Stuffing a big block into just about any classic is guaranteed to make for an entertaining ride
When it’s a 1969 Camaro dressed in Daytona Yellow paint, countered with black Z/28 stripes and a slick Houndstooth interior, then you’ve really got something special. Professionally built with an eye toward detail, this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 496 tribute gives a nod to one of the most potent muscle cars of all time, and it does so in a big way. With a built 496 V8, a quick-shifting 5-speed, and top-end options like 4-wheel disc brakes, this big-block beauty arrived in our showroom with a chip on its shoulder – ready to kick butt and take names.
If you could have a vintage Camaro built any way you wanted, isn’t this pretty much it? The bodywork is in great shape and there’s no mistaking that fantastic ’69 Camaro profile, arguable the best-looking F-body of all time. The slick Code 76 Daytona Yellow paint is indeed this car’s original color, and the factory shade comes complete with Z/28 style stripes and a factory-correct black vinyl top that turns the look up to ’11’. A chin spoiler and cowl hood look aggressively cool up front, while the ducktail spoiler out back is the perfect bookend, and the accompanying blacked-out SS grille and SS tail panel follow the same script. Fog-lights underneath that SS grille mean this Camaro looks predatory the second you lay eyes on it, although the black vinyl roof is a nice touch that adds a bit of grown-up sophistication. Even though Daytona Yellow is certainly an awesome color, we agree that breaking it up with contrasting black was a bold move that absolutely worked. This Camaro is every bit a high-end driver, which is just the way we like our muscle cars, and even though there are some imperfections, they are relatively minor and all but disappear when you step a couple feet back. When you’re back there, take in all this Camaro’s greatness, from the raked stance to the shiny brightwork that includes optional rear quarter ‘gills’, slick rocker panel trim, and glistening bumpers. ‘SS’ badges are in all the right places, and the ‘496’ badges on the fenders preview the beast living underneath the cowl hood. It’s not a perfect show-car, but rather an extremely solid, great-looking driver that’s hard to beat, and when it’s hammering down the road everyone will want to be the guy behind the wheel.
Black Houndstooth interiors always look elegant and sporty, and the workmanship inside this Camaro’s cabin is excellent throughout. The bucket seats show no wear and are comfortable and supportive enough for long hauls, while the dash, center console, matching door panels, plush black carpets, and taut headliner all look practically new. A woodgrain-applique adorned center console features a chrome Hurst shifter topped with an 8-ball knob that controls the Tremec 5-speed gearbox below, and it’s joined by a set of white-faced auxiliary gauges up ahead that look practically new. There’s more custom woodgrain on and around the glovebox and dash, and it does a great job warming things up inside, as does the woodrimmed Grant steering wheel at the helm of the cockpit. Just beyond that 3-spoke steering wheel are a set of stock AC gauges in the original dash cluster that really grasp the driver’s attention, including a factory tachometer that keeps an eye on the revs. Options are fairly scarce in this no-frills cabin, but you do get a working heater/defrost unit, seatbelts up front, and an upgraded Blaupunkt AM/FM/CD in the factory slot that sounds great. And although there’s no air conditioning, by the looks of the stock controls and Astro Ventilation vents, this was very likely a factory A/C car. That alone makes it more valuable, and should the next owner want cold air, the upgrade would be fairly simple and not require any major surgery. The back seat barely looks used, and out back the surprisingly spacious trunk carries its original blue plaid mat for a very honest look.
Spectacular is one word for the mammoth 496 big block Stroker V8 under the hood. It started life as a 454 (and still decodes to that), but after a $20,000 build cost (over $11k in parts alone) and a host of upgrades – including a .030 overbore with a bore of 4.310 and stroke of 4.250, Brodix Race Rite aluminum heads, a lopey cam, a giant 4-barrel carburetor, Edelbrock aluminum intake, and long-tube headers – it’s an incredible runner with huge power and torque at the ready. It’s an absolute burner with plenty of pop up and down the throttle, a terrific bumpy lope at idle, and a downright erotic sound further punctuated by the Magnaflow X-pipe dual exhaust system below. The powerful motor takes no prisoners and has some impressive horsepower, thanks to a bunch of go-fast parts carefully selected by the builders (just ask us for the laundry list). It’s also just docile and easy enough to manage in real-world traffic, and a giant Ron Davis aluminum radiator that’s assisted by two big electric fans keeps it cool. Beautifully dressed in polished valve covers and a stock-style big block air cleaner complete with custom 496 decals, it pops out from the black inner fenders, and the Chevy Orange enamel on the block itself give the engine bay a period-correct look. Power 4-wheel disc brakes and a responsive power steering system provide a pleasant driving experience, while the upgraded Tremec 5-speed manual transmission spins a more-than-capable 12-bolt rear end out back. Factory Rallye wheels provide a traditional muscle car look that work better than just about any other pair of shoes, and they come wrapped in 215/65/15 front and 245/60/15 rear BFGoodrich white-letter radials.
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States