1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car Convertible
Project or Driver Quality, Real L78 396
A 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Convertible in driver quality condition shows up in the Cars-On-Line.com Camaro Section this week. So what’s the big deal? With 3,675 Camaro Pace Car convertible factory dealer editions built in 1969, Chevrolet created more of them than any other factory Indy Pace Car edition up to that time. How rare could this one be? Ah, but this Camaro Pace Car is one of only a few hundred equipped with the L78 396/375 horsepower big block motor from the factory. For a Camaro collector, we’re talking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at this asking price. (Be sure to review the Indy Pace Car post by a private seller.)
Now before you get too excited, the private seller from Warminster, Pennsylvania wants you to know that this driver quality historic Camaro Pace Car currently has a small block 350 under the hood. He says it runs and drives excellent but, due to its rarity, should be restored back to its original condition. Also included in the sale is a completely correct L78 396-375 horsepower engine along with many other NOS GM parts.
The second owner held the 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Convertible for 31 years. He purchased this pace car in 1986 at the Englishtown Spring Swap meet in New Jersey. The guy he purchased it from resided in Toms River, New Jersey. That person was the original owner and purchased it new from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, New Jersey. The Camaro was raced at Englishtown Raceway Park through the 70’s.
Only seven are currently in the Pace Car registry. This RS/SS Z-11 L78 396 Pace Car convertible comes with a 4-speed and is documented. The Camaro was certified by Jerry MacNeish of Camaro High Performance and comes with his Certificate and Inspection Sheets and the NCRS Shipping Data Report. The car has its original, never removed cowl tag and hidden second VIN #. The interior is original other than the reproduction front seat covers. The original date coded trunk mat is still present in excellent condition and the trunk still shows the original speckle paint.
This car comes with many original parts and NOS parts including a complete date coded NOM 396/375 horsepower engine from carb to pan. It pre-dates the cars build date (03B) by 10 weeks. Complete Engine 396-375 HP December 30 1968. The actual block casting # 3955272; Date L 30 8-Heads Casting # 3919840; (2) Dated L 13 8-Intake Casting #3933163; Date 12-24-68-Holley Carb. #3959164; list 4346 date 8B5-Flywheel Casting # 3789733; Date- Exhaust Manifold #3909879; Date D 28 8-Exhaust Manifold #3916178; Date L 14 8-Bell Housing # 3899621 radiator; 4-speed 3- row IL 00 68 ZD tag #3017837; 8-original fan clutch & #772 fan blade Dated Dec. 1968; trunk mat #85052402A; Date 9293-Two original in the GM box full quarter panels; and two original in-the-GM-box door skins.
This was a well optioned Pace Car from the factory with tilt steering column, original rosewood wheel, console and gauges, power steering, power disc brakes, 331 Posi-tract rear, Deluxe interior, special ducted ZL2 hood, 4-speed, L78 396-375hp special high performance engine, door edge guards, Rally sport equipment, spoiler equipment and Pace Car accents.
Being a bit of a project, it will need Pace Car graphics to finish the restoration.
History of the 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car
GM knew they had something special when they tweaked the design on their popular Camaro for 1969. When they had the opportunity to show it off as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 Championship race that year they pulled out all the stops. The 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car Convertible was a design for the ages. It is, without question, the most popular Indy Pace Car of all time.
All Camaro Pace Cars were RS/SS optioned convertibles and featured the very desirable and beautiful styling of the concealed/hideaway Rally Sport headlights. The Orange Bucket Seats have Houndstooth inlaid fabric which blends seamlessly with the orange trim and carpet. No SS stripes were used, but instead were replaced with orange Z/28 hood stripes and deck lid stripes. The Z11 package also added orange D96 fender stripes and had white rocker panels instead of being blacked out. The 396 cars had white sailpanels.
According to the Camaro Research Group* required options with the Z11 package included C05 white convertible top, D80 spoilers, YA1 deluxe seatbelts, ZJ7 Rally wheels, ZL2 special ducted hood, Z22 Rally Sport, Z27 Super Sport, and Z87 custom interior (orange houndstooth, code 720).
There are no actual numbers recorded for how many L78 equipped 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car Convertibles were produced by Chevrolet. Estimates range between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total number built. In other words, historians beleave that between 367 and 551 Camaro Pace Car Convertibles came with the L78 396 big block motor.