Low Mileage Manual: 1986 Chevy Camaro Z28

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If I was going to buy a Camaro to hold onto as a future investment, there’s a good chance an example like this 1986 Z28 5-speed is the model I’d seek out. These are a dime a dozen with the depressing automatic slushbox, but finding a manual requires more patience. At some point, the collector market is going to wake up to this fact, and as more classics from the 80s find favor with GenXers and “old” Millennials, the Camaro is poised to get hot. Find this example here on craigslist with a $5,000 asking price and only 43,500 miles.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Miguel for this excellent find. The presence of the manual transmission transforms this Z28 from one of the hundreds of examples on craigslist at a given time to one of the handful with a row-it-yourself option. The low miles are a bonus, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a time capsule-grade example. There’s a nasty dent by the gas door lid (which appears to be missing), but the seller claims that’s the worst of its sins.

The interior looks quite clean and does seem to validate the low mileage.  Under the hood, a fair amount of recent maintenance has been performed, including: new water pump and starter; new serpentine belt; radiator flush, new Edelbrock carburetor, valve covers/gaskets, and intake manifold; new fuel pump,  and finally, a new oil breather. That’s a heavy list of updates, and the seller didn’t stop there.

Here’s the dent I mentioned – ugly, isn’t it? But if the rest of the body is sound, it’s forgivable. In addition to the under-the-hood work, the suspension has also been refreshed with new front and rear struts, control arms, and sway bar links. It’s rare to see a project car come up for sale with low miles where the seller has still done the work of replacing items consumed by age and stagnation. With that much work already done, this rare 5-speed Z28 looks ready to enjoy.

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  1. nycbjrMember

    These were carbonated?

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      Yep. They ran on CO2.

      Like 6
    • JC

      Yep, and every time you sat in it you would burp…lol.

      Like 0
    • nycbjrMember

      Lol dumb autocorrect! Carborated!

      Like 1
  2. Steve R

    I’d bet the paint isn’t nearly as shiny when it dries out, you can see tell tale signs of significant oxidation on the center of the hood and the passenger side mirror. The damage to the drivers quarter panel probably won’t be cheap to fix. I’d pass for the asking price, maybe for $1,500 I’d consider it. I had an 84 5spd, 305 Z28, it was fun to drive, due to the manual transmission, but was a dog. I brought it to the local dragstrip twice, it’s best time was mid-16’s.

    Steve R

    Like 4
  3. erikj

    True, I also think these gen. Camaro’s are a smoking gun for rising values. And a manual shift as well. OLD school.
    About 10 years ago or so I thought the same about the 2nd gen. Camaro’s. I could find them all-day for $500 nice body’s. And I was right, look at what they go for now. This one may be a bit high priced now,but watch them go up. # years ago I got a 85 z-28,all black and 5spd. $350 at auction. sold it soon after I got it running for $1500. Wish I kept it but was not really into that style than,but a deal.

    Like 0
  4. edh

    “new oil breather” this guy took care of all the heavy work.

    Like 6
  5. brianashe

    I think $5k is a bit high for this. There are a lot of little rough spots. Given the rarity, maybe the price is right, but I’d rather have an IROC with TPI. Clean IROCs can still be had for well under $10k.

    GM made the engine decision tough by making the 350 exclusively automatic. Only 305s could have the manual. Whenever I see a 305 with an automatic, I get sad — worst of both worlds.

    Like 2
    • Superdessucke

      Yep. The manual couldn’t handle the 350’s torque, GM said at the time. I think a modern Toyota RAV4 makes more torque, but I guess. That or GM made sure the Corvette stayed the top dog.

      Anyway this one was just a base LG4, originally. Little collector value here but then again even a 350 IROC isn’t worth that much. This would be fun just to go to town with and not have to worry about keeping it original.

      Like 0
  6. Rob John

    Does it come with a mullet and a Member’s Only jacket. Hopefully there is a Foreigner tape under the seat.

    Like 3
    • AndyinMA

      Them were the days!

      Like 2
    • L.J. J.

      Would you quit it! LOL!

      Like 1
  7. Charlie P

    A bit rough. Crunched quarter and fender. “Blue” interior is actually faded from original black, and mystery mods on motor. No thanks!

    Like 3
    • 80s Time Traveler

      Agreed , it wouldn’t have blue interior , faded grey , looked great at first until that crunch , ouch

      Like 0
  8. MTrip1978

    I’d need some serious documentation for the mileage, seeing as how it has the 5-digit odometer. The condition of the paint raises my eyebrows regarding the “actual mileage” claim.

    Like 1
  9. TimS

    “Depressing automatic?” Some of us can’t drive a stick, no matter how awesome they are.

    Like 2
    • JEFF S.

      I learned to drive with an automatic in 1971. When I graduated high school in 1974 my Dad gave me a 1951 Ford V8 flathead 3 on the tree. 5 minute lesson showing me the gear pattern, after 15 minutes of driving, I had it down. I prefer an automatic now, because they have paddle shift and are so much easier in traffic. If you want to learn how to drive a stick, rent one for the weekend, of course take someone that knows how to drive a stick to pick it up with you. Problem solved.

      Like 1
      • TimS

        Problem not quite solved. It’s physical limitations as opposed to lack of skill. One of the few things I haven’t been able to adapt. But yours is a good plan of action for the unhindered.

        Like 1
  10. Del

    The writer says this car is Ready to Enjoy

    No way; Jose

    Like 1
  11. Del

    GM would not lie about torque numbers ?

    Maybe about Ignition switches….

    How much did their CEO just get while wiping out 15, 000 jobs ?

    22 milion I heard

    Like 1
    • JEFF S.

      The average General Motors salary ranges from approximately $37,902 per year for Operator to $120,178 per year for Senior Engineer

      $37,902 X 15,000 = $568,530,000 CEOs make way to much, even if they save the company half a billion dollars. GM is in trouble, they are offering everyone employee discounts again. Many people I talk to, family and friends, just put GM on the naughty list. Ford just said that they will be laying off 25,000 in 2019. Record auto sales from 2010 to 2017, now the party is over.
      The definition of a recession = That is when your neighbor loses his job.
      The definition of a depression = That is when you lose your job.
      I am glad I retired @ 50, in 2006. I could not put up with the B.S. that workers have to tolerate just to keep their jobs today.

      Like 3
  12. John

    I own one exactly like this. I sure hope you are right. Same color, 5- speed

    Like 0
  13. Shawn

    I owned the same car, same color but automatic with v8, super quick and fast, wish I still had it.

    Like 0
  14. John

    I own that exact car now. 86 5-speed Z28 with 45k. It’s all original. Not very fast, but perfect inside and out

    Like 0

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