Original Tires: 20k Mile 1981 Camaro Z28

1981 Camaro Z28

This 1981 Camaro Z28 is claimed to have only covered 20k miles since new. It’s well-optioned and everything looks to be in amazing like-new condition. The seller believes that the tires are even original! They do appear to be the correct Uniroyal radials That may not be the best thing if you actually plan on driving the car, but it does prove that it has been seriously well-preserved.  It’s located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is listed here on eBay with no reserve. Bidding is currently up to about $13k USD and the auction ends soon!

350 V8

The seller doesn’t mention which engine this one has, but you could only get a 305 or a 350 V8 in your Z28 in 1981. Lots of hoses and wires in there! Emission control systems were in full swing and this one is fitted with a computer to control it all – the first of its kind to be found in a Camaro. That could be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Warnings on the dash are nice to have, but the system wasn’t sophisticated enough to allow for easy diagnostics. Engine output was about 175 horsepower and 275 lbs.ft. of torque. So, nothing crazy, but not too shabby in its day.

Uprated Suspension

Besides the obvious visual upgrades, the Z28 added a lot of welcomed performance goodies. Underneath you’ll find uprated brakes, stiffer springs, better shocks, and thicker sway bars. Power was down, so why not make the rest of the experience better? It still wasn’t agile, but this upgrades helped a lot in the turning and stopping departments. One other cool feature that the Z28 had was a flap on the back of the Air Induction hood that opened when you floored it! I’m not sure how much of a difference it made power wise, but it’s nice that they kept an old muscle car tradition alive.

1981 Camaro Interior

The interior does look great! Too bad about that automatic transmission though. I’ve read that in 1981 you could get a computer-less 350 with a 4-speed! That would have been the best combination, but it probably doesn’t really matter here. This thing will most likely go into a climate controlled collection rather than daily driven. This car is probably more fun to look at than drive anyway. It is an amazing survivor though and I hope the next owner is able to keep it in its current condition for future generations to enjoy.

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Comments

  1. Kincer Dave Member

    Wow that’s a nice old Z! Radio antenna placement looks a little weird to me, does anybody recall if that’s factory?

    • GTOJeff

      I just looked at several and the US version doesn’t have an antenna like that. It may be a Canadian thing since that’s where it is.

    • Paul

      My 1980 has a power antenna in that location.

    • chris

      I actually own one and mine is thru the windscreen, so not so sure about this one.

    • The Chucker

      The power antenna option was located on the front left fender. In the early-mid ’80’s I worked at a Chevrolet dealer and recall replacing many of those-a real pain BTW. The GM power antenna assemblies were not reliable and many were replaced with fixed masts.

    • Greg Stegall

      As I recall my ’79 and ’81 Trans-Ams had the antenna built into the windshield.

  2. ABD

    I just looked at about 30 images of the Z , and didn’t see an antenna anywhere. Good looking out.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      It’s right there in the first photo on the drivers side fender!

      • Kincer Dave Member

        Is there any way to send an email to the staff? I have a car question?

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Here’s the email address Dave – mail@barnfinds.com

    • Kincer Dave Member

      Left front fender, right above vent in fender.

  3. Rick

    90% sure all the F bodies had in the windshield antennas, so same comment, whats with the antenna on the fender, CB?

    • Dolphin Member

      If the windshield antenna stops working because of a wire break internally due to delamination, or where it emerges from the glass, a wild guess might be that a fender antenna might cost less than a new windshield + installation.

      • DolphinPorsche

        As I recall, the windshield antenna wasn’t very good. My 83 Z28 has it’s antenna on the RIGHT SIDE. The car was owned by a gal that didn’t do zip with it but enjoy.

  4. A.J.

    The problem with the 81 is that you could not get the 350 with the 4 speed. 80 was the last year. You still could in Canada however. So, 80 is the year you want.

    • Randy

      I converted my 81 to a stick. Wasnt hard at all to do.

  5. JWH

    No clue on the other side of the border but I’m fairly certain on the US side the “embedded” antenna in the windshield was used through the end of this body style. I had a 1978 Firebird with the antenna in the windshield and a 1983 Z28 with the antenna on the fender. Maybe the windshield was replaced and w/o antenna (are they still even made that way) and an aftermarket whip added?

    • Tony

      I brought one brand new in 1981off show room floor 350 automatic blue antenna electric on drivers side

  6. Rob

    Since it doesn’t come with a Foreigner tape and a Members Only jacket I will have to pass.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      My 81 Camaro had Billy Squier and Loverboy tapes on non-stop.
      Member’s Only jacket was also a requirement.

      LOL!

      Like 1
  7. Steven C

    My old man is a television repairman, he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.

    Like 1
    • Tony S

      Lincoln Kills!

      Like 1
  8. Tony S

    I just asked. Its a 350.

    Like 1
  9. Rock On Member

    Up here in Canada they are called Zed 28’s. Windshield antenna was standard for this year. Power antenna optional. This car is well optioned. Notice the intermittent wipers, tilt wheel and aluminum wheels.

  10. Joe

    This one lived some of its life in South Africa. 55K miles sold at Mecum for 17K in 2014. Not sure if this is a factory antenna, some of the after market ones had a black plastic base similar to this to allow for angle adjustments. JC

  11. EJB

    When I was a kid I had a Tyco slot car race track. The cars that came with it were Z28s like the one pictured. One was red the other yellow.

  12. mat

    I believe this car would have had a computer controlled carburetor.
    Not fuel injection.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      My 81 had the “Computer Command Control” carb on its anemic V6.

      Like 1
  13. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    @mat-you are correct regarding the computer controlled carburetor which was part of the emissions equipment. Even the instrumentation was partially wired differently. You cannot swap an ’81 instrument cluster into an ’80 or earlier, but you can put an ’80 cluster into an ’81 if you get rid of the smog carburetor, computer, etc. Factory ‘matching numbers ’81 4-speeds are rare today because the first thing to go back in the day was the 305 in favor of a 350, 327 or DZ 302. I started to do the same to my ’81 when I acquired it in 2002. Glad I did not. Shifters were ITM and junk, but a factory ’79 T/A Hurst shifter fits perfectly in the console since Pontiac and Chevrolet consoles identical for the most part.

  14. Peter

    The induction flap was probably to increase noise for the driver so that they felt they were accelerating more than they actually were.

  15. M B

    To confirm: The Uniroyals are factory equipment tires for that model, P22570R-15. The windshield antenna was standard equipment, but the factory power antenna was on the LH fender on this body series of Camaro. It went to the rh side for the Camaro3 cars in 1982. When the electronic carb came to be, the pocket at the front of the center console was deleted, as that’s where the new ECM was located. Don’t know why the clusters might not interchange as they were all still “analog”, other than the “Check Engine” light on the computerized cars. Whether Z-28 or TransAm, the 4-speed cars were ALL 305s and the automatics were 350s, in 1981 The TransAm 305s had the Camaro exhaust pipes, but the TransAm 350s had the normal Pontiac splitter tail pipes. In ONE year back then, the TransAm Turbo301 was listed in the Camaro parts catalog!

    In general, these were NICE cars! Ran decent for that time back then. Z/28s had 3.42 rear axle gears, but PosiTrac was optional. Just needs some BFG Radial TAs to replace the Uniroyals for reliable road use. At some time, though, many of the rubber hoses will need to be replaced with E10-compliant rubber, although I seem to recall that E10 was GM-approved back then.

    On the factory shifters . . . IF the shift lever will move sideways in a slot in the “slide” piece, it is a FACTORY ratchet shifter, similar to Chrylser “SlapStik” shifter. In the Chevy version, you press in the 2 o’clock direction as you move from manual “1” to “2”. Won’t go past it, either! Repeat for “2” to “3” shift (won’t go to “N” until you release it in “D”). My ’77 Camaro LT has that, as did a friend’s ’78 Z/28. Dang neat! Another friend’s ’77 TA didn’t!!

    A car this nice would be nice to have and enjoy as a “weekend” car, especially in the condition it’s in.

  16. jaymes

    theres no check engine lamp on this one

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Interesting, good catch. Maybe the Canadian model didn’t have the computer control.
      It was a 1 year only GM thing, I think, so probably better off without it.

  17. Steve Jobbins

    one other thing to note is the Z logo is way too high on the grill, missing black Z logos on wheels too

  18. crazy4camaro

    My 81 f body GM repair manual has this option in the rear of the book. Ive owned 10 or 12 of these 80 81 zs and only one of those z28 had this option. very rare

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