Cross Ram Prototype: 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z28/RS

It is said that racing improves the breed, and nowhere is this more graphically demonstrated than in this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z28/RS. Chevrolet built these road cars as lightly camouflaged racers as they searched for success in the cut-and-thrust of Trans Am competition. This car isn’t merely a meticulously restored vehicle that can take your breath away. It is also home to some prototype components that elevated the Z28’s performance to a new level. The owner has decided to part with this fantastic classic, so he has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Sacramento, California, and the owner has set the sale price at $70,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder rex m for referring this absolute gem to us.

It is hard to know where to start with a car like this Tripoli Turquoise Camaro. While this color was not the most popular offered by Chevrolet in 1968, it still managed to grace the panels of 10,817 cars. How many of these also wore a Z28 badge is impossible to verify. The presentation of this classic is nothing short of magnificent because a previous owner treated it to a meticulous rotisserie restoration, which I believe was performed around 2005. The panels have been carefully massaged so that they are, if anything, better than they were when the car was new. There are no signs of ripples or other defects, making the perfect base to apply the stunning Turquoise paint. This shines beautifully, with an incredible depth of color and no evidence of any scratches or chips. Since the restoration was completed, the Camaro has always been kept in climate-controlled storage to preserve its pristine state. It wears the correct spoilers, stripes, and the distinctive RS grille with the concealed headlights. These components are as faultless as the rest of the exterior. The chrome and the Rally wheels appear to be flawless, while the same is true of the glass.

I didn’t think that it was possible, especially after 16-years, but the underside of this Camaro presents as impressively as the exterior. The floors and frame wear a consistent coat of Black, and there’s no evidence of corrosion anywhere. It is common to find restorations of this type where the suspension components have started to exhibit surface corrosion. That is not the case with this classic because it looks as clean today as it would have the day it rolled off the production line. Therefore, potential buyers can be reasonably confident that they will be handing over their hard-earned cash for a vehicle that is completely rust-free.

It is when we lift this Z28’s hood that we strike gold with this car. Chevrolet developed the Z28 in search of success in the prestigious Trans Am Championship. Due to the rule structure, they did not have a vehicle within their product range that met the engine regulations and would be competitive. The governing body had set the maximum capacity at 305ci. While Chevrolet had the 283 that it could’ve fallen back upon, the company decided that this engine didn’t possess the development scope required to be an effective racing weapon. The remaining V8s in the Camaro range exceeded the 305 rule, so Chevrolet created a “Frankenstein” of a motor. Using or modifying existing small-block V8 parts, the company produced a high-revving engine that was ideal for Trans Am competition, and it came with a capacity of 301.6ci. Chevrolet claimed a power output of 290hp, and this was one of those moments when they should be glad that they weren’t like Pinocchio. That sweet small-block produced that figure at around 5,300rpm, but the nature of these engines meant that it actually achieved peak power at somewhere closer to 6,700rpm. Precise figures aren’t known, but the truth is believed to lay somewhere in the region of 360hp when each Z28 rolled off the production line. If Pinocchio had quoted the “official” figure, his nose would’ve been about a mile long! The company rounded out the package by equipping the Z28 with an M21 4-speed manual transmission, a 12-bolt Posi rear end, and power front disc brakes. This is one of those cars where the ¼ mile ET doesn’t tell the real story of its performance potential. A figure of 15.2 seconds is hardly earth-shattering, but that was due to the nature of the Z28 motor. It produced relatively little torque down low and only sprung into life when the engine had some revs on board. The ¼-mile figure wasn’t great, but the Z28 could roar all the way to 131mph. This Z28 is a numbers-matching car, and the drivetrain is as healthy as the panels and paint. However, this is a car that has another ace hidden up its sleeve. You will note that the 302 wears a Cross Ram intake and a pair of Holley carburetors. These were available as a factory item that owners could purchase from the Parts Department at their local Chevrolet dealership. Those with mechanical skills could fit the components themselves, while some left the spanner work to the dealership. This system was another development to improve racing performances, but the average owner could secure the entire system for around $500. The unit bolted to this car is no reproduction, but nor is it a production part. This whole setup is actually a Chevrolet prototype system, and the owner has the documentation to confirm this. It was the brainchild of legendary engineer Jerry Thompson, who developed it for Chevrolet. It is believed that the Cross Ram system added at least an additional 25hp to the 302, making it a potent piece of equipment. The icing on this cake is that a previous owner managed to convince Mr. Thompson to apply his autograph to one of the front inner fenders as a souvenir, and you can see his signature clearly in this photo. The Camaro comes with a significant collection of documentation, including the dyno sheets for this engine.

Turning our attention to the interior, and it really is a case of “more of the same” when it comes to the question of condition. It is upholstered in a combination of black vinyl and houndstooth cloth, and there are no visible faults to report. The upholstery is free from wear and damage, as is the carpet. The dash appears to be spotless, as does the console with the sports gauge cluster. There have been no aftermarket additions, but the woodgrain wheel and the oh-so-cool Tic-Toc-Tach add the perfect finishing touches to this factory-fresh interior.

Writing about a neglected and decaying classic that has been unearthed in a barn isn’t easy, but writing about a car like this 1968 Camaro Z28/RS is even harder. It is hard to convey what the seller is offering without coming across like some love-struck fanboy viewing the vehicle through rose-colored glasses. The truth is that this car deserves that level of admiration because every aspect of it presents so superbly. The prototype Cross Ram intake system adds a further string to its bow, but determining how much it adds to the value is difficult to determine accurately. When you consider market trends and recent sales results, the sale price looks to be extremely competitive. While writing about this Camaro, I had a bit of a poke around on the internet. Lo-and-behold, I discovered a prior sale for this car in 2013 where it fetched $100,000. I also learned that it was advertised in December of 2020 for a cool $109,499. Some people subscribe to the expression that he who hesitates is lost, while others believe that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. If you’d rushed in back in December, you would have lightened your wallet by a six-figure sum. Now, you can still buy this Z28, but you’ll keep a healthy $39,499 in your bank account. That could make it worthy of a closer look.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    This car deserves a much better venue than CL; more of a BJ or MA, where a yellow ’69 is featured for next weekend.

    Like 7
    • Frank Sumatra

      BaT.

      Like 5
    • Bobby Hinson

      I spoke with Danny the gentlemen that has the car.
      I asked him if the pics of car where new and he said yes. Then I told him I was just wondering because the pics looked the same from CL add that was listed in Dallas a few years ago and he then replied yes they are and he had purchased the car in Dallas. I wish I could go and put my hands and eyes on it in person but I can not but would love to have have it for that price. Not saying it’s not legit but unless u can see it in person I would not to an online and transport deal.

  2. Dan August

    I would donate it for charity.

    Like 3
  3. Hans L

    Something is up. That’s a $100K Z. $70K seems too low for that quality of restoration.

    Like 10
    • Todd Zuercher

      Yeah, I was wondering if it’s a scam? Seems priced way too low for what it is.

      Like 5
      • Hans L

        No way to directly contact the seller. Only through CL. No phone # provided. So I tried that going through CL – asking the seller if I could inspect the car. I’m about 8 hrs away, but for $70K, I’ll drive up there and snag that Z in a heartbeat.

        Like 6
  4. SirRaoulDuke

    If this ad is legit, this is worth every penny and then some. Magnificent. If it were mine it would be very tempting to fit some modern performance rubber and rip it down a country road.

    Like 1
  5. Stephen Miklos

    I remember in the late 70’s at a little car show was a bronze Z28 with a cross ram intake and rear disc brakes! That was the coolest setup I ever seen at the time. I had a 70 Challenger R/T at the show. There was a small crowd around the Z. People where saying rear disc brakes was not factory others said it was a rare option. I really don’t know if that’s true never look into it. Does other reader out there know the truth about this setup on the Z28? 🇺🇸🐻🇺🇸

    Like 2
    • Greg Millard

      Rear disc’s were a very limited option in 68. The optional cross ram parts setup typically good for higher rpm ie racing.

      • Bozo

        It was a production option, used a B car rear axle with an adapter brackets(s), I can’t remember the details now.
        It was RPO JL8.

        Like 1
    • Hans L

      Crossrams where only available over-the-counter. Never a factory option.

      Plenum intake and headers were options in’67/‘68

      Factory four wheel discs were a limited option in ‘69 only. RPO JL8. 206 sold. $500 option.

      You could buy the set-up from a dealer and retrofit a ‘68 but not a factory option in ‘68.

      Like 1
      • JB

        Hans you don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s a phone number!!

  6. Craig

    Breathtaking Z28!

    Like 3
  7. CycloneJeff Cyclonejeff Member

    It has a phone number on the Craigslist list at with a 916 area code which is a Sacramento area code. So Hans snatch it up!

    Like 1
  8. Troy s

    Beautiful Z/28 for sure, interesting about the prototype intake set up being on a street car. Seems like way too much induction for the mighty mouse engine! Looking underside, is that one of those factory chambered exhaust systems? These really were a hot rodders dream, right off the showroom floor, in appearance, performance, and that high winding banshee scream. I dont believe you could touch this car for less than 100,000 bucks.

    Like 1
    • 19sixty5 Member

      The exhaust is the stock transverse muffler system, not the chambered exhaust. Love this car and color!

      Like 2
  9. James Bishop

    This car has been listed on Classic Cars for $119K for awhile and it is a very nice 68 Z28 RS . What a deal at 70K , Whoever buys this is Lucky to get it first . $95k-100k All day long .

  10. Rjonec

    This is a scam ad. I saw the car for sale previously for $100k and it was not being sold in CA.

    Like 2
    • Hans L

      Appears it sold at Mecum Indy in May of 2013 for $100K

      I found an ad on 2040Cars listing the car for sale in Florida

      Another ad for the car on OldCarsOnline in Cadillac, MI listing it for sale for $119K. Same pictures as the CL ad. Claims it was sold.

      And another ad on “Zero260” in Garland, TX for $109K. Same pics as CL and MI ads.

      Something is up…I’m doubting “Danny” in Sacramento has the car and is taking a $50K hit in one of the hotest car markets in decades 6 months later…!

      Like 2
  11. JB

    Hans you don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s a phone number!!

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