Last time we told you about our experience in having the very first Camaro offered to us. Although we made the sad decision not to purchase it, in the long run it was the correct one. The car went to a far better home.
The first Camaro was one of 49 pre-production cars built to test building procedures and quality control. Some of the cars were built and torn apart and rebuilt many times. Some were destined to be used, abused and destroyed. It is reported that only approximately 10 of the first 49 are believed to have survived. The very first Camaro, #N100001, is one of those cars.
The first Camaro was built in May of 1966. The official reveal was in August of 66 and the first recorded sale was on September 29, 1966. This car was sold on August 1, 1966 to a GM employee a full week before actual production of the Camaro began on August 7th.
All of the owners who subsequently owned the car were aware of its importance with the exception of one. After passing through several hands who appeared to have driven and used the car, it ended up being owned by a drag racer. This gentleman knew it was important but that did not stop him from stripping and highly modifying the car into a dragster and raced into the late 1980s.
The drag racer was in poor health and his family sold the car with little knowledge of its history. The next owner was a gentleman who was therefore unaware of its historical significance. The car was then sold and owned by an gentleman who found out what he had when the insurance company asked for the VIN! What a surprise that must have been. The first Camaro was then offered for sale to the public in the condition described when it was offered to us.
The next owner restored the car and continues to show it today. Remember, my comment about the lack of originality and condition due to it having been converted to a drag race car? It seems the current owner purchased the car in that condition. As he and his family began the historical documentation of ownership they stumbled onto the estate of the drag racer.
It was at this point that the current owner and restorer of the first Camaro became aware that the drag racer never threw anything away. He had a warehouse full of old parts from previous projects. All of the original parts from the Camaro were in the warehouse. The new owner was able to purchase the parts only on the condition that he also purchase all of the other parts in the building. Thus the first Camaro is now reunited with all of its original sheet metal and other parts removed to go racing.
The cost was substantial to purchase these items but not everything was there. NOS parts were acquired to complete what was missing. The videos below provided additional information on this process.