“It was a Friday. I was on my way to work,” Todd Reich recalled. From his car he spotted a cardboard, spray-painted “For Sale” sign for a 1970 Camaro. He says, “I pass by it every day. I thought, I’m going to have to take a look at that this weekend. I made a mental note of it.”
Todd forgot about the car until Monday. This time he stopped.
“I went up to the guy’s porch. He met me at the door. I started telling him about how I had a 1970 Camaro Rally Sport [with a 307] and always wondered if I’d ever run across it again. The guy said, ‘Well, this is a Super Sport.’”
Todd knew big-block Camaros were all Super Sports in 1970. Sure enough, the owner, Steve Michel, opened the door to the garage and said the Camaro was a big-block. Steve’s brother, Dan, bought the car new from White Allen Chevrolet in Dayton, Ohio, in 1970, and stopped driving it in 1980 or 1981. When Dan passed away in 1993, the car went to his mother and then to Steve.
The first big question was, which 396 was this? Paperwork revealed it was the 350-horse L34, the lesser of the two options, but still rare with a production run of 1,864. The 375-horse L78 was the big one, just 600 made.
Todd says he “still couldn’t believe it was a real big-block car,” and best of all, it was “relatively unmolested.” The 396 still had its cast-iron exhaust manifolds and even the original intake and carburetor. The asking price was $15,000.
“After I looked at the car and talked to the guy, I went back to work and spoke to a couple of my friends.”
He told them how the seller said that as far as he knew, everything was original on the car except for an AM/FM radio and the American Racing aluminum wheels. The original Rally wheels were gone.
Todd realized he had stumbled onto a piece of history, which included the original Protect-O-Plate and “all the paperwork,” including the bill of sale when Dan had sat down with the dealer and ordered the car.
The odometer read 99,000, so this wasn’t a low-mileage car, but the Cortez Silver paint was original. Yes, the body had some rust, but not typical rust for Ohio. Todd remembered how the rear rails and trunk “rusted through” on his 1970 Camaro RS, and a leaf spring poked through the floorboard.
The rear quarters showed some bubbles of rust, but this Super Sport was solid. The floorboards were good. The trunk was good. The rails were good.
“Two to three people” had looked at the Camaro. Todd made a deal for $14,000. His plan, right now, is to “just get it running and driving” and go to the Camaro Nationals with the car “as is.”