44k Original Miles: 1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

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With a genuine 44,000 miles showing on its odometer, this 1978 Camaro Z28 is a car loaded with contradictions. A previous owner completed some mechanical upgrades to extract better performance, and you might think these would destroy its claim as an original survivor. Thankfully, they retained the removed factory parts, leaving its new owner with the chance to reinstate its factory specifications. Once you’ve examined the changes, it will be interesting to see what path you might follow. Located in Angola, Indiana, the owner has listed the Z28 for sale here on eBay. They have set the BIN at $25,000 but leave the option for interested parties to make an offer.

There’s a bit for potential buyers to consider with this Camaro. The original owner ordered this classic in Dark Camel Metallic, which is an unusual choice in a performance model. However, it’s worth noting that this was the late 1970s, and brown paint shades were in vogue at that time. The paint is original and in remarkable condition. It shines magnificently, coating panels that are equally impressive. Perhaps the Z28’s strongest attribute is its history. It is a three-owner car that spent most of its life in a small area in Minnesota. It only recently found its way to its current location, with the seller claiming that the car has always been garage-kept and never exposed to snow or salt. While the exterior shows no evidence of rust, it is a similar story when we delve below the surface. The floors retain much of their original red oxide, while the trunk pan is perfect. The immaculate presentation continues when we examine the trim, glass, and factory wheels. At first glance, this Z28 looks like a stunning survivor, but it has a party trick or two.

American manufacturers struggled during the late 1970s under the burden of tight emission laws. With electronic engine management and fuel injection far off into the future, their performance offerings had lost significant ground since the decade’s start. The Camaro Z28 provides perfect insight. This car’s engine bay houses a 350ci V8 that sends its 185hp to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. If the owner pointed it at a ¼ mile, the journey would take 16.3 seconds before running out of breath at 97mph. Now, let’s rewind the clock to 1970. The Z28 still featured a 350 under the hood, but it churned out 360hp. Performance figures were chalk and cheese, with the older car capable of storming the ¼ in 13.9 seconds before winding its way to 133mph. Sadly, the loss of performance couldn’t even be justified by significant fuel efficiency improvements. The 1970 Camaro drank at the rate of 10.8mpg, while the newer car lifted that figure to a “dizzying” 12.6mpg. However, all those woes are in the past for this Z28 because a previous owner pushed out the boat extracting significant performance improvements. The small block now wears Trickflow aluminum cylinder heads, an Edelbrock dual-plane intake, and a carburetor from the same manufacturer. Spent gases exit via a set of aftermarket headers and an upgraded exhaust, with these items combining to unleash considerably more power. The seller indicates that the car runs and drives well and has a genuine and documented 44,000 miles showing on its odometer. That may seem of little consequence considering the modifications, but it is worth keeping in mind. The car is numbers-matching, and the owner retains the original removed parts. He may be willing to reinstall them for a fee, or they could be included in the sale for later refitting.

One aspect of the Z28 that remains unmolested is its interior. The original owner ordered the car trimmed in Tan cloth, and it remains in excellent order. There’s no evidence of wear or physical damage, although I will qualify those comments by saying that the supplied photos aren’t great. The dash looks good, and the overall impression is that the condition seems consistent with the odometer reading. The original owner may have been focused on performance because there are a few optional extras. You’ve come to the wrong place if you seek air conditioning, power windows, a console, or a thumping stereo. The buyer will get the Z28 sports gauge package and an AM radio, and that’s about it. It isn’t much, but if someone was attempting to wring the last ounce of performance from a car like this during The Malaise Era, it seems pretty logical.

My initial thought was that if I bought this 1978 Camaro Z28, it would be a no-brainer which course of action I’d choose. Regular readers know that I prefer unmolested original classics, so refitting the factory parts would be the logical choice. However, part of me wants to sample what this Chevy currently offers because I can’t help but feel that it could be entertaining. Perhaps that’s the true answer. If the buyer elects to enjoy the Camaro untouched in the short term, I’d understand it. They could return the car to its factory specifications later if they planned to sell, maximizing the return on their investment. That sounds like a win/win proposition to me. How does it sound to you?

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  1. CadmanlsMember

    These were sold on the badge, heavy cars and lack luster performance. Why put this in your garage? Unless this was something you dreamt about in early years of life. The plus all that cheap interior looks to be there and it’s shiny. Doesn’t do anything for a lot of buyers. I know someone will want it.

    Like 3
    • Rob Norman

      Well , only if you’ve been behind the wheel of one of these will you get it!
      Ultra fun , smooth, get up and go ! And 2nd gens have the coolest lines, my opinion shouts out !! lAnd that long nose and more ! oh yeah !

      Like 4
  2. Rbig18

    No mention of what they did in terms of a cam. Be a shame to add all those pieces and not do the cam. I don’t know what grind it came with originally but I doubt it would be helpful with the new heads and intake.

    Like 7
    • flmikey

      …the description says the cam was changed out for a Comp performance cam…but he still has the original one…heads were changed out too…betcha it runs like a scalded dog…

      Like 10
      • Rbig18

        Ah yes. In the EBay add it does. Didn’t look there originally.

        Like 4
  3. Tony Primo

    I wonder if the hood latches down with that air cleaner? All of the pictures show the hood cracked open.

    Like 3
  4. RickMember

    Why are all the survivors always brown?

    Like 11
  5. Ed H

    Throw the stock part in the trash.

    Like 5

    I’d beat the snot out of it! Can’t help it,did it a lot as a dumb kid. Ever do donuts in one with a posi-trak and 4 speed? Like a pole was driven through the center and spun. Nostalgia? Relive the youth? You betcha, rip’n that stick and never lifting. Oh yeah.

    Like 12
  7. Stan

    I really enjoyed driving my buddys that was equipped like this 4 sp 350. At the time i owned an 89 LX 5.0 and Sure the Z would get blown away , but driving the Chevy had a Nascar feel, it sounded great and put a smile on your face guarantee. Looks great in all colors with those body matching rims.

    Like 4
  8. Michael Berkemeier

    Hated them then…but I’d take it now. If you’re gonna have one, the stick is the ONLY way to go. I’ll never buy another automatic musclecar.

    Like 1
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      automatic musclecar

      sounds almost as bad as

      four door musclecar.

      Like 3
      • Lynn DockeyMember

        Or a 4 dr with the rally stripes

        Like 1
    • Rob Norman

      Nopers, sorry , love my 79 Turbo Auto….never even feel it go through the gears !

      Like 1
  9. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I would leave the performance parts on the engine. Enjoy the sweet ride that it could be. I knew people with these new back in the day. They weren’t that fast.. so they went into the garage engine taken out redone from the bottom up put back in and everybody thought it was stock but it wasn’t. The modifications back then put the engines over 400 horsepower easy. Nobody kept these engines stock that I know of. Good luck to the next owner. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 6
    • Bick Banter

      Friend of mine had a 1979 with an automatic back in the day. I believe he put in a cam, dual exhaust, and a mild torque converter, and it constantly ran in the low 14s in the high 90s MPH range in bracket racing. They were slow out of the box but it was pretty easy to unlock quite a bit more power

      Like 6
  10. Doug7488

    Buddy had a stock. 4 door 69 390 Galaxy back then
    Blew the doors of my other friends bar and new Z
    “Disco Car”

    Like 0
  11. Steve W

    I agree with Cadmanls, any way you slice it, it’s still 1 1978 Z28. I’d save a bit more and look for a ’69 Camaro.

    Like 0
  12. Ed Casala

    How much for the Z28 sitting next to it?

    Like 0
  13. Connecticut Mark

    Nice looker but really 97 mph tops? I had a 1972 Toyota corona , like an idiot got almost to 90 mph but shaking all over and a 1974 capri did well over 90 mph.

    Like 0
  14. Chris

    Still more of a survivor than 90% of what is called “survivor” on BF.

    Like 1
  15. Chris Bernal

    I have owned a ’77 auto, ’78 auto (both non-Z’s) and a ’79 Z28 4-speed. Stock performance was pitiful, almost embarrassing. Very comfortable and satisfying car to drive for other reasons, but the lack of power from the 2-bolt main 350 had to be addressed. I fixed mine with a built 383 mated to a Richmond 5-speed and never looked back. Fun as a low 12-second car, but the stock parts are for the trash bin.

    Like 0
  16. Al

    As someone said, another brown one. I see enough brown in Idaho already. My ’79 Z in ’84 was a lower mile ride then mid 20’s, lots of engine mods I done, 10:1 TRW pistons, Crane cam, BW 4sp w/ console, yellow/black int, louvered rear glass, TTops that never leaked, 5 spoke factory yellow rims, looked as nice as it ran. And it ran! But after 8 mos, the novelty wore off & was my last true muscle car, although had a #s matching ’70 Vette LT1 conv Marlboro Maroon also in the garage since ’81at the time. Sold the Z in ’85 for an ’83 Eldorado, triple black, rolls grill, carriage top lol. One extreme to the other.
    Overall, the Z handled so much better than the Vette, night & day as I exited those Army engineered almost full circle wide exit ramps and BOTH of which ran GR60 radials on all 4, the Z was as if on rails, no worry of a slide out like Mustangs are noteworthy of.

    Like 1

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