Updated: Feb 22, 2021
One of cool COPO racecars that has turned up in recent years is a 1969 Camaro RS, dubbed 'Old Deadeye II'. I first caught up with it while it was parked on display in the Barn Finds display area of the 2017 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals.
It's untouched condition was striking, as was the plethora of vintage photographs (and even a newspaper clipping), showing it loaded up on a transport truck, parked with early owners and leaving the starting line, quite hard I might add, at the storied 75-80 dragstrip Monrovia, Maryland. The hand-painted artwork on the doors and cheeky trunk lid taunt also helped make it stand out, while for sure, garnering a few laughs, too.
Historical images courtesy of Arizona Muscle Cars
The Code 72 72 Hugger Orange coupe was sold new on August 15, 1969 at the Sport Chevrolet Company, in Silver Spring, Maryland. A family who owned the E.J. Heskett Construction Company in Jessep, MD, purchased it. (Note: the company's name painted on the passenger side quarter panel in the photos above). All told, the final price tag rang up at a healthy $4,158, thanks in large part to the Rally Sport equipment package. Very few COPO Camaros received this, as few owners deemed the extra cost worthwhile for a high-powered machine designed for straight-line performance.
After seeing the car up close in Chicago at the show, I tracked it down several months later, while out in the sunny American southwest conducting photoshoots for COPO the book. Arizona Muscle Cars granted access and I took a whole set and also dug a bit more into its backstory for research and context. After parting ways for a second time, the car moved again and then again, this latest time, crossing the block at Russo and Steele's Scottsdale, AZ auction .
Now, fate has brought this Camaro and I together again, with us meeting back in the Land of Lincoln. The crew at Custom Classics, in Island Lake, IL reached out to me this week, saying the car had just arrived and was about to begin a full multi-year restoration. They invited me out and I quickly headed to their facility to see the Chevy one last time as it sits now, before it begins the long process of being returned to gleaming showroom condition.
Custom Classics is no stranger to these legendary Central Office vehicles, having already completed another L72 427 1969 COPO Camaro, which, just like Old Dead Eye II, was raced heavily. The CC crew shared some of the exciting plans in the works to preserve the heritage of this vintage racecar and I can't wait to see those, as well as the final product. I'll be checking in many more times on their progress.
This for sure, isn't the last I'll be seeing of Old Dead Eye.