1969 Chevy Camaro RS Z28: One of the All Time Greats

1969 Chevy Camaro RS Z28When the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS Z28 first hit the scene, it was immediately touted as one of the hottest muscle cars on the market. The seductive coupe quickly became a popular choice among American drivers. Here is why the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS Z28 captured the hearts of so many people.

302 Cubic Inch Engine

The Camaro RS Z28’s 302-cid V-8 engine set it apart from the rest of the lineup. While the engine’s advertised output was 290 horsepower, it actually produced upwards of 400 horsepower in the real world. Many drivers were in awe of the car’s deceptive performance. When tested at the track, the 1969 Camaro RS Z28 recorded a competitive 0-60 time of 7.4 seconds. Meanwhile, its quarter-mile time stood at an impressive 14.8 seconds. With a top speed of around 135 mph, the coupe was definitely a worthy track machine. According to many automotive journalists, the 1969 Camaro RS Z28 was among the most agile muscle cars of its era.

A True Head-Turner

For the drivers who wanted to be noticed, very few vehicles attracted more attention than the Camaro RS Z28. Not only did the RS package include a dazzling pair of hideaway headlights, but it also featured a special grille. Chevrolet offered an aggressive cowl-induction hood as an option. Because of the hood’s ability to draw in cool air, it was more than just an appearance upgrade. On the inside, high-grade vinyl seats gave the cabin an upscale character. Wood trim and unique gauges further enhanced the interior’s styling.

A League of Its Own

In contrast to some of the other classic muscle cars, the 1969 Camaro RS Z28 appealed to a wide variety of different drivers. From hardcore racing fans to school teachers, it seemed as if everyone became infatuated with this gorgeous muscle car. Teenagers yearned for the chance to finally get behind the wheel. Upgrades such as the chambered exhaust system made it even harder to resist.

As you can see, the 1969 Camaro RS Z28 had a major impact on the muscle car era. Was it the best all-around model on the market?

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5 Comments
  • Yes, I loved my first one so much I bought a second one. Due to other priorities I now have neither. After about 4 or 5 years their value was already higher than their new purchase price of 5600.00 and have steadily increased since. A real gem.

  • I built up a quasi-Z/28 from a 1967 RS with a 327 and Powerglide. A built 327 and Muncie 4-spd replaced the Powerglide and with a 3.08 rear end it gave the car a 141 mph top speed. Top speed was measured mathematically at redline as the speedometer only registers to 120. Being geared high, the 1/4 mile and 0-60 times were nothing to brag about. It was rather scary to go over 140 in a 1967 Camaro as the car would begin to shake, but it still tracked true. If I was to build another I would start with a 350 and do more suspension tuning and 4-wheel disc brakes. I finally sold the car in 1998 for $5800. I just wasn’t driving it enough. Prices for Camaros are now ridiculous, but then isn’t every muscle car overpriced these days?

    • I bought a brand new 69 Z/28 with a factory 3:73 rear axle ratio. The car would not run right from the factory and many mechanic could not get it to.run right ( including the dealship mechanics) until my father’s cousin Francis ( Bud ) Pinto tuned the car. After I put on a set of headers the car would do 120 mph @ 5500 rpm and from there would pull to an estimated 150 mph@ 7500 rpm ( half way back from 120 mph to 0 mph on the speedometer) !!!!

      • Joseph Letizia is not lying! I had a 1969 Z28 RS that I bought from the original owner in 1972. The Z28 was stock, with the gas pedal-activated cowl induction, and even had headlight washers. A friend of mine owned a gas station, and drag raced a 68 Z28. I loved good handling sports cars, and thought a Z28 would be the ultimate corner carver. The first night I had it, I blew the clutch into several pieces after some 7300+ speed shifts. The Z-28 racer said I needed a scatter shield the way I drove. We put in a Lakewood scatter shield, tore out the smog, added headers, 396 Camaro front springs, adjustable 3 way shocks, 11 inch clutch, & BFG 50 series tires. I said I wanted 8000 rpm for corner carving, so the Z28 racer blueprinted the distributor at a race shop, tweaked the timing, & adjusted the solid lifters/ 780 stock Holley spread bore. Also added a good shifter to the Muncie close ratio trans, and solid steel motor mounts after I broke the originals because the factory driver side limiting chain did not fit with headers. Verified the speedometer at a shop for accuracy. With 3:73 gears, speed was pretty easy: 3000 rpm = 60 mph in high gear, and the speedo was correct. As already mentioned by Joseph Letizia the 120 mph had a HUGE amount of room left, they just never put speed markings on it. With the 3:73 gears the car could hit 8000 rpm on a short straightaway in high gear in no time, coming out of a corner around 40-45 mph. The stock factory front plastic spoiler was a must. It made a real difference above 125 mph. Never ran into hot Vettes that wanted to race the curves. The only cars that beat me road racing were 6 cylinder Porsches on tight hairpins. Less than tight roads I would simply pass them, they didn’t have drag style acceleration to catch up, and as I was fast through the turns, they couldn’t keep up.. The only car that beat me on a highway (interstate 5 in Oregon) was a Porsche Carrera (175 mph car). I got half mile ahead, but he finally passed me. The tires only lasted 1500 miles. Only until the last 15 years have they built cars that would compare with that Z28 for cornering/ raw power/ speed. Still think a Z-28 with a blueprinted 302 engine, fuel injection, aluminum heads, good for 8500+ rpm mated to a 6 speed, and modern suspension/ carbon fiber body parts would be an amazing vehicle by today’s standards.

  • I knew someone with this car. Wish I could time travel.