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32k Original Miles: 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

The 1981 model year marked the last hurrah for the 2nd Generation Camaro, and its character had changed remarkably from the car that first appeared in 1970. The Camaro had become a much softer vehicle, and most of these changes had occurred in a bid to comply with changing government regulations. The last of these 2nd Generation cars had remained largely forgotten, but they are starting to develop a bit of a following. This 1981 Z28 is a stunning looking car, and it is searching for a new home. It is located in Petal, Mississippi, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding sits at $13,525, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The last of this breed of Camaro was available in colors that could diplomatically be described as vibrant or distinctive. However, a few colors brought a touch of class and style to the badge, and that includes the Charcoal Metallic that you see gracing this car. Combined with the multi-shade red graphics, the result is a striking appearance. The owner describes the paint as being in excellent condition, and it is hard to argue with that claim. It shines beautifully, with nary a blemish to be seen. The graphics have held together well over the past 40-years. There is no sign of lifting, fading, or crazing, which are all issues that can afflict adhesive features of this vintage. The owner doesn’t mention any problems with rust, and there is nothing evident in the supplied photos. The original alloy wheels seem free from problems, while the trim and tinted glass are in excellent order.

Occupying the engine bay of the Camaro is a 350ci V8, while the car also features a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. This V8 should be producing 175hp, and it is by comparing performance figures that you gain a clear insight into how much the 2nd Generation Camaro changed during its lifetime. A 1970 auto-equipped Z28 would storm the ¼ mile in 14.1 seconds. This car should complete the same journey in 16.9 seconds. That’s an enormous difference, and the Camaro would only begin to claw back that lost ground with the next generation, which used innovative construction techniques and aerodynamic refinement to compensate for lost engine performance. However, the news with this car seems to be all good. It is a numbers-matching classic with a mere 32,000 miles on the clock. The engine bay presents nicely, and while the owner doesn’t specify how well the vehicle runs or drives, this gives us cause to be optimistic.

The owner describes the Camaro’s interior as spotless, and that’s as good a word as any in my book. It presents as nicely as the rest of the vehicle, with no issues to report. The seats are free from marks and wear, as is the carpet. The dash and pad appear to be perfect, while the same seems to be true of the remaining plastic trim. The original radio has made way for a CD player, but I can’t spot any other modifications. The air conditioning system has recently been replaced, so it should now blow ice-cold. There aren’t a lot of optional extras, but power windows are a nice touch.

The last of the 2nd Generation Camaros fell out of favor rapidly, not just because they had suffered significant performance drops compared to their predecessors, but because the 3rd Generation clawed back a substantial amount of those losses. They were largely forgotten but are now building a strong following. Spotless examples like this are appearing on the market, and when they do, they will attract spirited bidding. This Z28 is no exception, and I think there will probably be a lot more action before this auction ends. Are you tempted to join the bidding war on this one?


  1. Avatar photo JBD

    Time Traveler! Lots identical to a car my friend had. Probably the lowest HP Camaro of the era, but had some nice features like the electric cowl induction, tires, wheels and spoiler package. A great buy for someone.

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Greg

    Seems to have an issue on the mileage:

    1 Problem(s) Reported

    Mileage: 73,288
    Date Reported: 03/06/1995

    Mileage: 76,357
    Date Reported: 05/30/1995

    Mileage: 13,303
    Date Reported: 02/24/1999
    Possible Odometer Rollback/Rollover

    Mileage: 13,329
    Date Reported: 07/08/1999

    Mileage: 14,123
    Date Reported: 02/28/2000

    Mileage: 128,862
    Date Reported: 04/03/2019

    Like 13
    • Avatar photo Superdessucke

      If true, definitely a problem!

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Greg B Member

        The Seller should show any receipts confirming actual miles. I have to say the car and engine compartment look to have the lower mileage claimed, but the carfax is concerning.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Superdessucke

      As to other items of concern, the stripes on Z28s of this era were color-keyed to the interior. This car would have originally had silver stripes because it has silver interior. Red stripes only came on Charcoal cars if they had red interior. So it’s been repainted and restriped. Why repaint a 32,000 mile car?

      Also the seats have been recovered. The seats have the custom interior pattern but the vinyl headrest should have a vertical stripe embedded inside. The door panels should also be cloth covered below the chrome strip with the same stripe from the headrest embedded towards the front. This car has the standard interior door panels.

      It looks like a decent driver but I think the mileage claim is suspect. I think more likely, it’s a very good restoration.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Tom

        You are correct about the interior. I owned a blue 81. There were multi color stripes similar to the body stripes running down middle of vinyl part of top of seat back. Also running down door panel.

        When I look at the interior door panels look like they are from an older model.

        Nice restoration, but seller needs to be more honest about what has been done to car. Interior changes should not hurt sale price that much. Mileage ?

        Like 0

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