If you received a phone call or an email asking if you wanted to buy the very first Camaro what would you say? Is this a scam? Is this some joker in Nigeria trying to steal my identity? Or, would you think you won the lottery?
What followed were a series of emails and photos with some more answers but no price. The seller was looking for an offer. My offer was not high enough but more about that later.
While attending the Muscle Car And Corvette Nationals in Chicago this year I spotted the first Camaro on the show floor. It occupied a large space equal to its pedigree in the car world. The first Camaro should be a large V-8, 4-speed car with lots of options and stand out color right? No, it is a gold six cylinder automatic but it is the first Camaro. It is a pretty car and well restored but how much of it is the first Camaro? Like so many rare restored cars there is little left of what the assembly line workers assembled back in 1966.
The car that was presented to me approximately 3 years ago as the first Camaro was a far cry from what I saw in Chicago. The car had a difficult life. I am not sure how long the original drive train remained in place but it and almost every other part had been removed to make it a better race car The original firewall had been modified but was still there with the all important Data Plate and VIN plate.
The following photos were what I saw back in 2010.
I am sure this made someone a great drag car. If you owned this Camaro, even back in the early 70s and you saw the VIN said 0001 would you chop it up to make a dragster?
I am surprised that the VIN was still present. When it was offered to me I most likely made as bad a decision not to purchase it as the owner who chopped it up to go drag racing. However, to me the car was too far gone to be restored. I wanted it just to say I owned the first Camaro but that wasn’t worth much in the way of cash and my $2,500 offer was not good enough. As it turns out it was not even close. Rumor has the selling price at close to 20 times that amount.
I don’t have any notes from those conversations but if memory serves me correctly the tilt front end, doors and trunk were all fiberglass.
The basic shell of the car seems sound but there was some rust. While inspecting the car on the show floor the restorer showed me how he replaced rusted areas in the trunk with patch panels. He left the welds clearly visible so that anyone could look at the body and see what panels had replaced former rusty areas.
I am curious as to what you would have done if you were offered the First Camaro when I was. How much would you have offered? Would you have taken it back to it original condition as it left the factory or restored it to its “day 3” as raced condition? Would you have done something else?
Leave your comments below.