"The Accessory Jacksonville Convention Car"
"F" Car Pre-Production Unit
Fleet & Special Order 5 - 3
Sales - Jacksonville *Accessory Vehicle
Model - 12667
Body Style - Convertible
Serial # 12667
Fisher # DD39D
Paint # 900RR Bolero Red - Show Paint Required
Trim # 765AA Black
Top Color - White
L30AB - v/8 327 cu. in. Engine
M35BG - P/G Transmission
A31AA - Electric Windows
A67AA - Folding Rear Seat
B37BA - Floor Mats
C06AA - Power Top
D55JJ - Console
G80BA - Positraction
J50AE - Power Brakes
N33BA - Tilt Steering Wheel
N40CA - Power Steering
N96AA - Magnesium Wheel Cover
P58AA - 7 : 35 - 14 - 4 W/Wall Tires (Goodyear Tire Company)
U57AK - Tape Deck
U69AB - Radio
A39AA - Deluxe Seat Belts
V31AA - Front Guards
V32AA - Rear Guards
Fisher Pilot Plant # 21 - Detroit
Fisher Promise Delivered To Chevrolet - 6/6
Vehicle Required At Destination - 8/8
Destination - Chevrolet Atlanta
McDonough Boulevard And Sawtell Road
Attention: R. J. Jones
Final Destination - Richmond, Virginia
Vintage Pilot Book Page
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N100031, “The Accessory Jacksonville Convention Car”, was delivered on June 6, 1966 from Fisher Body as coach #DD39D. Like all F-Body Pilot Prototypes at Norwood, it started its hand built assembly in consecutive VIN number order as the thirty-first build of the engineering study. One of three on Fleet and Special Order # 5-3 made by Sales Convention Jacksonville, it carried model # 12667. This red on black convertible was the tenth Camaro convertible ever built. With a 327 cubic inch power plant and a power-glide automatic transmission, its presence in General Motors photo shoots, its impressive ownership history, and original condition make this an important piece of early Camaro history. It was required to be received by R.J. Jones at Chevrolet Atlanta on or around August 8, 1966 for photo shoots. Because of the extremely late “Vehicle Required at Destination” date, our research and interviews have shown that all Pilot Prototypes still in storage at the Pilot Prototype facility were used as assembly test mules. NCRS certificates show #31 being shipped to the South Bend Zone Office, Zone 45 and it is thought to have been used as a company promotional vehicle shortly thereafter until being sold to original owner. Extensive and exhaustive history searches have gleaned all documented ownership history.
Please review additional information below.
Note: See Pilot Statistics Page for help with explanation of research.
50 Year History of #31
Pilot Car Registry authenticated #31 in person on the Sunday following the Unveil of the all-new 2016 Camaro at Belle Isle. We were honored guests at the Unveil and our research was recognized by General Motors. This recognition can be viewed on the “Special Thanks” page of this website by clicking on the General Motors letterhead. Below, you will find a slide-show of all the historical awards, published media, correspondence, and title history of the only known surviving example of a Pilot Prototype “Accessory” Vehicle. This vehicle was extensively documented in photographic form and recognized as being a fully restored concourse candidate . The ownership story is truly remarkable. Additionally, #31 is a prime example of the confusion surrounding these Pilot Prototypes prior to the discovery of the original Pilot book and subsequent research that followed through General Motors and this site. A few examples of the confusion that have been rectified are:
1. Being a Pilot Prototype slated for Sales Divisions…the test run of the IBM 360 computer had not yet been ascertained. This led to the belief that the car was assembled during the second week of September instead of the days following June 6, 1966.
2. Prior to the creation of this site and existing in an environment without the research and governing body that could coordinate all surviving examples, it was thought to be the first convertible ever built and the oldest surviving example. In fact, it was the 10th convertible built and the 5th oldest surviving Camaro known to exist at the time of this writing.
3. #31 confirms the research that all Pilot Prototypes slated for use by Sales Divisions were given the latitude to be sold to the public.
4. #31 showcases the inefficiencies of the shipping dates on the factory shipping logs. This is discussed at length on the Pilot Statistics Page of this site. This vehicle was actually shipped to the South Bend Zone office in October of 1966. Depending on the length of publicity use, as well as, executive use….this is the assertion of the majority of the Sales Cars.
5. #31 also spotlights the maximum length of time allotted for the Publicity use by those Sales Divisions prior to possible sale…six months.
6. #31 was sold originally like many other “Factory Special Use” cars that preceded and followed…through a local dealer as a pre-done deal.
7. And finally, #31 exemplifies the party politics that divide the hobby in the absence of factory documentation. The mission statement of this site serves to rectify this in its individual small way.
8. During the 26 years of Bruce Wheeler's ownership, this car was shown and judged extensively. In combination with a "forced Input" cowl tag and a date coded drive-train of January of 1967...it was overlooked for its historical significance. Pilot Car Registry is in possession of multiple correspondence during this period that is full of conjecture and misunderstanding. During our five year research of these cars to this date, we were able to conclusively prove these anomalies. We are in possession of the factory documents, the personal correspondence, and the personal interviews that explain in great detail the inner workings of Frank Beaulieu's Pilot Prototype Program. To protect the integrity of these cars, we safeguard these documents to limit the attempts of counterfeiters. That being said, the cowl tag is a perfect match to our research and the drive-train matches the first hand accounts of the people that were there. I will attempt to explain these idiosyncratic anomalies without jeopardizing the safe guarded secrets.
The "F" car was one of the larger Pilot Prototype programs instituted by Frank Beaulieu. At the same time that these programs were taking place, Ed Cole was cutting the operating budgets of all divisions. To keep this program on budget and ensure that enough Pilot Prototypes were created for their end uses and all of the individual testing....a decision was made to circumvent General Motors Legal Department policies. These policies included that General Motors saw the sale of engineering test cars to be a liability. These cars were flogged extensively at Milford, were actual prototypes that hadn't made general assembly yet, and they would be considered used. These particular cars could only be sold for scrap, as rollers, or on bill of sales. This happened on at least three cars. I like to refer to these cars as the "back door" cars. The money derived from the sale of these cars was funneled back into the operating budget of the Pilot Programs in which they came. The sale of beat up junkers that have been flogged is a small amount, but the sale of a completely new vehicle that has been used for displays at sales conventions and General Motors photography is a different story. Those can be sold for new car pricing to dealers. I like to refer to these cars as the "sales convention" cars. Thusly, this eliminated the issue that General Motors Legal Department had with selling a used vehicle. The final issue that had to be overcame was that of the selling of a known prototype that had not yet made general assembly yet. This was eliminated by the forced inputs to the IBM 360 computer that created the illusion of a later build date that was acceptable for general production. This move eliminated the final issue with General Motors Legal department....AND simultaneously tested the nuances of the IBM 360 computer in the future. Two cars that were slated for publicity use made their way to the South Bend Zone Office......#27 and #31. These cars were to be driven for six months throughout the community and then returned to Corporate. When that time came, the men in the Sales Department at South Bend were instructed to return the two cars or sell them. Both cars had racked up more than enough miles to be considered used automobiles by then, so to stay within the guidelines of the agreements made to General Motors Legal department regarding the liability of selling a used car.....the entire drive-train was replaced in late April of 1967 prior to the sell of #31 to a golfing buddy of the sales team. A participating dealer working off an internal work order was commissioned to install these components. Sounds pretty simple huh? Well, fast forward the clock to the 26 year ownership of #31 by Bruce Wheeler. I'm sure you can imagine how widely held this fact was received in the absence of our research. This properly date coded entire drive-train from January of 1967 was ostracized at national events for almost thirty years. This is precisely what our team is dedicated to eliminating.
50 Year History of N100031
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Photos From On-Site Vehicle Authentication
Title History Research N100031
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Classic car is again a part of the family
July 25, 2007 | BRUCE MARSHALL Tribune Staff Writer
Bruce Wheeler had a hard time fighting back tears as he watched my wife, Kay, back out of his driveway in his 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. She wasn't stealing the car. Quite the opposite, she was driving it home. The Camaro is a car we never thought we would see again, let alone own. Especially considering that this bright red, convertible Camaro is in nearly the same condition it was when it rolled off the assembly line in September 1966. Although the car is special, the memories my wife and I have of the car far exceed any monetary value the car may have. My father-in-law, Ralph Kinyon, bought the car for Kay during her senior year at Riley High School. She drove it in college, first at Drake University and then Indiana University. Kay was my girlfriend in 1969, when I was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. She drove out to visit me in the Camaro. I got a lot of looks when I drove off the base in that red Camaro, with the top down and a pretty girl beside me. When Kay (my wife by then) and I returned from the United Kingdom in 1973 after a three-year tour of duty there, we discovered Kay was pregnant with our first child. Buying an MG Midget in England had proved to be a bad decision, as it barely carried two people, let alone three. My father-in-law offered us the Camaro to drive while I finished school at Indiana University. Our first daughter was born in Bloomington in 1973 and we brought her home from the hospital in the Camaro. Six weeks later, in a blinding snow storm, we moved back to South Bend, with my wife, daughter and dog in the Camaro and me following in a small truck with all our worldly possessions. The Camaro performed flawlessly, the truck didn't. We gave the car back to my wife's father and he kept it until 1981, when he sold it to Bruce Wheeler, who was living in Illinois at the time. He then moved to Nashville, Tenn., where the car has been for the last 10 years. For the past 26 years Wheeler has meticulously maintained the Camaro, entering it in car shows, proudly driving it in parades and, in general, loving it. The decision to give up the car was a difficult one for him. The decision of who to sell the car to was an easy one. The only ones he offered the car to were my wife and me. In 1985, after he had done a "frame off" restoration of the Camaro, Wheeler drove the car to South Bend. While he was here, he took both our daughters for a ride. Recently, we took all three of our grandchildren for rides in the Camaro, strapped into the back seat in "lap belts," just like their mothers were 22 years ago. Besides our personal attachment to the car, the Camaro is a special story itself. It was manufactured in Norwalk, Ohio, in September 1966 (this date is stamped on the firewall), although it is considered a 1967 model. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) ends in 100031, indicating it was the 31stt Camaro manufactured. Since 215 Camaros were made on that first day of production, ours was almost certainly made on the first shift. In addition, Wheeler's research shows the car was taken off to the side of the assembly line and made into a convertible. Ours is the first Camaro convertible ever made. There are parts on the car stamped "PROTO" for prototype, especially the hardware for the convertible top. Many of these parts never made it to the assembly line. They only exist on our Camaro. When the Camaro came off the assembly line, General Motors must have liked its looks a lot because they decided to ship it to the Zone Office in South Bend. There it was driven around the states of Indiana, Michigan and Illinois to show off the style of the new Camaros. John Ryan and Bill Van Hulle, managers of the Zone Office, were golfing partners of my father-in-law. When they told him the car was going on the market after they had driven it around for six months, he jumped at the chance to buy it. He bought the Camaro in March 1967, with the deal being invoiced through Van Gates Chevrolet of South Bend. Wheeler has contacted all the Camaro Clubs in the United States and many other car clubs, and he has advertised in several magazines, looking for an earlier VIN than 31. Nobody has ever come forward with an older Camaro. Our Camaro might be the oldest one in existence. The parts on the car are totally original, with the exception of the tires. Even the white convertible top is original and looks like it just came off the showroom floor. During the "frame off" restoration in 1985, every bolt and nut, and every part was taken off, cleaned, polished and applied with a protective coating. In 1991, at the United States Camaro Club National Competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the car was awarded the "Camaro Gold" status, scoring 956 points out of a possible 1,000. Wheeler's awards were a trophy, a certificate and four laps around the "Brickyard" in the Camaro. Wheeler says the laps were an experience he will never forget. When it came time to sell the car, Wheeler called us, and like my father-in-law, we jumped at the chance to buy the car. The final decision took three years for him to make, but we picked it up the first weekend in June. He turned down a number of people who wanted to buy the car, including his own daughter, to sell it to us. He was sure the car belonged with us, back home where it began 40 years ago. For that, we will always be grateful to him. Driving the car from Nashville to South Bend, I found out quickly that it was a fun, but hazardous task. People would drive up next to me and honk and wave, which is OK. But then they would pull closer to the car to get a better look, driving into my lane way too close. I stopped at a rest area to use the bathroom in Kentucky. When I returned to the car, I found about 10 people, mostly baby boomer guys my age, standing around the car, admiring it. I was about to get in and drive away when they started asking questions about the car. I told them the car's history and then I listened to their stories about the Camaros and Chevelles that they had in 1967. The stories ended the same -- they all wished they still had their cars and that their cars were in the shape our Camaro was in. I finally got out of the rest area 45 minutes later, but not before I had to "pop" the hood so they could all see and admire the engine. My wife and I both graduated from high school in 1967, she from Riley and me from Washington. We are anticipating a lot of fun driving our 40-year-old Camaro to our 40-year reunions later this summer. Now, if they would just re-open the Bonnie Doon on South Michigan Street. We sure would like to take one more drive around The Circle. If you're too young to know about The Circle, ask someone in an old Camaro.
All of the Vehicles produced by the former General Motors Corporation at its long expunged Norwood, Ohio factory are all existing trademarks of the new General Motors Company. Any and all historical marks as used here are used for identification, description, illustrative, and educational purposes only. This site is not affiliated with General Motors Company.
By: Logan Lawson
Registrar Of WWW.PilotCarRegistry.com
Copyright 2014 Logan Lawson. All Rights Reserved.