It seems hard to justify the extra $75,000 to own #1, especially as there's another #1 out there from the Norwood plant
Introduced to the public on February 26, 1970, the 1970 Camaro series stayed in production for twelve years. This handsome design survived gas crises, "big bumper" redesigns, and emasculating emissions. Attesting to its popularity, the last year's production in 1981 totaled 126,139 units, almost the same as the 1970 model year, when 124,901 cars were produced.
In all, Chevrolet built 1,936,869 second-generation Camaros, which makes the very first one an important automobile. Chevy had two production lines, and this car-L500001-was built in Van Nuys, California. It is the first of one of the longest lines of sports cars ever built. The other production line at Norwood, Ohio, is characterized with the prefix "N."
The second generation Camaro was dramatically restyled, with a long nose, short deck, and square grille. This first car has a full-width front bumper over horizontal parking lights, as opposed to the half bumpers and round turn signals in the Rally Sport. It's on the same 108-inch wheelbase as the earlier cars but is three inches longer overall. Plain, smooth sides lead to a blind C-pillar and Kamm tail with round taillights.
This 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe has just completed a comprehensive restoration, and has been repainted in its original classic white with a black vinyl roof and blue interior. It's powered by its original 350-ci, 250-hp "NN" V8 with a 350 Turbo Hydramatic auto transmission. The original assembly sheet was salvaged and the car has its original options-air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, console, tinted glass, white letter tires, convenience lamps, pushbutton radio, windshield antenna, clock, custom seats, and deluxe interior.
Records indicate this Camaro Sport Coupe was originally a courtesy car in the regional test fleet, and it's sure to be welcome at both concours and Chevrolet events as a centerpiece.
|Number Produced:||1,936,869 (124,901 in 1970)|
|Original List Price:||$2,839|
|Tune Up Cost:||$275|
|Engine Number Location:||Passenger side front of cylinder head|
|Club Info:||American Camaro Organization, The F-Body Organization|
|Alternatives:||1970 Pontiac Firebird, 1970 Ford Mustang, 1970 AMC AMX|
This 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe sold for $104,500 at Worldwide’s Houston Classic Auction, in Seabrook, Texas, on May 5.
It’s hard to think of the second-generation Camaro as groundbreaking in the history of American sports cars, but at its introduction in February 1970, it was a complete departure from GM’s previous pony cars. Road & Track touted it as “the best American car we’ve ever driven” and “the first effort since the 1963 Corvette to create a real American GT.” It was longer, lower, and wider, with styling supposedly influenced by contemporary Europeans. Only a coupe was offered, and everything from a 250-ci, 155-hp straight 6 to a 396-ci, 375-hp V8 could be fitted from the factory.
The basic Sport Coupe, like this car, featured a one-piece front bumper. Glue-on windshield rearview mirrors made their Camaro debut here, as did in-glass radio antennas. The Rally Sport package (RPO Z22) dropped the hidden headlights from the ’67-’69 models, and instead consisted of small split bumpers and marker lights on either side of a blacked-out grille. It was available on both SS and Z/28 models, and was arguably the most attractive of the options offered. The second-gen Z/28 package dropped the high-winding 302 in favor of a solid-lifter 360-hp 350 V8, which could be had with an automatic for the first time.
While built on the same style unitized chassis as the earlier cars, the ’70 was equipped with a more heavily reinforced front subframe and updated suspension and steering components. A-arms and coil springs were again used up front, while the rear suspension still made use of leaf springs and a live axle. Because of this, handling was predictable and relatively responsive, and GM’s bulletproof small- and big-block engines provided reliable performance and cheap maintenance.
Long doors drop half an inch
Part of Chevrolet’s new styling included the removal of the rear quarter windows used on the ’69. The doors were lengthened to make up the difference, and steel crash bars were installed inside to protect occupants in the event of a side impact-another Camaro first. Anyone who has driven one will point out how long and awkward the doors are, and that getting out of a second-gen in a Civic-sized parking space with the windows rolled up is an exercise in contortion. If you parked facing uphill, you might as well just stay in the car. Door hinge pins don’t live long here, and because of that, Camaro doors are known to drop about a half-inch when opened, and they usually require a healthy slam to close.
Camaros built after 1973 succumbed to the same emissions and safety regulations that hurt both the performance and styling of everything else in the U.S. at the time. Plastic bumpers, square taillights, leaky T-tops, and an ugly wrap-around rear window became synonymous with GM’s F-bodies, and because of that, pre-1974 cars have become the most desirable among Camaro fans.
This price represents the highest amount paid at auction for a run-of-the-mill second-gen. SCM Auction Analyst Carl Bomstead stated in his report that $30,000 is the top of the market for a restored early car, and I have to agree, although even that number seems optimistic considering the current softening market for American muscle. Aside from museum display or drawing a crowd at an all-Chevy show, it’s hard to justify the extra $75,000 spent to own the first-especially considering there’s another 00001 out there wearing an “N” from the other Camaro assembly plant, in Norwood.