This 1971 Camaro Z28 Has Been Hiding In SoCal Since ’78!

Hiding in a garage in Southern California is a highly optioned all original one family owned 1971 Camaro Z/28. It started life in Canada, traveled across Europe and then ended up parked in this California garage, where it still rests today waiting to be revived. If you were drive by the garage and see it with the cover and all that junk on it, you might not even give it a second look, but scroll down to see what you would have missed!

I won’t lie, I’m beyond jealous of reader John K! This Z/28 was purchased brand new by his father. After driving and enjoying it for about a decade, which included a trip to Europe, his dad drove the car down to California from Canada and parked it in this garage. It’s been there ever since, but John’s dad recently transferred ownership of it to him. John has plans for reviving it soon! He thought we might enjoy seeing it before he extracts it though, and I for one am glad that he sent it in.

From John – Actually, my father purchased it new Toronto, Canada off the showroom floor, where it spent its life from 1970-1978 before he drove it to Orange County California.  In 1976 he actually had the car shipped to Europe and drove it all around Europe including the Autobahn and all the way down to Southern Greece, to Athens and then the car was shipped back to Canada.

He is still alive and kicking and remembers everywhere and everything about the car. It is all original except the air cleaner for carb and the addition of oil pressure gauge in the dash.  Its mine now and I have not yet had the time to tackle it and pull it out of his garage here in Southern California, but will be doing so soon later this year.

It features the LT1 350 with the 4-speed manual, Hurst and houndstooth interior.  The only option my dad did not opt for was the rear disc brakes.   I have all the original pictures and paperwork and warranty cards.

There’s definitely some work to be done here, but overall, this Camaro looks to be in great shape. Clean out the interior, install new seat covers, perform a full tune-up and I bet it will be ready to hit the street! I truly hope that John will keep us posted on his progress as he revives this Z/28. If it were parked in your garage, what would you do with it?

Do you have a barn, garage or shed find that you’d love to share? Please send us photos and the story behind it here!

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Comments

  1. Martin

    Toronto cars generally have no frame or lower sheet metal by the second winter, even with today’s better protections. Either it was a three summer months a year hanger queen, or it is far from original.

    4
    • Oingo

      Guy had money. Could afford to park it. Likely not a winter DD.

      12
      • grant

        One of these days I’d like to have money to buy a car to use as a laundry hamper.

        24
      • Ike Onick

        Boingo.

        2
    • Pat L Member

      I’m from Toronto and I like the fact that everyone south of the border thinks that our cars are rust buckets. Less competition for me. Also rear disc brakes were never an option on 1970-1981 Camaros.

      24
      • Nate

        Best comment on the page.

        8
      • Bry593

        Yeah, but if rear discs were an option, we should all imagine how rusty they’d be. :-)

        1
      • Paul

        You are correct the power front disc brake was standard with the Z28 package, rear disc’s were not available only the 1st gen 69 Z28 had an option for 4 wheel disc brakes, very rare.

    • Rock On

      Tire technology was nowhere close to where it is today back in 1971. Even with snowtires these muscle cars would barely move in the snow. Most of my buddies in the Toronto area would park their muscle cars at the end of October and buy a winter beater. When the snow was done in the spring, we would sell the winter beater and bring out the high performance cars.

      16
    • Jimmy Osborne

      Another Miss informed comment, very few muscle cars if any are driven in winter here in Canada, there are still some hidden gems out there through out Canada, be nice if the seller can put up some more pictures to see body and underside

      3
      • al8apex

        the car is NOT for sale, therefore no seller

        this is an FYI post on the car being passed to the son

        3
  2. Newport Pagnell

    Really nice! Love the LT1 and RS. Hope one of the options isn’t a vinyl roof. Enjoy and pass it on to your kids.

    3
    • al8apex

      it is clear that this doesn’t have a vinyl roof from the two pics that show the side of the roof/ b pillar.

      2
  3. NovaTom

    Yep- jealous

    4
  4. J_Paul Member

    My first car was a ’71 Camaro, though much more basic than this. So this story ignited a lot of good memories and friendly jealousy. Would love to see photos once the car is extracted from the garage.

    6
  5. RobB

    Why not just take the time and pull the damn cover completely off!

    7
    • TimM

      I have a 70 with a big block 396 and a 4 speed!! My car was originally from Texas and it’s one of my favorite cars to drive!! My wife calls her 3Tims!! Every time she gets in it with me she says!!! Tim!! Tim!!!!! Tim!!!!!!!!! Slow down!!! I love the car so much fun!! Good luck with it it’s a great car!!!

      5
      • Ike Onick

        What happened to the original engine? Was it an LT-1?

        1
    • robert semrad

      Uuuh, maybe because of what he told you in the write-up…….” I have not yet had the time to tackle it and pull it out of his garage…” He even said he’s getting ready to make time to do just that….lighten up guys. You’re showing your IQ…car guys should be sharper that this. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read some posts without comment.

      3
  6. stillrunners

    Soooo….dad passed ownership….but won’t let him take the covers off.

    3
    • robert semrad

      Where do you read “dad won’t let the son take the cover off?”

      2
  7. Nate

    Love this car. Damn, what a beauty.

    3
  8. Camaro Joe

    Pat’s right about Toronto, it’s fairly dry because the wind blows across the lake, picks up moisture and dumps feet of snow on Buffalo and Rochester NY. I spent four years in Kingston ON (the other end of the lake) and it was the same. Most of the snow ends up in Watertown NY.

    If the original owner had enough money to ship it to Europe just to cruise around, it likely wasn’t ever his daily driver. I have a couple cars that spent their life in the rust belt that is Northwestern PA, but they were somebody’s toy from day one and didn’t see salt.

    As for why he didn’t take the cover off the car, it looks like a half day project to get all the way around the car to do it. He isn’t selling it, just wanted to share what he has. Lucky guy. My Dad got me several collector cars, but he made
    fair money on every one. I hope John gets his Dad a really nice Father’s Day present, that car’s not a cheap date.

    9
    • Ike Onick

      Hey Weather Guy- Go look at a map. Lake Erie is the Buffalo snow-making machine.

      1
  9. Martin Sparkes

    Only a Toronto resident who has not experienced actual rust free cars would think Toronto cars do not rust. I have a photo somewhere of a 2016 minivan with the fender rusted through..

    1
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Great story John, keep us posted! As a side note I recieved my Barn Find hat yesterday. Thanks a ton gang! The sticker was a nice bonus also. I would be interested in buying 5 or 6 of the stickers if they are for sale. Thanks again! Take care, Mike.

    2
  11. Harry Hodson

    Pity about the big Honking dent in the driver side fender. Bet the bike tipped over, into it.

    3
    • robert semrad

      I seriously doubt the bike tipping over could begin to do that much damage. That eras sheet metal was pretty thick compared with today’s remove and replace body parts.

      2
  12. Tedderman

    .The 70′ to 73′ Gen II Camaro may be my favorite of all iterations of the car line. But painting any car the color if a banana should be outlawed!

    • robert semrad

      Ted….variety is the spice of life….DALE EARNHARDT JR.’S Corvette. Nicolas Cage’s Lamborghini. Liz Claiborne’s Porsche. Eric Clapton’s Ferrari. The Pagani Zonda S7.3 on the cover of this month’s Robb Report (one of the magazine’s “10 new luxuries” for 2005, it’s priced at about $300,000). They’re all quintessential trophy cars — sporty, assertive and flamboyant.
      And they’re all yellow. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/29/automobiles/the-hot-color-for-cool-cars-yellow.html

      2
  13. MME

    FYI: Rear disc brakes wasn’t an option on 71 Camaros

  14. Wayne

    Rock On, they just don’t do that in Canada. I lived for 30 years in the Chcago area and had a winter/concert beater. Heavy (73 Olds 98 with rust halfway up the doors) to go almost anywhere with the proper tires, big to haul many friends to concerts in the city. Scratched up and dented from people walking across your hood and roof to get out of the concert crush. And generally just beat up looking so no one would try to steal it. Interior was perfect and it ran great! ( at 10 mpg) A lot to be said for a beater. Drive your nice car when and where it is nice and you can enjoy it!

    5
  15. Camaro Joe

    Ike, Please find a map and notice that Buffalo is on Lake Erie and Toronto is on Lake Ontario. I’ve lived in this area all my life, those lakes make a really big difference to weather patterens.

    The weather is extremely different. Toronto is not a very friendly climate for collector cars, but they probably use 1/10 of the salt that gets dumped on the roads in the rust belt where the snow hits south of Lake Erie.

    I would still be wary of that car in case it was driven in Toronto

    1
    • Ike Onick

      A fact is a fact Joe. Lake Ontario does not dump “feet” of snow on Buffalo. I was born and raised in Buffalo and I have lived in Rochester for 35 years. I know snow. I am also sure you know some of the most high-end and amazing cars reside in the GTA and they certainly are not driven in the winter. I would suggest Toronto is an excellent place to find a collector car.

      2

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