Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
This is a true Bondurant Race School car, #1. 426-hp, 6.2-liter V8, 6-speed automatic, paddle shifters, rear-wheel drive, air conditioning, heads-up display, backup camera and sensors, 20-inch wheels. Only 8,700 original miles. All tires and brakes have been returned to factory specifications. This car can be registered and driven on city streets. All factory engine, transmission and smog parts are on the car. Ready to race and have fun.  

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS Bondurant Racer
Years Produced:2010–present
Number Produced:90,310 (2012)
Original List Price:$35,880
SCM Valuation:$18,000–$28,000
Tune Up Cost:$250
Chassis Number Location:Driver’s side dash, under windshield
Engine Number Location:Stamped on rear of block, driver’s side
Club Info:American Camaro Association
Alternatives:Any late-model ex-racing school vehicle, including Camaro, Mustang, Corvette, etc.
Investment Grade:D

This car, Lot 113, sold for $19,800, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas, NV, auction, held September 24–26, 2015.

When I was 22 years old, I joined the team at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, AZ. I was put in charge of roughly 40 cars used for the Advanced Road Race classes. I’m a Mustang guy, and Ford was Bondurant’s supplier at the time. It was my dream job.

I’ll spare you the high-profile name dropping, but getting to run on track and learn from some of the best drivers out there — students and instructors alike — makes for a great day at work. Over time, I learned to be a pretty decent driver.

Over the next 3½ years, I spent countless hours on the track, making sure the cars were good enough for the students. These cars were driven hard and broken often due to constant abuse.

Back then, the Advanced Road Racing fleet was made up of aging 1989 and 1993 Fox-body Mustang GTs. I remember liking the ’89s much better. They seemed less refined. They would drift nicely at 80 mph and had less body roll than the ’93s.

All Bondurant cars were race-prepped by Roush Racing, with safety equipment, fire-suppression systems and suspension mods for handling. The only modification to factory drivetrain specs was the removal of the catalytic converters to reduce the risk of fire, and cooling-system upgrades to handle the Phoenix heat.

These cars were not street-legal and never saw the street. All cars were still owned by Ford, and once the useful life had been completely wrung out of each unibody, they were scavenged for parts and crushed.

Bend it, mend it, repeat

In my years there, I saw cars catch fire or get stuffed into tire walls by inexperienced drivers more times than I could count. Those cars were always put back together. The corporate value was in a car’s income potential, not its street value. Totaling a car was unheard of.

The 1989 cars were so well worn that toward the end, I remember the final death blow taking the form of a sheet-metal split that would typically form in the transmission tunnel and run up the face of the firewall to the cowl. Pretty impressive. What is even more impressive is that these cars had only covered between 30,000–40,000 miles before their date with the crusher. But they were race cars, and race cars live hard lives.

From Blue Oval to Bowtie

Then, after 2002, GM became Bondurant’s vehicle sponsor. Haulers full of new Corvettes for the students appeared, rounded out by a new support fleet built of many other GM nameplates. Part of the GM deal was to dispose of the Ford inventory, so Bondurant had a yard sale.

Keep in mind, up until that point Ford mandated that everything be crushed. I personally know of a couple collectors who purchased some of the late-1990s Mustangs, certainly on long-term speculation. They went for between $11,000 and $15,000 based on condition — prices I thought were pretty high considering they were track-only cars that could not be registered for traditional street use.

Of course, today you can register these cars in Arizona because they are more than 15 years old, but the guys who bought them had to wait that long.

What’s the point of this story? Well, for one, I enjoy the memories of days on the track, but really it’s to illustrate the abuse the race cars endured. In addition, it’s because to date, many more ex-Bondurant Mustangs and Cobra Crown Victorias (very cool!) have hit the open market than Bondurant GM cars, so they’re our comparisons to this late-model Camaro.

Looking through the ACC Premium Auction Database, I see only two auction transactions back in 2013 for two separate Mustang school cars. I remember these cars well. They were used for beginner courses and they were worn out when I knew them. They traded for cheap used-car prices, which is about right because what do you do with them? These transactions also showed that the school name didn’t really add a premium to a worn-out car.

Where’s the value?

There is no doubt that Bob Bondurant is a racing legend. He is also a nice guy and is involved with the school to this day. Will his school become as legendary as he was as a racer? I say no. It’s a business — and not the same sort of business that Shelby American was under Carroll’s guidance.

In our subject car, I see a bone-stock Camaro with a few options, no race prep, and an automatic transmission. Very few Bondurant cars ever had automatics, as heel-toe downshifting is a main part of the course curriculum.

So how then was this car used? I called my friend and longtime Bondurant instructor Danny Bullock, who confirmed that most likely this car’s 8,700 miles were racked up by Teenage Defensive Driving, corporate events, and paddock duty in the autocross or the accident avoidance simulator. The 2012 Camaro has a much stiffer unibody than the old Fox Mustangs, but even if it didn’t, this one’s probable use is still good news. No hard racing time means less chance of daylight shining through the body seams.

Also worth noting is the fact that Chevrolet’s deal with Bondurant today is akin to a lease program. Bondurant swaps out cars often, and they are kept street-legal. When sold, generally the cars are stripped of any Bondurant identity and moved out through the dealer network, or at auction like this one. But key to all that is that cars used in the program rotate in and out relatively frequently — more so than the Mustangs I knew.

Not a bad deal

If one were to Blue Book this as a used car, it should trade in the $25,000 range with so few miles. The discount paid here probably had something to do with how those miles were accumulated, a process which was, if we’re being honest, not likely as smooth as your average Sunday cruise with the wife.

At the end of the day, this is a used car with a 30-second story and some stickers. Wherever you go, people will think you work for the company. For me, that’s a pretty cool memory. But most buyers will get tired of telling the story. Take the stickers off and what you’ve got is a stock — but pretty well used — Camaro. However, all things considered, I’d still call it a good deal.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

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