Car of the Week: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Ben Williams October 6, 2020 11 No Comments

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Lee Storch lastly had a second likelihood along with his 1969 Camaro Z/28, nevertheless it took him a very long time to get it.

Saying that Storch, a resident of Neenah, Wis., had vendor’s regret after he bought his Hugger Orange Z/28 again in 1972 can be a little bit of an understatement. He beat himself up fairly good for that call through the years. More than that, it drove him via a dogged pursuit for greater than three a long time to attempt to get the automobile again.

Luckily for Storch, the Camaro by no means left Wisconsin, and thru loads of gumshoe detective work, so much dedication and a few useful fellow automobile fanatics, he was in a position to purchase again the automobile he needs he by no means parted with.

This wonderfully restored 1969 Camaro Z/28 wears Hugger Orange paint with white stripes — as it did originally — and is equipped with the Rally Sport package, which includes the iconic hide-away headlamps. There may have been production muscle cars that were faster in a drag race in ’69, but few could stand up to the Z/28 as an all-around performer that could function in the real world.

This splendidly restored 1969 Camaro Z/28 wears Hugger Orange paint with white stripes — because it did initially — and is provided with the Rally Sport bundle, which incorporates the enduring hide-away headlamps. There might have been manufacturing muscle vehicles that have been sooner in a drag race in ’69, however few may stand as much as the Z/28 as an all-around performer that might operate in the actual world.

“I was the second owner of the car, and I’m the ninth owner of the car,” jokes Storch, who was in a position to purchase the Camaro for a second time again in 2004. “I got it back about 32 years after I got rid of it. I think I paid about 20 times what I sold it for, but I got the car back!”

Storch will admit that having a candy ’69 Z/28 with the Rally Sport bundle as a 19-year-old was a fairly candy deal. He had lots of enjoyable with the automobile for a 12 months, and the early fling made him a Camaro fan for all times.

“In 1971 I saw the car at a local dealership and bought it and had it one year. Then I sold it because I was getting married and had a little one on the way and it wasn’t the kind of car to keep,” says Storch. “So I bought it after one 12 months and naturally I regretted it immediately … Then in roughly the mid-’80s, I used to be curious the place the automobile was and if it was crushed or whether or not it nonetheless existed. So a pal of mine’s spouse labored on the police station and I gave them the VIN and was in a position to observe the automobile down and it was in Junction City [Wis.]. So I went there, knocked on the door, and the proprietor of the automobile confirmed me the automobile, nevertheless it was painted a unique coloration. I requested him if he needed to promote it and he mentioned ‘no.’

The high-back bucket seats, woodgraining on the dash and steering wheel, console, four-speed manual shifter and quick-ratio power steering were all nice driver amenities in a very sporty cockpit.

The high-back bucket seats, woodgraining on the sprint and steering wheel, console, four-speed guide shifter and quick-ratio energy steering have been all good driver facilities in a really sporty cockpit.

“I believe I gave him my identify and quantity and requested him to name me if he ever needed to promote, however that didn’t occur. So then fairly a couple of years after that, within the late ’90s, I may not go to a police station and get info, so I stuffed out a kind with the DMV and was in a position to find the automobile up north in a city known as Chetek. I known as the individual that owned it at the moment and he was in the course of restoring it and didn’t wish to promote it. So I knew this individual didn’t preserve vehicles actual lengthy, and I known as him as soon as a 12 months for 4 or 5 years and he lastly bought it to me.”

A LEGEND TAKES FLIGHT

You couldn’t blame Storch for falling exhausting for the ’69 Z/28. He was no totally different than numerous different automobile lovers — of all ages — who have been blown away by the early ‘Z’ vehicles that first took the muscle automobile world by storm for the 1967 mannequin 12 months.

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was the battle cry in board rooms of the Big Three automakers in the course of the late 1960s, and it was a motto that fueled the muscle automobile race and led to the disclosing of one of many nice American efficiency vehicles of its period.

At the time the Sports Car Club of America’s new Trans-Am “sedan” racing sequence was standard amongst race followers and influential on what was to come back from Detroit. In Trans-Am Cup competitors, engine dimension was capped at 305 cubic inches, so Chevrolet’s reply was a Camaro powered by a small-block 302 V-8. RPO Z28 was born and aimed squarely at making the brand new Camaro a winner on Trans-Am race tracks.

Under the hood of this car is a 302 small-block look-alike called a “Little Wolf,” which was substituted to help preserve its stock stock 302. Storch, who blew the original engine in the car back in 1971, calls the current V-8 his “play engine.” He still has a correct 302 on a stand in his garage.

Under the hood of this automobile is a 302 small-block look-alike known as a “Little Wolf,” which was substituted to assist protect its inventory inventory 302. Storch, who blew the unique engine within the automobile again in 1971, calls the present V-Eight his “play engine.” He nonetheless has an accurate 302 on a stand in his storage.

In the manufacturing automobile, Chevrolet mixed the 327-cid block with the 283-cid crankshaft and got here up with a 302-cid V-8. With a massive four-barrel carb, an aluminum high-rise consumption and L79 Corvette heads, engineers have been in a position to squeeze out 350 hp and 320 lbs.-ft. of torque at 6200 rpm. Publicly, the Z/28 was conservatively marketed at 290 hp at 5800 rpm and 290 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4200 rpm.

The Z/28 carried out very effectively and, because it was designed for aggressive street racing, it had terrific dealing with and braking to go along with its spectacular straight-line acceleration. The 1967 first-year mannequin may transfer from 0-to-60 mph in 6.7 seconds and did the quarter-mile in an hot 14.9 seconds at 97 mph. Its prime pace was 124 mph.

Z/28 emblems adorn the front fenders

Z/28 emblems adorn the entrance fenders

Only 602 Camaros with the Z/28 bundle have been produced for 1967, however demand escalated shortly and gross sales leaped to 7199 vehicles in 1968, then made a fair larger leap to 20,302 assemblies for 1969, which many buffs nonetheless contemplate the best 12 months ever for the Camaro.

The restyled 1969 Camaro physique featured extra outlined sculpturing and a squarish, race-car-like look. The Z/28 bundle was once more supplied just for the Camaro coupe in 1969. Some sources say that it got here in a fundamental model priced at $458 and a model with dealer-installed headers for $758. However, there have been truly at the very least six variations. The fundamental bundle launched Sept. 26, 1968, included the 302 V-8, twin exhausts with deep-tone mufflers, particular entrance and rear suspensions, rear bumper guards, a heavy-duty radiator with a temperature-controlled fan, quick-ratio energy steering, 15 x 7 rally wheels, E70 x 15 particular white-lettered tires, a 3.73:1 rear axle and particular hood and trunk stripes. Chevrolet mandated a four-speed guide transmission and energy disc brakes and really useful a Positraction rear axle.

There have been a number of adjustments to the Z/28 bundle in the course of the 1969 mannequin 12 months. On Oct. 18, 1968, vibrant engine accents and Z/28 emblems for the grille, entrance fender and rear panel have been added and rally wheels have been not specified, however wheel trim rings have been added. The worth remained at $458. On Jan. 2, 1969, a tachometer or particular instrumentation was made necessary and the worth rose to $474. On April 1, the specs have been modified to learn “dual exhausts” solely, wheel middle caps have been specified together with a entrance valance panel and rear deck-lid spoiler.

The coveted "Rally-Sport" trim

The coveted “Rally-Sport” trim

There are many variations between Z/28s, in addition to between authentic vehicles and the written manufacturing facility specs. For instance, very-early-in-the-run 1969 vehicles have been manufactured with the 1968-style stripes and 15 x 6-inch rally wheels. Buyers ordering a spoiler on the early vehicles obtained the 1967-1968 type spoiler. And these earlier Zs have been the one ones to hold the chambered twin exhaust system.

AN ORANGE CRUSH

Storch had simply concerning the hottest automobile on the town when he was 19. He purchased it utilized in 1971 with simply over 20,000 miles on it, and he had a blast. “It had the unique Z/28 302 with the smog system, chambered exhaust and the automobile has the Rally Sport bundle with the hide-away headlights and the customized or deluxe inside. It was actually a pleasant automobile after I obtained it… And sadly the very first thing I did was take the exhaust manifolds off and the smog system and throw it within the rubbish, and now these issues are price fairly a bit of cash!

“And I type of pounded it so the automobile actually went backwards after I had it. I most likely was the worst proprietor of the automobile. I used to be 19 years outdated and was pounding the automobile and I truly blew the engine up again on the time. I believe all the opposite homeowners after me seemingly took higher care of the automobile than I did. Then I bought it and regretted it and for years stored pondering, ‘I’d positive love to have that automobile again.’”

Storch’s street to recovering the automobile is a lesson in persistence and perseverance. He had a number of near-misses in his makes an attempt to purchase it again. He misplaced observe of the automobile a couple of instances, too, however one way or the other at all times managed to finally get a lead on it once more. It was by no means quite a lot of hours from his Neenah residence, and through the years he stored operating into individuals who helped him work out the place it was and who had it.

It is easy to see why the styling of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro is a fan favorite with its aggressive stance and presence. 

It is straightforward to see why the styling of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro is a fan favourite with its aggressive stance and presence. 

“In the ’80s after I regarded on the automobile and the man didn’t wish to promote it, I truly grew to become conscious that the automobile was on the market [in central Wisconsin], however sadly I used to be constructing this home on the time and was not ready to purchase it. And by not shopping for it then, after which getting again within the place to get it later, that most likely stimulated my want to get it.

“Finally, when I discovered it and the individual was keen to promote it, I used to be simply decided to get the automobile again. Of course, the man knew I used to be the second proprietor and there was no wiggle room. His worth was agency, and I used to be OK with that.”

The automobile that got here again to Neenah had been properly restored inside and outside, nevertheless it was now Daytona Yellow — a preferred and flashy selection, and likewise a manufacturing facility coloration in ’69 — however Storch simply couldn’t get used to it. He drove it for a number of years, then lastly determined to drag the set off on a repaint and return to the Hugger Orange.

“So I took it to a guy named Rick Gipp in Seymour [Wis.] and he did a beautiful job on the car. He stripped and did some repairs to it. I bought some quarters for it and he just re-did little pieces around the wheel openings and I think a few spots around the windows and doors, and the trunk lid was replaced because of a bunch of body filler and corrosion in it. But all in all, it’s a quite solid car for a Wisconsin car.”

Storch says the automobile ran positive with the identical substitute engine that was in it, however he determined to hunt out a brand new engine. Well, truly two engines.

This Camaro is "clean!" Even the trunk appears factory fresh.

This Camaro is “clean!” Even the trunk seems manufacturing facility recent.

“I blew the engine up in back in ’71 so it did not have the original engine. Then when I got the car back, it had a Z/28 engine in it, but it was newer than the car. So I found a Z/28 engine out East that was only 20 VIN numbers away from my car, so it was likely built the very same day. So I bought that short-block and I put it in the car, and then a few years after that I found an original cross-ram ]intake manifold] and added it to the car. I did a few things to bring it back [to original] and I’m kind of a numbers person and it has the original transmission, original rear end, and now it has a Z/28 engine only 20 numbers away from the original. That was the best I could do.”

The considered breaking the 302 engine once more — though he drives a lot gentler lately — weighed on Storch’s thoughts, nonetheless. He had gone via engine swaps twice with the automobile and he didn’t wish to do it once more, so he determined to protect the automobile’s most up-to-date energy plant.

“I made a decision I used to be going to place a ‘play’ engine in it and I discovered in {a magazine} an engine known as a Little Wolf and it’s type of a hopped-up model of the Z/28 302. So I constructed that up and put that in and I’ve the opposite engine on a cart within the storage. I additionally put in a TREMEC five-speed with the Wolf engine. It seems simply love the unique stuff, and I’ve the unique transmission and engine in my storage.

“It makes fairly good energy, and the Z/28 initially had the 4.10 Posi rear, and that’s a low gear. When it was new it had chambered exhaust and after I obtained it again I put chambered exhaust again on it. The chambered exhaust is fairly loud and it’s enjoyable to drive with that snotty sound happening the street, and it actually accelerates fairly effectively.”

Two issues that Storch didn’t have to exchange have been the spare tire, and the jack that got here with it. Amazingly, he nonetheless had them from his first go-round with the automobile.

“Originally, I ran an ad in the newspaper and nobody bought it, so I wound up selling it to a dealer. I didn’t get the price I wanted and I was irritated so because of that, I pulled the spare tire and jack out of the car, never thinking I’d get that car back again!” he recollects. “But I have that original spare tire from pulling it way back in 1971-’72 … I think it was a value thing. ‘Well that’s worth something and I’m not getting what I want for it.’ And it’s a good thing I did, because now I have the original spare.”

Storch and his '69 Camaro

Storch and his ’69 Camaro

Storch has made it one thing of a mission to search out out the whole lot he can concerning the automobile in the course of the years he didn’t personal it. He knew the automobile had been bought initially at Reeck Motors within the little Wisconsin city of Weyauwega — he later discovered the unique supplier and automobile’s first proprietor and so they every had their image taken with the Camaro — however filling within the later years took some doing.

“Through all the nice people I met at car shows and things like that, I was able to nail down every owner of the car, and I’ve put together a nice little book with the ownership of the car from new,” he says. “There is really a lot of nice people at car shows, and I was able to fill in a lot of the blanks just by talking to people and getting information and getting leads.”

A vibrant orange 1969 Camaro Z/28 with racing stripes and hidden headlights and all of the muscle automobile goodies attracts loads of consideration at flashes lately, and Storch is completely satisfied to re-tell the automobile’s lengthy and winding story. Even if no one observed the automobile, nonetheless, he is aware of the hunt to get it again once more was price it.

“You know, a common theme at car shows is people will come up to you and tell you they had a car like this and ‘I wished I would have kept it,’” he says. “And I know just where they are coming from.”

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