Crate V8: 1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

By 1977, the Second Generation of Chevrolet’s legendary Camaro was in its eighth year of production, and time was catching up with this classic. It still looked attractive, but its performance edge had virtually vanished. Even the Z28 felt the pinch of dwindling horsepower, although some owners did their best to address this shortcoming. That is the case with our feature car, with the owner giving its original engine the flick in favor of a Crate Motor. That should unlock some performance potential, allowing the driver to recapture the feeling of past years. An injury has left the owner unable to drive a car with a manual transmission, so they have listed the Z28 for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Roscoe, Illinois, and could be yours for $22,500. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting this Camaro for us.

The Camaro presents nicely for its age, and apart from a few minor touch-ups, the seller states that its Antique White paint is original. It shines well, and any defects are too small to show in the supplied photos. The distinctive Z28 stripes and graphics look crisp, with no checking or lifting. The panels are straight, and if there is any rust, it isn’t visible. The center is missing from the front spoiler, but the rear looks good. The color-keyed wheels show no evidence of stains or marks, allowing the Camaro to make a positive first impression.

The styling of the Second Generation Camaro was evolutionary during its product life. However, placing this car beside a 1970 example would reveal some notable changes in areas like the rear window. The larger glass area in later cars improved visibility, but it also allowed greater UV exposure that increased cabin temperatures. That motivated some owners to order their new toy equipped with air conditioning, although that isn’t the case with this Z28. This car doesn’t score other luxuries like power windows, but it still presents well for its age. The Black vinyl upholstery is free from wear and tear, while there are no faults with the dash or pad. The plastic has avoided the crumbling and cracking that became a hallmark of many cars from the 1970s, and an aftermarket radio/cassette player provides entertainment on the road. This interior may not be loaded with options, but it appears to need nothing.

Buyers in 1978 received their new Z28 equipped with a 350ci V8 that produced 170hp. They could also choose between a four-speed manual transmission and a three-speed Hydra-Matic. Thankfully, this car rolled off the line with the four-speed, allowing it to cover the ¼ mile in 16.7 seconds. That time is hardly earth-shattering, and it provides a clear indication of the impact tightening emission regulations were having. Even the least potent manual-equipped Z28 produced in 1970 could cover the distance in 13.9 seconds, rubbing salt into the wound. This Camaro isn’t numbers-matching. The seller ditched the original small-block and sourced a Crate 350 from the good people at GM Goodwrench. Its specifications are unclear, but the further addition of headers and dual exhaust should release the shackles on this classic. Without knowing the specifications, we can only guess at the performance improvements, but it would be a safe bet that this Camaro would leave a standard example in its dust. The seller states that the car runs and drives well and that it is a turnkey classic awaiting a new owner.

While the Camaro Z28 had fallen on hard times by 1977, things would fail to improve in the Second Generation’s remaining years. Chevrolet sold 218,853 Camaros during 1977, with 14,349 being the Z28. Many lived their lives hard, and like so many cars from the 1970s, those that remain have become tired and dog-eared. This Z28 presents well, and while its performance is unlikely to equal that offered at the start of the decade, it should still place a smile firmly on the driver’s face. Isn’t that what owning a classic car is all about?


  1. CCFisher

    Why jack up the rear if you’re not going to fill the space with tires to match?

    Like 6
    • Raymond L Saunders

      Simple….she’s got the jack….

      Like 8
      • Big C

        And who knows what else?

        Like 6
      • chuck

        Her deuce was wild…

        Like 0
    • Bick Banter

      A lot of replacement springs, mostly made in China, have this effect.

      Like 9
      • joenywf64

        The original tires were very tall 225-70r-15’s. Perhaps the car now has shorter 215-65-15s as fitted to Montes & GNs?
        Could be air shocks, spring shocks, etc. on the back.
        Are the overseas front coils stiffer or taller? Does anyone make exact proper replacements in the USA?

        Like 0
    • AMCFAN

      With gas prices hitting $10 in a few states it’s only a matter of time when it will be everywhere. It makes one think that $22K for a 70’s sticker machine is no longer a wise investment. A car that gets 40 MPG and above is.

      Like 2
      • Purple sky

        Thousands or more of our “old” cars are shipped around the world these days where gas is up to $12.00 even more a gallon. They still love to drive them so hope is not all lost.

        Like 5
  2. Tim

    Had the exact car but with tan interior.

    Like 2
  3. Rw

    Gets better gas mileage , always running down hill.

    Like 4
  4. Tony Primo

    Waiting for “it’s really a 1977 1/2” comments.

    Like 3
  5. Ed H

    I don’t think that white around the gages is stock, but I like it.

    Like 2
  6. Classic Steel

    Cudos for keeping original wheels. The original engine was a sad state for Camaro’s back in the day. GM could have introduced more gears to offset needed ponies under the hood.

    I like the no electric windows for cranks.. nothing more painful than electrical window issues. Is it the switch, windows motor or wiring. No thanks been there and repaired but cranks are great !

    Good luck on sale…

    Maybe the third engine is LS swap after another 60-100K on the odometer 😉

    Like 1
  7. gbvette62

    The Goodwrench 350 is a 4 bolt main, Mexican made, low compression, 350 that is basically the same engine as the 71-80 L48 350. These are cheap but decent engines that come complete less intake, carb, water pump, balancer and flywheel, are rated at a base of 195 hp, and sell for less then $2500. These are good replacement engines, but hardly an upgrade from the car’s original 350.

    Other than it’s tall stance, it looks like a pretty nice car. But unless it was really hurt bad, I think I would have either rebuilt the original 350, or gone with a hotter crate engine than the Goodwrench 350.

    Like 3
  8. Rich Whitting

    The creme color around the gauges was stock. Purchased a black 1976 Camaro 350/350 new, looked just like this.

    Like 1
    • Purple sky

      If you bought the sound decor group you got the extra insulation, silver trim on the dash edges and the vinyl inlay decal covering the beige gauge bezel area. Type LT’s had the gauge cluster vinyl applique standard. I can’t remember if you got extra interior lighting with it also. I worked in new car prep at the local Chevy dealer summer of 1977, we had more than a few Z28’s sold there. Great summer job, got to drive every brand new car on the lot.

      Like 2
    • Bick Banter

      That sounds correct. The 1977 Z28 used the same dash face as the regular Camaros. Depending on the option package, I think it would be gray, beige, or woodgrain applique.

      The 1978 cars got the aluminum dash face and simulated string wrapped steering wheel. For 1979, they went to the flat dash. I think the 1979-81 cars also used the regular Camaro dash face.

      Like 1
  9. Perch

    This is actually a 1977.5 Tony.

    Like 0
  10. Denny Tuttle

    Tried to order a 1977 Z 28 in the fall of 1976 and could not get one, so ordered a 77 Rally Sport with a 350 4 speed posi two tone silver with black interior. Came with the gauge pack with a shiny face cover. Its setting in the garage with just over 40,000 on it today. Changed trans when front input shaft bearing froze up and a set of tired.

    Like 4
  11. Greg Williams

    Is this original paint? Or atleast original steel panels??

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.