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Classics 51,000-Mile 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 was Parked in 1972

15:13  16 december  2019
15:13  16 december  2019 Source:   hotrod.com

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When Chevrolet introduced its ponycar Camaro in the fall of 1966, it devised a game plan with the mindset of bringing Chevy power and Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree. “I always had a 1969 Camaro .

Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

When Chevrolet introduced its ponycar Camaro in the fall of 1966, it devised a game plan with the mindset of bringing Chevy power and performance to the masses in a compact, but sporty, package, a recipe that still works today. This concept will never go out of style, as it's a proven winner on the showroom floors of dealerships across this great nation. That's why the Camaro is still alive and kickin' today.

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Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy's F-body and was well aware of his favorite car's pedigree. "I always had a 1969 Camaro. Since I turned 16 I've bought, hot rodded, and drove 1969 Camaros. It's my passion. I think I've had probably 15 or 16 of them," he says. Yes, this Chevy performance fanatic never met a first-gen Camaro he didn't like.

"Well, there were other cars as well," he admits. "There was a Corvette, a 1968 Firebird, and a killer LS6 Chevelle. Everybody thought I was going to kill myself with that last one. But I proved them wrong."

a car parked in front of a building: Doug Murphy had a great starting point when he decided to restore this particular Camaro, as not one of the body panels needed to be replaced. Yes, this is a 100 percent original sheetmetal car, now bathed in a fresh coat of its original Azure Turquoise color. © Hot Rod Network Staff Doug Murphy had a great starting point when he decided to restore this particular Camaro, as not one of the body panels needed to be replaced. Yes, this is a 100 percent original sheetmetal car, now bathed in a fresh coat of its original Azure Turquoise color.

Even though he strayed on occasion, Murphy would always end up going back to F-bodies, even after that last Chevelle. "I went back fulltime to the '69s and never looked back," he says.

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Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

Out of all the cars he's scored over the years, there was one Camaro that really did it for him, a car he just couldn't believe he found, and by accident.

Concealed CamaroIt all started like a typical day back in 1990. "I had Wednesdays off, so I usually scanned the local Auto Trader newspaper classifieds on Tuesday night, looking for deals on cars. That way I could spend my day off doing what I loved, hunting down cool muscle rides."

And there it was. "In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there was an ad that read simply, '1969 Camaro for sale. Best offer.' I called and set up a meeting the next day. The owner couldn't give me any more details over the phone, which didn't give me confidence." So he and his dog hightailed out the next morning in his pickup to a town 40 miles away.

"When I got there, he told me the car was stashed in a garage under the house. He then said that it was his son's car, who had passed away. The car had been sitting since 1972." When Murphy reached the car, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. "I saw the 396 badges right away. Then I noticed that it was an SS/RS." After further inspection, it certainly looked like a time capsule, except for the side pipes installed by the original and only owner.

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Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

Doug Murphy from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, grew up loving Chevy ’s F-body and was well aware of his favorite car’s pedigree.

a car parked in front of a house: Here’s how the hidden Camaro looked right after Murphy bought it and cleaned it off. © Hot Rod Network Staff Here’s how the hidden Camaro looked right after Murphy bought it and cleaned it off.

The father was in his 70s and was now willing to part with his son's car. "I'm taking bids if you're interested," he said. Murphy wasn't thrilled with that, as he was ready to make a fair cash offer. However he did what the owner asked and gave him a written bid on a piece of paper. It was for $5,500, and he sealed it in a white envelope he was given. "To be fair, do you know that this is a rare car?" Murphy told him, being as honest as possible. The owner shrugged.

Realizing that Murphy was being an honorable player here, the owner opened the bid from the only other party to show up. "His bid's higher. It's $6,000," said the owner. Murphy increased his bid to $6,500. However, the owner wanted to give it more time, and Murphy left without the prized Camaro.

Over the next week, Murphy called the owner to find the bidding had gone up to $10,000, which Murphy felt was still a fair price for the car. After some prodding over the phone, the owner relented and made a verbal deal with Murphy to buy the car. With that news, he made plans to pick up the Camaro.

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a motorcycle parked next to a car engine: Though the big-block had been dormant for almost two decades, Murphy managed to get it running and put it back on the street. From there, all the engine needed was to be freshened up to make it a reliable runner. As you can see, it’s very presentable and is as original as a 51,000-mile L35 396 can be. © Hot Rod Network Staff Though the big-block had been dormant for almost two decades, Murphy managed to get it running and put it back on the street. From there, all the engine needed was to be freshened up to make it a reliable runner. As you can see, it’s very presentable and is as original as a 51,000-mile L35 396 can be.

However, the good news was short-lived. He got a call from the owner stating that his other son now wanted the car. Murphy went back to the garage and confronted the owner and his son. The son told him he wanted to restore the car, which led Murphy to interrogate him. "Are you a mechanic? Have you ever worked on a car? You think you can do it? It's not cheap if you can't do some of it." Knowing Murphy was making sense, the father stepped in and told him to take the car. "I called my buddy with a flatbed and told him to get here quick."

Cash CamaroWhat Murphy bought was an original SS/RS Camaro that still had its factory Azure Turquoise paint and black Deluxe 712-code interior, both of which were in good shape. Under the hood was an L35 396/325hp big-block, rowed by a Muncie M21 four-speed. The BU-code 12-bolt Posi rearend had 3.73 gears. On the corners were the original 14x7 Rally wheels which were wrapped in four flat tires. The car stood with 51,000 miles on the odometer.

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a close up of a car © Hot Rod Network Staff

Murphy immediately went to work on the Camaro, getting it running and installing four fresh tires. He drove it that way, but soon found out he could not pass Pennsylvania State inspection with the side pipes the way they were. "So I pulled off the pipes and put a basic exhaust system on it for the time being while I drove it locally," he says.

a close up of a machine: The Camaro’s born-with Deluxe vinyl code-712 interior was in excellent shape and just needed a good cleaning to bring it back to life. Check out the extremely rare and original console-mounted eight-track tape deck between the seats. © Hot Rod Network Staff The Camaro’s born-with Deluxe vinyl code-712 interior was in excellent shape and just needed a good cleaning to bring it back to life. Check out the extremely rare and original console-mounted eight-track tape deck between the seats.

After three years, Murphy decided it was time to bring the car back to its former glory. He wheeled it into the garage and dismantled it. Amazingly enough, the body was in excellent shape and needed no new panels. "I then sent it to my friend Jim Erny's shop, where we finished the bodywork, and he painted it the original color." While that was going on, the L35 was freshened up, and the transmission was rebuilt by Hoss's Gear Shop in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Once the body was finished, it was sent over to Joe Swezey and Brian Henderson at Super Car Workshop. "Brian and Joe are friends of mine and know every nut and bolt on these Chevys," says Murphy. The three of them dug in and started putting this Bowtie puzzle back together. The guys walked Murphy through the process, helping out where needed. Some things were easier than others, but overall the process went smoothly.

It helps when you begin with a sound starting point. Many of the parts on this SS/RS Camaro were in good enough shape to reuse. The interior was near perfect and really only needed a good cleaning to make it look fresh. Other pieces just needed a light restoration to match the fresh exterior. Overall, Murphy's Camaro's restoration went smoothly due to the fact that it was all there, and was kept in good shape.

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a car parked in a parking lot: To keep it looking stock, Murphy cleaned up the original 14×7 Rally wheels and shod them in Kelsey repop F70-14 Goodyear Polyglas rubber. © Hot Rod Network Staff To keep it looking stock, Murphy cleaned up the original 14×7 Rally wheels and shod them in Kelsey repop F70-14 Goodyear Polyglas rubber.

Once finished, the car was treated with kid gloves. "I take it out on occasion to some of the big shows," Murphy says. "I'm not that proud to admit it's a trailer queen now, but I'm fine with that. I'll always have a hot rod to tweak and drive out on the streets, so no need to beat on this one." For now it sits between his 1996 SS Camaro and a project 1968 Camaro in his garage. "One thing's for certain: I'll never part with it."

We don't blame you.

a car engine © Hot Rod Network Staff

At a Glance

1969 Camaro SS396

Owned by: Doug Murphy

Restored by: Owner; Super Car Workshop, Latrobe, PA; Jim Erny

Engine: 396ci/325hp L35 V-8

Transmission: Muncie M21 4-speed manual

Rearend: Chevy BU-code 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and Positraction

  51,000-Mile 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 was Parked in 1972 © Hot Rod Network Staff

Exterior color: Azure Turquoise

Interior: Deluxe black vinyl bucket seat

Wheels: 14x7 Rally

Tires: F70-14 Kelsey reproduction Goodyear Polyglas

Special parts: Rally Sport equipment, 8-track player, X22 options

Did You Say 1 Million Dollars for a 1969 Camaro? .
Besides the long list of F-bodys crossing the block at Barret-Jackson Scottsdale, there was one Camaro that will be talked about forever, this very original 1969 Camaro ZL1.Besides the stunning ZL1 there were plenty of Camaros with all sorts of options and condition. Everything from survivor cars to full out modified late model race cars.

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