I, too, have been asking the same questions of others, as well as myself, about what to do with this car needing similar work. I would certainly love to be cruising around in a fully restored and shiny silver 69 RS SS but, for me, the financial responsibility of a proper restoration and the upkeep afterwards is way too much right now. I love using the car...getting in it and driving it. I like the fact that it is an old used car that happens to be a cool Camaro. Rarely do you see a "beater" first gen on the road anymore. A car like this attracts a lot of attention too, mostly from other car enthusiasts...non enthusiasts don't really appreciate them. The question "Is it for sale?" is asked very often because, I guess, a car in this condition is viewed as obtainable...like, I'm not doing anything with it. Most, it seems, are "flippers" looking to make some cash.
The rust in various areas is getting to me and has to be dealt with. I'm struggling with this because it is sort of a "survivor" and I don't want to be just hanging new panels all over it because not only does it decrease its survivor value but is crosses that restoration line...(like, where do you stop?). Some have suggested that if I can't afford it I should sell it.
In fact, most body shops I talked to had more interest in trying to buy the car from me than help me fix it. Recently, I've been in touch with a body man in my area (does some work for Ken Lucas) that understands my predicament and has expressed interest in fixing what I have and maintaining the appearance. I trust his knowledge of Camaro body work and he has an artistic eye for custom work that I think will be good for my application. I am an auto mechanic by trade so I'm able to do all "mechanical" work myself. Also, I am fortunate enough to own a 68 RS with a recent makeover and a few custom goodies which fulfill my shiny fast car fix. That has an influence on my decision to leave the 69 alone.
Regardless, this has been a tough decision for me to find a balance between whats right for the car (because I love Camaros and the hobby) and whats right for me financially and for my enjoyment. I think knowing what you want and what you will enjoy is the key. If you want a survivor, we will help and support you. If you want to take on a restoration, we will help and support you. Of course, you could throw that engine in there, cruise the countryside and think about it for a while.