Imagine For A Moment That You Have A 1969 Camaro With 6 Cylinders…

One of the reasons that I love old cars so stinkin’ much is because of the colorful history behind them. Each car has a story to tell, and each year that passes makes the tale that much more interesting. For me, it’s often the cars that started life as lowly base models that end up being the most interesting, because they are often the ones that people cared least about. Who the heck wants a slow muscle car, am I right? :: raises hand ::

The handsome car in this photo is exactly what I need more of in my life.  It has somehow survived the last 40+ years with merely SIX cylinders under the hood, and THREE speeds on the floor. How?  I really have no idea.  It’s like seeing a honey badger riding a unicorn, it just doesn’t happen. If this were my car, I would not change a single thing about it.  I love it for everything it is, and everything that it isn’t.  My question to you is, if somebody were to hand you the keys to this car, what would you do with it?  Could you keep the straight 6 in it, or would you take the road more often traveled?

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

20 thoughts to “Imagine For A Moment That You Have A 1969 Camaro With 6 Cylinders…”

  1. Tear it out, that has maybe 150hp… on a good day… with the power steering and alternator removed… drive shaft disconnected…

    Or you could be practical; “Hey this unleaded gas is going to damage the valve seats, maybe I should take this 6 out to save it. Better put a 396 in there so I can drive it until leaded gas comes back”

  2. Great question. Personally I would leave the six in and drive it as-is. Horsepower isn’t everything and it would be just fine for highway cruising. Around town you’re not doing burnouts at every stoplight so what do you need more power for?

    Of course if the stock six wasn’t running or quit in a catastrophic fashion that was not cost effective to fix, I’d drop in a my all time favorite motor, the Ford 4.0L “Cologne” V6. Haters gonna hate, but it’d run forever and be cheap ‘n easy to maintain.

      1. I can get a good running 4.0 engine, trans, and all wiring for under $500; modify the fuel system, make the gauges talk to the sensors (not a big deal, all analog), and that’s about it.

        Could even still take it to car shows; at most local events people don’t look under the hood.

  3. I think I would pull an LS motor and 6 speed from a Gen 4 Camaro. Upgrade to power front disc brakes. Work some magic to get A/C working. Equip it with a 3.73 posi rear. Install a simple period correct looking AM/FM stereo. Install the old school horizontal muffler with the stock placement mandrel exhaust. It MUST have the horizontal output stock chrome tailpipes like I had on my 69 pace car. Install a 1″ front sway bar and 3/4″ rear to help it around corners. Put some modern rubber on a set of 69 style 15×7 rally rims. Replace the carpet and repair the interior or dashpad back to like new. Same for door rubber and body bushings.

    My goal would to have it look all GM when done. It should break 20mpg on the highway, turn mid 14s in the quarter and then I would be happy to drive it every day.

    Although I am not a big fan of fake SS badges, I do love the 69 SS oil cooler hood. It just made me feel good looking over the hood of my last 68 Camaro. Even more so than the cowl hood on my last 69.

    Then I would use POR paint underneath, in all the key areas to keep it from rusting. The goal for me would be to drive it everyday except salt season.

  4. i would leave it as is. though i would have to learn how to drive a 3 speed. at one point in life i dreamed of a 250 straight six camaro. at that time those guys were making some serious headway at the dragstrip with them.
    learned to drive in dad’s 68 chevy truck with a straight six 292. boy did that thing take a beating and keep on working.
    fav car is still a chevelle and i would gladly take a 65 with a 6 in it.

  5. I would leave it for sure. Yes it is not a great powerhouse or anything, but It has managed to stay unmolested for a long time. Just because it is not exciting that does not mean it does not deserve to be remembered as it was.

  6. All great ideas, and as the owner of the car pictured above here’s my plan for the muscle-less muscle car. Just drive it and enjoy as is. I’d really like to save it for when my son is old enough to drive. All I’ve done to the car so far is added the rally wheel’s,front spoiler, and replaced a bad brake line.
    The camaro sports a 70’s pioneer super tuner 2 with tape player,black interior,3 speed hurst shifter,mud flaps,and not much more. It’s really just a plain Jane base model x-11 camaro that a blast from the past & fun to drive & own.

  7. A Great Aunt of mine had one that was special ordered in 1969, with rs/ss trim code, fold down back seat, 6 cyl powerglide. She always wondered why everytime she stopped for gas, strangers kept trying to buy the car from her. She said “it’s only my old Chevy”. Unfortunately she didn’t call me either, when she decided to get rid of it, despite my repeated instructions to do so. Oh and the heartbreaker, never been stored outside, 28,000 miles, sold it for $1500, in 1998.

  8. I just ran across this blog….interesting thing is I have just spent the last year restoring a VERY stock 69. Basic 230 6 cyl. w/ powerglide on the column, Radio delete, 4 wheel drum. I am only sure of 4 options on the car…aoutmatic, bucket seats, 14″ rally wheels and shoulder belts. Its Frost Green w/ dark green standard int. The 6 cyl. gets quite the reaction and usually appreciation. I traded a truck for the car with the original owner that purchased it at a local dealer. He told he the car was all stock as he purchased it with exception to the starter and this appears to be true. The starter was stamped by a local rebuild shop when it was refurbished. I have added three things during my rework, right side mirror…everything I drive has one and I look for it constantly when I drive the car not to mention a little more chrome and balance. The other two things were the front and rear spoilers…with rally wheels I felt the car was just asking for them. If the car had hubcaps I would have left it alone.
    If I miss the muscle I have a fix for that….I come home and get the other car…72 Chevelle SS, 454, 400 trans, 373 posi…all better now!

  9. My wife says in response to my comments about how rare the vintage cars are that I point out to her, “I can see why” in a derogatory tone…but there is something interesting about a still retaining 6-cylinder muscle car. A relative had one of these and since regrets letting it go – we all imagine that they have mostly been V-8 replaced….

  10. i bought a 68 camaro convertable with six cylinder and three speed on the floor … have driven it every summer since 1982 … after kids were gone from home, started to do a little work; rebuilt engine with hardened valve guides, front disk brakes, maybe the third convertable top, and new interior … even today people love to see it on the road, not knowing it is a muscle car “imposter”

  11. I just bought the blue 69 that was in a super Chevy article in 09 it has a 6 with a drop top and a drop down seat my wife want to keep the 6 and refresh the engine & tranny will it hurt it if I get a repaint on it I think it need it. B

    1. Hi,
      I think that as long as a paint job is done properly, and doesn’t leave the car in an endless state of restoration, then it is perfectly fine to do. That being said, cars are only original once, so if you have “decent” original paint, you may be able to just “repair” it with new clearcoat & some nice polish work. I would ask around, and see what the majority of car-people think. 🙂 It’s not an easy decision!

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