High School Dream: 28k Mile 1979 Camaro Z28

Remember how experts keep telling us that collectors buy the kind of car they wanted in high school?  Well, if you went to high school in the South in the eighties and/or early nineties, then a Camaro was definitely in your school parking lot.  It just wasn’t as well cared for as this gorgeous 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for sale on eBay out of Brook Park, Ohio.  With just 28,892 miles on it and in incredible condition, this is the Camaro that flew through the dreams of many high schoolers back in the day.  This Z28 is fresh out of storage and has few faults.  Is the $15,000 starting bid one of those faults?  Will anyone turn their dream into reality, or is the price just too dang high?

There was exactly one second generation Z28 Camaro in my high school parking lot.  It was a light blue color, and was owned by my friend Dave.  Better known as “Fro” for his uncontrollable hair, Dave loved going fast and was actually a very good driver.  Most of us had parents that sensibly purchased for us cars that would look at home moored next to the Queen Elizabeth II luxury liner to both slow us down and limit our range with poor gas mileage and a lack of available funds.  Dave’s mom was pretty easy going, and Dave had saved the money to buy the very well kept car himself.  It was a fine ride, and I enjoyed flying around with him on occasion.  He drove plenty fast, but didn’t scare me.  Maybe that was because I was a lot crazier behind the wheel.  Or stupider.

Still, Dave’s Z28 wasn’t nearly as nice as this one.  The story on this car is that the original owner stopped driving it in 1983.  From 1983 to 1993, the car was driven just one solitary mile.  From there, it was only occasionally started until 2019.  The second owner, who is also the seller, extricated it from a cobweb filled cocoon of a garage and then trailered the car home.

From there, a few necessary items, such as an alternator and a set of rear shocks were replaced.  The car was washed, buffed out, and otherwise detailed.  There are a few flaws though.  Inside, the headliner is sagging a bit in the back and the clock no longer works.  Outside, some overambitious polishing wore through the paint and has revealed a bit of primer in a few spots, and there are a few dings in the body.  The ultimate sin was that the original owner’s wife sat some boxes on top of the car when it was in their garage.  This sadly put some dents in the sail and roof area.

The interior is immaculate.  There is no fading, nor are there any rips or tears.  The car even still has the original AM/FM radio, ensuring that no high school student ever owned the car.  Even the original R12 air conditioning system still blows cold.

Power for Z28s in 1979 came from a 350 cubic inch Small Block Chevrolet engine with an 8.2:1 compression ratio.  California emissions equipped cars put out 170 horsepower while the rest of the country rocked on with 5 more horsies under the hood.  The picture reveals that this car is equipped with power brakes, power steering, and the previously mentioned air conditioning system.  Even the often discarded plastic snorkel for the air cleaner is still intact.

While a few flaws may be holding bidding back, this car represents one of those instances where you can probably feel safe buying the car as an investment.  Prices for late second generation Camaros will reach this point soon, if they haven’t done so already.  These cars, especially Z28s, are rarely found in such good condition.  Too many ended up spending time in high school parking lots.


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  1. Arthell64 Member

    It was hard to find a 79 z28 this nice in the mid 80’s. These Camaros were fun to drive. By todays standards they are lacking in hp but they did hande well. This was the car teenagers dreamed of in 79 with most wanted a 4 speed they usually ended up with a automatic. Back in 79 insurance companies charged more for 4 speeds. Nice car i want it.

    Like 5
    • Superdessucke

      Great point. I owned two back in the day – a ’78 and a ’79. Unlike at the author’s high school, these were popular at mine, and I had friends with them.

      These cars were just not built very well. Trim tended to fall apart and components (power steering, wipers, etc) would fail. They rusted around the rear wheel wells and on the lower part of the front fenders behind the wheel. They were also driven hard, which accelerated their issues.

      So there were very few good ones available by the mid-1980s, relative to the amount built. I also recall them being cheap. So after that, young second owners took care of most of those nice ones.

      The ones that made it in good stock shape to the present day were very babied garage queens. This definitely seems like one of them.

      Like 5
  2. Tony Primo

    I don’t know, but for 15 grand you would think that the seller would have the proper Z28 emblems on the front grille and the fuel filler door.

    Like 1
    • Superdessucke

      He does. The Camaro emblem is the appropriate fuel filler door and grill emblem for the 1979 Z28.

      Like 2
    • Pat L Member

      The Z28 grille and fuel filler door emblems didn’t show up until the 1980-81 model.

      Like 2
      • Superdessucke

        1978 had them. 1980’81 too. The 1979 is the outlier.

        Like 3
  3. Jack M.

    I went to high school in the North (Toronto), we had plenty of second generation Camaros and Firebirds in the school parking lot in the late ‘70’s. That’s probably why there is so few left today. They were adequate in the snow if you had a set of those big lug snow tires that were common back in the day. Only people with 4 x 4’s would run snow tires on both axles back then.

    Like 2
  4. LARRY

    I can feel my mullet growing back as we speak!! Got..to…fight..the…growth….nnnooooo….
    Whew….beautiful car though 👍

    Like 4
  5. Dave

    There were way more Trans Ams than Z28s around here back then. Tinworms got most of them. Needing a car to haul our young families around sent the rest on their way.

    Like 2
  6. Frank Sumatra

    Not just a hot item in the South (Ohio?) Pretty much a hot item wherever testosterone congregated.

    Like 3
  7. jeff

    The cars of this era were frowned on by most of my fellow gearhead buds but I thought they were kinda cool We didn’t have emissions testing in PA back then and some emission controls sorta fell off bump up compression and change cams these cars were on par with older so called muscle cars Cars of this era will continue to appreaciate in value due to the fact that the older muscle cars are being priced outta reach for most of us leaves room for growth in this era of cars .Their even cloneing Volare roadrunners now nice car to enjoy at a fair price .

    Like 4
  8. Paul

    I can remember the prettiest girl in high school saying that she would date ANY guy that had a Trans am or Z28.
    They where by far the most popular cars in the early 80’s in upstate NY

    Like 2
    • Marko

      I dated a girl like that in the late ’80’s. Lost her to a guy who owned two jewellery stores. Tough to compete with that.

      She did like my Trans Am though.

      And I had a ’79 Z-28, back in 1980-81. Basic low option car, with the rare #44 Green color interior/exterior. Do kind of miss that car.

  9. TimM

    I don’t really see this as a $15,000 car with an automatic and 170 hp low compression 350 V-8!!! I would be hard pressed even in this condition to pay $10,000

    • Ike Onick

      I wish I could post an image of a $12,000, 48,000 mile, 1995 LT-1 (300hp) , 6-speed, NCRS Top Flight Corvette currently residing in my garage.

  10. JoeNYWF64

    Chevy should have put the HVAC controls where the radio is , & move the radio down into the console storage bin. They might have also been able to use firebird’s shorter HVAC cables & save on tooling up costs for the longer cables.

  11. George Mattar

    A friend of mine asked me in late 78 what to order for his new Camaro. We were at Penn State. I told him every option. T tops, turbine wheels, console, air cond and 4 speed a must. He said what color. Dark blue with light blue stripes and the blue velour interior. He got it and drove it in all types of weather. It was a car and 1979 and hardly anyone was putting these away. I made sure to keep it waxed and clean. I still detail cars today at age 63. Well, I graduated before him and I never saw the car again. Last I heard he trashed it and is a black jack dealer in Vegas. There was a comment here that makes 100 percent total sense. The cars of the late 60s to early 70s are stupid in price. But the truth is 79 Trans And are bringing twice to 3 times the money a 1979 Z will. One reason is the 220 hp the 400 Pontiac engine had. Only 5 fewer than the 79 Corvette L82. This car here is beautiful and the owners were smart to leave it stock with no dumb headers and cheap chrome air cleaner. I had an 88 Monte Carlo SS and sold it 26 years ago for $9,300. They are now starting to rise in value. It was a perfect, never driven in rain or snow car. Every option. People will be sorry they trashed these cars. All America builds now us over priced trash.

    Like 1
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    The car did not sell.

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