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The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Old 04-15-2019, 07:33 AM
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The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

I often get emails from former Van Nuys employees, asking about my 92 or just saying Hi. I just received an email with a photo that will interest most of you. This is a photo of the first Thirdgen in the Van Nuys Plant in 1981, while they were finishing up the Second Gen production. The plant needed a prototype car to test the body marriage line which was being constructed. This is a rare sight, because GM did an excellent job of keeping the Thirdgen’s secret. I’m betting that you haven’t seen this photo before now.
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:52 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Really cool - thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:53 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Very cool.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:08 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

That is reeeeeally cool!!!!
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:56 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Wow! Thanks for posting, Leonard!
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:00 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

I believe the gold Dick Gulstrand car is the first production 3rd gen built. It was an LG4, 4 speed.




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Old 04-15-2019, 11:09 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Really cool!! Wonder if that car is still in existence.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:16 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

I would bet that it was crushed. That is the fate of many early production cars.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:17 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Really cool!! Wonder if that car is still in existence.
I wonder too. But a prototype like that is usually unsellable and get crushed.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:54 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by LeonardS View Post
I’m betting that you haven’t seen this photo before now.
Aw man, a challenge dropped like that makes a person feel like they have to flip through Camaro: The Third Generation looking for another snapshot of a red/silver Z28 on the line. LOL It'd probably be hard to tell anyway, since 90 of the photos in that book are black and white, but it's also something of the exception to the rule. A lot of people have never seen the book, much less looked inside it, so the challenge is probably accurate, even IF that car is pictured there.

Why do we get excited about the very 1st, very last, the 1 of 1, or whatever specificity makes a certain item unique? Not that I necessarily disagree, it's neat to see, I'm just thinking out load for the sake of discussion. Is there enough difference between this Camaro, and the one that came down the line right behind it, that makes this one "special" while the other is "nothing special"? It's just a bit weird that if this Camaro with production #000000001 were parked right next to production #000000002 or #880,362, it wouldn't matter, but if you put a sign on it that says it's the first, suddenly it's something.

If anyone can explain it to me...
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:58 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Aw man, a challenge dropped like that makes a person feel like they have to flip through Camaro: The Third Generation looking for another snapshot of a red/silver Z28 on the line. LOL It'd probably be hard to tell anyway, since 90 of the photos in that book are black and white, but it's also something of the exception to the rule. A lot of people have never seen the book, much less looked inside it, so the challenge is probably accurate, even IF that car is pictured there.

Why do we get excited about the very 1st, very last, the 1 of 1, or whatever specificity makes a certain item unique? Not that I necessarily disagree, it's neat to see, I'm just thinking out load for the sake of discussion. Is there enough difference between this Camaro, and the one that came down the line right behind it, that makes this one "special" while the other is "nothing special"? It's just a bit weird that if this Camaro with production #000000001 were parked right next to production #000000002 or #880,362, it wouldn't matter, but if you put a sign on it that says it's the first, suddenly it's something.

If anyone can explain it to me...
I dunno, it's nothing "special" to me and if the car were suddenly to appear and be for sale I wouldn't pay anything extra for it vs another in the same condition.

I just think the picture is cool because of what it represents.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:29 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Aw man, a challenge dropped like that makes a person feel like they have to flip through Camaro: The Third Generation looking for another snapshot of a red/silver Z28 on the line. LOL It'd probably be hard to tell anyway, since 90 of the photos in that book are black and white, but it's also something of the exception to the rule. A lot of people have never seen the book, much less looked inside it, so the challenge is probably accurate, even IF that car is pictured there.

Why do we get excited about the very 1st, very last, the 1 of 1, or whatever specificity makes a certain item unique? Not that I necessarily disagree, it's neat to see, I'm just thinking out load for the sake of discussion. Is there enough difference between this Camaro, and the one that came down the line right behind it, that makes this one "special" while the other is "nothing special"? It's just a bit weird that if this Camaro with production #000000001 were parked right next to production #000000002 or #880,362, it wouldn't matter, but if you put a sign on it that says it's the first, suddenly it's something.

If anyone can explain it to me...
If you had a First or a Last, it would be easier for you to understand. My “Last” Camaro has allowed me to meet lots of people that I never would have crossed paths with. 27 years later, and I still have conversations about it everyday......I guess that’s why it’s special to me.

Last edited by LeonardS; 04-15-2019 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:36 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by LeonardS View Post
If you had a First or a Last, it would be easier for you to understand. My “Last” Camaro has allowed me to meet lots of people that I never would have never crossed paths with. 27 years later, and I still have conversations about it everyday......I guess that’s why it’s special to me.
Yours I'd DEFINITELY special. The end of an era....the end of a factory, and all the signatures on top of it all.

The first one is awesome, too, and great to actually see a pic of it. Too bad it was probably destroyed, though. Kinda neat that the first one was also red!
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:00 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

1st and last are Bookends to the cars production chapter.
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:11 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

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Old 04-15-2019, 01:36 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

I recall hearing somewhere that Gulstrand car was last seen partly disassembled behind a building in Arizona in 1988...
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:39 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by 8t2 z-chev View Post
I recall hearing somewhere that Gulstrand car was last seen partly disassembled behind a building in Arizona in 1988...
Really? Now that is a big part of 3rd gen history.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:54 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

That is VERY COOL. Thanks for sharing. My God, I was in 7th grade.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:25 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Thanks for sharing,that is really cool.
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:51 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

That's pretty cool! Looks like someone was sneaking a picture with a Minolta 35mm. Imagine today with smartphones how hard it is to keep something secret!
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:14 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Very cool to see Leonard. Thanks for sharing that.

I've been in a couple of GM plants to support pilot builds over the years. Always an exciting, but anxious time for all involved.

kentuckyKITT...while unofficial photos will always be a problem, it's very hard to get into a GM facility these days with a cell phone, camera, laptop or tablet that security hasn't put one of these tamper-proof decals on the lens. When removed, it says VOID in the background, as you can see. They check them going in , and coming out. This one is from some years ago, but I assume they still do something similar.

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Old 04-16-2019, 08:29 AM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

IMO if that car were still in existence and actually preserved, it would be a hell of a piece to a collector, not just a run of the mill car. Think of how many very small things were put on that car and then changed or removed from the next cars when the decision makers decided they weren't right. Not to mention, that car is the first of a huge era of cars, and existed before Kitt, or before the Iroc's. Things like that are awesome conversation pieces and even if it isn't worth Firehawk kind of money, it would definitely get a ton of attention. There's a guy near me who brings the very first Hellcat Charger to a local carshow, and even though those cars are everywhere, and it isn't the first Charger of that generation, people still go nuts when they realize what it is.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:37 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Very cool photo, thanks for posting!
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:47 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by LeonardS View Post
If you had a First or a Last, it would be easier for you to understand. My “Last” Camaro has allowed me to meet lots of people that I never would have crossed paths with. 27 years later, and I still have conversations about it everyday......I guess that’s why it’s special to me.
Your Camaro is special, there's no question of that. It represents a lot more than the first runt of the litter pushed off the assembly line. On top of it's status based solely on being the last of a long line, your efforts to document the car and MAKE it special go above and beyond. There's literally no comparison in my book. I meant no offense, and it's special to me without even being intimately involved with the car in anyway beyond reading about it on your page.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:07 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Your Camaro is special, there's no question of that. It represents a lot more than the first runt of the litter pushed off the assembly line. On top of it's status based solely on being the last of a long line, your efforts to document the car and MAKE it special go above and beyond. There's literally no comparison in my book. I meant no offense, and it's special to me without even being intimately involved with the car in anyway beyond reading about it on your page.
No problem Drew. We all know you’re one of the good guys on this site. Have a great day!👍
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:03 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Aw man, a challenge dropped like that makes a person feel like they have to flip through Camaro: The Third Generation looking for another snapshot of a red/silver Z28 on the line. LOL It'd probably be hard to tell anyway, since 90 of the photos in that book are black and white, but it's also something of the exception to the rule. A lot of people have never seen the book, much less looked inside it, so the challenge is probably accurate, even IF that car is pictured there.
And to think, my '82, '87 and my old '93 Indy Pace Car are in that book!!!
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:39 PM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by scottmoyer View Post
And to think, my '82, '87 and my old '93 Indy Pace Car are in that book!!!
Oh, you must mean before Wayne Carini called Barret-Jackson and Hemmings, and told them about your clay bar and subsequent unmasking...


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Old 04-17-2019, 10:21 AM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

LOL. Actually, I just thought about it and my cars weren't in Camaro: Third Generation. They were in "Standard Catalog of Camaro"
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:06 AM
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Re: The “FIRST” Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Oh, you must mean before Wayne Carini called Barret-Jackson and Hemmings, and told them about your clay bar and subsequent unmasking...
Someone call me?
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:51 AM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by scottmoyer View Post
LOL. Actually, I just thought about it and my cars weren't in Camaro: Third Generation. They were in "Standard Catalog of Camaro"
Oh sure, see, can't keep your story straight...
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:05 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

I was talking about this one... From the 80's and down with the ladies, just like Mustard Yellow long sleeve/mirror tinted shades/porno stache guy - inexplicably missing his stache, on the cover.








So what do you think? Same car maybe? Guess the caption says Norwood... Too lazy to look at every page of the book at the moment... Lotta unseen stuff in there, almost too development heavy for a thirdgen history geek like me, and a bit of an over-inflated out of print book at that. I still need to find a fair priced copy if the third edition...
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:14 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

I find it interesting that the very first and very last thirdgens at Van Nuys were red cars.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:16 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Originally Posted by tealman92 View Post
I find it interesting that the very first and very last thirdgens at Van Nuys were red cars.
Is there any other color!!
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:33 PM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Sure is. Teal! Lol
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:39 AM
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Re: The "FIRST" Van Nuys Thirdgen!

Man, everyone knows the last REAL Camaro was the one that came off the line right before the first teal Camaro.


I'm only kidding! I myself own a teal Camaro. Well, it would be a Camaro anyway, if it weren't teal.
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