Finding any drivable '69 Camaro under $20 large is hard enough, but finding one this nice for significantly less--especially a convertible--warrants some close scrutiny. When we got Thomas and Diana Griego's letter, we were skeptical to say the least. But as we dug into the meat of the letter, it began to make sense. Here's the gist: The story starts in 1998, when the newlywed Griegos initially found their soon-to-be '69 in the possession of a reluctant lady seller. Unable to negotiate the sweet price, Thomas handed over negotiation to wife, Diana, who cracked the deal wide open for $7,500. Even nine years ago, it was a steal, especially with near-perfect paint and top. The running gear, however, was shot, and the couple scored a used '85 Tuned-Port IROC plant on eBay. A 700R4 overdrive from Bow Tie Overdrives was mated to the rebuilt 305, and the restoration was on. When the cash register stopped ringing, the couple was out just $16,281--less than the cost of a new Honda Civic. The Griegos did all the work themselves, save the engine and transmission rebuild. Considering the awesome visual result and the incredibly low build price, we felt a line-item breakdown was in order.

1969 Chevy Camaro Convertible
Owner:Thomas & Diana Griego; Albuquerque, NM
Engine:305 small-block Chevy, TPI (from 1985 IROC)
Transmission:TH700R4 (Bow Tie Overdrives)
Rearend:original factory rear
Chassis/suspension:new stock leaf springs, Performance Suspensions rebuild kit
Brakes:swap meet disc brake conversion kit
Wheels/tires:stock, rally wheels
Horsepower:unknown
Best ET:unknown
Total cost to build:$16,281
Where The Money Went:
1969 Camaro convertible:(purchased Nov. 1998)$7,500
700R4 (Bow Tie Overdrives):$1,800
Alignment:$100
Aluminum radiator (Summit):$185
AutoMeter gauges:$200
Battery:$60
Cam kit (Summit):$160
Disc brakes (swap meet):$500
Sound deadener (eBay):$70
ECM (eBay):$35
Eibach springs (Jeg's):$120
Electric fan (eBay):$75
Engine machine work:$550
Exhaust system (D&R):$600
Floor pans (NPD):$80
Frame rail & leaf spring kit (Rick's):$300
Fuel tank & pump (Rock Valley):$550
Hose fittings (90 degree, Summit):$26
K&N filter:$35
KYB shocks (Summit):$130
Leaf springs (swap meet):$50
Media blasting:$200
Plumbing lines, wiring isolator (Summit):$240
POR15:$140
Powder coating:$250
Radiator core support (Classic Ind.):$120
Subframe repair kit & brakes lines (Rick's):$100
Performance Suspension kit:$330
TPI chip & sensors:$350
TPI engine (eBay, after partial parting out):$200
Trans cooler (Jeg's):$110
Trunk pan (Rick's):$40
Wiring harness (Speed Scene):$375
Misc.$700
Total:$16,281