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No Reserve: 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Pace Car Edition

Being chosen to supply the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 is a great honor, and Chevrolet has scored the gig nine times with its Camaro. We’ve seen a decent spread of examples of Pace Car Editions from various years crossing our desks at Barn Finds, but one that seems under-represented is the 1982 Camaro Z28. There may be a reason, but we’ll come to that shortly. This one is an original survivor that the seller took as a trade on another classic. Health issues prevent him from using this gem, so he has listed it here on eBay in Pueblo, Colorado. Bidding has reached $3,950 in a No Reserve auction. The modest action means someone could be on the verge of scoring a relative bargain if things don’t change.

The organizers of the 1982 Indianapolis 500 chose the Camaro as its Pace Car, making it the third time it had received that honor. The company followed the typical industry practice of leveraging that exposure by releasing a limited number of Pace Car replicas. This is one of those cars, and it wears the obligatory Code 16 Silver paint with multi-hue Blue graphics and decals. The seller only supplies a single exterior image showing the entire vehicle, although the close-up shots tell the story of a well-preserved car. There are no signs of abuse or previous repairs, and the Silver has avoided the patchiness that often plagues this paint shade. The adhesive additions and aero features are free from significant problems, and it appears this classic is rust-free. The alloy wheels with their Red accent stripes look respectable for their age, with only minor signs of deterioration. The tinted glass is in good order, and there is no evidence of leaks from the T-Top.

This is the second 1982 Camaro Pace Car we’ve seen in under a week, and I believe this one could be better than the last. Its interior doesn’t show any wear or issues, and the only visible aftermarket addition is the wheel wrap. The outer seat edge condition is particularly noteworthy because this area is prone to problems as occupants rub across it, entering and exiting the vehicle. The plastic trim hasn’t crumbled or cracked, and the carpet is exceptional for its age. This interior is also fully loaded in a 1982 context. The winning bidder receives air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a power rear hatch release, cruise control, a rear defogger, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player.

Lifting the hood reveals this Camaro’s 305ci CFI V8, producing 165hp and 240 ft/lbs of torque. It sends the power to the road via a three-speed automatic transmission, with power assistance for the steering and brakes as standard features. The ¼-mile ET of 16.5 seconds is hardly startling, and that may be the reason why we see so few of these classics. This Camaro emerged during the height of The Malaise Era, and many cars from that period were treated with contempt as manufacturers found ways to claw back lost performance in subsequent years. Therefore, they were often driven into the ground before making a final journey to the scrapyard. Nobody wanted them as Detroit rediscovered its performance mojo, and classics like the ’82 Camaro Pace Car were often considered disposable as a consequence. That situation has changed, with a new generation of enthusiasts viewing them as an affordable way to join the world of classic car ownership. This Z28 comes with a mountain of paperwork, including Dealership documentation, the original Window Sticker, maintenance records, and Indy 500 memorabilia. The paperwork may hold verification for the odometer reading of 45,890 genuine miles. The seller has only driven the car locally because physical limitations prevent him from testing it further. It performed as it should, although it is unclear how it will handle life on the open road. That suggests a thorough inspection would be wise before undertaking long journeys.

The bidding action on this 1982 Camaro Z28 Pace Car Edition has been modest, but I expect the situation to change. I featured another ’82 Pace Car in this article last week, and the hammer fell on that one for $11,300. Our feature Z28 presents better, so a higher figure is possible. However, the unpredictable nature of auctions means anything is possible. If a 1980s classic has been on your Wish List, monitoring this auction could be worthwhile. You never know, but it might be the chance to score a bargain. Stranger things have happened.


  1. Nostromo

    The color combination of this vehicle stands out in memory. Reedman’s Chevrolet in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, had a pair of these pace cars in their showroom back in, like, maybe, late-summer ’82. I was sitting in an ’82 Chevrolet Citation X-11 looking at those Z28s just across the way. My wife was there with me so there was no way we were going home with an Indy Pace Car replica on that outing.

    A salesman walking the floor pointed out to me that one Z28 pace car didn’t have the bold graphics on the side. ‘We’d install those right here if you want that. Otherwise, you get to keep the decals for use somewhere down the road.’ At that point, I naively saw myself tooling around town in the Z28 telling people, ‘Oh yes, it’s an Indy Pace Car, I just didn’t want the graphics installed.’ Poor, deluded me. I did end up getting an ’82 X-11 leftover in November of ’82. It was a redwood metallic beauty and we had some adventures in the three years or so that we had the X-11.

    Like 4
  2. Rob

    Here’s the problem with any of these pace cars from this era: they’re incredibly slow. If they had a special HO motor, sure, it’d be worth going after, but otherwise you’re just paying for stickers.

    Like 0
  3. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This is the 4th ’82 Camaro Pace Car featured here at BF in a little over 2 months. They represent the bottom end of pony car ownership at the moment – the highest sale of the 4 so far has been 11K. Not bad for something with a bit of style, performance, and uniqueness that would be welcome at any cars and coffee.

    Like 2
  4. Valentine

    There were three of these at the fall swap meet in Jefferson, WI. All were in pretty nice shape overall, and none was terribly expensive. One still had the original, unused door decals in the cargo area.
    I think this is one of the early examples of people mistakenly thinking they were buying an “instant collector’s item” so a lot of these cars were kept low-mileage, nice-weather-only examples. That, and the fact that they aren’t rare by anyone’s measure, means finding a clean one is neither difficult nor expensive.

    Like 1

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