Reader’s Hardcore Project: Sam Hamby’s 1969 Camaro

Not many of us can say they still have their first car, but Sam Hamby of Burrville, Tennessee, is one of the few that can make this claim. In 1985, Sam received an amazing gift from his father, this 1969 Camaro. This was no beater, in fact, it was a pretty amazing first car. “I was a kid and didn’t know what I had. Actually, I kind of abused it,” said Sam. Some years later, he grew up and realized that he needed to restore his first car, and possibly make a few upgrades along the way. Although the Camaro has been sitting for approximately 20 years, it was stored away from the elements. With Tennessee having four seasons, unlike California, it was important that Hamby properly store the car to avoid the damage caused by rain, snow, sleet, hail, and even sunlight.

After sitting for a couple of decades, Sam started to restore the Camaro to its former glory. After many hours of bodywork and sanding, he was ready to prime the car in preparation of the final paint job.

Originally, the Camaro was Olympic Gold, and Sam is going to great lengths to ensure that the body is ready for a new color paint. Currently, the car has been primed and made ready for that new coat of black. Black is one of the most unforgiving colors when it comes to hiding any type of flaw in the body, so Sam took countless hours to perfect the bodywork. Even though the Camaro was stored away from the ravages of mother nature, it still had a few spots of rust that required additional attention. As shown in the photos above, Sam took the time to mark and repair all areas that were damaged by rust or other causes.

A 327 cubic-inch engine and a Muncie four-speed transmission will get the Camaro back on the road – for now. One day, Sam would like to complete an LS swap.

Sam has installed in the engine and transmission, but there is still plenty left on his to-do list. Once the Camaro is again ready for the road, the 327 cubic-inch engine, Muncie four-speed, and 4:11 gears will certainly be ready to lay some rubber. The stout gears are rotated within the 12-bolt rear differential by a Posi unit, and stopping power is going to be responsibility of the factory drum brakes. Sam has also rebuilt the frontend with all-new stock components. As he gets closer to finishing the ’69, he will have to decide on a set of tires for the 15-inch Rally wheels. With each step that is completed, the ’69 is closer to being road worthy once again. “I haven’t gotten to drive it yet, but boy am I looking forward to it,” said Sam.

Photo Courtesy of Sam Hamby

Even though he does not plan to race or show his car, that doesn’t mean he there aren’t a lot of future plans for his ride. At present, he is planning to keep the interior stock, but there is always room for upgrades along the way. Finally, although there is not a specific timeline for completion of this hardcore project, the 49-year-old Sam is wasting no time. “My dad bought it for me, and I’d like to get it done before it’s too late if you know what I mean. Also, it’s a 1969 Camaro, what’s not to like,” added Hamby.
Do you want to read about other Reader’s Hardcore Projects? All you need to do is click here. If you’re working on a project, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the Hardcore Project series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more, as we can never get enough. Send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to

Leave a Reply