Your Ride: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Dave Igneri was out for a stroll near his East end, Long Island home more than a decade ago when he first laid eyes on the 1969 Camaro he’s come to know as Betsy. “I saw a garage halfway open and saw the same iconic taillights I once owned as a kid,” Igneri fondly recalls, adding that he knocked on the door but the owner said it wasn’t for sale. Fast forward ten years, and Igneri saw the same owner and inquired about the car. “He said if I was still interested, it could be mine. Before he could change his mind, I ran and grabbed a portable compressor, filled the two flat tires and pushed it home with my son, Steven. That’s my favorite memory of the car; that long push.” Igneri breaks down the restoration details of his Camaro for BoldRide... BoldRide: What have you done to make it a bolder ride? Igneri: I completely tore it apart and did a frame-off restoration. I added frame connectors to keep the body from twisting, used weld-thru primmer, seam sealed every joint and covered the under carriage with 3M bed liner, removed the 307ci motor and 2sp transmission and replaced it with A bored out 350 now (383) Turbo 400 transmission and 12 bolt with 373 gears. Tell us a funny story from during the restoration process. After six plus years, we rolled the car out for a test ride. I smoked the tires uncontrollably than came to a stop only to find a police officer at the corner. He pointed for me to pull over. Just what I needed on my first trip out. The cop ended up being a fan and only remarked, ‘Wow, what a gorgeous car. Can you open the hood?’ The pressure was off and I smiled. I didn’t get a ticket and made sure to drive away slowly. What was the most challenging about the restoration process? I had a lot of help during this process and my buddy Neil Vakay thinks fitting aftermarket parts was the hardest. Don’t assume you can just buy a body part and bolt it on. Things don’t line up and you have to break away welds, refit and reweld everything. What’s an inside fact about the Camaro that only an owner would know? The ‘69 was the last year of the first generation Camaro. It was also the best year of the first generation; the body was restyled, lowered and many more performance packages were added. What do you love about it? The sound of the motor, at an idle that offbeat thumping sound that comes with a large cam. I love watching the facial expressions from on lookers. What do you feel like when you drive it? My wife Laura says I have the same look as when we got married. Fill in the blank: My car means more to me than_______ Going on vacation, since I couldn’t afford both a trip and the ride. Favorite place to drive and why? Driving to Maschutt beach in Hampton Bays on Friday night with my wife. It’s a cruise night on the beach where lots of cars and spectators go. There is a band, food and drinks at the Beach Hut. Favorite place you’d die to drive it and why? Definitely a ¼ mile race track. Need I say more? Dream accessory you’d love to get for it and why? I think it would be a super charger. I love the look of it sticking through the hood. THE BASICS Make: Chevrolet Model: Camaro Year: 1969 Price (base when new): $2,727.00 Estimated price (now): Insured for $75,000.00 Engine: 383 Stroker Horsepower:  505 hp Torque:  490 lbs. Transmission: Automatic Turbo 400 w/ shift kit Rear: GM 12 bolt w/ 373 gears Car Type: Classic, Muscle Car, Sports Car THE MEASUREMENTS Overall length: 188 in. Wheelbase: 108 in. Height: 54 in. Width: 74 in. Curb weight: 3,135 lbs. See more of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro here, including more pictures of Dave's car. Credits: Neil Vakay, body and paint, Faze One Auto Body, Lawrence Racing Engines, East End Transmissions,  Rob Sunset Glass, and Rick’s First Generation Parts Catalogue. Photography: Antony Messina Have a Ride you’d like us to feature?  Email us at