1969 CHEVROLET CAMARO Z/28 WITH CROSS RAM
Chassis No. 124379N692051
Dark green with white racing stripes and black vinyl interior
Engine: V8, pushrod operated overhead valves, dual 4-barrel carburetors on cross-ram manifold, 302ci., '290hp' in factory literature, c375bhp from the factory, 450-475bhp race-prepared with dual quads; Gearbox: four-speed manual close ratio with Hurst shifter; Suspension: front, independent by coil springs and A-arms, rear, solid axle with traction bar and leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel power assisted discs. Left hand drive.
GM was caught unprepared by Ford's 1964½ introduction of the Mustang. GM bracketed Mustang's market niche with the Corvette and Corvair Monza, but Ford uncovered a huge gap between them and exploited it with great success. Recognizing Ford had stolen a march on them, in mid-'64 the General launched a crash program to create its own 'personal car'. Code-named Panther, it became Camaro just before launch in September 1966 as a '67 model. Unlike Mustang, which was based largely on Fairlane components, Camaro was an all-new product constructed around a unit body with a front sub-frame for better ride.
At the same time, the Sports Car Club of America revised its Trans-Am rules to add a 5-liter category. The '66 season was a Mustang benefit. GM was invisible, without a competitive chassis and still paying more than lip service to the AMA ban on manufacturers' active racing participation.
In the depths of GM, however, there remained a core of racing engineer/enthusiasts ready to jump on any opportunity. The Mustang's impending domination of Trans-Am threw GM's marketers into a tizzy and opened taps of money that soon turned into a good-sized stream, all flowing into Camaro race development. Vince Piggins, a one-man performance team within GM during the AMA ban years, knew where the enthusiasts were and quickly put the right 'heavy duty' pieces into GM's parts book and onto the Camaro's options list. Piggins neatly met the 5 liter displacement limit by putting a 283 crank in the then-current 327 block. The 302ci. Z/28 engine was the result. The 1967 Trans-Am Championship was again won by Ford, but Roger Penske's Camaro Z/28 driven by Mark Donohue took the last two races. For 1968 Trans-Am allowed dual 4-barrel carburetors and Chevy developed a cross-ram manifold as a dealer or customer-installed 'heavy duty' option with cowl induction hood which increased both horsepower and torque by 25. Penske and Donohue captured the Trans-Am, by now dominated by manufacturers, in both 1968 and 1969.
1969 was the last year for the first generation Camaro. By now a fully developed line, the '69 Camaro retains the first generation's purity of line while having an almost endless options list, heavily weighted with performance options and supplemented with dealer or customer-installed 'heavy duty' parts homologated for serious competition. The cross-ram Z/28 is by far the performance champion, aided in no small measure by its superior balance, handling and braking surpassing even the 396 cubic inch Big Blocks.
The Camaro on offer here is a meticulously restored example of the rare Disc Brake 1969 Camaros equipped with the cross-ram engine manifold. We understand that only 206 genuine examples were built to these specifications in 1969. This stunning example received a comprehensive frame off restoration that spared no expense and overlooked no detail in the late 1990s. The vendor reports that the Camaro was in very good original condition prior to restoration. Additionally, we understand that the green color it is finished in was also its original color. Since the restoration the car has been used quite sparingly and in all has traveled less than 200 miles. After a recent inspection of the Camaro, which included hearing the massive engine run, this author was suitably impressed, first by the car's lovely correct restoration and condition and second by the roar of the 302 cubic inch engine that eliminated any question about the Camaro's road capabilities.