Author Topic: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans  (Read 3366 times)

68SixBangerRS

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I haven't been on here for about 4 years...sold my '68 RS Coupe with a 230 6-cylinder and a 3-on-the-tree (rare but an absolute rust bucket), and '69 red base coupe with a 250 6-cylinder and a 3-on-the-tree (an Ohio barn find that was full of snake skins and rust).  As you can probably tell, I like the "weird s***".  My daily driver is a '78 Nova 4-door with a 250 6-cylinder and a 3-on-the-tree, and my current beater Camaro is a Citrus Green '70 base coupe with a 250 6-cylinder and a 3-on-the-floor.  I also own a '74 Nova police car demonstrator that no one really cares about.  My cars are interesting and "off-the-beaten-path"...they attract attention because most 6-cylinder Camaros long ago had their original drivetrains swapped out for V8s, so there are almost none left and guys come over to check out what their Camaros used to have.

But this forum isn't about 2nd Gens or Novas, and I'm back here because I have another weird Camaro you might find interesting.  It's a red '69 base coupe with its original numbers-matching 250 6-cylinder and air-cooled Torque Drive transmission.  I have only been able to locate one other Camaro with this transmission, a '68 coupe that a guy in the KC metro area owns (I tried to share info with him and sent him a couple of photos but oddly never heard a word back).  Anyway, I digress...I found it at a classic car dealership in Grand Rapids, MI, and they had no idea how rare it was.  They thought it had a regular Powerglide, and when I drove up from Columbus to see it, the salesman who conducted the test drive spent the test in 2nd gear, so it had horrible, non-existent acceleration (the dealer was so anxious to get rid of it that they toyed with the idea of swapping in a small block with a TH-350).  The dealer had posted quite a few photos of the car online, and one of them showed its automatic trans shift indicator which said "TORQUE DRIVE" and showed its gears as "P-R-N-High-1st", which is how I figured out what it was.  I found info on this site that showed that approx. 3,000 '68 Camaros and 2,200 '69s had Torque Drives. I traded a beautiful survivor '77 Firebird Esprit with 53k miles and a big block '79 Suburban survivor for it plus a few grand in cash for the Camaro.

For those of you who aren't familiar with a Torque Drive tranny, it was option code "MB1" and was available for $68...the cheapest automatic available in a 6-cylinder equipped '68 or '69 Camaro (it was also available in 6-cylinder '68-'70 Novas).  Except the Torque Drive wasn't really an automatic...the driver had to do all of the shifting him or herself.  TDs were primarily marketed for women and high school or college kids.  The correct way to drive one was to start out in 1st gear and then shift into 2nd (high) between 20-30 mph, then repeat the process every time the car left a traffic light.  Since most people are lazy, many Torque Drives were left in 2nd and the drivers put up with the abysmally slow acceleration.  Unfortunately, driving an air-cooled transmission in hot weather in 2nd gear caused the transmissions to overheat and frequently fail.  GM replaced nearly all of them with standard liquid-cooled Powerglides under warranty, so almost none survived.

Once I got it home, I started to dig into research on what a Torque Drive was and how it was different from a regular PG equipped car.  The '69 assembly manual wasn't much help as it basically said it was supposed to have a liquid-cooled PG with all of the shifting parts removed (no vacuum modulator, governor, or kickdown mechanism, and a valve body with far less machining)...obviously the assembly manual is incorrect.  It also had a case with 4 large triangular-shaped holes and a very odd looking stamped lower cover with what appears to be an air scoop on one side to draw in cooling air.  It has a Harrison manual transmission radiator for a 6-cylinder that was made in May of '68, and the trans pan is coded for a Torque Drive (the engine is also matching numbers...I have the Protect-o-plate and all numbers match...there is no VIN stamped into the trans case).  The case appears to have been made in June of '68 (the car was built in the 5th week of Aug "08E"...very early production). The engine runs well, and the car has a claimed 56k original miles, but the trans slipped badly once it was warmed up.  I took it to a local shop that specializes in classic car trannys...they did a band adjustment and said the pan was full of metal shavings which indicated its torque converter was probably shot.

I took it back to that same shop a few days ago for a rebuild and they disassembled and cleaned all the parts.  I stopped in to take some close-ups of its parts.  Compared to a liquid-cooled PG, the main pump has less machining, the shifter mechanism has no provision for a kickdown, the hole where a vacuum modulator would go is sealed shut, the holes where a normal PG's cooling tubes go to and from the radiator are blocked off with bolts, and the torque converter has unusual cooling fins welded to the back.  I took a few photos to post on here so you will have some documentation since there doesn't appear to be any other place on the Internet which shows any of this.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 09:58:55 PM by 68SixBangerRS »

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2020, 09:24:03 PM »
1st bunch of photos.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2020, 09:26:38 PM »
1st batch of trans photos.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2020, 09:28:23 PM »
More trans photos.

bcmiller

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2020, 10:40:30 PM »
That’s for posting. I like all Camaros, including the unusual ones!

Kurt will probably contact you and we will want to add it to our database if possible.
Bryon / 1968 Camaro SS 396 coupe - now old school 468 big block
1967 RS/SS 396 coupe L35/M40 - 4 generation family project
Looking for 68 Camaro with body # NOR 181016

ko-lek-tor

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2020, 10:41:44 PM »
Sweet looking car. I think ya’ done good! And, thanks for being astute and recognizing the significance of what you found.
James to strangers, Bentley to friends
1969 SS/RS 396 coupe Hugger Orange X22 712 owned since 79
1969 SS 350 coupe LeMans Blue 713 bought in 79(sold)
1969 D.H.COPO replica 4spd. 4.10 posi coupe Daytona Yellow 711 owned since 85

bertfam

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2020, 11:40:28 PM »
MORE PICTURES!! Especially the engine compartment and the interior. How many miles on this baby?

Ed
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68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2020, 01:07:07 AM »
I am looking for the photo card with engine photos, but it is MIA right now.  The tranny will be finished next week and I'll take some good photos of the engine compartment and post them on here then.  The main differences that I can see are the lack of a kickdown rod from the carb to the trans shifter rod (don't know exactly what it is called...goes into the left side of the trans), and no cooling lines from the radiator to the trans.  The factory assembly manual says the '69 Torque Drive was to use the same trans case as a liquid-cooled Powerglide, was supposed to have the VIN stamped into the driver's side of the case, and that the hole where a vacuum modulator would go on a regular PG was not supposed to be machined.  But on this car, it obviously has an air-cooled PG case, has no VIN stamped into the case, and the modulator hole is machined with a metal plug screwed in to block it off since there was no need for a modulator.  My impression is that since this is such an early '69 (it was the 1,439th one built at Norwood) that GM might have been trying to get rid of leftover '68 air-cooled Torque Drives.  GM already knew that TDs were susceptible to overheating, and I believe it was their intent to install liquid-cooled PGs that were modified to become TDs, but I don't know since there don't appear to be any other '69 Camaros with this tranny.  I found a '68 Chevy II 4-door for sale on Craigslist in South Dakota that had its original 230 6-cyl and TD trans and asked the seller to send me some good close-up photos of its engine, but received nothing back.  It was an air-cooled TD from a May '68-built car, so I think that probably all '68s with Torque Drives were air-cooled and (maybe) later '69s had liquid-cooled TDs. 

I was able to locate this car's original owner through an excellent website called "Familytreenow.com" and found out some interesting stuff about this car.  Heidi S. was 20 years-old in Sept. of '68 and 5 months pregnant, unemployed, and unmarried.  Her father Bill worked as a mechanic at Ft. Wayne, IN's largest Chevy dealer, Hefner, and wanted to get his daughter a new Camaro or Nova to help her through a tough time in her life.  He had seen this car (yes, it was the 1st '69 Camaro sold at Hefner) in a storage building that the dealer owned, and decided to try and get it for Heidi.  The official new car introduction date for '69 Chevys was Sept. 26, 1968, and Bill and Heidi were at the dealer's showroom that evening to try and buy the car.  Heidi said there were probably 100 people there that evening, and this Camaro was the prettiest car in the showroom.  They wanted to test drive it, but that was out of the question.  Bill did not receive much of a discount since this was the only '69 Camaro that the dealership had, and there were many other people interested in buying it.  Bill was told that it could not leave the showroom until the 2nd Camaro arrived (it showed up a week later...a yellow convertible with a black top).  Bill signed the papers that night and he and Heidi waited impatiently to pick it up.  It wasn't until they took delivery of it that Heidi realized it had a funky automatic transmission that wasn't really automatic, and no power steering or brakes (it also had no radio...Bill had a factory Delco AM radio installed shortly after they picked it up).  I believe that Hefner ordered it with a Torque Drive tranny because GM wanted to market the car to women and draw them in with its lower cost.  Heidi loved the way the car looked, but hated the way it drove, and she traded it in on a 'red '71 Nova coupe that she ordered from Hefner.  It originally came with the white hockey stripe, and it is coded "52 E" on the cowl tag (Garnet Red with a parchment top) with a "712" red standard interior.  It did not have many options...larger 250 engine, TD trans, tinted glass, hockey stripe, vinyl roof, full wheel covers, WSW tires, and floor mats.

I am a good acquaintance with Phil Borris, the author of the excellent book, "Echoes of Norwood" (he has seen my '70 Camaro and '74 Nova cop car prototype), and I sent him pictures of the '69.  He invited me to bring it to the big indoor "Cavalcade of Customs" show in downtown Cincinnati back in January, and it won a 3rd place award in competition with many beautiful and in my opinion more worthy cars.  It sat next to Mark Hasset's beautiful Hugger Orange '69 Yenko Camaro that was once owned by Otis Chandler (the owner of the LA Times newspaper), and received probably as many looks as his car.

My intention is to get the car (which Heidi named "Cherry"...the name I now call it) up to the Camaro Superfest in Ypsilanti, MI once this Chinese Virus garbage is gone, and maybe get it into the Vintage Chevy Club of America's G&D magazine.  In a couple of years I'll yank the drivetrain and make it into a Z28 clone (just kidding!).  I know the steering wheel shroud is supposed to be completely red, and those gawd-awful repop door panels are going to be replaced by the best red ones I can find (input on this would be most helpful...brand and source).

It is nice to be back on here, and thanks to all of you for your kind words...

 

bertfam

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2020, 01:11:16 AM »
That's a great story! I wish I had history on ANY of my cars!!

Ed
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68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2020, 01:32:30 AM »
Hey Bert...it's nice to hear from you.  I realized while writing my last post that I had saved a couple of photos of a '69 Nova that was for sale on the Internet several months ago.  It had a rare 4-cylinder engine and its original Torque Drive.  You will note that it has no radiator cooling lines, which probably means it's an early '69 (again, I don't know if later '69s had liquid-cooled Torque Drives, and I haven't found any '70 Novas with this trans).  You will also note that its shift indicator says "TORQUE DRIVE". 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 02:10:50 AM by 68SixBangerRS »

KurtS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2020, 06:31:55 AM »
Great car! Thanks for the pictures!
The car was built 08E, the trans was built 8/13. That's a 69 trans. The trans design was the same 68 and 69.
No VIN on the bellhousing?
The whole point of the torque drive was to reduce costs. They removed the automatic parts and had a manual shift trans without a clutch. Without the governor and other parts to generate heat, they deleted the trans cooler. 
The AIM says it assembles same as M35. It does not mean that it is the same. The bellhousing is a different part number. The only error I see is someone left the trans cooling lines reference in the AIM.
I've been going through internal GM service information and I've never seen anything about Torque Drive failures. They were serviced as any other trans and would not have been replaced with a powerglide unless the customer paid for it.
Very few of them around. I know of 2 T-D 68's that survived, not sure if they still do... 
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group/7

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2020, 02:12:22 PM »
Great story on a rare car ! and the Nova as well ! thanks for posting.

Here's part of the page on Camaro power teams from the '69 vehicle ordering manual, dated April 1st '69,  (this is from G.M.

Canada) showing the Torque Drive transmission,  could differ on U.S.  market cars, prices in Canadian dollars.

Mike

ps: sorry for the size, couldn't seem to make it any smaller .

group/7

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2020, 02:22:59 PM »
Her's the page from the '69 vehicle ordering manual (Canadian Market cars) for the Nova, shows the Torque Drive, but only with

the 6, this is dated April 1st '69, maybe the 4cyl. wasn't offered in Canada, or being later in the production year, was deleted ?

Mike

ps: once again sorry for the size  ::) scroll back and forth to see the whole page.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2020, 04:31:55 PM »
Kurt, thanks for the detailed reply. I based my info on the Torque Drive failures from talking with an elderly gentleman at a car show who said he had worked for GM back then and knew all about TDs and what a problem they were, and that many were swapped out for liquid-cooled PGs.  I stand corrected, Sir!  The case was hot tanked and I can't find a VIN stamped into it where I think it should be (about halfway up the edge of the bellhousing on the driver's side), but logically I assume it's the car's original trans. 

I'll post more photos on here including close-ups of its odd torque converter (which at the time I took the photos had been sent out by the tranny shop to be rebuilt).  The converter has fins welded onto the back to circulate cool air into the bellhousing.  The guys at the shop are all seasoned citizens and had never seen a TD, and said that several of the parts are made of unobtanium...impossible to find now.  The bulk of the parts are identical to a PG.  I'll get several of the trans from the underside of the car once it's installed and sitting on the shop's lift.  Let me know what you want pictures of and I'll get them off to you.  This may be the only opportunity to get internal pictures of this trans and document what it is possibly the only remaining '69 Camaro with a TD.

Driving the car is a real treat.  I have been a big fan of Chevy 6s since the early '80s, when I had a little-old-lady '72 Nova 4-door with a 6 and a 3-on-the-tree.  It was very peppy, never broke down, and got great gas mileage, and as anyone who has ever driven such a car will attest, you get used to the constant shifting and never really think about it.  It is the same with driving a TD-equipped car...the shifting becomes second nature.  Acceleration is not brisk, but it is acceptable.  I drive it very sparingly...maybe once every 3 or 4 weeks, and I don't need to use its acceleration abilities much since other drivers slow down so they can appreciate what a thing of beauty it is.  If you start out in 2nd gear ("HI" on the shift quadrant), you can forget about keeping up with traffic (it is SLOW!), but driving it the way it was intended allows you to keep up with the herd.  The best economy occurs when the trans is shifted at around 20 mph...shifting above that gets the engine pretty buzzy.  But if you need to merge onto the hiway, keeping it in 1st up to 40 or 45 provides sprightly acceleration.  Gas mileage in town is approximately 19-21, and I drive it like I'm a borderline old man (which I proudly am).  I may drive it up US 23 next summer from Columbus to Ypsilanti for the Camaro Superfest and I can then report back on its hiway fuel economy.  The engine is a typical semi-wheezy sounding Stovebolt 6 (one of the best engines ever produced, in my opinion), and it is almost noiseless while cruising around.  As the car is equipped, it is basically a very pretty Nova.  Although I appreciate its drivetrain now, I can't see any guy from the '60s buying such a car...it was definitely aimed towards women.  For all of the work necessary to drive it normally (lots of shifting), I can't see scrimping for the $87 savings over a Powerglide.

I grew up in the '60s and '70s when gas was super cheap, and every young punk back then would rip the 6s out of their Camaros (which were incredibly plentiful and cheap!) and stuff in a small or big block (the boneyards were full of them), so I can see why not many survived into the present day.  But I still can't understand why really nice remaining 6s are swapped out for V8s, other than "the heart wants what the heart wants", and originality be damned.

Let me know what you need.  Best regards, Alex

PS...Mike, thank you for your scanned GM documents...much appreciated!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 06:10:27 PM by 68SixBangerRS »

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2020, 05:25:25 PM »
Kurt, here are the pages of the factory assembly manual that confused me.  The first page shows the VIN stamping location, and the drawing of the bellhousing doesn't show the Torque Drive's cooling holes (which was probably an oversight by the draftsman who created the manual).  I will look further around the bellhousing to see if maybe the VIN was stamped somewhere else and I simply overlooked it.  The second page (Item "7B6") shows that it was supposed to have the same cooling lines as a PG, which you have determined was an error in the manual. Additionally, Item "7B3A" says it was supposed to use the same "Underpan" as a PG, which I assume means the torque converter cover, and the TD's cover is obviously very different than a PG's.  The second page also says it was supposed to use a UPC 13A radiator, but I wasn't able to find that UPC in the manual.

Also attached are a couple more photos of the torque converter cover.  As you can see, it draws air in on the right side of the trans next to the starter.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2020, 06:19:37 PM »
One last photo...this is the bellhousing prior to being hot tanked.  The number "39" was written on it, and the car's VIN ends with "39".  Since it was hot tanked, the number is now gone.

KurtS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2020, 03:16:25 PM »
Item "7B3A" says it was supposed to use the same "Underpan" as a PG
The purpose of the AIM is to tell how to assemble the car.
The AIM does *NOT* say that the parts are the same. It says they assemble the same - meaning they are attached with the same general technique. Since the fitment is the same, they don't need to make up another drawing since it has been covered elsewhere in the AIM. Elsewise the AIM would be a set of repetitious drawings. Drawings are not trying to be accurate in the details that don't matter for assembly, i.e. extra holes.
VIN's should be generally applied to all cars, but they definitely missed some. Is the VIN on the engine pad?
Photos - a pic of the torque converter would be great as would a pic of the shield installed showing how the ducting works.
Can you also shoot a picture of the engine pad, the POP, and the starter installed (maybe from below?)
Thanks!
Kurt
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68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2020, 05:59:08 PM »
Kurt, the POP shows the engine pad's number is "F0819BB", the trans number is "A9M18", and the rear-end is "BP0816G".  I have had a couple of other original GM cars from that era that had missing numbers, or incorrect numbers stamped on their POPs (off by a number or letter).  For example, the trans number on this car's POP doesn't have the last letter of the code on the trans pan ("A9M18N").  The POP shows the delivery date as "10/7/68", not Sept. 26th '68 (the day the sales contract was signed).  The car also has its original 37A alternator dated July 17 of '68 and 1-barrel carb.  I will get good photos of all the items you requested, as well as the numbers off the radiator.  The trans shop said it will probably be done next Wed and I'll get the shots while it's sitting on their lift.  I don't know very much about assembly manuals and appreciate the info.  I wanted to ask if you know how many Camaros were built during the last week of August '68, and if that was the first week of production for the '69 model year.  I think it's sad that so few TD-equipped Camaros survived, and that this may be the only '69 left of the 2,186 built.  I'm glad that it will add to the incredible amount of info on your website.

I will definitely be at the Camaro Superfest next year and hope you can make it to see it in person.  Best regards, Alex

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2020, 02:13:13 AM »
The shift code was often left off the POP. Is the trans A9M13N or A9M18N? Looks like a 3 in the picture.
Warranty starts at delivery, not the sales. ;)
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68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2020, 02:14:40 AM »
I got a call this afternoon from the trans shop that "Cherry" was done and could be picked up...I hadn't expected that as they had told me next Tues or Wed, but thanks to the Chinese Virus killing every business (including auto repair shops), the trans shop had only one job...rebuilding Cherry's tranny.  The rebuilt torque converter arrived yesterday afternoon and the guys had already built the trans and only needed the converter to finish the job.  I took it on a long test drive and it shifts perfectly (as long as the driver isn't lazy and starts out in 1st!).

I took a fair number of photos with Cherry up on the lift...a number I hope Kurt finds satisfactory.  Try as I might I couldn't get decent photos of the radiator and side tanks, so I yanked it out to get some proper shots.  As you can see, the left tank is coded "IH", and the right is "OD" with a month code of "E" for May.  Unfortunately, the radiator tag is missing, but this is not some high dollar Z28 or COPO, so not a big deal.  According to the codes posted on this site, this is a 1968 radiator, but it was put on a very early '69 so I'm guessing that GM used up its leftover '68 radiators on those early '69s.

Note that the torque converter's "scoop" is quite large and allows a large amount of air (and dirt and sand...the bottom of the cover was full of both when the tranny was pulled) past the starter's nose.

I also took a couple of pictures of the rear end.  I'll get Ed (aka "Bert") some good pics of the interior and engine compartment in the next few days. 

Enjoy!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 04:13:55 AM by 68SixBangerRS »

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2020, 02:19:39 AM »
More photos

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2020, 02:24:10 AM »
More photos

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2020, 03:52:05 AM »
Hey Kurt, I just saw your last message about the POP, and I checked it against the number on the trans pan and they are DIFFERENT!  As you can see, the POP has a trans code of "9M18", and the code on the pan is "9M13".  I had looked at both the POP and trans pan several times and had never caught the discrepancy.  I covered Heidi's last name since I haven't asked her if I could post it on here.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2020, 11:51:37 PM »
Kurt, I took a picture of the VIN pad today and there is NO VIN stamped (the same as the tranny).  So is this a case of the regular VIN stamping guy being sick that day, or that he forgot his reading glasses (or worse, that he was hungover from his liquid lunch at one of Norwood's many bars)?  Or does it point to the start of a new model year being somewhat chaotic (I believe Cherry was possibly built on the 2nd or 3rd day of '69 production)?  Have you seen this before where there was no VIN stamped on either the engine or tranny?  I was told that you would probably want the engine block's casting date...it was "H 168".

I didn't realize that the day or night shift code was customarily left off of POPs.  In addition, in the 40 years that I have been buying classic cars (mostly GMs), I have seen a couple that had one number different than the POP, which is no big deal.  I also didn't know that POPs were filled out on the day of delivery...I had always assumed it was on the day the sales contract was signed.  Thanks for the info!

« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 01:16:00 AM by 68SixBangerRS »

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2020, 08:34:59 PM »
I found a '70 Nova with a 4-cylinder and a Torque Drive tranny for sale on the Internet, and there was a good shot of the engine compartment.  There are no trans cooling lines, so it appears that all TDs were probably air-cooled. 

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2020, 08:23:36 PM »
The federal law required the partial VIN stampings, but the plants weren't always consistent yet. Yes, some cars are missing them.
The sample size is small, but most 69 L6 cars have the VIN on the pad, but not all.
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68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2020, 01:53:21 AM »
Thanks for the info.  Here is the carb...its number is 7029017BD, and it has a mfr date of 8-9.  According to your carb chart it is for a manual trans car, which makes sense since the TD was essentially a manually shifted automatic and had no kickdown.

BULLITT65

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2020, 02:03:19 AM »
Awesome find. With you history of 6cylinder cars I can think of no better guy for this car to be owned by. The car looks stunningly original, and well preserved. Amazing it was able to dodge being modified for so many years. I know you mentioned the door panels, but has anything else been restored on the car? original paint or vinyl top?

I will be in Indiana for the 4th of July, and thought I would Check on that show. Unfortunately it looks like they have cancelled for this year ... :-\
http://www.camarosuperfest.com/CSF2020Home.asp

Which is bummer since it is still months away. Maybe next year.

Great color combo.
1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
-Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear)
-Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
-Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2020, 03:53:31 AM »
Bullitt, nice to hear from you, and thanks for the nice words.  As you know I have been into the oddball 6-banger Camaros for many years.  I found that they were usually owned by women and were lucky to have survived to the present day without a V8 swap.  I really appreciate finding them here and there, which is not very often due the above mentioned reason.  My previous two 6-bangers both had 3-on-the-tree shifters, but their bodies were too far gone to realistically restore them (I would've had $45-50k 6-cylinders, but they would've been NIIICE!).

I go to quite a few shows and there are so many '69 Z28s (no offense to any of you guys on here) that people just walk by them unless they have an unusual color scheme or options.  But the 6-cylinder cars usually attract quite a bit of attention due to their uniqueness and rarity.  So when I found the latest car I jumped on it right away, and I'm glad I did.  I knew it was rare due to its oddball air-cooled transmission, but I didn't think it was possibly THE LAST ONE.  I read through the posts on here and Kurt mentioned that he hadn't seen one in a long time and would like to document one, so "Cherry" is on here now for that purpose.

As near as I can determine, I am the 4th owner.  The first owner, Heidi S. kept it for only 2 years before getting frustrated enough to sell it in 1971 due to no power options and a funky TD trans.  The second owner was a young airman named Ken Dombrowski who was stationed at Scott AFB near Belleville, IL (St. Louis area).  He wrote his name in the back of the owner's manual and documented all of the maintenance he did for the next 2 years (from 17k-29k miles).  He sold it to a fellow airman named Carlos who separated from the service in 1974 and took it back to his hometown of Santa Fe, NM.  When I bought the car there were some State Farm insurance cards with his name and that of his son Miguel in the glovebox.  I found Miguel's phone number on "Familytreenow.com" (an excellent and free website that contains the past addresses and frequently phone numbers of nearly everyone in the US...an awesome resource) and called to ask him about the history of the car.  His dad drove it rather sparingly until around 1980 or '81 when it had transmission issues and Carlos parked it under a carport behind his mother's house (it had around 54k or 55k miles at that time).  Then Carlos and his wife raised 4 kids on his pay as a Santa Fe Public Schools building maintenance man...and the Camaro sat and faded for about 35 years.  Carlos' mother passed away and a decision had to be made on the Camaro, so Carlos' kids paid an auto collision shop in Albuquerque that charged them somewhere around $25k to completely restore it (or more...Miguel didn't want to talk about that...the place I bought it from said somewhere between $25-35K was spent on it).  The trunk floor, floors, rockers, and front fenders appear to be originals, but the quarters were replaced for an unknown reason (drop offs had some rust and probably could've just been patched, but the body shop replaced the entire quarters).  The kids presented it to their dad on Father's Day 2016, but he passed away only 2 years later and the decision was made to sell it to recoup some of the restoration money.

It appears to have all of its original drivetrain components with the exception of the starter.  It has really crappy repop door panels (too puffy and not bright red...they are a washed-out tired-looking red) and rear panels that are going bye-bye very quickly (I am currently leaning towards PUI Premium panels from Heartbeat Jim in Mich).  I ordered a correct red standard steering wheel with an all-red horn shroud from OER (current shroud has a black center and is incorrect) and am just waiting for it to arrive.  The seats are bright red and appear to be as correct as possible.  All of the glass is reproduction garbage and is getting yanked out next week to be replaced with a beautiful tinted complete set (except for the windshield) that I've had sitting in storage spaces for the past 20 years...the front windows say "Astro Ventillation" inside the glass...I believe the set is dated for Oct. '68 (I don't know if the car originally had tinted glass, but it will now).  I believe the original jack is in the trunk and it appears to be a '68 jack with a '69 load rest, but I can't find a date on the jack mast.  I replaced the incorrect Rally wheels that were on the car with a correct set of "FC" coded wheels and NOS PO1 full wheel covers, which is what Heidi said she thought came on it new (she said they were full chrome wheel covers), and she thought it had whitewall tires, but couldn't remember for sure.  I had an NOS Firestone Deluxe Champion F78-14 whitewall that I found at Hershey 15 or so years ago, and it is now on one of the original FC wheels and in the trunk.  The car had repop taillight lenses and parking lights lenses that are now replaced with nice originals that I had been saving for a car like this, and I put an original driver's side mirror dated 9-68 to replace the repop one.  The repop wiper arms are going to be replaced with a nice original set I have with NOS Trico blades.  The dash is painted gloss red which is incorrect and that will be properly done maybe next year.  I will also try to adjust the fenders to get better gaps (gaps are currently pretty bad).  I also have an NOS GM 6-cylinder muffler that will replace the incorrect Walker-made one on it now (not the correct exterior dimensions).  My best parts find by-far was locating an original NOS Hefner Chevrolet metal dealer trunk emblem on Ebay (the seller had a few and I bought 2).  I still have the original dealer emblem...badly beat-up from 45-plus years of exposure to the elements.  I am looking for original bright red windlacing and red seat backs if anyone has those things laying around.  Cherry will never get driven a lot of miles, but she will also not be trailered around...she is a wonderful little driver with the sounds and feel of a 6-cylinder Nova (and fantastic gas mileage!).  She still has drum brakes all around and seems to stop just fine...no disks in her future.  The odometer currently shows 56k miles and I believe that is correct.

The color scheme is off the charts beautiful, and it looks the same as one or two early '69s that GM used in the sales brochure and early ads (Super Sports).  The red interior with the red and white exterior make it a very eye-catching ride (but at this point in time, even a Frost Green '69 would attract just as much attention).  I think a 6-cylinder Camaro with this color scheme is highly unusual, and I think it is extremely odd that Hefner Chevrolet ordered this car with a 6-cylinder for their first '69 Camaro, but I think they may have done that to keep the window sticker price low to attract buyers (but they had to also know that their first '69 Camaro was going to sell immediately, regardless of how it was equipped).  The POP's option line is blank, so she was ordered without a radio or power options (thus keeping the sticker price low).  I found a Hugger Orange '69 base coupe a few years ago on Craigslist in NC and almost bought it (it was virtually a twin of Cherry).  It had a white vinyl top, white hockey stripe, tinted glass, standard FC coded black wheels (showing it came with full hubcaps), white standard interior, 250 6-cylinder, 3-speed floor-shifted manual (I had a complete 3-on-the-tree setup I planned to swap in just for the weird factor at car shows), no PS or PB, and a lot of rust.  But at that time it was the most colorful '69 6-banger Camaro I had ever seen and I felt it was worth a ground-up restoration (I don't really care much about sinking "foolish" money into the right 6-cylinder...that was this orange car).  I also recall it was built in the first week of Sept. '68, so I think it may have been a showroom car like mine.  Unfortunately, the wife at that time liked to spend my money on stuff she wanted and not stuff I wanted, and some foot-dragging on my part because of the wife caused it to get away.  The seller told me it went to a guy who intended to swap a V8 into it...sadness.  So when Cherry came along, I worked out the financials without bringing the current wife into the negotiations (it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission...every time!), and she is just as beautiful as the orange rust bucket was when it was new (and even rarer with her TD tranny). 

I will continue to post stuff on here that pertains to the oddball 6-bangers.  I noticed that in the approximately 4 years that I was off here that there were not a lot of posts regarding 6s.  Someone has to carry the torch, right?

I am attaching a couple of photos of the orange rust bucket...crazy rare for a 6-cylinder, don't you think? 

PS...Bullitt, next time you're close to Indy give me a call and I'll drive over to Richmond and we can have some coffee or a beer.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 05:49:18 AM by 68SixBangerRS »

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2020, 05:58:15 AM »
These are the GM promotional photos I spoke of.  I now realize this is probably the same car used for both ads, but the bumper went from chrome to Endura in the 2nd ad.  There is no antenna on either car, and they also appear to have the same type of RWL tires with very small sidewall lettering.

BULLITT65

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2020, 06:42:35 AM »
sent you a PM
1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
-Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear)
-Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
-Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2020, 03:55:44 PM »
Here are some interior photos that I meant to post a couple of weeks ago for Ed (Bertfam).  These were on the classic car dealer's website where I found it.

bertfam

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2020, 04:40:41 PM »
Man, that sure is a lotta red!!

Thanks for posting.

Ed
Ed "Bert" Bertrand
email me!

BULLITT65

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2020, 01:00:13 AM »
Love that red interior. Wish one of my cars had it, preferably my white car. White with red interior is one of my favorite combos. I would be tempted to swap mine over if I ever ran across a donor car that was complete.
1969 garnet red Z/28 46k mile unrestored X77
-Looking for 3192477 (front) spiral shocks 3192851 (rear)
-Looking for an original LOF soft ray windshield
-Looking for original Delco side post negative battery cable part # 6297651AV

KurtS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2020, 02:36:07 AM »
http://www.camaros.org/swheel.shtml#sw69
Note that on some early Camaro SS models with red, green, or blue interiors, the pebble-grained facing on the horn shroud was black instead of color matched, as shown on page 7 of the 1969 Camaro Dealers Sales Album (left). This appears to have been done for the first part of 1969 production. Also note that in these instances, the horn buttons have been observed in both black and color matched.
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68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2020, 06:56:06 AM »
Kurt, I have read almost all of your research on here, but I completely missed the steering wheel article.  I'm really glad to find out that my car has the original steering wheel...I thought it was some kind of a reproduction, but I couldn't find another one like it in any parts catalogs and decided it must be an incorrect reproduction.  I personally think the black center looks better than a red center because it helps provide some contrast (yes Ed...that's a lot of red!).  The wheel has a smooth outer rim, not pebble-grained.  Some of the red pieces are originals like the kick panels, the rear view mirror bracket, the gauge surround, and some of the windlacing.  I think the seatbelts are originals, but most of them are dated A-24-68 which I think is too early for a late August car (but the radiator is dated for May, so maybe they are correct). 

I know you probably have an opinion which red door panels are the most correct, and I'd appreciate getting it from you.  Is it better to use the best reproductions or to have an original set restored by Al Knoch (or Just Dashes?).  Thanks 
« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 08:14:20 AM by 68SixBangerRS »

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2020, 05:17:34 AM »
I am in the process of replacing every single repop piece of junk item I can find on Cherry and making her as factory correct as I possibly can. I wasn't sure until I pulled the front grill emblem out that it was a repop, but it was, I got on Ebay and found an extremely nice original for fairly cheap money and bought it. The difference in weight is probably the biggest difference between the two, which is due to a potmetal plate that the outer part of the emblem is riveted to. The original is also a brighter blue than the repop. An odd thing about the repop is that it has threads on the mounting studs, which the original never had. The first photo is the original which has very minor cracking. In the bottom photo the original is on the bottom...note the GM part number.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2020, 05:32:17 AM »
I figured while I was swapping the grill emblem, I might as well swap the rear one as well. The repop was closer to correct than the front. Note the difference in blue between the two...the original GM part is on the bottom.

68SixBangerRS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2020, 05:53:31 AM »
The biggest change I have made to the car is changing all of the glass (except the windshield) from repop PPG Herculite glass to factory Soft-Ray glass the I have had for at least 15 years (I found the glass through an ad at the back of an Auto Trader and bought it for $150). All of the glass is dated TZ and AZ (Aug and Sept '67), and the front windows had "Astro Ventilation" inside the glass (yes, I know it's not correct for a '69, but it's so cool that I don't care). Top photo shows the repop glass logo.

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2020, 06:50:14 PM »
This is interesting.  My first car was a '69 230 with a Torque Drive.  It was purchased new by my aunt and I bought it from her when I turned 16 in 1986.  It was liquid cooled with the lines to the trans - I'm not 100% sure it was never replaced by my aunt but I didn't think it had.  I still have the "AN" coded 6-cylinder engine (maybe 112,000 miles when I pulled it?) and the VIN# was 545064 which was fairly early in the model year. I have the protect-O-plate still and the original bill of sale for the car.  I put a 350 in it in 1988 and unfortunately totaled it a couple of months later.  Being a broke college kid I just put a $600 stock 350 and kept the Torque Drive with I guess the 3.08 10 bolt.  It definitely had the same shift markings on the indicator saying "Torque Drive" and "HI" and "1st" I remember that.  Everybody made fun of the fact I had to put it in first at a stop light then bump it into HI.

KurtS

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2020, 04:16:10 AM »
Jerry,
Can you send me a picture of the POP and the bill of sale? Don't run across these TD cars, or their paperwork.
Thanks!
KurtS2@gmail.com.
Kurt S
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ZLP955

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Re: '69 coupe with a 6-cylinder and a torque Drive air-cooled trans
« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2020, 11:08:09 AM »
I've been slow to catch the updates to this, but what a great and interesting car - thanks for sharing!
One question - looks like one headrest is straight bar and one is bent, or is that just the photo angle? Are they dated?
Tim in Australia.
'Fiasco' - 1969 04A Van Nuys Z/28. Cortez Silver, Dark Blue interior, VE3 bumper, Z21, Z23, D55/U17, D80, flat hood.
Sold at Clippinger Chevrolet in Covina, CA. Raced at Lions Dragstrip in Long Beach.