Back In 2009, the September issue of Hot Rod featured a rendering created by artist Steve Stanford that envisioned what the first-generation Chevrolet Camaro would look like if it had debuted years before 1967. This Camaro concept drawing took inspiration from some of Chevrolet’s best looking vehicles from that era, including the ’61 “Bubble Top” Impala, the ’62 Impala SS409, the ’57 Bel Air and the ’65 Corvair among others. While the car was never intended to leave the page, one 1969 Camaro owner decided to bring the sketch to life. The result is the stunning Chevrolet Camaro Z/409, which is now being offered for sale by Classic Car Investments LLC.
The shape of the Hot Rod rendering is quite a bit different than that of the first-generation Camaro this build is based on. The most notable design cue from the Stanford art is the dramatic change to the car’s roof design. In order to achieve this look for the real-life recreation, the rear third of a 1965 Corvair roof was chopped and massaged onto the Camaro. A number of other body modifications help to complete the transformation, including flush-mounted rear tail lights, redesigned front and rear valance panels with recessed aluminum plates, recessed waterfalls cut into the decklid to accommodate 1961 Chevy emblems, and integrated rocker moldings. The extensive body work no doubt played a huge role in the over 5,000 man hours and $520,000 invested into this build.
Under the hood of the Camaro Z/409 sits a 1962 SS 409 block which has been bored and stroked to 472 cubic inches, with the motor being fed by original-spec Carter Carburetors and am aluminum intake date-coded to 1962. Total output for the vintage set-up is a healthy 498 horsepower and 466 ft/lbs of torque, with power being routed through a A TH400 automatic transmission complete with an adapted 409 4-speed shifter arm and a Ford 9-inch rear end out back. Despite the old-school motor set-up, this Chevrolet Camaro packs plenty of modern performance components under its skin. A complete Heidts subframe and 4-link suspension kit helps to stiffen the muscle car up with the help of some subframe connectors, and mini tubs in the rear wheel wells help to fit extra rubber under the shapely fenders. To make the most of that rubber, big Wilwood disc brakes sit behind a one-off set of knock-off wheels by EVOD Industries that utilize original Corvette knock-off nuts from the time period.
The Camaro Z/409 also received serious modifications to the interior to complete the back-dated look. A 1961 Chevrolet dashboard was custom fit for the interior, complete with an original 1961 steering wheel and the rare SS 409 Sun Tach with a 6,200 rpm redline. The two-tone bucket seats are finished in 1961-spec Seville Grain red vinyl with a black insets, with a matching headliner above. Custom door panels, quarter-panels and a rear package tray come together to round out this killer interior. It’s not entirely old school inside however, as a concealed 1,400 watt Memphis Audio sound system provides the tunes, while amenities like a tilt-column and ice cold air conditioning routed through factory-style ducts keep the Camaro Z/409 cozy.
Classic Car Investments LLC currently has the car listed for $195,000, which is certainly a lot of money. It is hard to gauge the value of a highly customized vehicle like this, despite the Z/409 being a multiple award-winner with appearances at the Grand National Roadster Show, Sacramento Autorama and Portland Roadster show. Regardless of the list price, you wouldn’t be able to build a Chevrolet Camaro with this kind of style for any less than the half-million that went into this project. But hey, Classic Car Investments LLC says they’ll entertain interesting trade offers as well.