1968 Chevy Camaro Project Car - Let The Games Begin!

We Hit The Streets In Search Of Our Next Camaro Performers Project Car. And This Time, It's A First-GEN!

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“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
If Mr. Dickens hadn’t penned these words nearly 150 years ago, you might think he was a hot rodder, since it pretty much sums up what our hobby is all about—especially when it comes to finding a new project car.

Camp 0810 01 1968 Chevy Camaro Project Car Camaro Rendering 2/15

It’s the best of times when you experience the excitement of buying a new ride, and sometimes it’s not so much fun when dealing with hidden rust, previously performed bad work, and parts that don’t fit. Building a Camaro from start to finish provides a roller coaster of emotions. We’re sure Charles would agree—if he knew what a roller coaster was.

A TALE OF TWO PROJECTS
With Editor Nick wrenching on his ’71 Camaro, that left me with three choices for a project car—a first-, a third-, or a fourth-gen Camaro. Assistant Publisher Joe Rode has been doing stories on his ’83 Camaro, so that narrowed my choices to a first- or a fourth-gen. Since I didn’t want to deal with California’s performance-hindering emissions issues, the winning idea was to build a first-gen.

Only problem is, the pricing for first-gens is nearly absurd. The only “cheap” cars out there are piles of rust that barely resemble the shape of a Camaro. Since most of the parts would be replaced, we decided to look for a decent roller, preferably somebody’s aborted project.

Camp 0810 03 1968 Chevy Camaro Project Car 67 Camaro Rs 3/15

With my first-gen, Nick’s second-gen, and Joe’s third-gen, we would have most of our bases covered. So, with a car in mind, I started combing the Internet and swap meets for a suitable candidate.

STAR SEARCH
An old adage comes to mind here: “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.” It’s rare that you can find a good project car in your first attempt; really rare. During my search, I looked at car after car. Sometimes it was as if the seller had just watched Barrett-Jackson and thought their pile of poorly assembled parts was
worth a mint.

Other times the car advertised as a “rust-free survivor” turned out to be a Bondo-encased collection of worn out junk. Finding a starter car is a compromise between cost and condition.

The key is not to pay for a bunch of parts you’re not going to use. Who cares if the car has a freshly rebuilt 350 small-block if your plan is to stuff in a big-block? Does it matter if the seller throws in worn-out original seats if you plan on going aftermarket? These extra parts add to the initial cost of the car and, at best, you’ll only be able to sell it off for a few bucks. Conversely, you don’t want to find a car completely stripped of what you do need. For example, consider OEM stainless trim. This stuff can be pretty pricey to buy, so having it included with the car is a definite bonus.

Camp 0810 04 1968 Chevy Camaro Project Car For Sale Ad 4/15

AND THE WINNER IS…
I had been hunting for more than a month with no luck when I came across a decent-looking ’68 on eBay. The “Buy It Now” was set at $8k, but the bidding was stalled out at $5,700. The car was located about 150 miles from me and was in just the condition I was looking for. I wasn’t prepared to pay $8k for it, but I wanted to be the top bidder when the auction ended.

With only 20 seconds left in the bidding, I tossed in a figure of $6,100, but was snipped at the last second by a bid of $6,101. I e-mailed the seller and found out he sold the car to the guy who topped my figure by a buck. Now that was a buzz kill.

Two more weeks and many frogs later, the eBay seller e-mailed me that the guy who bought the Camaro changed his mind when he saw it. Turns out he thought it was in more of an assembled state. The seller wanted to know if I was still interested. Since it had been delivered to the new guy, the car was only 50 miles away instead of 150, so I went to check it out.

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
If Mr. Dickens hadn’t penned these words nearly 150 years ago, you might think he was a hot rodder, since it pretty much sums up what our hobby is all about—especially when it comes to finding a new project car.

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