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posted: 7/31/2017 6:00 AM

Souped-up Camaro brings owner back to racing days

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  • The original owner of this 1969 Camaro RS/SS upgraded the engine in 1997 to a 355ci V-8 engine.

    The original owner of this 1969 Camaro RS/SS upgraded the engine in 1997 to a 355ci V-8 engine.
    Photos Courtesy of Matt Avery Media

  • The Champagne color of Casey's 1969 Camaro turns as many heads as the car itself. Only one-half of 1 percent of the Camaros rolled out with the color that year.

    The Champagne color of Casey's 1969 Camaro turns as many heads as the car itself. Only one-half of 1 percent of the Camaros rolled out with the color that year.

  • The interior in Casy's 1969 Camaro RS/SS is original.

    The interior in Casy's 1969 Camaro RS/SS is original.

  • Chuck Casey takes his 1969 Camaro RS/SS everywhere.

    Chuck Casey takes his 1969 Camaro RS/SS everywhere.

  • Casey purchased this 1969 Camaro from a coworker, who had owned it for 27 years and took two years to decide to sell it.

    Casey purchased this 1969 Camaro from a coworker, who had owned it for 27 years and took two years to decide to sell it.

  • Though this Camaro sports an engine upgrade, added in 1997, the interior is all original.

    Though this Camaro sports an engine upgrade, added in 1997, the interior is all original.

  • The owner purchased and installed a 355ci V-8 engine, tuned and built by Lingenfelter.

    The owner purchased and installed a 355ci V-8 engine, tuned and built by Lingenfelter.

  • Casey says he loves the 8-track player, which blasts his favorite tunes on his frequent jaunts.

    Casey says he loves the 8-track player, which blasts his favorite tunes on his frequent jaunts.

  • Underhood, Casey's 1969 Camaro RS/SS sports a 355ci V-8 engine installed in 1997.

    Underhood, Casey's 1969 Camaro RS/SS sports a 355ci V-8 engine installed in 1997.

 
 

As a teen growing up in Chicago, Chuck Casey worked hard to save some cash and went and purchased his first car -- a 1963 Nova.

He cruised to his classes at Taft High School in it and loved every second of being behind the wheel.

The only thing he loved more was summer weekends spent at the drag strip. Every Saturday and Sunday he and his dad would head up to the Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin.

"I was 17 and he would go with me," Chuck recalls. "He always loved to watch and support me."

Chuck loved his Nova but thanks to his buddy, Steve, he also came to love the Camaro.

Steve had a blue 1967 example and frequently cruised with Chuck in it.

"We'd cruise all over the city to our favorite hot spots," Chuck said.

In 1979 Chuck purchased a 1970 Camaro Z28 that he raced and owned, but only briefly.

That was his only and last Camaro until a few years ago, when he purchased this 1969 Camaro RS/SS.

"A guy I had worked with had owned it for 27 years but no one ever knew," he said. "He never took it out."

Chuck finally learned of the hidden treasure and expressed his interest, but would have to wait two full years before his co-worker was ready to part with it.

The car was sold new in Arizona and in 1997 received a major performance upgrade.

The owner purchased and installed a 355ci V-8 engine, tuned and built by Lingenfelter.

"They were up and coming and a big name to have in your car," said Chuck.

It's not just what's underhood that turns heads -- the color also draws a lot of attention.

"In 1969 only one-half of a percent were painted in Champagne," recalls Chuck. The color was a major factor in him liking the car and he attributes it to the fact that his boyhood Nova was a similar color.

The interior is all original and contains Chuck's favorite way to pass the time.

"I love the 8 track," said the enthusiast. "It's always playing my tunes when I'm on the go."

That happens often as Chuck and his wife use the car regularly.

"It doesn't matter if we're heading to Jewel, the hardware store or somewhere else," said Chuck. "We always take the Camaro."

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com.

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