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First Camaro found, restored, and here’s a peek

Published March 19, 2015

Before any car is put into production, a batch of “pilot” cars are run as a way of making sure the knee bone connects to the thigh bone, etc. Those cars as then used for photography and shows and then are usually crushed. Thankfully, Camaro N100001 avoided that fate and here’s the story of its revival.

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Built in secret (no one even knew the name of the car, just F-body), the body shell  was delivered to Chevrolet  May 21, 1966. Our Camaro, N100001, was the very first of 49 hand-built pilot assembly program at GM’s Norwood, Ohio Assembly plant.   The car was manufactured with a 230 cubic inch six cylinder engine, and a 3-speed transmission. Built for the product launch with show paint, it was lightly optioned to appeal to the masses in pricing and safety features.   When it was finished it was stored hidden until the product launch.

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N100001 was sent to the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan for a photo session capturing both black and white and color images of the car.    The car appears in photos with and without the small block letter emblem used on the deck lids and headers on the front fenders.  With no holes drilled for this build, its supposed that these badges were applied lightly and later removed.

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After its show and promotional use, the car was then shipped to R.T. Ayers High Performance Chevrolet in Yukon, Oklahoma in December of 1966. It sat on display at the dealership until was sold to its first owner, Linda Johnston of Oklahoma City, two and half years later on April 5, 1969.  She paid the full sticker of $2,550.

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The car passed through a few additional owners and then hit the hands of Al Tepke of Oklahoma City.  With eyes toward building N100001 into a race car, but also understanding the significance of the car Al, immediately began disassembly. The car was raced at NHRA drag strips at Amarillo, Green Valley, and Oklahoma City. The car passed through several other owners, all as a race car, until its current owner recognized its significance.

The new owner passed the car to Dave Hanna of Sterling Classics  and restoration process began in late 2012 and finished in May of 2014.  No expense was spared with the goal being use of only original GM parts.  The restoration is estimated to have cost $200,000.

The car will be on public display on June 26-28 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at the Carlisle GM Nationals.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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