the longest 3 minutes of my life. Finally time was up, and I had purchased my dream Camaro. We returned on Sunday with Tim’s car hauler and took my “new” ’69 home. My wife Beverly decided she wanted to help with the disassembly of the car– I have pictures of her using an impact wrench, helping take off doors and helping tag and bag parts.
When we removed the windshield, there was no lip left on the roof where the glass sat. We cut the roof off and had and new one shipped here to Florida. My friend Steve Hunt spent the next year coming out on Saturdays to do the welding; roof, cowl area, floor pans, and so on. We spent the next seven years working on the Camaro, going to swap meets and car shows with a list of what we need to get based on funds that were available. When it came time to decide how I wanted to build my project, I realized that I knew nothing history-wise about the car and with most of the parts missing, I would build it to be fun and driven. I do the local car show circuit with my wife and enjoy meeting other Camaro owners. I won the 5th Annual Eckler’s Camaro Fest, 1st place in 2008. And I just found out I won People’s Choice Cruiser Class at the 2013 Eckler’s Winter National Show this past February. This Camaro is a blast to drive and gets a lot of thumbs up!
Many thanks go out to all who helped – family and friends, Tim & Phil Rollins (engine rebuild), Steve Hunt (welding), paint and final assembly by Meola’s Rodz & Restoration in Howey-In-The-Hills, FL, and of course, my wife Beverly (disassembly, patience, understanding). The Camaro took six years to rebuild and a lot more money than anticipated, but I would do it all over again.
’69 Camaro Facts
- Engine – 350 bored .30 over, headers, Street Performer Intake and a Holley 650 carburetor
- Transmission – Muncie “rock crusher” 4-speed, with Hurst Shifter
- Gauges – Tachometer/console – Green Bar AM/FM radio
- Exhaust – Custom dual Flowmaster
- Wheels & Tires – P215/65R 15” in the front with 6” deep dish Rally Wheels and P255/60R 15” in the rear with 8” deep dish Rally Wheels