16,015 Careful Miles: 1986 Camaro Z28

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Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Why would you own a car which, at the time it was new, was one of the most admired cars on the road, and only drive it 16,015 miles? I don’t know, but it’s going to be nice for whomever picks this one up! This well-preserved survivor is located in Shawnee, Kansas and is up for sale here on eBay, where bidding is well below $3,000 but the reserve hasn’t been met. Thanks to Jim S. for this cool survivor find!

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The 1986 Z28 was a shadow of it’s former self, with a 305 V8 moving the F-body along. However, it was attractive for the time and certainly looked the part with lots of scoops (non-functional) and blacked out areas. The ridiculous DOT headlight laws kept the front end from looking as it could have, but even though I’m a Mustang guy I can appreciate GM’s attempt to make the car look nice.

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I’m not sure whether the pictures in front of the storage unit are when the car was picked up or where it was stored after being picked up. Either way, the car certainly looks the part of a low-mileage car. The seller tells us the only thing non-original is the battery; that even the tires are original! With¬†power steering, power brakes, T-tops, and a manual transmission the car is equipped quite nicely. I remember these as being smaller inside than I would expect given the exterior size of the car, but I suppose as a collector vehicle that doesn’t matter as much. I don’t think any of you are going to be stuffing family members in the back; I would hope you like them more than that!

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The inside looks quite nice, but I’m amazed the seller didn’t use a vacuum on the inside prior to taking pictures. They also haven’t shown much of the interior, none of the underside and none of the engine compartment. That’s a shame, because if these other parts look as nice as the exterior, they would be great selling points. Oh well. Are you interested anyway?

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Comments

  1. grenade

    From what I see, that mileage is not accurate.

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    • Bob Baird

      I never cease to be amazed at how so many people put muscle cars on eBay and other places and don’t even bother to include a pic of the engine!

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  2. Rando

    My ex had an 89 RS, 305/5spd, which was about the same as this. I think Chevy went to the 350? in the Z and the IROC? At any rate, it was a pretty stout car for it’s time. Sounded pretty good, too. Hard to hook up on hard starts. She drove it like an old lady – stopped the converter up… she eventually got too pregnant to get in it and went to a Sable. Fun cars.

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  3. rdc

    No. I never thought it was attractive. However, I d notice that It seemed to be favored when several years old, by those people who lived on gravel roads.

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  4. Vegas Vic

    Decent looking
    Weak engine, average performance

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  5. Jack

    I have the same car, but it’s red on red. That 305 moves it along pretty good, but when I put the 350 in it’ll move a bit better.

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  6. The Chucker

    I can’t see one of these without thinking there has to be a Bon Jovi cassette, a can of mousse, and a 4 pack of Bartles and James in the back seat-my weekend trifecta back in the day.

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  7. Dan A

    My wife has a black 85 with the gold trim, loaded up Z28 with the Tuned port 305, bought it new in November 1984. It has 8100 miles on it. We used to have disagreements about her not driving it but, I have come to enjoy telling folks about it now. We drive it just a few times a year, sometimes just to back it out of the garage and wash it….probably never be worth a lot of money but we still have fun in it when we take it out. We figured we are about ready to start taking it to some cruise ins and maybe a show somewhere. It will break traction sometimes on a leadfoot start.lol she has one…nice cars, just not a lot of heavy metal in them. Seems most that have been driven regular, aren’t worth much anymore, usually a lot of issues once they get some miles on them, friend of mine had to replace the inst cluster, and a lot of small things on his over the years. Its just a car to me, she enjoys it and that’s all that matters.

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  8. Charles

    We own an 82 WS7 Trans AM with 25K actual documented miles and an 86 WS6 Trans AM with 31K actual documented miles. Both cars attract a lot of attention everywhere we take them, and between them have nine first place wins at various 100 point shows around the south east. A WS6 Trans AM and a Z-28 share a whole bunch of parts, and are nearly identical except for trim and name. There are various reasons why someone would chose to own one of these cars and not drive it much. The car’s lack of performance insured that many of them have been seriously modified, making the low mileage stock originals increase in value in recent years. Hagerty issued me agreed value coverage of 12,500.00 on each of these cars based on photos and copies of documents that prove that the mileage on each is correct. I doubt if either of them would sell for that amount if I ever decide to sell them, however these vehicles are drawing increasing interest from collectors and hobbyist alike. This could be a good buy for someone. These cars are easily modified into screamers as the 305 is virtually interchangeable with any other small block Chevy engine available. There are quite a few running around with 700 HP LS based engines in them. Aftermarket support is strong to say the least.

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  9. Paul R

    The stock T-5 manual was a terribly weak transmission. I broke many of them in theses cars.

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  10. Charles

    A T-56 is a good alternative, and can be built to handle some serious HP.

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  11. AMCFAN

    I suppose it could be original miles. The tires do look correct. From the looks of the carpet the original owner may have worked at a quick lube or machine shop and lived several miles from work. Sad the seller couldn’t have taken an hour to clean it. Otherwise a nice car.

    Several drawbacks. One is the color. 1980’s GM Silver paint was a recall nightmare when less then a year old. Amazing it hasn’t started flaking off. One thing for sure no compound will ever make it shine or appear glossy. One good bird crap you are done.

    The second would be the thought of getting smoked by my kids Civic.

    The 305 is a V8 but far from a performance car. Sad because GM had the parts and engineering to make this a super car or at least offer. They were only interested in selling a sporty looking car. Have to hand it to Ford. They simply gave guys what they wanted. Making a 5 speed manual standard equipment in the 5.0 GT. This era started the Ford dominance making the Mustang King of the street.

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  12. Charles

    86 was the first year for the water based paints as required by California. It was new technology and they had a lot of problems with the process. Typically California built cars had paint problems, but Ohio built cars not so much

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  13. AMCSTEVE

    What do you do with it?
    It’s not a bad looking car but the anemic 305 is one of GMs worst motors ever. It looks the part but is a dog. I wouldn’t want to ruin it by changing anything but with a stick you want performance. It’s better left as is.

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  14. Dan A

    They came out at a time when emissions and performance was at odds, hard to get one and the other in the same package but they compensated with transmission gearing and then the computer controlled fuel injection. The speed limits nationwide was at 55mph. They built cars then that had a good seat of the pants feel and sounded good. My wives car can break traction while rolling through a light if it’s punched. Not a Mustang beater probably but it’s the car she prefers because she likes Chevrolets. I reckon I’ll just leave the racing on the tracks where it belongs. Kinda like arguing politics or religion, everyone has their favorites…LOL

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  15. Charles

    Everyone acts like these cars are total dogs, but that is far from the truth. This car in stock form, while not a race car, and not a Mustang killer, will provide plenty of fun as a weekend cruiser.

    The cars are not performance cars compared with the muscle cars of the 60’s or the 400-700 HP rolling computers of today, but they will keep up with traffic, and are economical to boot. The 305 is a dependable little engine with a good lifespan and decent economy. I personally drove a 305 in a K5 Blazer 260K miles and never had the valve covers off of it. A stock 305 equipped F-Body is good for mid 15’s in the quarter mile which is faster than 75% of the econoboxes on the road today.

    My 82 Firebird TA is the least powerful incarnation of this combo being the first of year of the third generation models with the newly introduced 145 HP Computer Command Control Quadrajet four barrel. I routinely use this car as a video car at cruises. The car will not out run the tricked out GTO’s and 70’s TA’s, LS powered Camaro’s and such that we routinely cruise with, however I can stay with the group and even pull ahead to get oncoming video of the other cars.

    At the Pontiac’s in Pigeon Forge a group of 70-80 Pontiac’s of all vintages cruise every year from the valley (elevation 900-1200 feet above sea level) to Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (5500 feet above sea level). Both my 82 and my 86 have made the run many times with zero problems, while other cars are stalling from vapor lock or overheating. Not bad for a couple of stock unmolested original 80’s smog boxes each with the original spark plugs still in them.

    As a comparison my 86 TA which is mechanically identical to this Z28 produces performance numbers that are virtually identical to my wife’s 2008 Crown Victoria, which is no race car either, but will also not embarrass the driver in traffic. Either car will pull a 10% grade with the cruise control set, never loosing more than 2 MPH and never downshifting. In real world traffic these cars will hold their own.

    If anyone is interested this is the first 30 minutes of the 2015 PPF Cruise shot through the windshield of an all stock 25K original 1982 Firebird WS7TA, a car very similar to the Z-28 for sale, except that the 82 only has 145 HP and the 86 is between 190 and 205 HP depending on which version it is.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs_UPUBMv6s

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/200812329961968/

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/200812329961968/

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  16. JamestownMike

    I’m 100% sure those miles are 116k miles, not 16k miles! Look at the Autocheck report! 16k is showing as NOT ACTUAL MILES back in 2004 (probably when it exceeded 100k), then again in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016! Look at the steering wheel. The seats look nice because they had SEAT COVERS on them (seen in the ebay pics). What are the DOT date codes on the tires?

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    • PRA4SNW

      Thanks for the investigation, Mike. You are this sort of EBayer’s worst nightmare, and it once again proves that you really need to do your homework on these “low mileage” listings.

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      • Charles

        And the bidding is up to $7100.00. The reserve not been reached yet.

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    • Dan A

      Great investigating , thanks for that..

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  17. AMCFAN

    Charles, Thanks for stating the obvious. The Camaro and Firebird are dependable cars. They will start and run and do what they were designed to do. Get you from point A to point B.

    The Three Gens were NOT a performance car from the factory. The reason is simple. The Corvette has always been the flagship muscle/performance car for GM. What do you suppose would happen if they had taken off the shelf parts and made the Camaro a super car and 1/2 the cost? The media would be in a frenzy! Then expect some head chopping at GM

    Same reason guys like Don Yenko put the 427 into the earlier Camaro’s. GM wouldn’t do it. When they did in 1969 it was only who you knew to get one built.

    The Corvette was the mans car and the Camaro was the pony car. In the late 1970’s GM was selling cars by capitalizing on it’s performance history with Z28 tape stripes. When the 82’s came out same principle.

    Historically the whole point on buying a Camaro is the pride of knowing you have a capable performance car.on the street. True or false? If didn’t matter you should have bought a Chevette.

    Pride does not equate to spinning tires on wet pavement. Rolling up next to a Fox body Mustang is an embarrassment that GM should not have let happen to the die hard Chevy guys. The Gen 3’s should be a highly sought after car but the demographics have changed. The work needed to be done to make it respectable performance wise. Kids can get more power out of a cheaper lighter Honda Civic with ebay parts and drive/beat on it all week on $10. worth of gas

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  18. AMCFAN

    Quotes by the younger generation taken from Third Gen.org

    Anyone know the stock 1/4 for a 1986 IROC Camaro 305 TPI?
    Hey! just wondering if anyone knew what the 1/4 mile times, and trap speed for my car when it was new. i know im not running anywhere near stock anymore (old everything)

    thanks!

    Sadly the ’86 TPI was hobbled with a poor camshaft. So, you may not like to hear about how the car was originally a 16.1 second, 86 MPH performer.

    figures. my two friends own these two cars stock:
    1999 Volkswagen Golf GTI GLX 2.8 L SOHC V-6 2880 lbs 174 bhp @ 5800 rpm 181 lb/ft @ 3200 rpm 6.8 sec. 15.3 sec. @ 92.7

    1999 Acura Integra GS-R 1.8 L DOHC VTEC In-line 4 2620 lbs 170 bhp @ 7600 rpm 128 lb/ft @ 6200 rpm 7.2 sec. 15.6 sec. @ 91.1

    All of a sudden, V8’s look like really stupid engines to own. granted, we have come a long way. but still…

    I can see why muscle cars arn’t as vogue as they used to be. with a new civic and integra being able to beat a older camaro stock…

    no replacement for displacement my *** . true, if i took my 2,700 dollar car, and had a budget of a new car (18-22 grand) i could really make it fast, but uh, you can’t quite take out a new-car loan for that much, and drop it in a older car. no bank would allow that.

    Sad thing is, the integra owner used to own a 1988 z/28.

    Hmm. there needs to be a bank that will loan out more money for a personal loan. (granted, how much you make, and credit history count for some, but even then, a personal loan isn’t going to be much. certainly not enough for a crate zz4, and all of the installation goodies)

    thanks for the specs! i figured it was around there myself. couldnt seem to find them anywhere!

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    • Charles

      Hi AMCFAN, If I stated the obvious, maybe it did not need to be said…

      Since you ask I can give you some real numbers from my two cars.

      My 86 is a stock WS6 Trans AM with the TPI equipped 305, 700R4 trans, and a BW 9 bolt 3:27 posi diff. The car is packed with peanuts as I have heard others say. T-Tops, factory air, PS, PB, Cruise control, PW, PL, and the factory delco stereo with two factory sub woofers. The reason that I mentioned this is weight. These cars are heavy, around 3500 lbs. The car has the PW7 option commonly known as the 16 x 8 Cross Laced wheels, which are mostly seen on the GTA’s from 87 on, but were available on the 86 TA. The wheel is much lighter then other wheels, so that decreases some weight. The car has 31K pampered miles on it, and still has the original spark plugs in it. There are no codes currently set and the car is smog legal. In 87 all 305’s got roller camshafts, and more HP.

      1/4 mile times are consistently 15.3 seconds. That is with no burnouts, no reving the engine and dropping it into gear or other crazy stuff. The tires hook up pretty well and wheel spin is minimal. We put the car on a dyno a couple of years back and it produced 211 HP. I will try to find the spec sheet if you want the torque numbers, because I don’t remember them. From what I am told the numbers that the car produces is pretty much average. Of course being a WS6 car the handling is outstanding. We sometimes have club meets on US 129, the Tail of the Dragon in east TN. 317 curves in 17 miles. The TA loves the curves!

      The 82 is a slug. As I said before the 82 was the first year for the Computer Command Control carburetor. Pontiac had originally planned to install a turbocharged 301 in these cars, however the emission’s laws in California were strict, and the 301 would not pass emissions criteria. GM pulled the plug on the 301 and made Pontiac install the 305 Corporate engine, or SB Chevy. The engine develops 145HP. The trans is a turbo 200C and the diff is a 3:23 10 bolt posi unit. The car is equipped similar to the 86, so it is no light weight either. The WS7 suspension option was created due to a shortage of rear disk brake parts. It is the same suspension as a WS6, but with rear drum brakes.

      This car is all stock and emissions legal. It will turn consistent 1/4 mile times in the high 16’s to low 17’s. There is zero wheel spin unless the pavement is wet…

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  19. Dan A

    I found this information on a Camaro forums page, and it’s supposed to be official times he took from a GM source of Camaro 1/4 mile ttimes and 60 foot times over the years. I thought it interesting that the times of the mid 80’s Camaros aren’t that bad in comparison to say the early 70’s Z28. And I’m sure the same is true that after some mods, these times will get better just as they did in the 70’s. Here’s the list as I copied and pasted…:
    1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS-350 8.0 15.4
    1972 Chevrolet Camaro Budget GT 10.5 17.6
    1972 Chevrolet Camaro Luxury GT 9.8 17.2
    1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 7.5 15.5
    1974 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 8.1 15.4
    1975 Chevrolet Camaro 350 11.0 17.4
    1975 Chevrolet Camaro RS 8.5 16.8
    1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 9.7 N/A
    1983 Chevrolet Camaro 9.5 17.5
    1983 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 H.O. 6.7 15.0
    1984 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta 9.3 17.0
    1985 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta 10.0 17.0
    1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z28 7.0 15.2
    1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 6.6 14.9
    1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z L98 6.8 15.3
    1988 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 7.0 15.5
    1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 5.8 14.4
    1990 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 6.5 15.0
    1992 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 6.7 15.2
    1993 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 9.0 16.6
    1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 5.8 14.4
    1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 5.7 14.2
    1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Conv. 6.2 14.5
    1995 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 5.7 14.2
    1995 Chevrolet Camaro 3800 7.4 15.7
    1996 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 5.7 14.1
    1996 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS 5.3 13.8
    1998 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 5.2 13.7
    1998 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS 5.2 13.6

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  20. dj

    The 82-84 could also be fitted with the Crossfire Fuel Injection. I know most folks hated it and removed it but I worked at the dealer at that time and had a lot of training on them. I actually liked it and still work on Crossfire cars today. We sold a ton of these all plastic crap breaks, t top leaking Camaros from this era. I hated seeing one of them come in the shop. If the t tops didn’t leak, it was because you didn’t buy one with them.

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    • Dan A

      You are probably correct on the t tops…I have had an 82, first came out my wife was dying to have one, it was white with blue inside cloth, blue stripes etc, the sales folder had one that color on it, we only had it about 6 monthsand it developed what was like a wine sound coming from the transmission at some times not always, we also had fuel pump fuse to blow once….we sold it to a dealer when he asked if we would be interested because he had sold one he had and a guy had come by wanting one that was after he sold his, we took advantage of that. The black 85 we have now has never had much issues, but we have had a 73 and 77 Corvette, both had tops that leaked, we had an 88 with the wide glass top that didn’t leak though. I think it’s partly because of flexing of the body as much as anything, and then if the seals get old, they just don’t always fit as tight as they probably should. Poor engineering…I agree with you but, in driving the cars, we had a lot of fun with them. I think that’s just the reason folks buy them, the ride, the feel and the looks.

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