• Automotive Hats
  • 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 'Daytona 500 Pace Car'

    Contrary to popular opinion, Chevrolet’s sporty Camaro was designed from the outset as a more conventional replacement for the rear-engine Corvair and not a belated General Motors response to Ford’s wildly successful Mustang. From its debut in late 1966, the Camaro was value-priced from just $2,466 for the basic hardtop coupe and available with virtually every Chevrolet option. Best of all for performance fans, the Camaro’s engine bay accommodated virtually the entire Chevrolet passenger-car engine range, from thrifty sixes and lightweight small-blocks, all the way up to fire-breathing Mark IV big-blocks.

    The Camaro proved to be an extremely successful gamble for Chevrolet and public demand continued unabated for 1968 and 1969. Meanwhile, Ford Mustang sales began to stall, reflecting the greater variety of competitors in an increasingly crowded market for sporty personal cars. Changes for 1968 represented a number of careful refinements and new frontal styling for 1969 plus more detail changes made a great car even better. The year 1969 also marked the end of the line for the first-generation Camaro, which remains highly coveted today. With its endless options list, high-performance powertrain choices and iconic styling, the Camaro was a natural choice for pace-car duties at America’s top racing events. Most notably, the first-generation Camaro paced the 1967 Indianapolis ‘500’ and NASCAR’s signature race, the Daytona ‘500,’ in 1968 and 1969.

    Originally titled to NASCAR co-founder Bill France, Sr., this outstanding Camaro SS396 Convertible served as the official pace car for the 1969 edition of the Daytona ‘500’ race. It also paced the 1969 “Firecracker 400” held on July 4, 1969 at Daytona. Interestingly, driver LeeRoy Yarbrough won both races. The consignor acquired the Camaro during the mid-1980s and at the time, the Camaro was painted silver with a black convertible top but retained its blue interior. It was driven in parades in Atlanta and eventually given a high-quality restoration, which continues to present very well. The Camaro’s early history was researched and confirmed, with the car now offered at auction complete with a copy of the original title to NASCAR signed by William C. France and photographs from the Daytona archives, showing the car’s original license-plate number 8W16640, which matches the plate number on the car’s title. Accurately reproduced graphics from the Camaro’s use at Daytona in 1969 adorn its flanks.

    Highly equipped with factory options, this RS/SS Camaro is powered by a 350-horsepower 396 Big-Block engine mated to a Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission. Other highly desirable features include a stainless-steel chambered exhaust system, air conditioning, power top, and power windows. An outstanding and fascinating piece of high-performance and motorsports history, this 1969 Camaro will make an excellent choice on all possible levels.

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