Milton Maos’ 1969 Camaro Z-22 RS - Customer Spotlight
Patience, skill, and vision- these are a few of the things necessary when attempting to take a factory vehicle from ordinary to extraordinary. Oh, and money. Cubic dollars always come in handy. Life is almost guaranteed to present challenges and holding onto hope, or in this case a ’69 Camaro, is one of the many ways to come out on top in the long run.
In 1983, with an affinity for first gen Z-28’s and an empty wallet, 20-year old Milton Maos was a few variables short of solving the performance equation, but he was passionate and prepared to pull the trigger if the opportunity presented itself. “I found it parked in a public parking lot in San Bruno CA, with a smashed right front fender. Kept an eye on it for a couple of days and it was gone,” Maos stated. Many of us know the frustrating feeling associated with an occurrence of this sort. You see something appealing and then ponder the possibility of it becoming your own, only to find that you were too late to the party. As luck might have it, the party was just getting started for Milt.
Weeks later, while cruising through his neighborhood, Maos caught a glimpse of the back end of the RS that he had been eyeing. He recalls, “I locked up my brakes, threw it in reverse and there it was down the block from my house one town over in Millbrae, CA. I went to the guy’s front door and started asking about the car.” The car’s owner was receptive to Milton’s interest and after some negotiation, the two made a deal at $600. Before you get too jealous, just remember that this was 1983 and the car needed work. That said, Maos was still $600 short. “He fronted me the car for a month,” said Milton. “Basically, he told me if you don’t pay me, I am coming to get you.” Maos didn’t bat an eye at the threat. He towed the car home with a rope and paid the previous owner off just two weeks later.
The blue ’69 Camaro Z-22 Rally Sport now in Maos’ possession featured factory air, hideaway headlights and a white vinyl top that matched the interior’s standard bucket seats and console. It sat on a set of wire wheels that spun freely under the influence of the 2 barrel carbureted 350 CID engine and TH350 trans combo. Of course, this would all change.
Early mods included a ’69 DZ302 short block that was built to factory specs with the addition of Chevy Pink Rods and full-floating pistons. A Muncie 4–speed took place of the old slushbox, a 12-bolt posi rear geared to 4:11 replaced the factory 10-bolt, a Holley 830 CFM Annular Discharge carb was added along with a MSD Ignition, and all steel braided lines with proper fittings polished off Milton’s prized bowtie.
Body and paint were completed in June 1990 by Paul Camilleri, owner of Camilleri’s Auto Works in Sacramento, CA. Once Maos got the car back home, he carefully assembled the Chevy’s interior and exterior. It was at this point that life took over. Milton shared, “The car was basically put away under a cover until 2014. I would start it from time to time and move it around, but priority was starting a family, buying a home and raising my children. I knew someday I would get back to it.” And get back to it he did.
In 2013, the muscle car itch was ready to be scratched, but Milt was having trouble deciding whether or not to finish the build that he stored away 20+ years prior. Maos’ considered selling the car to purchase his childhood dream, an all original 1969 Lemans Blue Z-28 with white stripes. Maos’ close friend Steve Pardini, owner of Steve’s Camaros in San Bruno, CA talked him off the cliff and suggested that he complete the beautiful car that was already in his name. With the help of his son, Milt Jr., the build that began 30 years ago not only continued- it took on a new and updated direction.
As it sits today, Maos’ RS is packing a 625 horsepower LSX 454 GM Performance crate motor kept cool by a Ron Davis radiator and backed by a 6-speed Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission conversion sourced through Hurst Driveline Conversions. A powder coated Moser 12-bolt rear with 4:11’s and disc brakes takes the torque produced by the modern drivetrain and sets the Goodyear wrapped 18” Bonspeed wheels in motion. Detroit Speed and Engineering tubular front control arms, Koni shocks and a Hotchkiss rear sway bar assure that the Camaro holds tight to every turn and the DSE Ceramic Steering Box & Rag Joint keep it pointed straight down the road even in the most extreme of driving conditions. For passenger comfort, a Vintage Air system took place of the factory unit.
Steve’s Camaros took care of the body and trim parts that needed attention and Mike McGee completed a detailed disassembly and reassembly of the entire car. Maos’ told us that thanks to Steve’s Camaros, every inch of this classic Chevy works as if it just rolled off of the showroom floor.
A build that began more than 30 years ago in a San Bruno parking lot is now complete and able to be enjoyed by not only the man with the desire and vision to seek it out, but his children, family and friends. If you’d like to see Milton Maos’ story continue to unfold, follow him on Instagram at: @chevyguylsx and if you happen to live in the SF Bay Area, you might even be lucky enough to catch this clean first-gen Camaro at an upcoming local show or cruise like we did.
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