While taking a very early-morning walk around the show field of the 2018 Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals, I came across a very cool, but unassuming, 1969 Camaro. Although it looks like many first-gen ‘69s, something about this car grabbed my attention. The car is owned by Karl Cless of Bloomfield, Pennsylvania, and I decided to have him talk to me about this gorgeous ride.
“About five or six years ago, I was looking for a ’69 Camaro. I wanted a Z/28 that was born with the Maroon paint, and I was having a hard time finding one,” Karl opined. But, like all good car guys, he persisted. “One day, this car popped up on eBay,” he stated. The car was located in Loganville, Georgia, and Karl wasted no time calling the then-owner to get more information about the car. He liked what he heard, and when the auction was over, he was the new owner.
“When the car arrived at my house, it needed a lot of work,” Karl said with a chuckle. He began taking care of the details that he wanted to address, and one of them was replacing the ill-placed SS emblems with the requisite Z/28 badges. “After doing some research, I found the car was not a Super Sport,” he said. Although not a true SS or Z/28, Karl added the optional pieces he wanted, like the Z/28 and RS items. Make no mistake, he does not try to pass the car off as an original Z, he just likes the upgrades. Although the car was wearing the required Maroon hue he was looking for when it made residence at Karl’s house, he did spend some time buffing and polishing the now-shiny stuff. “I had a supply of Meguiars polish and buffer, so I spent a lot of time working on the paint,” he said.
The underhood appearance was an area that didn’t suit Karl, so the braided hose coverings and a few other “bling” items were replaced with original-looking pieces. He did, however, decide chrome valve covers and air cleaner were needed to give it a more performance-oriented look. “I discovered the engine was from a ’70 Chevelle and had “fuelie” heads. It runs great, and I love to drive it,” Karl happily stated. It might not be a true DZ 302, but at a glance, if you squint, it looks the part.
While looking at the interior, the houndstooth material is probably the first thing that catches your eye. But, it wasn’t always this way. “The car originally came with the standard interior, and I told my wife that the Houndstooth material would look great with the Maroon,” Karl said. We have to agree with him.
The car has been an ongoing process, and Karl has more upgrades planned. “I’ve thrown some money at it since I got it, but it’s becoming the car I always wanted,” Karl said.
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