MIKE C 1969 Z-28 Camaro

My 1976 birthday present to myself

I was 20 years old and had left college in 1974 after my second year. I got a job at a GM plant in Clark NJ that summer, liked it and stayed. I worked as much overtime as came my way the first 2 years and saved up a nice chunk of cash. I had been following GM's progress with the Cosworth Vega as that seemed like it might be an interesting follow up to the Z-28. Some magazines even nicknamed it the " Son of the Z-28 ". Delay, followed delay so the scheduled 75 release date moved to 76. As soon as I heard a local chevy dealer here on Staten Island had one, I went down to see it. Of course Instant Sticker Shock, $6,700. list price and that was the end of that plan. I then decided on getting a Z-28. I was only interested in a 69 or a 70 and really wanted a 69. I looked at a 70 Z-28 locally. They wanted $3,500, it was pushing oil and it was a green color that I didn't like. I could't even find another Z-28 locally, but then my Dad suggested I look in the NY Times auto classifieds and conveniently my Dad was a 7 days a week NY times reader. After a few weeks I found a 69 Z-28 listed. It was out in Queens NY, I called the phone number and made plans to go out that weekend to take a look. I liked it. Metallic brown, white stripes, cowl induction hood. He had been trying to sell it for some time and every time a kid would come, see it and say " Yea I love it, but I have to come back with my dad " and never be seen again. I came with cash for a deposit and told him, no one else has to come to approve the deal. He wanted $2,100. He was a motivated seller. He wanted to sell it, so he had a deposit on a Ford van to do a cross country trip. The Camaro had a tiny dent in the front valance panel that he planed to fix, but wanted the buyer to see how minor it was, instead of seeing the fresh paint and being scared off. I told him " as is " would be better. I didn't want him getting it fixed and changing his mind, so the price went down to $1,750. I came back with a bank check ( I think he wanted that instead of cash, but not sure ) When I got there he had noticed an oil leak from the rear seal and took another $50. off the price. So now, the price is down to $1,700. My birthday is in May and the Camaro purchase happened in May, so it was a nice little birthday present to myself. A follow-up on the Ford van. He was custom ordering it, Ford went on strike that summer and he never got it. He also had a set of American Racing 200S wheels 7 x 15 and 8.5 x 15 with 4 Firestone or Goodyear slicks. He did some solo racing and he didn't want to break them up. I tried to get them new and went a bit nuts asking one speed shop after another and they all said the same thing, " Not made any more ). A year later I called him and asked if he still had the wheels. He did, so the next question was " do you want to split them up ? " He said, Yea. $160. and a trip back to Queens and they were mine. I remember an older friend who had 2 69 Z-28's laughing at me. ( If he liked you, he would bust on you. If he didn't, you wouldn't hear much from him. ) His first Z was stolen, he got another, put a 427 and 4.88's in the rear. When he heard it spin a main bearing, he said I'm done, sold it and got a 4 door Mercedes-Benz. ….. Years later, in the late 80's he picked up another 69 Camaro. He asked me to come over, as he knew I had most of the catalogs he needed. His Camaro needed fenders, quarter panels, door skins and the trunk skin, etc. I said, my Camaro didn't need any of this, so who is laughing now. My Z-28 was my everyday car and was parked on the usually in front of the house. In late 78 I decided it was time to get my own place, so I went house hunting at age 24. I wasn't getting married, so I had 1 must. It had to have a garage. No garage = Not interested. Then of course the garage had to be right. Facing a side street, rear alley, didn't have a level pad in front of it, too small also = Not interested. Finally in the summer of 79 I found what I wanted. A 2 1/2 car, block garage, down in the back of the property, with a house in front. Done Deal. Here it is, 2014. I am still living in the same home, with the Camaro still in the garage, but back on the road with Hagerty's Ins. after many years parked. It is real sweet driving it again and I look forward to many years of enjoyment withe the Camaro protected by Hagerty's. If you got this far ……. Thanks for reading my birthday story.

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