You're the Man! The information in your columns has been very helpful. I purchased a '69 Camaro with a V-8 and a four-speed. It has Firebird front sheetmetal and a fiberglass cowl hood. It's been painted with house paint. I'm pretty sure it's an SS because it has the correct exhaust bracket on the left-hand framerail. While I was doing my "CSI" Camaro investigation, I came across a man who said that no SS Camaro came with a wood-grain accent interior. Can you tell me if this is correct?
A. Hey Bill,
I was sure that an SS Camaro could be ordered with the RPO Z23 and/or Z87, which included wood-grain interior accents, but I didn't want to be too cocky and give the wrong information. So I called Brian Henderson over at Super Car Workshop. It turns out that he's currently restoring an SS with original wood-grain accents and has restored many other Camaros like it in the past. Brian reinforced my thoughts that the guy you talked to must have been thinking of some other car, considering all the Z11 Indy Pace Car Camaros were SS models and plenty of those had wood-grain accents.
Q. Hi guys,
I love your magazine, especially all the first-gen articles. I have my first and maybe only Camaro, as my other half says. I'm wondering if you can help me. The car is a '67 and was originally a 350 small-block. The engine was replaced at one time with a 350 out of a '71 Chevelle. I believe the setup for the power steering brackets are the same for both, but the pump is at a slight angle away from the crank pulley. Any idea if the brackets are slightly different?
Keep up with the good work!
North of the border reader
We're glad you enjoy the articles. It's good to hear a little feedback once in a while. You've got a great looking '67!
Since we don't have a picture of your engine, we don't know if the '71 Chevelle 350 engine in your Camaro has brackets from the '71 model year Chevelle or from the '67 model year Camaro. The '67 and '68 small-block had a short water pump and specific brackets that only work with the short water pump. The small-block-equipped '69 and later Camaros and Chevelles (and all other Chevy cars except Corvettes) utilized a long water pump and matching accessories.
It's possible the person who installed the engine used the long water pump and accessories from the Chevelle, along with some rigged-up short water pump accessories to get the car on the road. This could cause some serious belt/pulley alignment issues that lead to shortened belt life and chronic belt-tossing at higher rpm.
If this is the case and you want it to be correct for '67, I would suggest sourcing a correct short water pump and brackets from companies like National Parts Depot, Ground Up, Camaro Central, or Year One. If you're not worried about it being correct, simply install a power steering pump, bracket, and hoses for a '69 Camaro.
There are cases where factory brackets don't line up perfectly. If your brackets and accessories are all correct for '67, it's possible you'll need to check for a bent bracket or see if it's possible to install a washer between the block and the bracket to get the pulleys into alignment. If it takes more than a washer or two, there's a bigger problem.
Hopefully your "other half" will realize how much joy you get from your Camaro and allow you to get a second one so you can both have fun.
I love your articles.
I have a '69 Rally Sport Camaro with hide-away headlights and the X11 package. It has a little rust, but nothing bad. Should I restore it, modify it, or is it OK to do both?
I originally thought it was a Z/28 but found out the Zs only came equipped with manual transmissions. My '69 had an automatic and still has a horseshoe shifter. How can I tell if it's possibly a COPO? When I bought the car, it came with manual four-piston disc brakes and a 12-bolt Posi rearend. I've included a picture of the trim tag. Maybe you can help decode it.
Thanks for the response,
A. Hi Dave,
In the pictures you sent of your '69, you included a picture of a trim tag, but you possibly included a different tag from another car you own. The picture is really blurry, but it looks like the "ST" (Style) line has 66-11837 and the "BODY" line has WRN-5117. The 66 is the model year of the car and WRN is Willow Run, Michigan. So the tag must have come off of a '66 Nova. The only first-gen Camaro plants were LOS or VN (Van Nuys, California) and NOR (Norwood, Ohio).
Unfortunately all the parts you have described could have been swapped onto your Camaro from a highly optioned Camaro with common hand tools.
An easy way to find out if a '69 Camaro is an SS, Z/28, or COPO 9560 or 9561 is if it's equipped with the dual-exhaust hanger plate welded to the side of the driver-side rear framerail. All of these performance Camaros came equipped with dual exhaust and would have the hanger plate. It's visible from looking in the rear wheelwell with the car on the ground.
If you have a real case for thinking your Camaro is a COPO 9560 ZL1 (with the aluminum 427) or COPO 9561 (iron block 427), there are some sources available on the Internet that can check your VIN against a list of known COPO Camaros. With a quick Internet search, you can do your own check on the 9560 ZL1 Camaros. The database for the 9561 Camaro VINs seems to be the list being guarded and locked in a vault.
I am restoring two F-bodies. One is a '67 Camaro and the other is a '68 Firebird. The Camaro has flared fenders all the way around to fit a set of 14-inch Ansen Sprint wheels. The Firebird is still on the road, but it's pretty bad. The wheel arch is damaged and there's an extremely large rust hole in the quarter behind the rear wheel. I want to replace the whole quarter-panel so that I don't have a long seam along the top of the body line.
After fixing the Firebird, I will dig into the Camaro. I want to blast it down and check the condition of the quarters. The flare job appears to include a lot of body filler. I can see it cracking away from the sheetmetal. At minimum, I have to replace one of the front fenders because the headlight assembly mounts rotted away long before I bought the car and was repaired using a bunch of filler.
On the quarter-panel, if I need a new one, how do I find out which manufacturer offers the best one on the market? I've read some things on the Internet indicating that some are not a good fit and lead to problems. I have some fabrication skills and tools, but I would like to save the time and effort by getting the best possible part from the start. I'm willing to pay more for the better part.
There's really no substitute for original sheetmetal, especially when it comes to quarter-panels. There are still a handful of salvage yards in the U.S. that specialize in classic cars. One place I've dealt with a lot is GM Sports (gmsports.com) in San Jose, California. They regularly get new inventory and have a full warehouse of parts and panels they've removed over the years.
Certain areas of reproduction quarter-panels can be more of a problem than others. From the Internet forums I've read, the most common areas that need additional work are where the tailpanel meets the quarter next to the taillight and also at the curved gap where the quarter matches up with the trunk lid in the hinge area.
There are good and not-so-good stampings of reproduction quarter-panels from different manufacturers for each vehicle year. For instance, company "A" may stamp a great quarter-panel for a '67 Camaro, but may not have a good stamping of a '69 quarter-panel. The role may be reversed for companies "B" and "C," so your best bet is to go check on some message boards or call a few shops for additional feedback. But remember, just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's fact, so take that into consideration.
A lot of people want to jump the gun and cut out a quarter-panel when a patch panel can sometimes do the trick. If installed correctly, they are a good solution if the damage isn't all the way up into the sailpanel and/or where the tailpanel meets the quarter. If the damage is isolated to the lower sections of the quarter-panel, consider all your options before making your first cut.
Hopefully the body filler on the '67 is only thick in the areas around the flares and the modified rear spoiler. Maybe the original wheel arches and the quarter-panels are still good under all that filler. You can use a flashlight to look at the backside of the quarters via the trunk. At least with your front fenders, you can unbolt them and replace them if necessary. If they are as bad as you described, it's possible they aren't worth the time to fix. Maybe sell them locally for a few bucks "as is" to recoup some cash for the project.
Got a burning tech question? Email Tony Huntimer at firstname.lastname@example.org