Chevrolet Camaro '76 350ci V8 AutoNumbers matching SOLD (1976)
THE FIRST owner of this lovely Firethorn red Camaro collected it from Jake Sweeney Chevrolet in Cincinnati on an August day in 1976. The car had barely travelled to get there,having been built at GM's sprawling plant in neighbouring Norwood Ohio.
The driver put 17000 miles on the odometer in it's first year,enjoying the power of the 350ci (5.7) V8 and it's 4-barrell carb and super smooth GM auto-transmission.
Sadly the owner died & his wife simply stopped making the payments,leading to the repossession of the car & its subsequent auction at a GM finance sale in 1977.
The second owner was a car buff,selling new Fords at Bob Williams Ford/Rolls Royce in Montgomery Ohio. He saw the Camaro at the sale & snapped it up,& it became his wife's runabout for the next 10 years. In 1988 the Camaro neede a little tiding here and there,despite having lead an easy & cared for existence.The owner's good buddy at Bob Williams had been the painter in the Rolls Royce bodyshop,but by this time had relocated to Ridgeview Lincoln Mercury in Covington Kentucky-just across the river from Cincinnati.The car was semt there for a light resto & repaint,with 4 extra coats of Rolls-Royce laquer being applied so they could be wet-sanded & buffed to a deep shine,with pin-striping being added by the owner in the style of the later 'Berlinetta' spec Camaros.
After this time,the car was never used in the rain again & only covered a few hundred miles per year. By 1998 his interest had moved into boats,so sadly he parted with the car, selling it a good friend in nearby Loveland Ohio who was to look after it with the same passion for the next decade.
In 2009,the 3rd owner decided that he too just didnt use the car enough,& it was spending too long under it's fitted cover in his garage & decided to sell.
Having regretted selling my '85 K5 Chevy pickup a few years back,I had a large V8 hole in my world & this lovely Camaro caught my eye on U.S. ebay. After a protracted (and nail biting) purchase, I arranged transportation from Ohio to Baltimore,& shipping to the UK where she arrived at Southampton docks just before Christmas 2009. I was overjoyed that the car was as good as I'd hoped. Having registered,licenced and enjoyed using her for Sunday best & attending shows,I too need to let the next custodian continue the next chapter of the car's life as I find I am still pining for a pickup...
Since purchase I have renewed the following;
Starter motor (started working intermittantly)
Alternator (occasional non-charge)
Front brake pads (had gone hard & glazed)
Roof lining (started to sag as they all do)
Exhaust.(Only because the original was too refined!) It is a lifetime guarantee stainless dual system.
Oil & filter.
I have fitted a neat gauge cluster in front of the centre console which contains temp gauge (wired up because as standard the car only has an idiot lamp) It now also has a tacho & voltmeter which just require wiring in.(This could be easily removed should you wish to return to stock.)
Rear springs.(Had sagged & as you can see from the pictures was sitting a little low-it now sits level & looks spot-on)
It has just flown through it's 3rd MOT with ease.
The following items would benefit from future work. There is a small blister behind the LHF wheelarch on the wing low down(not perforated). Also a small blister on the RHR arch. You have to look for both. The paint is crazed over the RHR arch (again,not noticeable from 6' away). Boot floor & area around rear screen etc where these usually rot badly are of course perfect.There are a few small stone chips on the front panel commensurate with mileage(I think this area is still in factory paint)
There is a weep just starting from the diff pinion seal (Engine & trans are dry)
The boot lid will not stay up unsupported. I dont know if this was because the spoiler was added after build & the torsion springs are weak,but Ive not bothered to lift the trim below the rear window to find out. A prop works fine.
The driver's seat base has a split in the cover along a seam.New covers are available from Ecklers/PUI etc in the States.Ditto a small split in the centre armrest.They haven't bothered me,but fixing these two would make the interior excellent-even the dash top (which is notorious for splitting) is excellent.
I have a library of Camaro books/manual/brochure that I will include if she sells for the right price.
Basically,she is a very very original,numbers matching lovely example of the 2nd generation body style,& whilst not concours is very honest & straight.She starts on the button & feels taught & smooth-and must only be bought by someone who will cosset her (the fitted indoor cover is still in the trunk) & not take her out in the rain-the previous owners would never forgive me!
PS/ I have had an enquiry as to what truck I am looking for; 1973-1987 C10 shortbed V8 petrol or similar. (Cheyenne/Silverado/Custom Deluxe/Scottsdale etc)