Muscle Car Review # 2: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS396

1969 Camaro SS396

Owned by: Michael Montgomery, Issaquah, WA

Restored by: Owner; Dan's Bodyworks and Restoration, Puyallup, WA

Engine: 396ci/350hp L34 V-8

Transmission: Muncie M20 wide ratio 4-speed

Rearend: 12-bolt with 4.11 gears

Interior: Black vinyl bucket seat

Wheels: 14×7 standard steel

Tires: F70-14 Goodyear Polyglas

Special Parts: N.O.S. cowl induction

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Michael & his Camaro :

“At one time I had '50 and '57 Chevys with 327s, and I knew a few guys in high school with hot Camaros. In 1969, a couple friends and I went for a test drive in a new SS396. I came away impressed.” Michael went to look at his coworker's newfound joy, and had his eyes reopened to the universal appeal of the '69 Camaro. With his search for another GS proving fruitless, Michael began to consider Chevrolet's pony car as a possible target of his muscle car obsession. But it couldn't be just any old '69 Camaro. Rather, it would have to be something special to shake his longstanding Buick allegiance.

After chasing his love for Camaro, He finally found it and fortunately contacted the owner. These are the following restorations done: Light bodywork and a new coat of Sikkens Butternut Yellow were accomplished by Dan's Bodyworks and Restoration in Puyallup, Washington. Everything else was done by Michael to stock specification, save for a few add-ons he couldn't resist at the time. We're speaking of the cowl induction and rear spoiler, which Michael obtained in N.O.S. form from his local Chevy dealer, and which he now says—many years after the fact—that he may remove in the future.

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Michael's day two makeover includes '70s era Hedman headers, which were coated in black metallic ceramic, and a Professional Products aluminum intake carefully stripped of all manufacturer identification. Internally, Britco Racing Engines remachined all dimensions to spec, and then installed a L78 forged crank, Scat rods, and an Erson hydraulic roller cam. The original cylinder heads were fitted with L78-spec valves and Comp Cams roller rockers, whereupon the whole thing was dynoed at 463 hp on the Britco engine dyno.

According to Michael, the engine assembly is a great combination, with plenty of power and enough civility for pleasure driving and proper power-brake operation. These days he and Debbi still get out regularly in the car, and despite the über-detailed appearance, it has never been trailered. So, has Michael ever regretted straying from his Buick roots and jumping onto a Camaro bandwagon that can sometimes see itself coming and going? “The truth, yes … and no. I can go to 10 shows and maybe see one '65 GS. There are so many '69 Camaros these days, usually two or three at each show.”

“I love the Camaro though, and wouldn't sell it to get the Buick. “-Michael

A Camaro will always be a Camaro! It's perfect on its own way.

Do you agree?

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