Photos by Jerry Heasley
It’s hard to go wrong with any 1969 Camaro. There are good, better, and best choices, but hardly any poor choices as long as the car isn’t a total rust bucket. Even lowly six-cylinder coupes have value as bases for modified cars.
Convertibles have always done well in the collector car marketplace. First generation Camaros have succeeded for several reasons. They’re handsome cars, they were affordable when new, which helped production (63,154 first gen Camaro convertibles), they could be highly optioned, they’re easy to restore, and they’re fun to drive.
Within the first generation Camaro convertible hierarchy, the six cylinder cars anchor the list and the big-blocks top it. In the short three-year span of the first gen Camaro, it was twice chosen to pace the Indy 500. The 1967 Indy 500 Camaro Pace Car replicas are very collectible, but only about 104 were built.
We chose the 1969 Indy 500 Pace Car replica as a sure bet because of its far greater availability (3675 units sold), its flashy orange interior and graphics, and the general popularity of 1969 Camaros.
Ironically, the original price of the Z11 Indy Sport Convertible Accents option was a bargain $36.90. The catch was that you had to order a Super Sport/Rally Sport Dover White convertible with the custom interior, cowl induction hood, and rally wheels. The Z11 option was essentially the Hugger Orange stripes, trim, and Indy 500 decals. Within the Super Sport option parameters, you could choose the base 300hp 350ci small-block V-8 or any of the four 396ci big-blocks (325hp, 350hp, and two 375hp versions). The actual Indy Pace Car was equipped with the 375hp 396.
A 375hp big-block Pace Car is the most desirable. We rank the 4-speed and automatic transmission as pretty much a tie. Convertibles with automatics fit the whole cruising scene nicely. A nice thing about choosing a 1969 Camaro Indy Pace Car is that the less expensive small-block versions have the same great visual impact as the big-block cars.
Seven Sure Bets
Collectible Camaros that Don’t Require Selling the Farm.
1969 Camaro Pace Car Convertible
Leading the Pack
1969 Camaro SS 396 Coupe
375hp of L78 Big-Block Muscle
1970 Camaro Z28
Beauty, Brawn and Balance
1979 Camaro Z28
Resurrecting the Z28
1990 Camaro IROC-Z
Top Down Rockin’ in an IROC Convertible
1993 Camaro Pace Car
The Fourth Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car
2002 Camaro Convertible
After 35 Years, the Camaro Exits In Grand Style