Don't look now, but this restored 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is an
icon, and a collectable one at that. If you grew up in the '80s,
this was the car to beat on the street, with an awesome combination
of traditional muscle car acceleration and impressive handling.
Featuring a brand-new, thumping 350 V8 crate motor, slick bright
red paint, and a comfortable A/C interior, this 3rd generation Z/28
is the new kid on the block in the vintage muscle car market, but
it's definitely arrived with a bang.
Repainted in factory correct Bright Red, which is probably the best
possible color on a car like this, the restorers elected to delete
the silver paint accent on the lower body for a more modern,
streamlined look. With that decision, this Z/28 is now an ideal
throwback to the 80s that really looks like a million bucks today.
According to the car's vehicle history report it has never been
wrecked, and there are no signs that it's ever been rusty either,
and as a slick-roof, non-T-top car it feels tight and well-composed
in a way that's befitting its believed low mileage. That's all
proof that this car has led a very easy life, unlike so many of its
siblings which were often victims of their low price and high
performance. The result is a very solid presentation that really
turns heads. The ground effects remain in good shape with minimal
road rash, and it still carries its original fog lamps up front.
Seriously, if you're familiar with these cars, you know their fate
but this one seems to have escaped and instead is on its way to
being a legitimate collector's item. Things like the taillights,
the weather seals, and even the black inserts on the hood remain
bright, crisp, and clear.
With bright red cloth bucket seats, this Camaro is a lot more
upscale than its price tag would suggest, both then and now. The
interior is in very good condition, particularly considering its
age, and it has a comfortable, welcoming look. That cloth
upholstery holds you in place during spirited driving, and with a
long list of comfort and convenience options this one is a
no-compromises V8 muscle car. Cold R134a A/C, power windows and
locks, a tilt steering column, cruise control, and an
AM/FM/Cassette stereo all make the Z/28 feel like the
top-of-the-line car that it is. The center console houses most of
the controls, plus the shifter for the 4-speed automatic overdrive
transmission, which is just a short reach from the custom
leather-wrapped wheel. The gauges are in good shape, although the
anemic 85 MPH speedometer is kind of a wet blanket, but there's
also an extra auxiliary dial keeping an eye on the engine up front.
The back seat is in excellent shape and folds down to make the
cargo area downright massive.
GM's 5.0 liter V8 with Tuned-Port Injection was the standard engine
on the Camaro, but it simply wasn't enough power for these owners.
A brand-new crate 350 V8 was swapped in, and the 290 horsepower it
packs plenty of pop in the lightweight coupe. It's topped with a
4-barrel carb and stock-style intake manifold, and with Chevy
orange on the block and that big snorkeled air cleaner up top, the
motor looks like it always belonged. Fortunately, everything still
looks fresh, suggesting that it hasn't been raced or abused, and it
still runs beautifully. Turn the key and it fires quickly, settling
into a cackling V8 idle that suits the flashy muscle car perfectly.
Lots of fresh maintenance parts under the hood means that this one
has been loved, and thanks to a lifetime in the warm, dry south,
the chassis is impressively tidy for being more than 30 years old.
20-inch Chevrolet alloys were added for a killer restomod look, and
they wear fresh 245/35/20 front and 245/45/20 rear performance
radials with plenty of grip.
Just a very nice driver, this car still commands respect on the
street and will surely have a future in the collector car world.