48K Mile Survivor: 1976 Chevrolet Camaro

The bicentennial year of 1976 was a crossroads for the Chevrolet Camaro. What was it to become? Ten years old now, it was shouldering along with the base “Sports Coupe” model and the more luxurious “LT”. There was a Rally-Sport option but it wasn’t what it had once been, relegated now to mostly a two-tone paint job. Nevertheless, Chevrolet managed to sell about 183,000 copies, like this silver Sports Coupe, located in Pompano Beach, Florida and available here on craigslist for $8,500. Thanks to Rocco B. for the tip!

The two Camaro “halo” models were gone by ’76, the SS option having been discontinued at the end of the ’72 MY and the Z28 singing its swan song at the conclusion of the ’74 MY. Nevertheless, neither of those two years outsold the ’76. There were about 69,000 units moved in ’72 (less than half of ’76!) and 151,000 in ’74. Sure, the economy could have had up or down effects on sales but the ’76 didn’t seem to be adversely affected by the deletion of the SS and the Z28 models. As you review this listing, I suggest you check out all of the images, there are not any really good ones that don’t cut-off some part of this Camaro’s exterior.

The most notable change by ’76 was the rundown in power. The top engine was a 165 HP, 350 CI V8 but our subject car came with the standard, new for ’76, 140 net HP, 305 CI V8 motor. Our seller tells us this Camaro “runs great and shifts smooth”, I would assume so since it only has 48K miles on the clock. This 305 CI engine is a perfectly good entry-level V8 but if you are looking for power, this isn’t it. I had a brand new ’76 Malibu company car that had this same motor and it was a bit frustrating trying to do a high-speed merge. It’s adequate but that’s about where it ends. If you’ll note the circular attachment at the end of the air cleaner snorkel, that’s for the air induction hose that ran from the top of the radiator bulkhead to the air cleaner. The hose frequently goes missing on this vintage Chevy. The transmission is a three-speed automatic, hopefully a Turbo-Hydramatic 350 and not the dreaded, failure-prone Turbo-Hydramatic 200 which was introduced this year.

The exterior shows well, it is a recent repaint in the original Cortez Silver. The front roll pan appears to have an unusually large gap on the passenger side, don’t know if that is just misalignment or the result of a mishap. The landau top is a matter of taste. I remember thinking back in the ’70s if there were ever a car that didn’t need such a styling statement, the Camaro was it. Again, a matter of preference.

Nice looking interior! It was typical with this vintage Camaro to have a black console regardless of the upholstery color. It all appears to be in good nick except the console lid which is normal – they are covered in cheap material and the driver’s elbow makes a permanent dent in the top and then the material starts to come apart. I know this because I owned a ’77 Z28 in the late seventies and I’m familiar with this generation Camaro’s foibles. The seller tells us that the Vibrant Red upholstery is excellent and it appears to be; new carpet too.

There is no evidence of rust or corrosion and the seller claims as much. It is, as he says, a very clean car with the photographic evidence on hand.

So, what does the prospective buyer of this Camaro get? It would seem to be a nicely preserved original, standard model Camaro – no big thrills but a nice slice of seventies nostalgia. My question is, any takers for a 43-year-old ordinary Camaro or would potential buyers hold out for a performance model? Another thought is to go for this one and mod it.

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Comments

  1. Tom

    Works for me.

    Like 4
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Price seems fair for a clean, rust-free car; it leaves a lot of room for performance upgrades. I’d just swap in a built V8 and maybe upgrade to a better auto trans. Of course, if you don’t care about performance you can leave everything as is and re-live the Malaise Era when cars looked fast but weren’t.

    Like 5
    • SusanOliver

      The sold 163000 without performance because believe it or not, performance wasn’t a big deal back then. Despite what everyone today wants to think, almost all of us opted for perfectly acceptable standard engines that also made our insurance men happy. A sporty looking comfortable car was in, and still should be. As long as you have enough get up and go to pass a car on a two lane road or ride the freeway, it is really all you will ever need. It is the mature way of thinking, and almost everyone had it then.

      Like 8
      • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

        Well, I saved my mature way of thinking for when I got mature. My immaturity allowed me to have a lot of fun and I’ve got a lot of great memories of the time when I was young and dumb. I was just glad there were plenty of used REAL muscle cars to pick from back then and didn’t have to resort to the anemic ’70s offerings. True, most folks were content with what was being offered to them; gutless cars that handled poorly. But for those of us who wanted to have a little automotive excitement, the cars produced in the ’60s was the only way to get it. Cars of the ’70s like this one offered very little in the ways of a thrill.

        As to performance not being a big deal back then I’ll have to disagree. To true car folks, performance is always a big deal.

        Like 7
  3. jeff heck

    Looks like it might have been in a wreck. Front end plastic in front of right wheel is not snug like the left side. Just an observation.

  4. Classic Steel

    Not my fave years but agree it works for me as Tom points out. I am on the fence if i like it more than the 80s plastic years….
    I am a 67-69 and then 70 -73 person.

    This is clean and while no T Tops it probably saved leaking seals around the top glass.

    I think i would rather boost the engine a little in lieu of most economic / price saving swap out for the ones with a Summit race engine (350+ hp) crate.

    I would pull the engine and have the engine bored out with 11:1 forged pistons and work the heads over too. Install a heavy duty oil pump along with hiding under the breather Eldebrock performance four barrel fuel injection with bigger exhaust manifolds tied to 2.5” cat-back performance flow dual exhaust.
    A T-5 trans and gear swap in rear while keeping the original trans parts aside.
    I would leave the body alone but squeeze 15×8 (9 if fit) metal black reverse steel wheels with
    dog 🐕 dish caps in back and 15×6 same style in front.

    Then cruise / drive it till the wheels fall off but garage and wax it to keep paint 🤪

    Like 1
    • SusanOliver

      Of course, you could just keep it as it is, save a ton of money, and have pleasant afternoon drives in the country. No need to constantly be on the look out for law enforcement, better MPG, not so noisy so people you pass by will not be bothered.

      Like 5
      • Classic Steel

        True:
        But…running the ponies fast is fun🤪😎

        Doesn’t Confucius say, man who runs behind car will get exhausted, but man who runs in front of car will get
        tired but be the lead dog 🐕

        Like 4
    • Desert rat

      Good grief,what is it with you people a steel wheels and dog dish wheel caps? I just don’t get it, why would you want to put those wheels on any car? Back in the day, anyone with a dime in his pocket would not be seen for one day with that wheel combination on their on there car, they would be junked for a set of aftermarket wheels and if that was not in the budget than used factory wheels ( magnum, rallies and such) were bought for pennies on the dollar and ran on the car but never would steeles and dog dish be a perfered chose.

      Like 5
      • Classic Steel

        Ever lived in the mid west or cold weather areas where aluminum wheels even with new tires still lost a couple pounds per week? Not a favorite thing to constantly check tires on older cars in cold or even in garage.

        Ever hit a pot hole from the prior winter salted roads in the aftermarket and it bent?

        Lets talk safety of the OEM steel wheel that designed and pass safety standards for the car vs. overseas made with different safety guidelines?
        Heres much more to weigh in with aftermarket vs them allegedly unwanted dog dish wheels 😏

        Like 1
  5. ccrvtt

    This seems like a very reasonable price for what you’re getting. I’m not a big fan of the locomotive-front Camaros, but the overall design of the 2nd gen F-bodies is classic.

    I’m no mechanic, but can’t the 305 be breathed on a bit to make more streetable power?

    NIce car, nice price.

    Like 1
    • Skorzeny

      One thing you can do is throw a 350 crank in it, this would get you up to 325 CID I think… Then some decent aluminum heads and some fuel injection. Hotter cam, and there you go. Doesn’t matter which automatic it has because that’s comin’ out…

      Like 1
  6. Tim Allen

    I bought the 1977 version of this car new. Nice looker, comfortable, but low on power. Not happy about having to have the carb rebuilt at 62Kmiles. If you were buying new in 1977 there wasn’t much out there performance-wise. Certainly better than the 1975 Vega I traded in, though.

    Like 2
  7. Jack M.

    Pompano Beach is right on the Atlantic Ocean, I would want to have a good look at the underside before pulling the trigger on this one.

    Like 1
  8. JoeNYWF64

    I never seen a vinyl roof like THAT on an f-body – usually covers the entire roof(those are ugly IMO) & those are very very rare too, especially on a 2nd gen z28 or T/A.
    I think they sold more this year because there was a lot less to choose from than in ’74!! – no javelin or challenger or charger or cuda. & we all know what happend to the [Pinto based] Mustang.

    Like 2
  9. Jost

    Totally agree with desert rat. The only reason people bought cars with steelies and poverty caps was because the cragers or torque thrusts were already bought, hence day 2 cars

    Like 1
  10. Tom reardon

    I was so disappointed when the feds mandated those godawful 5 mph bumpers.Spoiled the looks of so many cars back then – starting with the 74 Camaro.

    Like 1

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