Decades ago, General Motors ran an elaborate auto show called Motorama. Designed to pique the interest of potential buyers, GM brands were tasked with finding ways to grab attention the old school way: without the internet. Long before computer-generated images and whiz-bang digital displays, GM came up with an innovative idea to show off the new 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.
The result of that brainstorm from Chevrolet Show & Display Department (which became GM Creative Services) was a radical cutaway promotional display propped up on a trio of turntables. One of two known cutaway Camaros is scheduled to cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block in January, and it’s going to be interesting to watch the bidding on a car with two engines that can’t be driven (not in its current state, anyway).
Referred to as the “Double Header Car,” the display Camaro came with two front ends, one with a six-cylinder base model and the other an RS/SS with a V8 and TH350 transmission. As the body of the Camaro was raised up, the two front ends were rotated around with the touch of a button, and the body would be eased into place. Underpinning the car is reinforced metal, which was installed to prevent the body from cracking in the process of raising it and lowering potentially dozens of times in a day.
Still sporting some scratches, bruises, and dings, the Bowtie's muscle car is mostly original. However, some [epithet redacted] person discarded the inline-six front end several years ago, and the next owner spent ten years tracking down the parts needed to rebuild the driveline. The tossing of that front end is not quite as tragic of the loss of the mahogany bucks made for Corvettes in the '50s, but still.
Athens, Georgia-based restoration shop Rick’s Classics bought a different Double Header Camaro from a guy who found it in a junkyard in Australia. The previous owner had planned on turning it into a drag car, according to Rick’s, but he didn’t get far, luckily. After receiving the cutaway Camaro from its trans-Pacific shipping container, the shop extensively restored and then sold it. Check out the whole restoration process on the shop's site; I fell down the rabbit hole today myself.
Along with the Camaro tapped for sale by Barrett-Jackson this month, the buyer will get a heavy-duty cover for transport, documentation on the title, and some of the original blueprints and wiring schematics for the display.
Somehow, the display muscle car has 2.4 miles on the clock, leading me to wonder how that transpired. Early GM fairy dust? Did they test it out with each front end, very briefly? I'll be trying to unravel that mystery. In the meantime, you'll be able to watch the bidding take place on TV in a couple of weeks.
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