I had a chance to go to the car show and vintage racing event on the final day of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The event itself spans 10 days and has things happening all over the city, but if you have to pick one day, the final day of the event at Schenley Park is the day you really want to go. An entire nine-hole golf course fills up with interesting cars from all years, makes, and models. It’s a show where you might see a Ferrari F40 and a pristine mid-80’s Dodge Caravan Turbo in the same day.
However, on this day, there was something special. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Chevrolet Camaro, the PVGP organizers made the Camaro the marque of the year. And in order to really celebrate GM’s counter-punch to Ford’s Mustang, the first ever Camaro to be built made an appearance at the show. I was fortunate enough to get there early, before the crowds, and as they were backing it off of the trailer it came in on.
Painted in Granada Gold and powered by an inline six cylinder engine, the car itself wouldn’t turn many heads at any cruise night, but it does have a fascinating history according to the PVGP program I got for entering my Mustang into the show. Built in 1966 in Norwood, Ohio, the car eventually made its way into the hands of Logan Lawson of Hutchinson, Kansas. He and his father had purchased the car from a man in Oklahoma after he had mentioned the curious “N100001” VIN on the car. Four years of research determined that the car was, in fact, the first Camaro ever built. That research also revealed that the car was at one point converted to a racing car, however all the original parts were kept.
The car has since been placed on the National Historic Vehicle Register with the research being put on record with the Department of the Interior’s Historic American Engineering Record (KS-11 if you’re interested) as well as being added to the Library of Congress.