1969 Chevrolet Camaro | Trial & Error

How a totaled ’66 Chevelle paved the way for this 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.

Story: Jonathan Millstein
Photography: Matthew Jones

It is not uncommon for trial and error to ultimately lead to the best outcome. However, it is very uncommon that the trial is a 1966 frame-off custom Chevelle with a 540, and the error forgetting to put the car in gear or engaging the parking brake. Nonetheless, the long roll the Chevelle took down a driveway into the across-the-street neighbor’s house, totaling the car, was exactly the trial and error that led to the creation of this 1969 Chevy Camaro.

“[The owner] always wanted a Camaro anyway, so he saw this as an opportunity to do the one he always really wanted,” says Philip Lindsley, owner of Titan Motoring in Nashville, Tennessee. Opting not to restore the Chevelle and instead take what was learned from the first build, the team at Titan Motoring, along with the car’s owner, set out to build a top pro-touring Camaro. “It was all original and it was in decent shape, but I think it had a repaint at some point and that was it,” says Philip of the Camaro before it was completely stripped down.

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Hailed as “a huge motor head” by Philip, the owner new exactly what he wanted to do, including a smaller motor. “We crossed the line on that last one, where it would eat up cars at the drag strip, but cruising around with his wife was miserable,” says Philip, adding that “[the Chevelle] was just like a joke. When he started it up, it sounded ridiculous—but then just cruisin’, it was kind of a bear.” It was with that mentality in mind that they went from the 540 of the Chevelle to a 427 for the Camaro in the hopes of building something that his wife could be comfortable with, and that he could drive to the golf course.

Having achieved the harmony of performance and drivability, they set out to have the build turned toward the Camaro’s interior. “He really wanted to make it comfortable and be like where he could cruise,” says Philip. This meant the addition of Vintage Air A/C, a double-DIN touchscreen navigation unit and completely revamping the back seat. “We got rid of the bench in the back and made it into buckets, and carried the console all through it. Then, in the center of the console in the back, there’s kind of a speaker grille where we have a sub,” says Philip.

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Taking notes from the successful failure of his ’66 Chevelle, this owner and Titan Motoring undoubtedly created one of the best ’69 Camaros around. And if it’s true the third time’s a charm, it’s frightening what could possibly be coming out of Nashville next.

Specs

• Performance: Gen VI Chevrolet Bowtie Performance block 427; Eagle forged assembly; JE forged pistons; Jesel rockers 1.7; McLeod Racing dual-disc clutch, TREMEC 5-speed transmission; Moser Engineering 9-inch housing and axle packagae; COMP cam; NHRA L88 head; 4.33 gear; TCI Automotive torque arm suspension, QA1 coilovers, Wilwood brakes six-piston front and four-piston rear
• Exterior: Lexus Nebula Gray Pearl with Pearl Titanium stripe by Jeff “Skullbones” Davis at Skull Bones Restoration
• Interior: Custom console, doors, rear panel by Phillip Houston of Titan Motoring; one-piece tweed headliner; leather and tweed seats sewn by Eric “Paco” Martinez
• ICE: JVC KW-NT50HDT navigation unit, Power series highs; ARC Audio 1100.5 amplifier; Pioneer shallow 10-inch sub; Optima battery in trunk; T-Spec V12 cabling; Viper 3105 alarm              
• Wheels/Tires: Forgeline GA3R wheels, 18×9-inch front, 20×12-inch rear; Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 265/30/19 front, 335/25/20 rear
• Shout-outs: Titan Motoring; Thomas Ford (metal work); Kenny Schindler (engine assembly); Todd Perryman (drivetrain); Galen Foster (owner)