The ’69 Camaro is one of the most iconic cars ever built in America. No probablies, maybes, perhaps, it’s one of the most iconic. Even the Ford an Mopar guys have to concede that. Thanks to a long run for the model year, over 200,000 ’69 Camaros were built, and their popularity has stayed stead and strong in the decades since. Today there are even new bodies being built, so you can build a totally brand new ’69 Camaro from scratch with no original parts.
ABOVE: The 2018 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year, the Detroit Speed & Engineering 1969 Camaro "Tux". An amazing build with lots of subtle details and mods, but still an instantly recognizable, iconic '69 Camaro.
Recently at the 2018 Goodguys PPG Nationals the title of Street Machine of the Year went to the ’69 Camaro named “Tux” built by Detroit Speed. As with all of DSE’s builds, the car is a magnificent piece of craftsmanship and styling, with lots of subtle mods and design cues that deserve nothing less than appreciation and respect. But through every minute of checking out this finely built machine, there was something nagging at the backs of our minds, like the after effect of eating a really great but spicy burrito. It took a bit of quiet meditation (and a glass of 16-yer-old Lagavulin scotch) to get all the synapses firing in the right order and resolve what that nagging thought was.
Are we getting tired of ’69 Camaros?
You can go to just about any kind of car show and be pretty much assured you’ll see at least a couple of ‘69s in the field, and at least one of them will be some sort of custom build. When you go to the number of shows we typically do in a given year, that makes for a lot of ’69 Camaros to see and check out, from stock restoration cars to full blown mega builds like the DSE car. And at a point, they all start to blur together, sometimes to the point you just overlook a car (no matter it’s build style) because it’s another ’69 Camaro.
Yes, it’s a great looking car with strong, energetic lines that exude speed and power even when the car is sitting still. You can put just about any engine under the hood, and a plethora of aftermarket parts means you can upgrade and modify them in a variety of ways. But after a while, when you see the same canvas used over and over again for building a car, they all just start to look the same. That’s not any sort of criticism to the builders who put a lot of time, money, and effort into building them. It’s just a simple statement about when you see basically the same thing over and over again.
And it’s not like there aren’t plenty of other great Chevrolet, or GM classics that would be a fantastic starting point for a build. Novas, Chevelles, Impalas, you name it. When was the last time you saw a pro touring build ’69 Impala/Biscayne/Caprice? Or a ’66 Buick A-body?
So, what do you think? Does it ever get old seeing ’69 Camaros used for builds over and over again? Or can you never get enough of seeing Chevrolet’s iconic muscle car as the canvas upon which builders display their talents?