New cars are cool, but musclecars with late-model updates are way cooler. The owner of this ’69 Hugger Orange Camaro would agree. Meet David York, a sales manager at a big-time dealership in North Hills, California. David has been an avid musclecar enthusiast since the day Detroit started pumping them out. He’s always wanted one for himself, but when you’re busy trying to make sure everyone else is happy, it’s nearly impossible to find the time to build your dream car.

The only other alternative was to go on a statewide search for something that would fill his big-block void. He scoured the net and the local papers for several arduous years before discovering a gem in Santa Barbara, California. After a 2½-hour trek to check it out, he headed home with a slightly thinner wallet and a grin stretching from ear to ear. David finally had his Camaro. It just goes to show you, all good things do indeed come to those who wait, and in David’s case, the years spent searching weren’t much different from staring at the pile of parts in his garage and waiting for them to bloom.

Big-block, solid cam rumble, an automatic overdrive with 3.73 gears—sounds like the perfect car to us, and that’s just what we found when we went for a drive with David and his ’69 Camaro. Unlike some of the big-blocks we’ve seen on the road, this one is entirely streetable. While some big-blocks are dinosaurs, David feels that a healthy Rat can be made to excel on the street.

This ’69 has a rather mild cam, the heads are ported and matched to the intake manifold, and the transmission of choice is a TH700-R4 automatic overdrive. This not only helps create a 20-plus–mpg average, but also allows the use of steeper 3.73 gears for low-end throttle blips that’ll shove you back into the seat. We wondered how the large motor would handle stop-and-go traffic, but we saw for ourselves that the combination of an aluminum radiator, two bottles of Water Wetter, and a set of hefty electric fans worked just fine. We also enjoyed the tone of the unique single three-chamber Flowmaster system. It was enough to let people know we were coming, but at the same time, it wouldn’t alert the local authorities.

If we could change one thing, we would firm up the ride with a set of stiffer springs—hitting some of the dips on the freeway gave the car a slight floaty feel, but the stock unaltered suspension explains that. While we know that it wouldn’t flatten corners, you certainly wouldn’t have to worry about spilling your coffee.

Overall, David’s ’69 proves that you can have the best of both worlds—performance and comfort. And we like the fact that he drives it every week.