When it comes to Camaros, the '69 Indianapolis RS/SS pace car in all probability is the flagship of all Camaros. Certainly, it's one of the most widely recognized of the First-Gen Camaros. If you are fortunate to own one of the few thousand that were ever produced, that automatically puts you into an elite club of Camaro ownership. Indeed, the immediately recognizable color scheme and styling of the '69 pace car has been often duplicated in each generation of Camaros. But duplication and imitation is no substitute for the real thing. When Anthony Bongiovi decided he needed a fun car to run around Southern California, he didn't choose some pretentious, caviar-eating European import--not this all-American kid from Jersey. If you're from Jersey and you don't like Camaros...you must have been dropped on your head as a baby. In fact, when any of the Bongiovi brothers choose vehicles, they choose good old Made-in-the-USA Chevrolet American muscle.
When Anthony decided it was time to purchase his dream Camaro, it had to be a '69 Camaro. Nothing else would suffice, and when he mentioned his dream car search to a longtime family friend, Obie O'Brien, it was on. It was while on tour with his rocker brother Jon Bon Jovi, that the phone call came from Obie; he had found a gem that just had to be seen. Some pictures were sent to Anthony, and it was love at first sight.
When the car was initially purchased, it had previously been torn apart and never put back together. This is where Michael Smith comes into the scene. He is one of those guys that everyone should have as a friend--the kind of guy who has some real expertise when it comes to automotive restorations. Naturally, Mike dove headfirst into this project. The body was put on a rotisserie and sandblasted, while the front clip received the same treatment. Only original GM sheetmetal went back onto this Camaro. Mike put in nearly 2,000 man-hours into the car before it was ready for action. The worn-out 350 was also bored 0.030 inches over, the crank was polished, a new Crane Cam was installed, along with new rods, pistons, new guides in the heads, and a three-angle valve job. You name it; no bolt was left unturned in this car. From the front to the back, and side-to-side, it was all better than new.
When Anthony took delivery of his car, the workmanship was so unbelievable, he had to have a worthy garage to house it. He tore down his old garage and built up a new one that would make any man proud to spend every spare moment in, and one worthy of housing his new Camaro. Perhaps the greatest thrill of all is when Anthony is sitting at a stoplight and a carload of girls pull up next to him. The girls go crazy over the car! Yup...Camaros, chicks dig 'em.