Optional T-Top: 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

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By 1980, Chevrolet had pretty much set the release schedule for its upcoming Third Generation Camaro in stone. Therefore, it only spent enough money on upgrades of its aging Second Generation model to entice buyers into showrooms. The Z28 had lost its performance edge and was more about style than substance. However, that didn’t prevent it from selling in respectable numbers. This 1980 Camaro Z28 is a tidy classic that makes a positive first impression. It would turn heads, and the glass T-Top should make life pleasant on sunny days. It is listed here on eBay in Miami, Florida. The seller set a BIN of $23,000 but leaves the option for interested parties to make an offer.

The seller describes this Camaro as a survivor, suggesting it has never undergone any restoration work. Its overall presentation is positive, but it isn’t perfect. Closely analyzing the supplied photos seems to reveal rust is developing in the lower corners of both doors. It hasn’t advanced too far, suggesting that well-crafted patches might relegate the problem to a distant memory. Its Code 11 White paint remains consistent across the car, with no evidence of patchiness or matte areas. The panels are straight, and the underside shows no rust issues. If the spots in the doors are the extent of the problem, whipping this car into shape should not be complicated or expensive. The graphics look crisp, the trim is excellent, and the color-coded wheels add a touch of class. Perhaps this car’s ace is the glass T-Top. At $695.00, this wasn’t a cheap inclusion on a vehicle with a sticker price of $7,121. However, that didn’t stop 24,816 buyers from ticking the box on the Order Form.

If you’re not a fan of red trim and upholstery, this Z28 won’t be the car for you. Its combination of cloth and vinyl in that shade makes a bold first impression that is also positive. There are no signs of significant wear or other issues and no evidence of UV damage or crumbling plastic. The dash looks excellent, as do the wheel and console. There are some anomalies requiring investigation. The photo seems to show the tachometer needle stuck at 5,000 rpm, which could mean repair or replacement of that item is needed. The factory radio made way for a CD player, and the installer cut the dash and rear parcel tray to accommodate it and the speakers. Otherwise, it is original and unmolested. It isn’t weighed down with luxury appointments, although the air conditioning, power windows, and tilt wheel are welcome inclusions.

Lifting this Camaro’s hood reveals the legendary 350ci V8 that sends 190hp to the rear wheels via a three-speed Hydramatic transmission. That combination should deliver a ¼-mile ET of 16.5 seconds and a top speed of 109mph, and it gives us a chance to consider the impact emission regulations had on the iconic small-block V8. The performance figures are all you might expect from a car of this era, but an auto-equipped 1970 Camaro Z28 delivered a ¼-mile ET of 14.1 seconds and a top speed of 131mph. Part of the difference could be attributed to a significant drop in engine power as the decade progressed. However, the weight increase due primarily to tighter safety requirements saw the 1980 Z28 tip the scales at 3,538 lbs versus the 1970 edition’s 3,370 lbs. For enthusiasts seeking a turnkey classic, this Camaro delivers. The seller says it runs and drives perfectly, with no odd noises, smoke, or other issues.

The 1980 Camaro Z28 didn’t offer enthusiasts the performance hit they desired, but that was a common complaint during The Malaise Era. Salvation was waiting in the wings with the Third Generation car courtesy of significant weight reduction and advanced aerodynamics. However, many people hold cars like this in high regard, and the BIN figure on this Z28 would be realistic if it weren’t for the potential rust developing in the doors. If this doesn’t deter you, making a respectful offer could be the best course of action. You never know, but today could be your lucky day.

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  1. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    My family has owned no fewer than four of these back in the late 70’s, and they are really fun, responsive cars to drive, that look the business.

    Yes, power was down across the OEM board, no thanks to the EPA and the embargo.

    Auto manufacturers did the best they could, given the rapidly introduced environmental head winds, and I think the engineers did a pretty darn good job!

    Sales were strong, food for thought…..it wasn’t all decals….(i.e., great handling and “spirited” acceleration).

    Great looking Zed, a little cauliflower on the door edges is no big deal, drive it with guilt free enjoyment!!


    Like 9
  2. Ed Hardt

    It looks great now but by 1980 these had worn out their welcome and I am sure when the 1982 model debuted more than a few people were trading up. Today I would rather have the second generation.

    Like 3
    • PRA4SNW

      Call me a contrarian, but when I saw what the ’82 was going to look like, I ran to the Chevy dealer to place my order in ’81.

      Like 2
  3. Robbie R.

    Love it. White 2nd gen Camaros & Birds with red interiors really popped.

    Like 4
  4. Tim

    Good pal bought a new one last year of high school. Very bright red (orange?) with a stick. Air induction hood!

    Like 4
    • Robbie R.

      Likewise, one of my buddies had a 80 model, 4-speed w induction. He made only a couple minor mods and it ran strong. I was in it a few times when he dusted some serious muscle cars from the late 60s/early 70s. By that time most of the muscle cars had been ragged out, not like the rebuilt ones you see on B-J and Mecum.

      Like 0
  5. Karl

    I had a 78 Camaro RS and it had the glass tops like this I believe they were cars & concepts who was installing these for GM. What I can say is they weaken further the unibody construction so don’t plan on putting a lot of HP to a car like this, also subframe welded in connectors are a must to stiffen of the frame, such as it is on this car. Good gaskets around the t-tops is a must because the latches that hold the glass in place latch against the rubber compression, hard old rubber means tops aren’t tight. Last thing is replacement of these glass sections is getting very hard because to my knowledge there is only one source and he is almost out of them.

    Like 1
  6. Bruce fournierMember

    ITS SOLD. as of today

    Like 1
  7. Bob Wytiuk

    Firebird seats and 1979 grill painted white

    Like 0

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