Every once in a while, we stumble upon a particularly rare barn or field find—one that has been deliberately hidden away from the elements and is still in excellent form. This isn’t that narrative, but what it lacks in quality, it tries to make up for in exclusivity and originality. Meet the 68 Z/28 Camaro, which is being recovered from the effects of the years. But how did this unique design of Camaro history end up left in a wet field to be abused by Natural Forces for nearly 40 years?
For that, we’ll need to contact the car’s current owner, JB Coppedge. “The former purchaser didn’t have the car long and ended up selling it in for a 69 Nova four-speed automobile in late 1969,” he explained. I’m quite certain only when the new owner owned the car, but it came with a service contract CE9B 302 powerplant. During his ownership, the heads were replaced with a pair of 492 angle-plug heads, and he fitted a Hurst shifter and a Sun tachometer. (I’ll maintain everything done on the Camaro as a day-two car when I restore it.) According to my knowledge, the automobile was driven around the town where he lived until 1975. The automobile was parked on the edge of the mountain where this gentleman resided that year, and it was subsequently destroyed by a mudslide. Out of sight, out of mind, according to what I was taught. So he simply sat it there for 43 years!”
Dave MacConnell discovered the automobile on Craigslist in May of 2018. He hurried over as quickly as he spotted it to inspect it and make a deposit. MacConnell initially thought it to be a one-owner vehicle. On May 6/18, MacConnell enlisted the assistance of John Fardone, one well vintage car hunter (who recently featured a 70 LS6 Chevelle in Vintage Car Mag), to dig out the car. Jerry Macneish, the proprietor of Camaro High-Efficiency LLC, arrived in Pennsylvania on Feb 15, 2019, and authenticated the car as a genuine 68 Z/28.
“One of my first automobiles was a LeMans Blue 68 Camaro SS, and I’ve ever hated losing it,” Coppedge added.
I’d always wanted to buy a real Z/28, but with automobile costs today, I didn’t believe I’d ever be able to afford one. I was searching long and low for the right project vehicle, checking all over different states on craigslist and Facebook marketplace, when I came across this magnificent 1968 Z/28 UU color code Lemans Blue Camaro advertised in Pennsylvania and fell in love with it. After showing it to my father, Brad Coppedge, we decided to pack up and go collect it after a few days of deliberation.
“MacConnell operates MacConnell’s Service Center, a little, nice little vehicle dealership. I pulled into the car park of MacConnell’s Repair Centre just before midnight on August 19th, 2019. As I was pulling into his lot, a little automobile with no lights tried to squeeze past me and struck my truck and trailer. I removed a large portion of the front end and several lights from the vehicle that hit me, but only ripped off some plastic from my running board. Following that, I met with MacConnell. I took a short look at the automobile, paid him, and collected all of the papers.
“We returned the Z/28 to Claremore, Oklahoma, where we’d resided since 1979, two days later.” I then began the paperwork trail. I requested the NCRS paperwork, from which I learned the delivery date and which dealership sold the vehicle. I couldn’t get any farther after spending hours on the phone with that dealership. I ended up posting about the tale on a Pennsylvania first-gen Camaro page, and a gentleman named Jeff Boone read it and told me he lives in the exact town as the original A.W. Troutman shop and knows several people who work there.
He looked for an afternoon and found the dealership invoice! Then he tracked down the individual who bought the car and was able to obtain two photographs of the stunning 1968 Z/28 when it was brand new from the first owner “Coppedge remembered.
“I’ve spent the last two years purchasing original parts for the automobile in order to do a full restoration. Quarters, tail, grille, fenders, and so forth are all NOS. I’m doing all I can to maintain as many original GM parts as possible. I even discovered a NOS T.I. distributor with all of the components and a like-new GM cross-ram, confirmed by Wayne Guinn of Guinn Engineering and dated one month before the car was completed.
Tom Cudeyro gave me the cross-ram. Cudeyro has dealt with several cross-rams over the years, and he has spent a significant amount of time assisting me. I’ll be performing most of the job myself, with the assistance of my father. He’s been working on ’56 Chevys for as long as I can remember, and it’s because of him that I wanted the cross-ram for this vehicle. My dream automobile would not be here if it weren’t for him. I’ll also enlist the assistance of my little son, Joshua Davis, in the repair. Joshua like the newer current muscle vehicles, but he has developed a strong affection for this 1968 Z/28 and is always eager to contribute to the project.”
Tom Cudeyro gave me the bridge. Cudeyro has worked with several cross-rams so over ages, and he has dedicated a significant amount of time assisting me. I’ll be performing the bulk of the job myself, with the assistance of my father. He’s been working on ’56 Chevys for as long as I can remember, and it’s because of him that I wanted the bridge for this vehicle. My dream automobile would not be here if it weren’t for him. I’ll also enlist the assistance of my little son, Joshua Davis, in the repair. Joshua like the newer current muscle vehicles, but he has developed a strong affection for this 1968 Z/28 and is always eager to contribute to the project.”