Mark Doyon wasn’t looking for a ’69 Camaro RS/SS convertible with 60,000 original miles and original paint. He says, “A year ago Labor Day weekend, my son and I hit a few garage sales in our area [Rochester, Michigan]. We almost passed by one. They had baby things out in the driveway.”
Luckily, they did stop. Mark’s young son, Alexander, said, “Hey Dad, I think there’s an SS something in the garage…”
The car didn’t appear to be part of the garage sale. However, on closer inspection, Mark found on the window a sticker that read, “1969 RS/SS convertible for sale, $18,000.”
Even though Mark had no intentions of buying the Camaro, he asked the lady, “Why so much?” She explained the Camaro was “all original” and had been parked since 1987. She bought the vehicle a few years earlier.
Mark noted the interior looked “mint.” Three of the “old, old” tires would not hold air, and all of them were bald. Under the hood was a 350, topped, curiously, with a “302” sticker on the air cleaner assembly. Mark is a car enthusiast and knew the hood was not an SS hood. It was cowl induction, which was very curious. The transmission was a two-speed Powerglide, which also seemed odd to him.
About two days later, Mark was surprised at “big prices” he found online for restored RS/SS convertible Camaros. He didn’t know if the cars sold for $75,000 to $100,000, but the sellers were asking that much.
Mark called the owner back and asked her for the VIN and firewall tag numbers. The original color, stripe, interior, black top, and spoilers front and rear lined up with the numbers on the Camaro and sparked Mark’s interest. The RS/SS became “money in the bank” to him. He felt like “worst case scenario” would be break even on the price.
“I got it for 15 and put $1,000 worth of tires on it and 500 bucks in fluids and other miscellaneous items.”
Mark hand-cranked the engine to make sure it wasn’t seized. He changed fluids and plugs and tinkered with the Rochester four-barrel. The original 350 fired up and ran fine.
The car drives “straight as an arrow but needs a full restoration.” Mark also noted a rust hole in the rear quarter where he could “put my finger through.”
Mark is driving the car for now and having fun researching the history.
In the glovebox was the Protect-O-Plate and owner’s manual with the original owner’s name. He found the owner’s name listed online at an address 30-40 miles from his house and made a phone call.
“I left a message. I said, ‘Hey, this might sound crazy. If you or your dad owned a ’69 Camaro in 1969, I just ended up with it.’”
That night Mark was extremely excited to answer a phone call from the original owner’s son. His father won the car in a Standard Oil scratch-off contest. The scratch-off tickets were free with a purchase.
Here’s what happened 44 years ago. The owner filled the tank of his brand-new ’70 Monte Carlo, black on black. The contest was very late in the 1969 calendar year. The ’70 models were already out. The owner laid his scratch-off ticket on the car seat and didn’t scratch it off for about a week. That’s when he realized he had just won a brand-new Camaro RS/SS convertible.
Mark is researching how the Camaro was equipped new. Being so late in 1969, Mark doesn’t believe the owner could have ordered the Camaro. He believes the Camaro was already built, and came with a four-speed Muncie manual transmission and an SS hood. But the owner set up the car with a Powerglide, through the dealer, for his wife. More curious is the cowl induction hood, which mates to the 302 air cleaner, ala the Z/28 of the time.
Mark is just glad he stopped at this garage sale and his son noticed the “SS something” in the garage. For now, the car is a decent driver, but one day Mark may do a full restoration.
Published in MSN Autos | Written by Jerry Heasley of Hot Rod 03/19/2015