The Early ’60s Camaro That GM Never Built

In the world of custom car building, it’s not unusual to find projects that combine elements and inspiration from different eras, the most common being vintage cars reimagined with modern running gear, updated interiors and contemporary styling modifications.

Glancing at Michael Feinstein’s ’69 Camaro from across the exhibit hall at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s yet another pro touring Camaro build. But a closer look reveals it to be something much different.

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Rather than using newer parts to update the Camaro for modern times, this build looks to the past for its inspiration.

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Dubbed the ‘Z/409′, the Chevy muscle car imagines what the Camaro might have looked like had GM introduced it during the late 1950s or early 1960s. The idea was originally penned by Steve Stanford for an issue of Hot Rod magazine back in 2009, but Nostalgia Motor Sports decided to go ahead and make it a reality.

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As far as the exterior goes, the most noticeable change is the Camaro’s completely reprofiled roofline. Borrowing elements from the Corvair, the new rear window is mounted flush for more of a bulbous look with the quarter windows following the familiar profile.

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The Camaro’s front and rear styling has been redone to better fit with earlier styling trends, including a ’57 grille emblem and a tail panel that brings the ’61 Chevy to mind.

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And speaking of a ’61 Chevy, the dashboard and steering wheel come from a ’61 Bel Air, while the interior features seats and upholstery designs that are equally retro.

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Last but not least, when you look under the hood you won’t find a typical small-block or a modern LS swap. That’s a classic 1962 409ci V8 massaged to make 500 horsepower and of course mated to a 4-speed stick.

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Given how popular the ’69 Camaro is, it’s really hard to do something that hasn’t been done before, but the Z/409 is not only overflowing with uniqueness, it makes for a very interesting ‘what if’ scenario that has Chevy beating Ford to the Pony Car punch.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia



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Oh WoW! That's just stunning. Despite the historic influences it still looks quite modern. I guess that's mainly due to the new sleek rooflines. I love it!


I want to like it, and I'm sure a lot of time, money and effort went into this car..but I'm just now feeling it for some reason. I love "pro touring" and "resto-mod" cars, but this one doesn't do it for me. Also, I'm more of a fan of cars that aren't as over restored as this car is, since it probably spends its life as a show queen. Perhaps I'm wrong though.
But the great thing about the car world, is that what I don't like about this car, someone else will absolutely love.


This is pretty sweet. I'm not usually into american muscle, but I do love pro-tour and resto-mod cars. This fits weirdly in that mix, lol.


Interesting idea. But I wonder what a bubble top roof from a 61 Impala or 62 Bel Air would look like on  68 or 67 Camaro.


Thank your for sharing!  I'm not too sure I like the bulbous look of the rooftop, especially in the rear, between the rear of the rooftop, and the trunk line.  The Camaro, as a muscle car, was designed to look sleek and powerful.  With the bulbous rooftop, it makes it look like it's trying to fit a family sedan on top of a muscle car.  Of course, they put the classic V8 into it, making it a true muscle car (which I like).  But that bulbous rear just gets to me too much.


JBfromSiliconValley Yeah it would have been interesting see the same concepts applied to a '67 or '68.


Nickgenerazio32 Yep, I understand completely. It's probably not the way I'd build mine, but I very much appreciate the creativity and work that went into it.


I like it but i wish they hadnt used a 69.... The 69's are like the fastback 60s Mustangs... they are absolutely iconic and coveted these days.


Lovely nod to early 60's with the Corvair style roof and that engine is perfect. Too bad the rest of the car is so resto-modded with low profile tires and colored bumpers, etc. that there are too many decades competing visually. Excellent quality work, of course.


definitely a interesting build! love the mish mash of cars all in one!


The roof of the older cars were there for reinforcing the cars structure. I think this flaw might just twist this one up. The car may never see a 1/4 mile strip anyway


"massaged to make 500 horsepower" Good use of language.


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Ella . even though Rita `s storry is really great, last thursday I bought a gorgeous Dodge after making $5825 this past 5 weeks and-just over, ten-grand last-munth . it's actualy my favourite-job I've ever had . I started this six months/ago and immediately was bringin home at least $76 per-hr.


the flush mount rear glass and that 3/4 view - damn - talk about a massive improvement of outward visibility!! something I wish the modern Camaro would focus on - although I haven't sat in the 6th gen yet


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squidlyness Agreed, although GM did offer color matched bumpers in the 60's, called Endura bumpers. Check them out, I always wished Ford offered them for the early Mustangs too.


KylePearson With the money in this build they probably started with a new Dynacorn body... Hopefully


Good project


Mike Garrett JBfromSiliconValley 67's and 68's are exactly the same as 69's except for the crease line down the side of the car, moved from the center of the panel to the top of the wheel arch. Hard to spot unless you know what to look for. Cheers!


FlushPoke squidlyness Of course, I love 2nd gen Pontiac Firebirds. But they had chrome rear bumpers as well. If this was trying to be a pre-pony car Chevy, then I would've use a bit more of the cues from early 60's euro-GT's. Talbot mirrors, vent windows, mesh grille, round taillights like the Corvair, round gauges, etc. That dash is totally out of place for a "sporty" car. I still like this thing though.


Sophia . if you think Emily `s bl0g is good, on monday I bought a great audi sincee geting a check for $8740 recently an would you believe 10 grand last munth . without a doubt its the most rewarding I've ever done . I began this 5 months ago and pretty much immediately was bringin home at least $70, per-hour.


MPistol Having a 6th gen I can tell you it's like looking out a letter box. But it's really not bad if you're use to using your side mirrors. The backup camera is a big plus too.


Awesome! although i don´t really like ´69 front grille... i think they could have evoqued a retro look even more with 4 headlights as in ´60s cars.

Gatenine Janssens

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s all I can say about this.