Someone Help Me Figure Out What The Hell Is Going On With This Swiss Camaro

Illustration for article titled Someone Help Me Figure Out What The Hell Is Going On With This Swiss Camaro
Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace/Instanto.ch

When it comes to things I think of as “Swiss,” I’d have to say Chevy Camaros are pretty down low on the list, between nachos and Kabuki theater. That may be why this particular Camaro is so fascinating: first, it’s in Switzerland, and B., it’s so very strangely customized that I’m genuinely baffled. All of the customizations are weird, but there’s one element for which I have no explanation. You’ll see.

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Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace/Instanto.ch

From the outside, this 1977 or 1978 (I think) Camaro LT shows evidence of some questionable fiberglass or plastic customization, which could either be some sort of period body kit or a one-off experiment. It’s hard to tell for sure, but whatever it is, it does offer the Camaro a substantially lower body air dam with insets for rectangular driving lights, more bulbous fender flares, a pair of wide-set hood nostrils, and, at the rear, an alternate, four-round-lamp taillight setup, and integrated rectangular exhaust outlets.

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It’s riding that line between ugly and weirdly cool, and since any Camaro in Switzerland has to be kind of a weirdo, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and not flat-out call it ugly.

Where things get really interesting is in the interior. Here, look:

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Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace/Instanto.ch

All that worn, white quilted, padded upholstery reminds me of the interior of the Nostromo, the gigantic spaceship from the movie Alien:

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And, like Alien, things get weird the longer you stick around. Look at the rear of the interior:

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Wait, what the hell is that thing in the middle of the picture? Is that growing out of the drivers’ seat? Let’s check some of the other photos.

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No, it’s a...column. A padded column that rises from the middle of the back seat to the roof, or more precisely, the central bar of the T-Top roof.

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It looks kinda what I’d think Storm Trooper armor might look like if made for an elephant’s trunk. And there’s a switch in the base of it? And, it looks like, a flap that folds down?

What the hell is going on here? Just to be certain, I checked out some Camaro brochures of the era:

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Graphic: Chevrolet
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Nope. No central, curved column sprouting out of the rear seat. Somehow, GM managed to make the roof self-supporting without one.

So, what’s going on here? What is that thing? Is it structural? Was this someone’s idea of a roll bar alternative? Is it housing something tall, narrow, and curved? Was the owner a samurai, and this is where they kept their sword? Could you get a sword in and out of that little flap?

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Sword ownership and Camaro ownership I suspect have reasonably big Venn diagram overlaps, but I’m still not convinced.

I’m baffled here, but I’d love to hear your guesses. What could this possibly be for? And why would you want it? And how did this thing end up in Switzerland?

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I reached out to the seller to ask some questions, so I’ll update if I hear anything. It’s only about $2,000 in U.S. dollars, in case any of our Swiss weird Camaro-loving readers are in the area, too.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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DISCUSSION

sirlurkalot
Sir Lurkalot

Oh this is easy. The top panel holds a crystal carafe and tumbler set. And the bottom panel reveals a mirror and storage tray for cocaine paraphernalia.

This also gives me a good excuse to post my favorite photo gallery: