Original cross ram dual quad, JL8 four-wheel disc brake, under 32,000 miles, ex-Otis Chandler (twice)
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Sport Coupe
Chassis no. 124379L644001
Engine no. KM V0421DZ
Back in 1967 Chevrolet thought it might be a good idea to promote its then-new Camaro in some road racing competition. The Sports Car Club of America had a little known but promising series they called the Trans-Am. It was for sedans, SCCA said, but all it took to make a sedan out of a two door coupe were some vestigial back seats and a little rear seat headroom.
There were two classes, for two- and five-liter production-based sedans. Privately entered Mustangs, Darts, Falcons and Barracudas showed their competitiveness in the five-liter class in the Trans-Ams first year. It was a natural and cost-effective way to get the new Camaro some racing exposure and free publicity, so Chevrolet created Regular Production Option Z28.
In 1967 the Z28 package [the RPO number had no punctuation but during 1968 Chevrolet designed and began installing the punctuated Z/28 emblem on the front fenders] was little known. Most were bought by racers but the performance of the Z/28 in the 1967 Trans-Am in the hands of drivers like Mark Donohue and Ed Leslie brought it to the attention of everyone. It was a case of 'right place-right time-right people.' Chevy provided the basic building blocks in the Z/28 and the Camaros long list of other options. Mark Donohue, Roger Penske and a few other talented racers took advantage of it and beat the factory-backed Ford, Plymouth and Mercury teams to capture hard-won and uniquely exciting Trans-Am championships.
RPO Z28 was based on a 302.5 cubic inch version of the Chevy smallblock, essentially a 4 bore 327 block with a 3 stroke crankshaft out of the earlier 283 smallblock. It was fitted with free-breathing cylinder heads, an aluminum intake manifold breathing through a frog-swallowing 750 cfm Holley four-barrel carb. Chevy called it 290 horsepower, which was ridiculously pessimistic. In 1969 factory-delivered Z/28s were arriving at dealers showrooms with 350 or more horsepower coming out of their highly-developed, high rpm 302 V8s.
RPO Z28 also included quick ratio steering, 7 wide 15 wheels with E70 profile tires and a performance suspension that made the ride of the optional F41 performance suspension package seem like a limousine. RPO Z28 also required other performance options like power disc brakes. For the truly committed, Chevy also offered a dealer-installed dual four-barrel cross-ram intake manifold that contributed 50 horsepower or more to a prepared Z/28 engine. The cross-ram had little torque but had more high rpm horsepower than the stables at Churchill Downs during Derby week.
The RPO continued to evolve in later years and by 1969 over 20,000 Camaros with Z/28 badges on their fenders were built. Once again in 1969 the racing in the Trans-Am was intense and, once again, the Camaro Z/28 won the manufacturers championship.
1969 was the final year for the first generation Camaro and it was a highly developed model with a virtually endless options list allowing owners to specify exactly what they wanted, from a mild, modest, comfortable commuter to a thundering, ground-pounding Big Block straight-line rocket. For many buyers the Z/28 was the ultimate Camaro. It was fast, not only in a straight line but also around corners. It drove like a real sports car, not only on account of its high-revving smallblock but also because it came only with a 4-speed and decent brakes.
A few enthusiasts noticed one option that really contributed to the Z/28s road performance. It was called JL8 and it put a set of Corvette disc brakes on all four corners of the Z/28, completing the Camaros transition from pony to stallion. Chevy said 206 people ponied up the $500.50 for the JL8 option but it has been discovered subsequently that only something like fifty-six (yes, 56) Camaros were actually delivered with JL8 four-wheel disc brakes from new. The few cars equipped with them that have survived are the most desirable of the 1969 Camaro Z/28s built.
Inserted on the options list to make 4-wheel disc brakes eligible for the SCCA Trans Am series, RPO JL8 brought a huge improvement in the Camaros braking and road racing circuit performance. The heavy duty 11.75 diameter, 1.25 thick vented rotors and Corvette two-piston calipers (the standard Camaro discs used single-piston, floating calipers) were only the start of this heavy duty package. JL8 buyers also got stronger axle shafts and bigger rear axle bearings in a different axle housing. It was truly heavy duty, strong enough for Mark Donohues Trans-Am Camaro and enough to transform a street-driven Z/28 into an all around high performance pony car.
On Chevys test track the first JL8 equipped Camaro survived four hours of continuous stops, making 318 repetitions from 145 mph to 45 mph at deceleration rates of 25 feet per second per second. The JL8 brakes were still delivering the specified deceleration rate at the end of the test.
There are dozens of cross-ram, JL8 Z/28 Camaros floating around these days. Collectors can be excused for creating them: they are the best darn road Camaros ever built and the $25,000 or so that is paid to acquire a rear axle with original disc brakes is a pittance in light of the driving excitement of a dual quad, JL8 Camaro Z/28.
The cross-ram dual quad, JL8 four-wheel disc brake 1969 Camaro offered here is the real deal, delivered to its first owner, Eliseo Lucarelli, with the dual quad under the fiberglass hood and disc brakes on the rear axle.
It is documented with correspondence from the original owner. It was bought, sold, and bought again by Otis Chandler back in the days when no one but Otis cared enough about high performance pony cars to own them. Under the circumstances spending the time and money to fake them made no sense, making the Chandler Collections provenance a crystal-clear insight into this dual quad, JL8 Camaro Z/28s authenticity. It was restored for the Chandler Collection to Otis Chandlers consistently high standards.
Painted in Hugger Orange with Black stripes with a Black vinyl roof and Black vinyl interior, it has its air pump smog equipment, Rally wheels, console gauges and pushbutton radio. One other highly unusual feature is the lightweight fiberglass hood, a Chevrolet dealer installed option. Because it is very light and rather fragile these hoods rarely survive and to find one on such a singularly well-equipped Camaro Z/28 is highly unusual.
It is, simply, a prize. It has been featured in Randy Leffingwells book American Muscle while in the Chandler Collection. It was acquired from the original owner by Ed Cunneen and was sold by Cunneen to the Chandler Collection. The next owner, Jay R. Miller of San Antonio, Texas, tracked down Eliseo Lucarelli and obtained from him an affidavit attesting that when it was purchased from Casey Cole Chevrolet it was equipped with the cross ram dual quad intake manifold and JL8 four-wheel disc brakes. Lucarellis affidavit is included with the lot.
The next owner was Thomas Kunde and it was acquired from him by the most recent owner.
In addition to the original affidavit from Lucarelli this JL8 Camaro comes with its original Chevrolet Warranty and Owner Protection Plan booklet with its all-important Protect-o-Plate authenticating the factory-ordered JL8 brakes. The odometer shows only 31,872 miles that has been authenticated in prior transfer documents as the actual miles from new.
Its ownership provenance is unparalleled. Its condition is outstanding. This is one of the most rare, unusual and desirable Chevrolet Camaros ever built.