1969 Chevy Camaro Z28

A cowl-induction hood was standard on the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The available Rally Sport package concealed the headlights behind hinged doors. See more classic muscle cars pictures.

It wasn't the fastest muscle car, but with single-season styling and a unique combination of brake, engine, exhaust, and induction options, the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 was arguably the most desirable Z28 of all.

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Adding $458 to the $2,726 base price of a Camaro coupe, RPO Z28 included the F41 handling suspension with E70X15 raised-letter tires on seven-inch wide rims, quicker steering, and twin rally stripes. Front disc brakes were standard on the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, and for the first time, four-wheel discs were offered. They cost $500 and just 206 sets were delivered, about half going to full race cars.

The solid-lifter 302-cid V-8 with an 850-cfm four-barrel carburetor was again exclusive to the Z28. Dynomometer tests at close to 400 horsepower made a joke of its 290-horsepower rating. Dealer-installed dual four-barrel carburetor options were offered even in '67, and for '69, $500 bought twin 600-cfm Holleys on a cross-ram manifold, though at no change to the 290-horsepower rating. Chambered exhaust pipes -- perhaps the least-restrictive exhausts Chevy ever offered -- also were available.

The solid-lifter 302-cid V-8 with an 850-cfm four-barrel carb was a Z28 exclusive.

Yet another functional option unique to 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28s was the $79 cowl-induction hood. It had a valve that snapped open at 80-percent throttle to draw in cool air from the base of the windshield.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28s again came only with a Hurst-shifted close-ratio four-speed; 3.73:1 gears were standard, with up to 4.10:1 gears available. Positraction was an option. Styling could be enhanced by the Rally Sport package, which gained transparent louvers for its hidden-headlamp covers.

Handling was razor-sharp, aided by power steering that was both quick and had road feel. Four-barrel 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28s could run the quarter mile in 14.8 seconds at 101 mph, but the small-block's shortage of low-end torque was multiplied with the dual-quads, which fed on sky-high revs. Even dropping the clutch at 4000 rpm produced stumble off the line.

As Trans Am titles in 1968 and '69 showed, the Z28 was a road-racer first, a street machine second. Drivers who understood its bare-knuckle character bought 7,199 of them for '68, and sales nearly tripled for the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 -- a record that would stand until 1978.

Its road-racing roots were evident in a peaky engine that was ill-at-ease on the street, but the Z28 was one of the best-handling rides of the muscle car era.

The '69 Z28 was one of the hottest-looking rides of the classic muscle car era, and showed what Chevy stylists could do to express performance and excitement. For additional photos of '69 Z28s, and a special look back at a fascinating selection of vintage Camaro brochures, explore the next three pages in this article.

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