For Ray Roberts of Herring Cove, Nova Scotia, time and marriage didn’t diminish a love affair with a classic Camaro.
“I’ve always wanted an early (Chevy) Camaro, but they were hard to find and hard to get parts for”, says Roberts.
In his younger years he had a yellow 1979 Camaro Z28 satiated his need to have a vehicle created during the muscle car era. He sold that ’79 Z28 after eight years when life got busy and complicated. Although he still pined for the dream of owning a near-original Camaro.
327 base coupe
3 Speed Automatic, 2800 stall converter
Date of Manufacture: October 8, 1968
Manufacturing plant: Van Nuys, California
Original dealership: Hansen Chevrolet, Wilshire Blvd.
Been modified to look like SS but it’s a ‘clone’ Originally setup for drag racing, but ‘calmed down’
Looking in Canada proved fruitless as any cars that met his wishes were both rare and expensive, or were nothing but rusted out shells of their former glory sitting in car wreckers’ lots.
“I started to look for a ‘69 for about four years steady and I couldn't find any of this side of the border,” said Roberts. “A friend of mine hooked me up with someone in the U.S. He was hauling them up from the U.S. as far as Texas, I believe. So I got a hold of him and he looked at a few for me, and they weren't the ones. And then at the time, the Americans were selling off a lot of their toys.
He said to go find a little bit more money and lowball them. "Sure enough, it worked.”
After a car broker he found one in Wilmington, North Carolina, Roberts had it shipped to his home in June 2010.
Thanks to the help of several Corvette Associations Roberts researched his new ride. He found out the entire early history of the car including it’s date of manufacture (Oct. 8, 1968) and the GM factory is was built in (Van Nuys, California). Off the assembly line the car was shipped to the Hansen Chevrolet Dealership on Wilshire Blvd., located minutes from the Hollywood sign in California. From there the history of the car is a little fuzzy. But Roberts did find a debit slip, dated in 1999, under the front seat of the car. It was from a drive through fast food restaurant in Burbank, California. He has that debit slip tucked away in a keepsake binder, along with he has taken of the car and its adventures here in Canada.
According to Wikipedia the Camaro was created to compete against the runaway success of the Ford Mustang. The first-generation Camaro debuted in September 1966, for the 1967 model year, up to 1969 on a new rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform and was available as a two-door coupé or convertible with 2+2 seating, and a choice of 230 cu in (3.8 L), 250 cu in (4.1 L) inline-6 or 302 cu in (4.9 L), 307 cu in (5.0 L), 327 cu in (5.4 L), 350 cu in (5.7 L), and 396 cu in (6.5 L) V8 powerplants.