What do you imagine the very first Camaro would be? Would it be a convertible? Maybe an SS or Z28? How about a fully optioned RS? If you did, you are wrong. The very first Camaro, #N100001, is a 230 cubic inch straight six with “three on the tree” manual transmission and no real options. On top of that it was painted Granada Gold with gold cloth interior and white wall tires with hub caps!
The very first Camaro is obviously a very important car in the world of collector cars. There is only one first of a model year. Even more important is the first car of a brand new model. When that model is a game changer like the Camaro, it is unbelievably important.
“When that model is a game changer like the Camaro, it is unbelievably important.”
I am unsure of the exact date, but it was likely between 2009 and 2010 I received a phone call from someone I did not know asking if I wanted to purchase the very first Camaro. My response was very guarded. How likely is it that someone calling to offer you the very first Camaro or Mustang is legitimate? It is about as likely as an email from Bulgaria saying you just inherited three billion dollars!
However, this did spark my interest because the caller stated, “I see you own the first Ford Talladega built. How would you like to have the first Camaro?” My wife and I do own the first production Ford Talladega so it could be a real opportunity. The first statement out of my mouth was to ask for proof of the VIN and other documentation that the car was real. Next, I asked about the condition.
“How likely is it that someone calling to offer you the very first Camaro or Mustang is legitimate?”
The caller simply said he would send some photos and then we could talk. I asked how much he wanted for the car and he replied that he was taking offers! This, to me, was another scam warning sign. I watched my email in box and sure enough the photos arrived. I enlarged them on the screen and verified the VIN as 123377N100001. Decoding that number verified it was the car!
I called back and we talked in more detail. The condition of the car was very poor. It had most recently been a drag race car and was highly modified. Most of the sheet metal had been replaced with fiberglass panels, the dash had been hacked up, roll bar added and, of course, the six cylinder engine and transmission were long gone.
At this point I realized that my interest in the car was quickly disappearing. I wanted the first Camaro but I also realized a Granada Gold six cylinder three speed was not a desirable car other than being the first. I also recognized that very little of the actual original Camaro still existed. I questioned the ultimate value of such a car which would be basically built around a shell and VIN of the first Camaro. In addition, to do the restoration correctly would certainly exceed my desire and ability to finance the build. My offer of $2,500 to purchase the car was not laughed at but was rejected. Quite frankly, I was relieved. The very first Camaro deserved a better future than I would be able to give it.