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1968 Camaro - what should I do with it?


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So it appears that this year I'll be getting my father's 1968 Camaro Base V8 (327, 2brl, 3sp on floor).  He's the original owner and it was the car I learned to drive manual in.  Overall its just a survivor car with minimal updates.  I updated all suspension and brakes many years ago, as well as the ignition.  Just things to make it safely driveable on a regular basis.  The car starts and runs anytime you want it to.  Interior is all original (blue) and showing it's age, especially on the door panels.  There is the typical rust in the rear wheel arches and some surface rust on the hood, but overall in good shape.  

 

Now that I'll be taking ownership, I'm debating what to do with it.  I don't have the budget for a crazy restoration and it's not an original SS or RS car anyway.  Just a basic V8 car.

 

Just getting the conversation started here because so many of you know these old American muscle cars better than me.  Sometimes I think about making a track car out of it, and other times I think I'll just repair the rust and get a basic paint job so it looks decent and drive around town occassionally.

 

What are your thoughts and advice?

camaro.jpg

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I used my '69 Firebird convertible as a test platform in high school, did a series of RA 400s with various mods with a switch-pitch TH400 and a 2.56 rear gear (lots of open road up here!). Put on big sway bars front and rear and did autoslaloms with it. Found out very quickly that the suspension was stiffer than the chassis, whenever I got on the throttle in a hard left hand turn, the left rear quarter panel would flex and pop in. I had to open the trunk and pop it back out with my fist. That eventually led to a crack in the metal.

 

Still have the car, still waiting to find the time to restore it, and have entertained the thought of making a coupe into a track car. A Penske/Donohue tribute car would be a blast to run around in Vintage Trans Am with.

 

image.jpeg.84bdad4123f5135440081f9a3005891d.jpeg

Edited by mender
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1 hour ago, QuaTTro said:

other times I think I'll just repair the rust and get a basic paint job so it looks decent and drive around town occassionally.


I vote for this! 

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That's in too nice of shape to make a track car out of. I'd suggest fixing the rust before it progresses further and drive it.

 

I'd pop a 4 speed in it myself for a driver and probably throw a few things at the engine to give it a bit more go without getting crazy.

 

On the flip side, some people go crazy for survivors and value them very highly. Depends on the extent of the rust, which from the pic appears minimal.

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Thanks everyone, this is great feedback and supports what I what originally thinking...fix the basics and just drive around town for fun.  It's definitely fun and nostalgic since I grew up riding and driving this car.  

 

Given this current plan, what advice do you have on fun simple engine mods.  Should I upgrade and intake and move to 4 barrell carb?  headers and exhaust?  yes the 3 speed isn't ideal, but I kinda want to keep it for the nostalgia of learning to drive in this car.  There's so many options it's tempting to pull and store the original engine/trans and install something better for cruising around.

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That's a 210hp 327 with 8.75 compression. It basically depends on what kind of power you want. If you start going into the engine beyond a mild cam, assuming the heads don't need any work, you'll start looking at a lot of labor. A cam, headers, intake with 4barrel could get it up around 300hp without much trouble. I'm sure Mender could probably come up with something pretty specific for soemthing like that.

 

Chevy sells complete, brand new with warranty, SBC crate engines that may be an option. This one is a very nice street cruiser. Won't melt your face but won't embarrass you either when tipping into it.

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https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Chevy-Performance-19420875-SBC-350-HO-330HP-Turn-Key-Crate-Engine,441228.html

 

Brand new Muncie 4 speeds here;https://www.5speeds.com/newm22.html 

$1900 for a standard M20 or M21. M20 is the wide ratio, good from cruising around town with highway rear end gears.

 

There are so many options one really needs to sit down and figure out which way to go. Anywhere from mild to wild is available for these right off the shelf.

Edited by Bandit
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2 hours ago, Team Infiniti said:

If there is nothing wrong with the engine it should be fine to continue as it has for the last 50 yrs.

 

I kinda lean this way too, as it's just kinda fun and cool to still be driving this old motor.  Amazing that it still runs everyday. Only ever had 1 rebuild I believe....once in high school my brother and I decided to see how fast it could go.  At around 120 on the highway we heard a clunk and saw sparks out the back.  the bell housing cracked and engine/trans was sagging.  Told Dad "we don't know what happened, it just broke on our way home."

 

Aside from that rebuild, last year the original carb was replaced with a reman unit (I kept the original) because nobody would rebuild it.  

2 hours ago, Bandit said:

 

 

There are so many options one really needs to sit down and figure out which way to go. Anywhere from mild to wild is available for these right off the shelf.

 

There's almost too many options it can be hard to choose!

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Has it ever been repainted?

 

If original, I'd try to save as much as possible. May be difficult or impossible depending on fading, but I'd look into it. Adds value even if a fresh repaint would be higher quality.

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3 minutes ago, Bandit said:

Has it ever been repainted?

 

If original, I'd try to save as much as possible. May be difficult or impossible depending on fading, but I'd look into it. Adds value even if a fresh repaint would be higher quality.

The driver side has been repainted due to an accident my senior year in high school.  Door was replaced and entire side painted.  The rest is original.  Again it's all in "ok" condition.  Little dings and stuff as it was my father's daily driver until the mid-90's.

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22 minutes ago, QuaTTro said:

The driver side has been repainted due to an accident my senior year in high school.  Door was replaced and entire side painted.  The rest is original.  Again it's all in "ok" condition.  Little dings and stuff as it was my father's daily driver until the mid-90's.

A lot of it comes down to what you want to do with it and if you plan to keep it, which it seems is the case. If no plans to sell then I wouldn't worry too much about maximizing the value and just do what you prefer.

 

I just thought of that as I know a guy with a '67 427/390hp Vette that he is the second owner of. He bought it in '69. The car is original paint except for some work done in the 80's along the top of the windshield due to some minor stress cracks. Can't even tell it's had anything done and presents very well.

 

It's cool that you have this car and the history of it. My dad also bought a 68 Camaro new. His was a Z28.

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That's mom on the hood. They were on their honeymoon out west.

Unfortunately it ended up like this;

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I wish I had dad's car. 🙂

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19 minutes ago, tommytipover said:

Do you have kids? Looks like the perfect vehicle for taking kids to the ice cream shop. Hell, take the whole neighborhood's kids, no matter how many trips it takes :)

I do have kids!  I have fond memories of riding on the bench rear seat of this car.  When it would get icy here, my dad would purposely fishtail the car around.

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13 minutes ago, Bandit said:

Drive that around enough and you will have some guys offering to buy.

 

I find it so cool to see a totally unrestored driver 68 Camaro.

You canot avoid that on every drive in it.  Today we only drove for about 30 min and had someone at a light ask us to light it up.  A Gen 1 Camaro in any driveable condition will turn heads

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Out with the old (original 327 2 bbl, Powerglide, open 10 bolt 2.73, now in storage):

 

KIMG0108.jpg.abc6a2ce5d33ee7b2b61349e6a3e128d.jpg 

 

In with the new (383 4 bbl, 2004R, 3.55 12 bolt posi):

KIMG0112.jpg.358618efa2585cbbf6294f4b5d7dda0e.jpg

 

The owner wanted to have fun without wearing out the original numbers matching drivetrain.

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3 hours ago, QuaTTro said:

Brake pedal felt like the booster wasn't working at all.  The Vac hose looked fine.  Any thoughts on what to check?

Unplug it from the booster after the engine has been running, should have vacuum in the booster.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/6/2021 at 10:51 PM, mender said:

That booster doesn't look right:

KIMG0117.jpg.c81b0565a4db5dc5f1c6512533f0c3dc.jpg

The Booster was part of a disc brake upgrade kit that came from Rick's Camaros shop about 10 years ago.  The car was originally all disc drum brakes.  The brakes has worked great the past 10 years and yesterday was my first time to drive it when the pedal felt bad.  I just asked my dad and he's never changed the brake fluid in 10 year /smh

Edited by QuaTTro
corrected "disc" to "drum" brakes
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