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Only Minor Needs: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Sitting in this storage locker is one of America’s genuinely great pony cars. It is a 1969 Camaro Z28, which Chevrolet developed with the goal of motorsport success. It presents superbly, and its minor mechanical needs will cost mere pennies to address. The Z28 is listed here on Craigslist in Visalia, California. It could be yours for $80,000, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this hidden gem.

The seller doesn’t supply much information about this Camaro’s history, but I agree with their assessment that it looks amazing in Fathom Green. Dark colors are excellent at revealing panel defects, but both the paint and the body look excellent. There are no bumps or bruises, and the White stripes add a striking contrast. The seller indicates the car has spent its life in California, and although rust could be a problem with these classics, the favorable climate has left this Camaro rust-free. The Z28 retains its original front and rear spoilers that were integral parts of the package. The original owner added the optional cowl induction hood so the carburetor can swallow copious amounts of cold, dense air. The trim and glass are as spotless as you could rightly expect from a car of this caliber, and the factory Rally wheels look excellent.

The Camaro’s interior continues the theme of impressive presentation. It features Black vinyl upholstery that shows no evidence of damage or deterioration. The same is true of the dash and pad, while the console houses a Hurst shifter and the optional gauge package. The faux woodgrain is free from fading and lifting, but the carpet may be slightly faded on the edge. This could also be a trick of the light, and only an in-person inspection would reveal the truth. It is a strategy I always recommend because, although I don’t believe it to be the case here, the classic world is littered with enthusiasts who bought a car on the strength of the photos and listing text, only to find they had bought a lemon when it landed in their driveway.

Lifting the hood reveals what made the First Generation Z28 a legend. Chevrolet was determined to taste success in the highly-competitive Trans Am series, with Ford’s Boss 302 Mustang firmly in their sights in the 5.0-liter class. To compete, the company needed a V8 with a capacity below 305ci, so it developed the 302ci “DZ” unit we see occupying this engine bay. It is one of the company’s sweetest small-blocks, producing an “official” 290hp. It is widely acknowledged that the company understated the output for several reasons, including not upsetting insurance companies. The power feeds through a four-speed manual transmission to a 12-bolt 3.73 rear end. The Trans Am’s natural habitat was not the drag strip, although its ¼-mile ET of 15.6 seconds was respectable. Pointed at a ribbon of twisting tarmac, these cars come alive. The high-revving V8 is in its element, and the low curb weight of 3,250lbs means these little gems are surprisingly agile. Those facts are unsurprising because Chevrolet tuned them specifically for circuit racing, with flowing corners and curves. The seller indicates the car is in good mechanical health, although it has some minor issues. It requires a carburetor gasket and a tune-up, and the indications are these imperfections could be eliminated in a few hours. Once they are, the time would be right for the buyer to sample this car’s delights.

Although the 1967 Camaro was one of the company’s best-kept secrets, the cat was out of the bag by 1969. After achieving sales of 602 cars during that first year, the total snowballed in subsequent years. By 1969, 20,302, or 13.5% of Camaro buyers, selected the Z28. Today, they are a coveted classic, with six-figure sale prices reasonably common. This one’s needs are so minor that they could be addressed in a home workshop over a weekend. Considering that fact and the car’s overall condition, I believe it will find a new home pretty quickly.


  1. Avatar photo Harvey Member

    I can’t stop thinking for $80,000 a buyer shouldn’t have to do a tuneup and replace a gasket.

    Like 62
    • Avatar photo Jack M.

      A lot of sellers will say that their car needs a tuneup, to coverup it running rough. Many times it could need a valve job, camshaft or rings.

      Like 38
    • Avatar photo Steve

      And also have to deal with a fair amount of rust on the engine.

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo John

      This car has a 283 3 speed worth about $2,000 I would buy it for $2,100 and that’s all it’s worth

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo John

      It should be $ 500.00 dollars

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Mackey914

    The Trans Am’s natural habitat

    Trans Am was the Pontiac…

    Like 14
    • Avatar photo Zick

      Why do you think Pontiac developed the TransAm aspect of the Firebird? It came out as an answer to TransAm racing but they didn’t build a TransAm race car.

      A friend in Massachussetts bought a perfect TransAm DZ302 4spd Z28 with a broken block due to freezing conditions for extremely cheap money. Absolutely beautiful car. This Z28 came with a factory blower on it. I

      I wonder how many they produced in that configuretion?

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Hans L


        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Nelson Cypher

      Trans Am was a race.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo HarryQ

        The curse of OCD is I have to point out the the race series was named Trans-Am with a hyphen.

        Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Doone

    These cars were fast in their day and fun to floor the accelerator, but if you were in any of the passenger seats horribly uncomfortable to ride in.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Z28 Rally Camaro ❤️

      I remember in HS someone stating my Camaro was okay but not to fast.
      The handle above the glovebox was held tight one morning as i gave a quick ride and passing 120 mph.
      Oh the good old days of having fun 🤩 in abundance of cheap muscle cars running the ponies 😍

      Like 12
      • Avatar photo chuck

        We called that the “Fear Bar.”

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo Keith Cornelius

        We call it the Oh S*** handle lol

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Ike Onick

      Who cares about the passengers? It is a driver’s car!

      Like 16
  4. Avatar photo Gordon Stroup

    True, but that’s only because the passengers had nothing to hold on to.
    At least, the guys in the back seat, had the back of the front bucket seats to grab ahold of, Haha!

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Gordon Stroup

    This is the first Z/28 that I’ve seen in years and years that actually has the front grill Z/28 emblem in the right place.
    I see them too high, too low, to far over to one side or the other. I’ve seen the front grill emblem put on the back of the car, just below the trunk, next to a tail light, here, there, everywhere.
    Funny to me because I grew up in that era.
    In 1978, I turned down a TRUE 69 Z/28 for $800. Yup! The reason being that the dude took out the 4 speed because he just couldn’t learn to shift fast, and gave it away for a powerglide transmission, ARGH! It was blue, black stripes, houndstooth interior. Great body, original rally wheels, cracked windshield…. I know, I know, stupid, but back then they were cheap. Then, yeah, another story, a guy had a plain Jane 69 Camaro that had a 64 Impala SS 327 engine in it, with a powerglide. Yup, another cheap one, $750, but it was plain down to the hub caps. I let it pass me up to. So many cars, so many Nope, this ain’t the right one…. until a 1970 Chevelle Malibu, 2 door Hardtop came my way. Maroon, black vinyl top, 350, 3 speed, on the floor, bench seat. The original owner ordered it this way, even with the SS dash with the tach. Oh, Air Conditioner too. He was from Texas and moved to Arizona. Yup $750, BOOM! She was mine. I took off those little skinny 14 inch ralley wheels and put on a sweet set of 15 inch Cragar/SS wheels I had.
    3 inch wide, skinny pizza cutters up front and 10 inch wides on the back with a set of Pep Boys
    L60 15’s on em, oh, and a new set of Gabriel HI Jackers air shocks to clear the tires! YIPPIE, I was a happy 18 year old for sure.
    OK, enough from me. Thanks for putting up with me and my growing up.
    Y’all have a good one, ya hear?

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo 19sixty5 Member

    When they were new, a lot of guys changed out the rear gears to 4:56 or even 4:88’s. Coupled with a high RPM small block, they were respectably fast on the streets.

    Like 14
    • Avatar photo Rw


      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Mark

    For 80K this car should need nothing but driving. 4.56 and 4.88 could be dealer installed. Standard ratio was 3.73, other ratios were optional including 4.10

    Like 10
  8. Avatar photo James Cronin

    Matching numbers ?

    Like 5
  9. Avatar photo Randy jones

    Dont.know..the car looks like it is hiding something from you..most people wanting 80k.show you every title and sales slip on the car..protecto plates..past titles.and car history’s..this guy is showing you nothing.in these pictures.is it a x77 car or a California car..no codes off this motor looks very questionable. For 80k. Show me the proof.on the car.

    Like 13
  10. Avatar photo Jeffery Amburgey

    At 80k, you either must know what your looking at and physically see the car, or have it inspected by someone you trust. With that said, if the car is a great one 80k is reasonable, 10k to freshen up, and you own and drive a legend that will probably not go down much in value if any. Fathom green if I remember the color correctly, is a very good looking car.

    Like 5
  11. Avatar photo Rob Poskrop

    I don’t see an AIR pump which came with Calif. emissions?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Keith

      All 69 Z/28 had a AIR pump emission system not just California cars

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo John C.

    I agree, for 80k, the seller should fix the gasket and do a tuneup and anything else minor that it needs, so the buyer can drive it first and maybe drive it home if they don’t live terribly far away. What’s that spot on the drivers seat? Looks like someone may have wet their pants at one time driving it! lol!

    Like 8
  13. Avatar photo Hans Littooy

    First, the Camaro has been for sale on Craig’s List for at least 2 if not 3 months. Not sure why its not selling unless the owner is unwilling to negotiate. Second, while $80K seems steep and probably too high for this one based on the condition, the price of correctly restored Z’s is over $150K with nice ones going for over $175K.

    Like 6
  14. Avatar photo Shuttle Guy Member

    Asking to much. I see a 40K car.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Tony Primo

      $40,000 for a 1969 Z/28? You have been up in space for quite a while!

      Like 18
  15. Avatar photo John Burke

    My forever dream car….. If only I could hide the purchase and car from my family 😊.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Maggy

    They were 20 mph and over cars. Off the line the 302 was a dog with the 30 30 cam.After that a bat outtake hell.

    Like 1
  17. Avatar photo Maggy

    They were 20 mph and over cars. Off the line the 302 was a dog with the 30 30 cam.After that a bat outta hell.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Keith

    My 69 Z did 12:50’s with a 4:88 screw in the back. Sold it for a 70 LS-6 Chevelle and funny with 4:10 gears in the Chevelle turned the exact same time. Had room for more friends in the Chevelle. Wish I still had them both now.

    Like 4
  19. Avatar photo Chris

    Price seems high, I bought a 1969 COPO last year, non numbers matching, 427 replaced with a 1970 454. Needed body and paint. Only 36,000 miles for $26,000. That car is worth far more than a 302 Z28 when complete.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Keith

      Very subjective on your pricing Chris. A 69 numbers matching Z/28 will bring some pretty stiff money compared to a non numbers matching COPO. A RS Z/28 brings in the 150K range all day long in todays marketplace. I would say you made a great investment at 26K if you keep that restoration cost under control.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Hans L

      That’s an incredible deal – even 20 yrs ago that would be an Incredible deal. Rusted out 6 cylinder’69’s go for $15K these days. Does it still have the unique 12 bolt COPO Rear axle?

      Like 0
  20. Avatar photo Jim b

    80 grand really!! Com on man. Just saying.

    Like 0
  21. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Let’s hope this wasn’t originally a rusted out 6 cyl. & speaking of 6’s, don’t you guys find it odd that unlike on this hi po z28, 1st gens even with grandma’s 230 6 cyl got a blacked out grill, if they were RS’s!
    My friend’s 6 cyl needs everything BUT a tuneup. lol
    He got a rebuilt closeout distrib from Rockauto for $20 – no core charge! Same engine runs better now than it ever did in the last 40 years.

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Richard McBride

    Should be able to get in it and run like a demon for 80k. Never buy anything choking on the pedal.

    Like 0
  23. Avatar photo Daniel Jones

    I’ve never been a fan of racing stripes on cars as well as flames. It kind of makes it look tacky. I like the green paint on this car though.

    Like 0
  24. Avatar photo HarryQ

    I have posted most of this story elsewhere, but it’s therapy, so here goes:

    My first new car was a 1968 Z28, this color, manual steering, M22 rock crusher, no console. My experience started off bad when the day I picked it up it stalled and wouldn’t crank. Towed back to the dealer, they fixed a pinched shorted battery cable. Then cop’s wife backed into it parking on the street in front of me, and neither she nor her husband wanted to pay to have the small dent above the grille fixed. Then I bent a pushrod, and another, same valve. At that point, the dealer accused me of over-revving it.

    Then my experience got better. My dad was head of GM marketing research. He happened to be in a meeting meeting sitting next to Jim Musser (his name is on the moveable wing patent along with Paul Lamar and Jim Hall). He casually asked Jim if bent pushrods were being reported. At the time I think he was the #2 guy in Chevrolet Engineering. He asked the obvious question. Had I over-revved it? Maybe Mr. Musser was suspicious, but then next week, the dealer called, telling me they needed to schedule me for an engine replacement. When I picked the car up the same service manager who had accused me of winding it too high was very friendly. He explained what I now had. It was a 4-bolt main block just like the 1969s were going to have, and the GM technician who had delivered it an oversaw the install brought the dies to put my VIN on it. Musser was kind enough to report back to my dad that indeed there was a problem with the valve guide.

    That car would pull 7600 in high gear with the 3:70 axle. Soon after I was drafted, and when I got out of the Army, I was broke. I was driving on the expressway when the air cleaner stud backed out, the wing nut unscrewed itself, and the stud went into #1 ruining the piston and other stuff I swapped it even for a working 307 CID who put my repaired motor in a boat. When I sold it with about 100K miles on it, it was suffering a little rocker panel and fender well rust and i was ready to see it go. If only…

    Like 4

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