SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — One of the rarest Camaros in the United States, owned by a township man, will be on display this weekend at a Cleveland car show.
The 1969 Camaro ZL-1 will be shown at the Piston Power Show at the IX Center in Cleveland, said car owner Mark Hassett. He said the show is one of the largest indoor shows in the world with 1,300 vehicles to be viewed.
The vehicles include cars, trucks, motorcycles and military vehicles.
Tickets are $25 for adults at the box office and $20 online, according to the show’s website.
Hassett said he bought the car for $87,000 around 2000 and has twice turned down $1 million offers. The car was one of 50 built through a special Chevrolet dealership program.
The cars were specifically made for drag racing and Hassett estimates just five were never raced which helped make his car — with only 8,000 miles driven — extremely rare.
The car was originally purchased by the owner of Gibb Chevrolet in Illinois and eventually made it’s way to Sutliff Chevrolet in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for $7,200 with a rare and powerful engine, Hassett said. He said many people turned them into race cars.
Eventually a customer bought the car and second owner Rusty Symmes restored the vehicle in the 1980s before Hassett purchased it.
Hassett said he is only the third owner of the car and is not really interested in selling the vehicle. He said his car was not purchased by anyone until October of 1971. He said there were 146,000 Camaros made in 1969 and if you Google “rarest 1969 Camaros,” his name pops up.
It does, in several major car magazine websites, including “Street Muscle,” which details the history of the car.
“Many big collectors call me to buy my car and can’t understand how I could turn down so much money for it,” he said.
Hassett said he enjoys it when rich people can’t get what they want.
Hassett’s love for fast cars started with an annual trip to the Autorama in Cleveland. He blames those trips for his addiction to cars.
In its prime, Hassett’s Camaro was capable finishing a quarter mile in 10 seconds.
“You would be going 100 to 130 miles per hour,” he said.
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