Ohio’s not the best place to go whale watching, but today’s Cleveland-located Nice Price or Crack Pipe Camaro will at least let you spy a whale’s tail. You’ll just need to decide if its price is a fluke.
It's a bit odd to me that the current retro-themed Camaro channels the car’s first-generation body style and not that of its successor. It seems like that ‘70s pony was the far more beloved among Camaro enthusiasts, despite the car’s decline over the decade in performance, build quality, and appearance.
Today’s 1979 Camaro is from that nadir-end of the model’s lifespan, which as you might recall was comprised of three distinct models identifiable by their bumpers, among other things.
The second generation Camaro debuted as a 1970 model on a new but familiar platform. Coil-sprung A-arms in front and a leaf-spring live axle in back supported a plethora of inline six cylinder and V8 engines.
Two noses were offered; the standard full-width blade bumper and the Rally-Sport with its open grille and twin bumperettes. Out back, four round tail lamps showed solidarity with the Corvette. It should be noted that the Camaro’s base engine this year - the 250-CID six - put out 155-bhp, albeit under the older gross-output standards.
In 1974 the second iteration of the second generation made its debut. The Camaro grew 7-inches this year, owing to its 5-mph compliant aluminum bumpers which also required a redesign of the nose and tail, both of which now were sloped rather than straight. Out back the round lights were replaced with rectangular units that tapered to a point around the corners. The back window also grew this year, wrapping around the sides allowing for lots more light in the back seat.
Come 1978 and things changed once again, the metal bumpers now replaced by plastic caps that tied into the bodywork but were so lumpy in appearance that they looked like Rocky IV to the earlier cars’ Rocky I. Also, the tail lights became larger with the appearance of a full-width panel, the lenses separated by an ill-fitting plastic section that housed the door for the centrally-located gas cap- ‘member those?
This ’79 has all of those changes, along with the new dash that appeared this model year, and a set of dusty grey alloy five-spokes off of a third-generation car. Of course the best part of this car is its whale tail trunk lid. Now the whale tail is probably most famous as having been a prominent visual indicator of Porsche’s original 930 model, but it’s never been exclusive to that car.
It’s also equally famous for being the part of the thong that’s visible over the top of girls’ low-rider pants when they bend over, and it looks just as good here on this Camaro. If you disagree with that assessment then the ad notes the inclusion of the original lid in the sale.
The rest of the body looks pretty clean, although the general fit and body gap irregularities are historical evidence of GM’s disregard for build quality in the late ‘70s, especially at the Norwood and Van Nuys plants.
Inside it’s a little more rough, although the seller judiciously composes his single cabin image to mask the torn part of the driver’s high-back. You can see it in the video however, and this brings up the fact that this Metallica-infused video is one of the best sales tools I have ever seen.
Now that you’re all pumped up, lets delve under this Camaro’s hood. Now, remember 8 years earlier when the base six has 155 horses? Okay, this car rocks a 350, not a six, but even with the 4bbl that engine was factory spec’d at 170-bhp. The hotter motor in the Z-28 only sported 5-horses more. That somewhat tepid mill is backed up by a TH350 and as you saw in the video is able to smoke the back meats should the need arise.
The ad notes 104,000 on the car and that it’s a Rally Sport model. That means the car has been resprayed over the course of those miles as the RS came from the factory with two-tone bodywork, and I don’t think the CAMARO decal and stripes were stock.
This Ohio whale could be yours for $4,500, and it’s now time to decide if that’s a whale of a deal or if that price means that this Camaro’s tail is told.
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