After 45 Years of Hiding in the Garage This 1969 Camaro Sees the Sun Again

A family connection leads to a long-stored Camaro and helps a gearhead get the car of his dreams.

Joe Al was a man on a mission to find a classic car to work on. He had just sold a 1992 Chevy truck and was digging around for something like a worn Bel Air or Camaro in need of some attention. “My dad used to do body and paint for a living, and as of late I’ve had the urge to build another car with him. We’re not getting any younger and I would love to make more memories,” recalled Al. Of course, trying to find an affordable example of either of those cars is easier said than done.

Al’s dad ran into his cousin Irma, who brought up that she was looking into selling her graduation car, a 1969 Camaro! Her parents had gifted it to her, and she drove it until the transmission went out in 1977. It’d been parked ever since. Al was born in 1976, so this car has been stuffed in a garage almost his whole life, just waiting for him.

Al had his dad ask if he could come see the car, and they set up a meeting to check out the Camaro. As Al told, “I could only see it through the old garage window, and the door was locked. I could see the surface rust and some stuff sitting on top of it. But that was enough, and I offered to make a down payment, which she accepted, and started the purchase. About a week went by before we were finally able to open the door to the garage. I was super excited to finally lay hands on the 1969 Camaro and start digging it out of the dusty, cobweb-filled garage.”

“It wasn’t until we were able to winch it out of the garage that I could see the front end. My eyes lit up when I saw the driving lights and grill. It honestly gave me goosebumps when we pulled it out of the garage and onto the flatbed.” Later Al found out the color combo was because Irma’s dad liked white, and her mom loved blue. The Camaro was purchased from Smith Chevrolet, which is on the southside of San Antonio just a couple of minutes from where the Camaro spent 45 years in a garage.

Once home, Al and his dad started cleaning up their Camaro barn find. It turns out the original 327 V-8 needs a rebuild, as does the long-broken four-speed transmission, so that slowed up plans to get the F-body back on the road. With a bit of elbow grease, the interior cleaned up quite nicely, and the rust seems to just be the surface variety. As for the plan, Al told us, “I think we’re leaning towards a restomod build. My pops has always been into custom builds and paint work, so doing something a bit more custom will be fun. The one car of his that always stood out to me was his 1967 Camaro. I remember hideaway headlights, shaved handles, and it was silver with black racing stripes. I hated it when he sold the ’67 but that’s how he paid the bills and put food on our table. It is also why I’ve always wanted a first-gen.” Well, now that Al has a Camaro of his own to rebuild with his dad, we made him promise to send us some shots when it’s been worked over and gets back on the road.